JVC HD-56ZR7J - A good buy compared to plasma?

jetjohnson

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Aug 11, 2007
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Hi ...I'm seriously considering purchasing a JVC HD-56ZR7J which is basically a new (ish) Hi Tech HD ILA Rear Projection 56" TV

The reviews I've read seem to be very positive but I do have a couple of questions ....why does it seem that only JVC is using this technology (compared to the zillions of plasmas and LCD's out there?) and what would be the typical life span of this model's bulb - (which is user replaceable) replacement bulbs apparently cost around £150

The user manual recommends not leaving the set on for more than 24 hours at a time to "lengthen bulb life" but that very statement gives me the feeling that it is not expected to not last that long ??

I had been looking at the usual quality plasma brands ..Pioneer ...Panasonic etc. to replace my aging Sony 44" rear projection set and hadn't thought of buying another RP set because of the usual pitfalls ....narrow viewing angles ...dim pictures (compared to plasmas / LCD's) deepness of the cabinets etc. but this JVC seems to have dealt with all those problems although it doesn't have an integrated digital tuner (I'm going Sky HD anyway)

AND ......it's currently on offer for £1079 inc free delivery from Sound and Vision online ...£1079 for a 56" HD set!! .....so ...is there a catch or is the JVC simply a real bargain?
 

Clare Newsome

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I'd be a bit cautious, to be honest. While we've loved JVC's big D-ILA projector (the £4500 JVC DLA-HD1), i've never been 100 percent convinced by rear-projection TVs - certainly not since you can buy amazing-value plasmas like this Panasonic - this 50in plasma should give you a much better picture for only a little more money. And no replacement-bulb costs.

For more on RPTVs, see Andrew's answer to this post.
 
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Anonymous

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If you can accomodate the space of a rear-projection TV set then the main advantage of a flat screen plasma or LCD is not an issue for you (i.e. the fact you can hang it on the wall and save some floorspace).

Each technology has it's plus and minus points, you yourself need to decide in which way you want to compromise. So for RPTV and LCD off-axis viewing is an issue (the picture looks washed out viewed off-angle), where plasma looks the same to as much as a 160 degree viewing cone (this is my actual experience, not the manufacturer spec which simply suggests you can see *Something* not whether it is actually watchable!).

This particular set (JVC HD-ILA) and the Panasonic plasma mentioned both have a much higher ansi contrast than an equivalent LCD. In this case delivering truer blacks, and more importantly gradation (detail within blacks), as well as a more accurate color gamut which combine to give that 3-dimensional feeling to an image.

The Panasonic plasma has quite a reflective front glass, where the RPTV and LCD both reflect much less light from their surface. Although the LCD will lead over both others when viewing on a very bright day (conversely the other two will be far more satisfying in the evening time).

So to summise just on what I have said here:

LCD: flat screen, brighter, not too reflective, off-axis issues, poor contrast
Plasma: flat screen, high contrast, reflective glass, wide viewing angle
RPTV: large unit, high contrast, not too reflective glass, off-axis viewing issues (oh and the bigger for the money!)

From my experience, the plasma is usually the better option. Unless the RPTV can be comfortably accomodated. Also you are looking at 56" compared to 50", which is much bigger than it sounds (42" to 50" is about the same jump in terms of overall surface area increase as 50" to 56"!!). Given the size of the beast, the off-axis viewing area is going to be much further out so this isn't as big an issue as it might initially sound. Usefully you already have experience of this with your Sony, and you will find the JVC does have a better angle. than the Sony.

HTH
 

jetjohnson

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Thanks for the very quick replies folks .....actually after googling like mad last night I think your cautionary stance is spot on! ....there DOES seem to be a particular problem with JVC's HD 56ZR7J bulb's life (if anyone from JVC has an alternative view I'd like to hear from them) and it's not just the longevity (or lack of) that's been mentioned over the pond ....many purchasers have mentioned needing 2 or more replacement bulbs within the first few months!

Apparently more recently produced bulbs are more reliable than early batches (judging by testimonials I've read on american sites) but the overall view is this model's bulb span is approx 2000/3000 hours max - and that's with very careful use i.e. not switching the TV on and off too often and not viewing more than an average 5 hours a day (try telling my kids that!)

American JVC purchasers have been so angry re these bulb problems that legal "class actions" have been seriously discussed by some users!

I realise it's impossible for reviewers to be able to gauge bulb life at the time of a review but there does seem pretty convincing evidence that there is a significant problem with the 56ZR7 ..mebbe's it needs to be flagged up in the reccomendations section of our favourite mag?

..A shame really as it's a pretty good looking piece of kit otherwise! .

Meanwhile plasma-wise Panasonic or Pioneer? ...I can feel a whole new thread coming on..........!.
 
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Anonymous

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Just to let you know, I bought one of these 2 weeks ago... and have to say, it's incredible, but does need to be setup properly. I've at the moment, got a Samsung 1080P upscaler DVD player going to it while I wait for my ordered Toshiba HD-DVD EP30... so can't wait.

Have to say, I've seen my mates hitachi and a friends Panasonic, and this is easily more impressive. Have to say, it's awesome and worth every penny!

Pug
 

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