The JVC LT-32J300's screen is surrounded by a glossy black beze. Underneath that is a speaker grill that has a plastic bit running through its center, horizontally. In the middle of the speaker is the power indicator.
The back of the TV has its ports on the right side of its plateau. The back of the TV is also where you'll find the mounting points.
The left side of the TV has the on-set controls and a USB port for viewing pictures. The right side is boring and has no features.
The stand is glossy, black, and plastic. Unfortunately, it doesn't swivel or rotate. The mounting points are on the back of the device.
The controls are on the left side of the TV. They are, in order, input, menu, channels, volume, and power.
The LT-32J300's remote is what the standard JVC remote would look like if it went on a hunger strike. Some changes from the previous model include a repositioning of the channel and volume buttons, a different d-pad, and a few button swaps. The new remote's layout is more similar to the average TV remote nowadays. One thing that definitely changed for the worse are the V-buttons along the top. On the prior remote, these buttons were labeled as inputs, with descriptions below them. On this one, they're just V1 through V5.
In the Box *(5.0)*
The LT-32J300 ships with manuals, a remote, and batteries for said remote. We thought setup was simple, but other JVC models come with the stand pre-attached.
The JVC LT-42P300 isn't the cutest or most stylish television we've reviewed, but it also isn't ugly. There's an interesting design to the speakers, where plastic shelf bifurcates them, but we're not sure it adds much to aesthetic value. The TV does have a glossy black bezel, which we aren't fans of. The TV also has a glowing blue power indicator. If this annoys you, you can turn it off in the Setting tab on the main menu.
Televisions come out of the box calibrated poorly. The first thing we do before we start reviewing a TV is to calibrate it properly. We use fancy software to do this, called DisplayMate. We've worked with DisplayMate's creator, both to customize the best calibration sequence and also to verify we knew what we were doing. Our calibration, which is detailed below, aims for accuracy. If you want, you can pay someone to come to your house and calibrate your set, but for those do-it-yourselfers out there, we've created an extensive list of all our calibrations below.
Just change these few settings and your HDTV should be pretty close to pristine.
There are two things to note in addition to the above settings. First of all, these are the only settings we changed: if it isn't listed above, we didn't change it. Secondly, we always test TVs with their backlights at masimum, but that might not be ideal for your own purposes. If the room is bright, you'll probably want the backlight at max, but in a dark room you should definitely turn it down.
The JVC LT-32J300 has four different modes, or Video Statuses according to the menu system. These modes are standard fare; we wouldn't recommend using them over the calibration settings we have listed above. In spite of this recommendation, if you're curious about these modes we've listed them along with JVC's description below.
The LT-32J300 has a black level of 0.37 candelas per square meter. This isn't a particularly deep black level, even for an LCD. In most instances, a high black level means you'll lose a lot of detail in dark scenes, since you lose granularity amongst the different shades of black.
The LT-32J300 is actually capable of a black level of 0.1 cd/m2, but obtains it through questionable means. If about 85% or more of the screen is black, the backlights begin to dim dynamically. This could be done as a power-saving precaution, or it could be done as a means of cheating on contrast ratio. Either way, users should be able to turn it off, but they can't.
Dynamic backlighting is bad for the same reasons any dynamically changing picture adjustment is bad: it never ends in an unquestionably good result. Sure, a dynamic backlight will allow you to get deep blacks in a very dark scene, but the area that isn't dark will look noticeably muted.
Peak brightness is very important, as anyone who's ever had a TV near a light source can tell you. Brightness helps prevent the picture from looking washed out when external light is shining at the screen. In general, you want a TV with 250 cd/m2 or higher to help the picture remain unaffected by most . Typically LCDs have an advantage on this test (versus a plasma TV), since they use backlights.
The LT-32J300 was capable of outputting 323.4 cd/m2, which is a good level. This is an above average peak brightness; you should have no troubles with external light washing out your picture.
Contrast refers to the ratio of brightest white to deepest black. Since the TV wasn't capable of producing particularly low black levels, it didn't come out with a great contrast ratio. In fact, the LT-32J300's contrast ratio result was quite a bit below average. Poor contrast is definitely something the average consumer would notice. If you plan on watching movies with the audacity to put bright colors next to dark ones, the LT-32J300 will balk.
For this test, we display a screen that's part solid black, part solid white, and alter the percentages of each. What we're looking for are any changes in the black level.Theoretically, black levels shouldn't waver, regardless of whether it's taking up 10% or 90% of the screen.
For the most part, the JVC LT-32J300 did well. When the majority of the screen was black, however, the black level dropped significantly. This is because of the dynamic brightness issue we discussed in the black level section above. Other than this issue, which will only manifest itself in specific circumstances, there isn't much to complain about.
This test is about the same as the tunnel contrast test, only we're looking at the white's levels instead of the black's. This test is a great example of why dynamic brightness is bad. Look at what happens to the white when most of the screen is black. See how it just kind of dwindles down to incredibly low levels? If you're watching a bright object against a dark background, you'll end up losing a lot of detail.
A screen that is uniform will be free from blemishes and uneven lighting. On the LT-32J300, as with most HDTVs, the corners were dim when the screen was white and bright when the screen was black. There was a bit of cloudy blotchiness to the screen, but it was very, very faint. Overall, we thought the LT32J300 did a good job on this test.
This is the section where we talk about greyscale and how the TV handles it. Ideally the greyscale gamma should be logarythmic, since that's how our eyes perceive things: we notice relative differences. For example, if we had a series of greys, where each one was twice as bright as the one before it, it'd look linear: grey 2 is twice as bright as grey 1, grey 3 is twice as bright as grey 2, grey 4 is twice as bright as grey 3, and so on. Of course, relative to the starting point, you can see the progression isn't linear: grey 2 is twice as bright as grey 1, grey 3 is four times as bright as grey 1, grey 4 is eight times as bright as grey 1, etc.
In the graph below, the blue line is the best fit. The black line would ideally follow this line. As you can see, it does for the most part. Towards the bottom the blacks start to fall off quickly, but otherwise the line remains pretty true.
There are a bunch of different formats your TV could display. The HD input from your Blu-ray will be 1080p, standard def is 480p, and you might just run into 720p content in your travels as well. We therefore test how the TV can scale different formats to its native resolution. The best TVs can upscale and downscale without any noticeable differences to users. If the TV does a bad job, however, chances are you'll notice. Quickly.
As mentioned above, you'll get 480p input from standard definition content. The LT-32J300 had some issues with overscanning, chopping about 2% of the screen off each side of the screen. In spite of this issue, we didn't see any other problems. All of the font we put up on the screen was very legible.
We ran into the same overscanning issue here as well: 2% of the screen lopped off on each side. Here we actually had slightly more problems than with 480p, however, because small text wasn't as clear. This being said, the TV still did an above-average job with 720p content.
Some of you are probably wondering how 1080i is different than 1080p. The little 'i' means interlaced, which means the TV alternates between showing only 540 alternating lines, then showing the remaining 540. Due to quick refresh rates and our human eyes' poor ability to detect quick changes, the effect is full HD resolution. The little 'p' on the other hand means progressive, which doesn't do any of this wussy 'alternating lines' garbage and just shows the entirety of the image.
Overall, we thought the 1080i content was good. We didn't see any major issues here. There was some minor green tint present in areas with think, alternating black and white lines. This was barely perceptable, however, and shouldn't be much of an annoyance.
All light has a temperature associated with it. You probably remember learning that blue stars are hot, red stars are less hot: the same is true for TVs. The ideal color temperature for a TV is a steady 6500 Kelvin (K). If the color temperature wobbles around a lot, it'll mean certain greys will be slightly bluish and some will be slightly redish, which is bad for overall picture quality.
In the graph below, we've graphed the LT-32J300's color temperature throughout the entire greyscale spectrum, starting with white and ending at black. Any time the line creeps above the middle, it means the color is shifting towards blue; below the middle the line shifts towards red.
Minor deviations like that first initial blue shift is probably not noticeable. The subequent turn towards red and the final sudden shift back to blue are more problematic.
The below graph is a different way of showing the same information as the graph above. The red circle represents the area where your eyes can't detect a color temperature difference. The dots represent various color temperatures the screen hits as it creeps through the greyscale. If you'll notice, while a fair amount of black dots do occur within the red circle, the reds extend up and outward, with a random smattering of blues occurring outside the circle as well.
Overall, this wasn't a terrible color temperature performance, but the LT-32J300 could've done better.
All the colors on your TV are comprised of red, green, and blue. We've graphed the TV's ability to display these three colors below, where the left side of the graph is low intensity and the right is the highest intensity. Like our greyscale gamma test, the ideal curve in this section should look like a regular, even hyperbola.
These are not regular, even hyperbolas. The graphs start off fine, continue upwards evenly, and then start peaking, but do so in a really weird way. Typically when we see peaking, the graph just abruptly flattens towards the highest end. That means the TV hits its peak intensity before it should: if you were to look at an all-red scene on a TV has peaked-out reds, bright parts would be devoid of detail, instead appearing as flat patches of color. In this case, the colors don't actually peak – there is still some differentiation, as seen by the line's upwards slope – but instead aren't differentiated enough. As mentioned earlier, the reason these graphs are all hyperbolas is because we see colors logarythmically. Even though the RGB curves don't really peak, seeing as they don't just flatten, the differentiation between high intensity colors will be far smaller than it should be. All in all, a poor performance from the LT-32J300 here.
The color gamut refers to the range of colors the TV should be able to reproduce. The color gamut is actually set by an international guideline, Rec.709, in order to ensure everyone's TV is displaying a similar picture. Since we don't trust any manufacturer's ability to follow the rules, we test color gamut to double-check that the TV meets Rec.709 standards. Below is the LT-32J300's color gamut graphed against the Rec.709 standard.
The LT-32J300 is clearly slightly off. While this might not seem like a lot, we remind you that this is an international standard that all TVs are supposed to match. This means your LT-32J300's picture will appear slightly greener than it should.
While most HDTVs fail to totally adhere to this standard, the LT-32J300 did worse than the average TV by a small margin.
Below is a table detailing the color error seen above.
The LT-32J300 is not the best at handling moving objects. For this score, we display a static picture that moves around the screen, similar to a DVD player's default screen saver. In the LT-32J300's case, the picture showed significant blurring. We also try this test with a grid of color swatches, which left off-color trails behind them as they moved. Finally we display a series of gradients and thin lines. While we definitely saw more blurring, we didn't see anything else too wildly our of order.
Artifacting is a term that refers to anything that shows up on the screen that shouldn't be there. The main cause of artifacting is the TV's processor. The main issue we saw with the LT-32J3000 was shuddering. If an item has an area of high contrast, that area will appear to shudder. The shuddering effect was mainly present on 1080i playback, but, oddly enough, none of the smaller formats.
3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(7.5)*
The terms '3:2 pulldow' and '24fps' refer two different ways of emulating film quality. Broadcast HD signals will always be 60fps, so if you want a classic film feel instead of modern-day smoothness, you should choose to display your media in 24fps.
A few words of wisdom: enable Natural Cinema mode. It's in the menu. If this feature isn't enabled, the TV will do scary things when trying to play back 1080i content, especially if there are small patterns with alternating black and white lines. While we definitely appreciate the 24fps mode, we would've appreciated it slighly better had the functionality been automatic. When you turn on a movie that's supposed to be in 24fps, Natural Cinema mode won't automatically engage. This is our main gripe with the way the LT-32J300 manages 24fps.
For this test we rotate a fancy camera around a TV and find the point at which contrast reaches 50%. Beyond that point, picture quality will be pretty bad.
