In these times when you can pick up a 42in Panasonic plasma TV for barely £600, there's no getting round the fact that at £1,999, JVC's 42in LT-42WX70 looks scarily expensive. Especially coming from a brand usually found strutting its stuff at the relatively cheap end of the TV market. But the 42WX70 has quite an interesting tale to tell by way of justifying its price. Or rather, it has a series of interesting tales.
For starters, it looks very distinctive indeed. The bezel round the screen is exceptionally thin; barely an inch across, in fact. And the slenderness also applies to the TV's rear end, which sticks out way less than that of your average LCD TV. The set's finish also warrants a special mention, for its textured, almost leathery feel is a very pleasant change from all the shiny plastic we usually find today's TVs clad in.
Also very distinctive is the desktop stand you can fasten the TV to, as the TV actually attaches via brackets to a single, central 'pole' rather than just sliding onto a base neck as usual. Even more strangely, the fastening brackets actually hold the TV quite a way forward from the main pole attachment - a design decision that initially seems a bit daft considering how counter it runs to the slenderness of the TV's main chassis.
There is, however, method to this apparent madness. For the stand design makes it possible for JVC to slot something in between the screen and the attractive black and silver base. Quite what that something is, however, is to some extent up to you. For the most intriguing thing about the 42WX70 - which doesn't have a tuner built in - is JVC's plan to offer a series of modular external tuner/multimedia device boxes designed to fit into the gap beneath the screen, all offering different functionality combinations.
The first of these external boxes is the remarkably slender TU-CX100, offering HD digital terrestrial and analogue TV tuners. But JVC tells us it's intending to launch later in the year an option containing a hard disk recorder and digital tuner, as well as an option containing a DVD player and a tuner. Blu-ray and Freesat options are also allegedly on JVC's 'to do' list.
Giving you such choices over the exact specification of your 42WX70 seems like an eminently likeable idea to me - so long as JVC actually follows through on its promise to develop plenty of options, of course.