The JVC JLE47BC3500 is a 2012 model that retails for $799 (but is almost always on sale at big box retailers). This 47-inch JVC costs $200 less than the previous year's model of the same size, which means that—hopefully—JVC has found a way to decrease its already low prices while maintaining the same apparent quality. Our last JVC television was a no-frills, quality-focused model that tested with strong performance, but we felt it was asking too high a price for a non-smart, non-3D off-brand television. For $200 less, however, the JLE47BC3500 makes the grade.
Put up against the competition, this JVC is a viable option. Its color integrity, motion performance, and viewing angle are actually above average for its asking price. The one big drawback here is that its black levels are approaching more dark gray than true black, which is a big turn-off for many cinephiles. However, it will look just fine in a well-lit room. The JLE47BC3500 is an improvement over its 2011 counterpart for sure, and if you can abide its plain design, poor uniformity, and lack of features, you'll find yourself with a decent TV.
Screen? Check. Stand? Check. Yup, it's a TV.
My first impression of this JVC TV is that it's not very impressionable. Not to say it's ugly—it just doesn't stand out from the crowd in any way. The stand and bezel are a cheaply-made black plastic, and the panel itself is of an entirely average thickness. Also, the stand doesn't allow the panel to swivel. The cause for this is usually a standardization of basic parts and design, which is a big part of the TV's modest price tag. The only aesthetic touch is a silver strip running along the front of the TV, above the speakers. However, if you don't want to pay for fancy stands, hyper-thin panels, or other design frills, the JLE47BC3500 is a good choice.
As far as usability goes, the BC3500 certainly won't stump you. Its ports are located in the usual L-shaped cutout on the back of the TV, just above the on-set controls. Users will find inputs for 2 HDMI cables (one on the side, one on the back), USB A, a shared component/composite input, analog audio out, VGA and PC audio in, and a coaxial jack for a cable or antenna source. There's enough here to cover the basics, at least, but this isn't really a home theater spread. The included remote is barely worth mentioning—it works, case closed.
For an entry-level HDTV? Not too shabby.
As far as color integrity goes, this JVC is quite capable. Its adherence to color standards is very close to perfect, and the range of colors it comfortably displays is right up there with the big names, like Samsung and LG. There's a standard amount of error we tend to see, and while this JVC isn't free of it, it also doesn't have any glaring problems. We were even able to tweak its average color temperature to within one degree of perfect by using a simple sub-menu.
One thing that might put you off this TV is its contrast ratio, which is below average. The JLE47BC3500 is plenty bright, but its black levels—even at half maximum backlight—are simply not very dark. Contrast is a very subjective phenomena, however, and you're only going to notice graying of blacks when you're watching in a dim or dark room. This TV also has uniformity problems, with edge-LEDs bleeding into the picture along the top of the frame. It's truly ugly, and is a big red mark on this TV's value card.
If you can get over the shadow and uniformity errors, everything else works great. Of particular note are this model's speakers, which provided much more overall volume than usual. The speakers are given special precedent in design, housed in their own case along the bottom of the TV (instead of hiding inside the bezels). It makes a big difference, even if the actual audio quality is nothing truly special.
This TV meekly boasts a decent menu and simple picture playback.
Within the TV industry as a whole, menu and sub-menu design have been greatly improved upon in the last couple of years—enough that this bargain bin TV's software is actually pretty good by 2011 standards. The menu button brings up a series of the usual sub-menu suspects: Picture, Audio, Input, etc. The menu is easy enough to figure out, responding intuitively to the navigational keys on the remote. There are a couple of advanced picture settings that could benefit from captions, but for most users, this menu is fine—though it doesn't hold a candle to the fancier software of high-end TVs.
The JLE47BC3500 also allows for picture playback—no video or music files are supported, though. Inserting a USB thumb drive into the JLE47BC3500's one USB input will prompt photo playback, bringing up a root menu allowing for a slideshow or single viewing of stored photos. This is about as basic as local media playback gets, but like almost everything else about this TV's features, it works as it should. The analog audio input on the back makes up for the lack of music playback... and you'll just have to get creative to watch videos, maybe one of those newfangled VCRs. The USB port can also be used to charge USB-powered devices like a Kindle or Samsung Galaxy S2, as long as the TV is powered on.
This JVC is a great choice... if you have lax standards for your viewing experience.
Right off the bat, we feel it's necessary to point out that $800 for a 47-inch LCD is pretty fair. You'd pay about the same amount for a 2012 Samsung of the same size. This TV is very basic, but if it's within your budget range, it will get the job done.
From a picture quality standpoint, this isn't the top-tier of tech, but we've seen much worse. This JVC offers the full range of colors, accurately and richly, without any bunk processing or oversharpening. It handles motion fairly well—even better if you use the built-in film mode. If it weren't for some very obvious uniformity problems and its low contrast ratio, the JLE47BC3500 would have very good performance scores.
At the end of the day, though, I can't recommend this TV at its full price. If you could find it at 15% or 25% off of its MSRP, it might be a decent buy, but it simply doesn't have the chops or features to justify $800. It'll look pretty terrible in a dark room unless the backlight is lowered considerably, but if you find it on sale and need a TV for a bright room, it performs admirably, and is nice and loud.
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Highly acceptable color performance
To us, color is the most important aspect of a TV's performance. Many will cite contrast ratio as the more important aspect—but this discussion is better left for a nerdy message board. From a color integrity perspective, the JLE47BC3500 performs well.
Its color gamut results are very close to the international standard, called Rec. 709. Green, blue, and white are all properly saturated and correctly hued—much more difficult than it might seem for many TVs. This JVC's only color gamut problem lies in the production of reds: Reds are undersaturated, meaning they won't be as rich and vivid as they ought to be.
This JVC has an average amount of color temperature error—it's so standard to entry-level models that it's almost not worth mentioning. There's expected warming of the greyscale within shadow tones, meaning a lower temperature and a slight reddening of what should be a colorless grey. Most of this takes place within the darkest shades, however, and won't be easily visible.
The JLE47BC3500 tested with excellent color curves, to cap off its color performance. It transitions smoothly between neighboring shades and hues, meaning it will handle edge gradation well and produce a realistic, satisfying picture. Its one drawback is that it lacks definition at the highest register of the greyscale.
These black levels are disappointing.
Our first encounter with a JVC television revealed some very bad black levels, and unfortunately the company has not made a ton of improvement to this 2012 model. The JLE47BC3500 tested with a black level of 0.19 cd/m2 at half backlight and 0.30 cd/m2 at max backlight; its contrast ratio of 785:1 is just truly unacceptable, even amongst entry-level televisions. This amount of differentiation is not going to take advantage of the TV's greyscale ability. Compared to similarly priced models from 2011 and 2012, though, it's about par for the course.
An above-average viewing angle for an LCD
A decent viewing angle will lend flexibility to any TV: This JVC doesn't swivel, which means it definitely needs a good score here. Fortunately, it tested well, boasting a total viewing angle of 66°, or 33° from center to either side of the screen. What this means for the user is more flexibility in choosing where to place your TV, as well as ideal viewing for larger groups without the outliers suffering from a reduced contrast ratio or color shifting at off angles. Compared to similarly priced LCDs, this JVC offers more viewing flexibility than most.
Meet the tester
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
Checking our work.
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