The JVC LT-32J300 reached the 50% contrast point about 32º from dead center, for a total viewing angle of 64º. This was a below average result, but compared to other LCDs, it wasn't that bad. Typically LCDs have a significantly worse viewing angle than plasma TVs, and the LT-32J300 sticks to the status quo.
Colors held up pretty well under various viewing angles. They didn't get washed out or succumb to solarization (when the colors invert), which puts it ahead of the game compared to other LCDs.
Overall, the LT-32J300 wasn't bad for an LCD, but be sure to sit your couch far enough away from the TV so people on the edges are stuck with bad picture quality.
The JVC LT-32J300's screen diffuses light well. This is better than the alternative, a reflective screen, which would keep the details of the light and make it appear more prominent. This being said, the diffused light takes up a good portion of the screen and can still be fairly distracting. The same goes for pretty much all TVs, the LT-32J300 included: don't put this in an area that catches a lot of direct sunlight. While the reflection won't be terrible, it will still be distracting.
HDTVs love adding in video processing features, because they look great in advertisements. Unfortunately, most of them really don't do much. In this section we examine such features and try to determine if they have any actual effect on picture quality.
Ergonomics & Durability*(5.25)*
The JVC LT-32J300's remote is a bit thinner than the typical JVC remote. While it's definitely an improvement, it's still not great. Like other JVC offerings, the remote is well balanced, but since the remote is long and thin, shifing your grip means you'll lose this balance. Also, since it's long and thin, no two button groupings are within easy access of each other, causing users to shift their grip often.
Button Layout & Use*(6.5)*
Although shaped a bit differently from the standard JVC fare, the JVC LT-32J300's remote contains the same basic layout. The thinner design allows easier lateral access to buttons, but since the remote is tall, you'll have to shift your grip to reach different button groupings.
Our other issue are the V buttons, which change inputs. The first few toggle between HDMI inputs, which the last few change between composite, component and such. We wish the buttons would have been labeled as such.
The remote will work as long as it's pointed in the general direction of the TV, so at leat you won't require pinpoint precision.
Programming & Flexibility*(6.0)*
One nice aspect about this remote is you can use it as a universal remote. The manual contains a good set of instructions on how to set this up, including a bunch of codes for other manufacturer's devices.
The JVC LT-32J300 has decent speakers. They're capable of a big sound and preserve details well. We're not sure if the TV has some latent, secret surround sound feature that's always on, but we thought it did a very good job at portraying localized sound. Of course, the LT-32J300's speakers aren't as good as a decent auxiliary set, but they were definitely better than what we typically hear.
The LT-32J300 has a few surround sound options, like Movie, News, and Music modes. We found all of these options to be inferior to the speaker's normal setting. When we put on movie mode, the sound got very weak in the high end, like it was projecting out a rear speaker that was covered with a pillow (if you are an audiphile, read this sentence as 'blanketed'). None of the surround sound options increased the depth of the sound – in fact, most of these settings actually served to make the soundstage appear flatter and far less encompassing. Although no HDTVs we've reviewed so far had stellar surround sound, this is one of the first one that's had better surround sound with the namesake feature turned off.
The LT-32J300's maximum volume was about 79.1 decibels, which is on the lower end of average. This is a solidly loud level, but the TV might sound a bit weak in a large room.
There is exactly one input port on the TV's left side: a USB port for picture playback.
All of the JVC LT-32J300's ports are on its back (if you're facing the front of the TV, they're around the left; when facing the back they're towards the right). The ports themselves aren't labeled, but there's a bit of a legend above them describing what's where. This array consists of three analog audio inputs, a pair of component and composite input ports, a VGA input, and an S-Video input.
On the underside of this port array are three hidden HDMI ports facing downwards. This area is also where you'll find the cable input.
There are only two output ports: one analog audio and one digital audio. Although this doesn't seem like a lot, it's the standard set of output ports on HDTVs.
