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JVC's new BlackSapphire TV boasts pumped-up sound

Consumer Reports News: October 18, 2012 12:38 PM

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To add better out-of-the-box TV sound to the home-theater experience, JVC's new 55-inch LCD TV, in a new BlackSapphire line of passive 3D TVs, includes a new Xinema Sound feature that boasts two 15-watt speakers, a separately powered (15-watt) subwoofer, and the company's XinemaSound processing technology.

The ultra-thin TV—a 55-inch model (JLE55SP4000) with an edge LED backlight, 120Hz anti-blur technology, built-in Wi-Fi, and access to online content, including streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu—has another interesting feature: the ability to completely shut off the set's backlight so the screen goes dark when you're listening to music from Pandora or a connected portable device, such as an iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Android phone. The JLE55SP4000 also comes with four sets of passive, polarized 3D glasses and a dual-sided remote control with a QWERTY keypad.

Among the TV's preloaded apps is SlingPlayer, which lets you stream content to the TV via the Internet from an entertainment system in another room or even from another location when it's connected to a Slingbox.

Available this month, the set will carry a $1,300 suggested price. It's the first model in the BlackSapphire LCD TV line. A little over a year ago, JVC signed a licensing deal with Taiwanese manufacturer Amtran Video to produce JVC-branded TVs. Several of those BlackCrystal models did well in our TV Ratings last year, with better-than-average sound. But some recent models with very good picture quality have had only average sound.

TV sound has often been disappointing, especially with ultra-thin sets that have less room for speakers. We'll be looking forward to testing the new BlackSapphire TV's sound system when we're able to get one in our labs.

James K. Willcox

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