Joining the sharpness in giving the pictures an almost visceral instant impact are the 26DX7BJ’s colours. We’re getting used to seeing LCD TVs pump colours out with loads of aggression and brightness, but the intensity and drama of the 26DX7BJ’s colour output makes most rivals look like they’re using economy bulbs.
Couple this extreme vibrancy with dark parts of the image that actually look dark, and you’ve got a picture that grabs and holds your attention in a vice-like grip.
One final strength is the general lack of noise in the 26DX7BJ’s picture. Edges look crisp but free of false contours or jagged curves; the impeccable fine details look clean and stable; digital broadcasts look smooth rather than beset by MPEG decoding ‘blocks’; and HDMI feeds show little if any of the digital noise that can be seen on many aggressively bright LCD sets.
By now you might well be wondering why our final picture mark for this JVC only reads 8. The answer lies in two distinct picture flaws. First, fast horizontal motion on the TV tends to suffer with some quite overt smearing, suggesting either that JVC’s DynaPix system does, after all, still generate some digital noise side effects, or that the screen’s LCD response time isn’t the greatest.
Problem two is that while dark parts of the picture look suitably black on this JVC, they also look rather empty and ‘black hole’-like, lacking the sort of subtle shadow details that would make them feel more like an integral part of the picture.
A far more minor point is that colours can look a touch unnatural with dark, standard definition scenes – but this can be said of practically every other LCD TV too, so we won’t dwell on it. Especially as many LCD rivals actually suffer with it worse.
The 26DX7BJ’s speakers immediately and vehemently lay to rest our earlier doubts about whether their ‘hidden’ nature would compromise their sound. They are, in fact, genuine contenders for the title of ‘best speakers we’ve ever heard on a 26in LCD’, pumping out more sheer volume, soundstage width and dynamic range than many TVs twice the size.
Although it’s not perfect, we’ve got a lot of time for the 26DX7BJ. Even with its couple of flaws it’s still got enough cutting edge strings to its bow to make it a perfectly respectable main TV and a cracking second-room set – especially with an Xbox 360 in tow.
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