Much of JVC's recent LCD output has suffered through not being particularly competitive on price. The 37-inch LT-37DG8 puts that right in no uncertain terms with a cost of just £650, which seems, on paper at least, to get you far more quality than you've any right to expect.
Unquestionably our single favourite thing about the 37DG8 is the sheer uncomplicated excellence of much of its high-definition picture quality.
It's possible, for instance, to make out each individual trinket in the pile of loot Captain Barbossa has stored in his cave in the Blu-ray of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film -- not bad for a screen that's only HD Ready (with a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels) rather than 'Full HD'.
What's more, the exceptional sharpness is not accompanied by any common noise types such as grain or ghosted edges and is not reduced to any serious extent by LCD's tendency to lose resolution while showing motion.
Much of the goodness just described owes a debt of gratitude to JVC's DynaPix Plus image-processing system, which is particularly renowned for adding sharpness to pictures. And as we'd hope, this aspect of DynaPix also works nicely on standard-definition pictures, making strongly compressed channels such as Sky News look noticeably crisper and more detailed than usual.
DynaPix Plus also carries a colour-management circuit and this too really knows its onions, producing some of the most solid-looking colours we've ever seen. Other screens can perhaps look more vibrant, but if you're after a picture that makes you feel like you could reach out and touch the world being shown, it's the 37DG8. The 37DG8 also betters many LCD rivals with its sonics, as its unassuming looking speakers turn out a surprisingly large, clean and engaging soundstage that even manages to include some bass.
While setting the 37DG8 up, we couldn't help but notice that it doesn't have a D-Sub interface via which you could connect a PC. Boo.
Also, as we find ourselves reporting with depressing regularity, dark scenes on the 37DG8 are besmirched by the classic grey mist effect that always gives away flat TVs with problems resolving true black. Dark scenes thus look a touch flatter and more muted than they should.
A few months ago we might have been more tolerant of this problem in the 37DG8. But nowadays, with new TVs from Philips and Samsung, in particular, really starting to address LCD's black level failings, putting up with it is getting harder by the day.
The 37DG8 also displays some rather rogue colour tones while watching dark scenes. But perhaps its single biggest problem is the existence of Samsung's LE37R87.
For while the Samsung TV maybe isn't as accomplished with standard definition as the JVC, it delivers similar sharpness and vibrancy with HD, while also managing to produce notably better black levels and connections with a PC.
The 37DG8 is a spirited stab by JVC at joining the ultra-competitive 37-inch LCD mass-market dogfight, with a price of around £650. At its best (ie bright high definition scenes) its pictures are a rival for anything else around. It's just a pity that its 'best' only occurs under rather specific circumstances, not all the time.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire