The 37DG8’s key screen specifications are unremarkable. The native resolution comes in at a standard HD Ready 1,366 x 768, while the contrast ratio is a pretty disappointing 1,000:1. Not helping on the contrast front is the fact that the 37DG8 doesn’t have any dynamic contrast system, whereby the backlight can reduce its output automatically during dark scenes to deliver deeper black levels. Quite unusual for a big-screen from an established brand.
We guess there’s a potential upside to this, namely that we don’t have to worry about sudden brightness ‘jumps’ as can happen with some unsophisticated dynamic contrast systems. But without such a system you have to wonder if the set can really deliver the sort of black levels needed to do a good movie proud.
Shifting our attention to the 37DG8’s image processing, the DynaPix incarnation used on the 37DG8 is not JVC’s ‘top of the line’ version. That system is called DynaPix HD and is only found on sets further up the JVC range. What we have here is DynaPix Plus, which sports less processing power and lacks some contrast-improving elements compared with the HD version. Hmm. Let’s hope the reduction in processing power doesn’t mean that this ‘light’ version of DynaPix actually does more harm than good.
Other more minor bits and bobs include the ubiquitous built-in digital tuner, a digital audio output for passing on multichannel audio tracks received via the HDMIs, and a colour management tool.
In action the 37DG8BJ turns out to be no classic, but is a heck of a lot better than we’d expected given how remarkably affordable it is for a 37in LCD TV. Getting the ball rolling in fine style is the sharpness of HD pictures. The exceptional texturing that makes Gears of War on the Xbox 360 still look a cut above the competition graphically is all immaculately rendered with pin-sharp precision. And sharp HD movie transfers such as Pirates of the Caribbean on Blu-ray look as crisp and textured here as on many 37in LCD TVs costing considerably more.