The LT-32J300 doesn't support any other type of conectivity, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
There is a single USB port on the left side of the TV. You can connect a storage device here to view photos on it. Photo viewing functionality is the only feature supported.
Just looking at these ports, you could probably guess the placement wasn't great. The ports are indented just enough to make reaching them a pain. Additionally, downward facing ports are simply abysmal for figuring out the orientation and location of the port. Exacerbating the poor placement is the TV's non-swiveling base. Granted, a 32-inch screen isn't particularly back-breaking to lift and turn, but we're sure it'll still induce a lot of exhausted sighs.
Ease of Use*(6.0)*
If you're familiar with other JVC TVs, you're familiar with the LT-32J300. The menu has a tabbed iterface, with the tabs lining the top and expanding downwards. As always, the tabs aren't overly cluttered with extraneous items and are laid out intelligently. The menues are translucent, which might be annoying to some, but this can be turned off in the settings menu.
One aspect we think could improve is the overall aesthetic quality. The menu system remains very usable, however, which is better than many menus we've seen.
The JVC LT-32J300's picture controls are all available in the Picture tab in the menu. In this menu you can change things like video mode ('Video Status' in the menu, for some reason), tint/color/contrast/etc., or enable one of TV's video effects. There aren't a lot of advanced controls here, like RGB toggles, but the LT-32J300 covers the basics.
You'll find the audio controls under the Sound tab in the TV's menu. While there aren't many controls here, you can choose from a few different surround sound options and fiddle around with equalizer settings.
The other tabs in the menu are Display, TV, Power, and Setting. The Display tab is self-explanatory, but it also lets users label various inputs and access the photo viewer. The TV menu is where you'll find closed-captioning options and V-Chip settings. The Power tab lets you shuf off the glowing blue power button on the face of the TV, which is a nice option. The Setting (singular, not plural) tab will let you do all the other ancillary stuff, like changing time zone, adjusting the menu transperency, setting auto shut off, and more.
The LT-32J300's manual is a typical thin-paper manual executed in black and white. The manual has a table of contents, tabs on thepage edges, and small diagrams. The diagrams and text could've been a bit bigger, and we really dislike manuals that don't have an index. Overall, we'd say the LT-32J300's manual is about average.
As a 1080p TV, the LT-32J300 is capable of the current top-of-the-line HD picture quality. This also means it can handle every other format on the way down: 1080i, 720p, and 480p. The TV also has support for 3:2 pulldown and 24fps, but you'll have to switch on Natural Cinema mode. If you don't enable this mode, your film-quality picture will suffer from significant artifacting.
The USB port in the LT-32J300's side will allow users to view photos. The photo viewer uses a simple folder system, and displays thumbnails of images. Selecting the image will display it across the entire screen, where you can perform basic controls like zooming and rotating. If you get confused, the bottom of the TV has a crib sheet on what the controls are.
The photo viewer does support a slideshow, but you can only control the interval at which the photos are shown.
Music & Video Playback*(0.0)*
The LT-32J300 does not support music or video playback.
The TV doesn't support streaming playback.
There is no built-in DVR, DVD player, or any other additional media source.
For our power consumption test, we plug the TV into a wattage meter and record the power draw at various time intervals. We check consumption when the backlight is at its minimum, maximum, and when the screen is displaying 200 candelas per square meter, or cd/m2. Our cost per year measurement assumes on the TV is on five hours a day, which is the national (US) average.
With no backlight on, the TV will only cost you $11.20/year; at 200 /m2, the TV will run you $17.84/year; at full backlight, the TV's yearly rate goes up to $27.66/year. This isn't expensive, probably due to the TV's smallish screen.
One thing to note: the TV will also draw power even when it's turned off. This will add about $0.37 to your total yearly cost.
The J300 series is JVCs series P300 has ipod docks they have full 1080 which is an upgrade over last years model comes in 32, 42, 46 inch sizes.
Meet the tester
Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email