Review Price free/subscription
If you're paying attention you may have spotted on the previous page that I quoted the 42DA8's native resolution as 1,366 x 768. Which means, of course, that it's merely an HD Ready TV rather than a Full HD one like the vast majority of 42in TVs these days.
With a fairly uninspiring native contrast ratio of 1000:1 also failing to set the world alight, really the only positives we can take from our first impressions of the 42DA8 are a black level correction system, noise reduction routines, the implementation of two Oblique Cone Speakers to try and up the set's sound quality, and last but not least, the DynaPix video processing we mentioned in passing earlier.
We've already mentioned how this turns interlaced signals progressive, but it also incorporates JVC's Digital Image Scaling Technology (DIST) for adding more fine detail to standard definition pictures, plus other techniques aimed at improving the usual suspects of colour tone and motion reproduction.
At this point it's worth pausing for a moment to ponder whether the 42DA8's £799 price makes much of a difference to the rather negative feelings I'm getting about it so far. But you know, while £799 certainly isn't a lot to pay for a 42in TV, it's impossible to ignore the fact that Panasonic's superb, nicely specified (though not Full HD) 42PX80 42in plasma TV can be had for as much as £200 less if you know where to look online. Also Samsung's Full HD, four-HDMI, high-performance, specified-to-the-hilt LE40A656 can also now be found for south of £800.
All we can do, then, is hope that the 42DA8's AV performance can save the day. Sadly, it can't.
Two core problems upset the apple cart. First and worst, its black levels just aren't good enough by today's standards. As Bruce Willis follows the psycho to his next victims' home in the Blu-ray of Unbreakable, the amount of greyness in the night-time backdrop makes it look as if a sea mist has rolled in over Philadelphia. The effect of this greyness is to leave dark scenes looking flat, unnaturally coloured, and generally rather straining to watch.
The sort of greying over of dark areas I'm describing is, of course, an all-too-familiar LCD problem. But it's been a while since I saw a large LCD screen as badly afflicted by it as this JVC.