JVC BlackCrystal JLE47BC3001 Review
We liked what we saw, but some of the marketing ploys don't match up with our testing.
JVC has just developed the BlackCrystal line, using Amtran as its new manufacturer. Amtran happens to be the same company that makes some displays for VIZIO. The BlackCrystal JLE47BC3001 ($999 MSRP) is intended to have strong picture quality at a low price, which sounds ideal. The target consumers are those who want a good television but do not want to shell out money to buy into the top-tier brands like Sony, LG, and Samsung. While we liked what we saw, there are some flaws that might make you think twice about purchasing this TV.
The bezel is unsightly, but the port placement is well done.
One of the main features of the new BlackCrystal line from JVC is supposed to be the sleek design. We agree that they have made the width of the panel quite thin, like all other edgelit LED models on the market. But when you look at it from the front, as you will most times, sleek is not the word that comes to mind. The bezel is too thick to be dapper and the speaker bar at the bottom reminds us of HDTVs from the turn of the century.
On the BlackCrystal JLE47BC3001, the digital ports are kept separate from the analog ones. There are four HDMI ports and two USB ports arranged vertically, plus an analog audio input, a component video input, and a VGA connection on the horizontal part of the L-shaped cutout on the back. This organization makes sense to us. With analog fading into the days of human past, you will want easier access to the HDMI and USB ports, which is accommodated by the design here.
Smart TV Features
A simple menu interface works since there isn't a wealth of options.
The menus are handsome and easy (there’s a joke to be made here but it’s probably inappropriate). There are no advanced features to control, so the organization of setting options is intuitive. They appear on the left side as a column when you press the Menu button on the remote. Each one of the selections has a menu that tabs out to the right, with subsequent menus tabbing out again, creating clear stages of organization.]
The lack of features here is a bit dismaying for a television with an MSRP of around $1000. There are plenty of smart televisions in this range, so if you want to access internet content in your home theater you'll need to rely on peripherals like video game consoles or internet-connected DVD and Blu-ray players.
Great color accuracy, although the motion is spotty.
The first thing we noticed about the JVC JLE47BC3001's screen was how bright it was. This can be a good thing, since bright white levels are a plus, but as a general rule the black levels suffer from this. Without deep blacks complementing those bright areas, contrast suffers and picture quality is generally poor.
Color quality and consistency was easily the highlight of this JVC's performance. Colors were very accurate and stayed consistently so, whether showing a darker image or a brighter one. Color inaccuracies can be very distracting, and to JVC's credit they've managed to avoid them here.
The JLE47BC3001 hit a snag when it came to motion performance. Faces in moving photographs blurred a little, though detailed lines remained separate. Colors trailed as they moved across the screen. High frequency patterns picked up significantly more jagged lines throughout the pattern. In all of these tests, the outline of the object skewed in motion, similar to the "Jell-O" effect you get with some digital cameras. This shows that the internal processor cannot render a moving object quickly enough to catch the top part of the object up with the bottom. Though not awful, these issues can be incredibly frustrating over time.
Not exactly a budget TV, not quite a top performer.
The JVC JLE47BC3001 (MSRP $999) showed some good qualities in our testing labs. The peak brightness of the screen was really strong, the color accuracy was definitely noteworthy in every one of our testing categories, and the viewing angle was better than average for an LCD.
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when we tested motion performance. There was noticeable artifacting in all of our tests, which is a shame because the picture suffered a great deal from this. Also, while the bright levels were great, that was coupled with poor black levels. This hinders contrast and results in a flat picture without much detail.
It's not clear who this television will really appeal to. It's too expensive to be considered a budget television, but its performance isn't anywhere near the top-tier brands. From what we've seen so far, the JVC BlackCrystal line falls between two consumer niches, satisfying neither. If you can get this television at a deep discount, we can see overlooking the performance issues. At its full MSRP, though, you're better off either dropping down and saving some money or stepping up to a better television.
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