Even more surprising, given the 37DG8’s lowly price, is how relatively little the picture softens up when there’s a lot of movement to handle. So when the actors’ faces move around in their cockpits during the opening space battle of Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith (recorded in HD from Sky), they are less afflicted by LCD’s common resolution loss over moving objects than we might expect. Especially considering that the 37DG8 – inevitably for its money – doesn’t have any kind of 100Hz processing engine to help keep motion blur to a minimum.
Other good stuff includes some really vibrant colour portrayal, which works a treat for rich, bright sequences like the Bahamas section of Casino Royale on Blu-ray; some surprisingly assured handling of standard definition sources compared to most similarly priced rivals; and sonics that are considerably more powerful than those of the DA8. Admittedly we’ve heard even better sound from one or two previous JVC models, but we guess the real top audio stuff is being saved for JVC’s premium LCD sets (which we’ll hopefully be looking at soon).
Good though it is, the 37DG8 certainly isn’t perfect. Probably the most glaring problem – and one practically all budget models struggle with to some extent – is rather shallow black levels. This renders night-time scenes, such as those that populate Die Hard 4.0 on DVD, with such regularity that they can look slightly flat and grey. Perhaps as a consequence of this, the 37DG8’s colours occasionally look a little unnatural too, especially where skin tones during dark scenes are concerned.
There are certainly better LCD TVs out there than the 37DG8, especially when we’re talking black levels. JVC really ought to have rolled out some sort of dynamic contrast system right across its range by now, rather than just saving it for the expensive models. However, you can’t reach any conclusion about the 37DG8 without taking into account its extremely aggressive price. And actually, when set against similarly affordable rivals, JVC’s efforts suddenly seem pretty impressive.