The LT-42DA8BJ's Freeview picture quality was generally good. We did find that on moving objects there was sometimes evidence of jagged lines. When fed an upscaled DVD, however, these lines went away. This is disappointing, especially when other LCD screens seem to be making significant improvements in their Freeview performance.
On our Samsung DVD player, which can upscale to 1080i, we were very happy with the picture quality. While it wasn't up to proper high-definition quality, it was certainly impressive.
HD DVD looked good. There was a decent amount of detail in the image, but we did feel that with the backlight turned down there wasn't enough detail in darker areas. There was minimal motion judder, although the early scenes in Serenity do show up a little jerkiness. Nothing to worry about really, though.
Generally, while there wasn't much wrong with the picture quality, the TV is let down by an over-zealous backlight and a very shallow viewing angle. This meant that in a darkened room, watching a picture with dark areas, we were able to see the backlight shining away. It didn't seem possible to reduce the brightness to an acceptable level either, which meant even on the lowest settings the picture looked a little washed-out.
Sound was pretty good. It seems every time we review a large-screen TV we complain the sound isn't similarly 'big' and the LT-42 is no exception here. Watching Freeview was fine though, and speech was nice and clear. We found while watching HD DVD that the sound was a little more muffled, which is quite possibly due to the downmixing process. For the best sound on movies, you'll need to spend money on a surround-sound system.
We're pleased to see 42-inch TVs on the market for such a sensible price. If you want a big screen, but don't have the inclination (or wallet) to spend a lot of money, the JVC LT-42DA8BJ may very well suit you.
There are some good televisions about for a similar price. The Toshiba Regza 42C3030 is around this price (read our review of its 37-inch sibling, the 37C3030D) and you can get one of Samsung's 42-inch plasmas for a similar amount.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide