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I was also rather taken with the 32DE9BJ’s colours. As with many previous JVC TVs we’ve seen, they’re very aggressively saturated, helping the picture achieve a richness and solidity that’s rare in the 32in marketplace. As a result, sun-drenched, tropical sequences in Casino Royale such as the scene where Bond emerges from a swim to ogle a lady with a white horse have simply never looked better on a 32in TV. Honestly, the 32DE9BJ really can be that good.
What’s more, although very rich, colours are also determinedly natural in tone for 99.9% of the time, as can be seen in the impressive way the TV deals with all the tricky skin tones on display during Casino Royale’s card game sequences.
And as for that aggravating problem I mentioned previously, it's a familiar one with JVC TVs: a disappointing black level response. For no matter how much I tinkered with the 32DE9BJ’s menus, I just couldn’t manage to get a black level response that really looked convincing.
With the TV’s backlight set to its default High level, for instance, dark scenes look really very greyed over indeed, with even a few extra-bright ‘hotspots’ near the image’s edges. Yet although it’s possible to considerably reduce the impact of this greyness by dimming the backlight to its medium or low levels, doing so results in dark scenes that look devoid of detail, and so more like flat black holes ripped from the picture rather than a natural part of the film as a whole. It should be added here, too, that the set’s rather limited viewing angle doesn’t help matters, as quite severe extra greyness creeps in as soon as you get past 35 to 40 degrees off axis.
One further, albeit more minor concern is the 32DE9BJ’s motion handling. During HD and standard def viewing alike there’s definitely a little blurring when objects pass quickly across the screen, and this is joined when watching HD sources (in 1080i, not 1080p don’t forget!) with the slight judder associated with LCD screens that don’t use potent 100Hz or other motion compensation processing.
Turning now to the 32DE9BJ’s recording capabilities, there’s actually not much that needs to be said. We’ve covered the main features available, other than mentioning that the TV can also ‘chase playback’ (AKA pause live TV). And in terms of recording quality, the 32DE9BJ’s HDD actually records the direct digital bitstream, meaning that, so far as we can tell, the quality of its recordings is absolutely identical to that of the original broadcast. And you can’t really ask for more than that.
The 32DE9BJ’s audio rates as a success too. The slimline oblique cone speakers the set employs prove remarkably powerful, producing a combination of high volumes, rich dynamics and harshness-free treble detailing that serves Casino Royale’s action scenes very well. A bit more bass would have been nice, I guess, but overall, I’m impressed.
With its superb colours, great sound and impressively implemented Freeview+/Freeview Playback functionality, the 32DE9BJ is a good TV that occasionally manages to be truly spectacular. It’s just a damn shame some average black levels and a missing PC port stand between it and a TrustedReviews recommendation. Grrr.