I remember when buying a new television meant your old TV was "on the fritz". People didn't spend hundreds of dollars on another set unless the old one was beyond repair. This meant televisions were used for 10 to 15 years or sometimes longer before upgrading to the newest technology. Today, the emergence of widescreen DVDs and HDTV has many people replacing TVs that are only two or three years old.
The sudden impetus to keep up with technology has spurred on new innovative electronics and encouraged competition in the consumer electronics market.
Arguably, the most sought-after new televisions available are LCD and plasma screens. They are often generically called "flat screen" TVs, but that description could also apply to a tube or rear projection TV with a flat screen. In all honesty, I don't think it would be wise to mount a CRT or RPTV to a wall, as you can a LCD. Although prices of plasma and LCD flat panel televisions are still relatively high when compared to direct view tube and rear projection TVs, the prices have come down enough to generate a greater demand. Many manufacturers have recently decreased the production of traditional picture tube manufacturing and focused mainly on flat panel production.
Although plasma screen TVs came out first, LCD TVs have been in use with computers for a long time, and since LCD has hit the HDTV market, they have developed a following. The maximum size for LCD HDTVs is not as big as for plasmas, but they are slowly catching up.
A new JVC LT-26X575 LCD HDTV had been "thoroughly tested" in the Avodah offices when I was recently asked to review it. The 26-inch television that was used for media presentations was now mine to scrutinize. The lightweight, space-saving LCD is middle ground between high priced large flat panel models and less expensive small screens.
Saving space, wall mounting and sheer pizzazz are great reasons to shop for a flat panel television. But there are so many more reasons to invest in a LCD. Many CRT TVs still use a curved tube that distorts the picture, and they are prone to magnetic interference from speakers. Flat panels have accurate image geometry for a more realistic picture and no magnetic interference issues. Tube TVs are well known for their high-pitch noise and eyestrain related to screen flickering or radiant emissions. LCD screens have a quiet operation and have sharp flicker-free detail that is easy on the eyes.
Recommended for dark rooms for years, LCD colors often become washed out in bright light. However, improvements have been made and LCD TVs are even popping up in places like airports. For JVC LCD screens, color management technology improves the displayed color to match the original color. The JVC 4 Point Color Management system works by using a pinpoint sampling of four colors (green, yellow, red and blue) and then compensating for the chroma range limitations. The outcome is a brilliant picture that isn't as susceptible to bright ambient light.
Light emissions for LCD pixels are on all the time, allowing some light to pass through even when the picture is black. Therefore, true black levels are a major obstacle for LCDs. The JVC LT-26X575 LCD has an 800:1 contrast ratio for contrast better than most LCDs and black levels rivaling some plasma screens. Placed beside a plasma, the color saturations and black levels of the LT-26X575 are not that different.
The LT-26X575 has highly developed connectivity options on the rear panel including High-Definition Multimedia Interface. HDMI is an uncompressed high bandwidth audio/video digital interface. A compatible HDMI device such as a DVD player or set-top box connected to the LT-26X575 can display digital signals without compressing the video for an unaltered digital transmission of video content as well as two channels of audio with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The JVC LT-26X575 has a stylish silver cabinet with a modem appeal. The screen is bordered with a broad black band that softens the edge of the display and gives the illusion of a larger screen. Across the bottom of the set are stereo speakers trimmed in silver. The television comes with a pedestal tabletop stand attached that can be adjusted up and down, left and right or removed altogether for wall mounting. Absent from the front of the LT-26X575 are any kind of controls. These are placed on the right side of the cabinet. The uncluttered look of the JVC is elegant, but using the controls without being able to see them can be like playing pin the tail on the donkey.
I've installed a number of flat panel monitors and I am usually amazed at how awkward it can be to connect video and audio cables. Most manufacturers place input and output connections on the back panel facing down to accommodate wall mounting. JVC places connections in the center of the set facing outward behind two panels. The connections are easy to see and clearly marked to make tabletop and wall mounting much easier. Bravo, JVC.
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When I first set up the LT-26X575, I noticed the color was very
saturated. Especially troublesome was the red that bled into
everything. Since the set was previously used at the Avodah offices,
the overpowering color could have been a result of someone tampering
with the display settings before I received the set, rather than the
usual bright settings that come from the factory. In any case, part of
my setup included adjusting the tint, brightness, color, picture, and
detail settings with the on-screen menu system. The graphical display
is easy to navigate and allowed me to make key adjustments to the
picture while I watched. The menu system also controls many of the
convenience features the LT-26X575 offers.
Using various content including HD DirecTV satellite broadcasts, DVDs
and standard definition cable, I was able to see the full picture of
the JVC (pun intended). Standard definition looked good with lively
colors and had good resolution. However, HD content is where the
LT-26X575 shined. Fast action, difficult for many LCDs to properly
display, looked crisp on the JVC. I couldn't detect any ghosting or
jagged pixelization at any time, even when I swiped my son's
PlayStation 2 to play NASCAR 2005. Black level and gray scales, also
difficult for LCDs, didn't present much of a problem for the LT-26X575
either. Dark scenes contained plenty of detail and looked natural.
My chief complaints are the saturated red levels, side-mounted
television controls and hard to use remote. The illuminated universal
remote control included with the set may sound good, but it is one of
the most awful remotes I've ever used. First, the placement of the
buttons doesn't make much sense. Multi-screen (POP) buttons are near
the top and useful controls such as channel and volume buttons are
two-thirds of the way down the controller. I didn't even realize it was
illuminated, because the "light" button is hidden below the numbers.
Illumination is a joke anyway, because only four buttons dimly light up
the channel and volume buttons.
A flat panel display in your home draws plenty of curiosity seekers.
Those that have flat displays want to compare notes, and all others
want one. I enjoyed the JVC LT-26X575 LCD and was happy to show it off
to friends and neighbors. When seated in front of the display, everyone
had a good view of the screen because of the 170-degree off axis wide
viewing angle that maintains good color and contrast. The high native
resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio are perfect for enjoying HDTV and DVD
content. This HDTV set has plenty of convenience features, a sharp
picture and good connectivity to make it a good centerpiece of any home
JVC LT-26X575 LCD HDTV
1366 x 768 Resolution
16:9 Aspect Ratio
800:1 Contrast Ratio
Natural Cinema (3:2 Pull-down)
HDMI/HDCP Digital Input
(1) Component Video Input, (2) S-Video Inputs,
(3) Composite Inputs
Illuminated Universal Remote Control
27 3/4"W x 19 3/8"T x 41/4"D (without pedestal)
Weight: 41.9 lbs.
One Year Warranty