This Roku-powered Full HD HDR TV from JVC falls short of similarly priced but better-specified competition
- Decent picture performance
- Comprehensive Roku platform
- Good choice of smaller screen sizes
- Only Full HD resolution
- HDMI inputs are only 1.4
- No calibration controls
The JVC Roku TV (LT-43CR330) is, as the marketing boldly proclaims, built around the Roku operating system, and is available in a range of screen sizes aimed at smaller spaces such as kitchens, studies and bedrooms.
While the range is aggressively priced, its use of a Full HD panel and HDMI 1.4 inputs which places it at a disadvantage to competing brands – raising the question of whether it’s the value proposition it seems at first glance. Let’s find out…
JVC Roku TV review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:
|Full HD (1,920 x 1,080)
|HDMI 1.4 x 3
|Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten TV, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All 4, My5
|Roku TV OS
|Freeview Play compatibility:
|Works with Alexa and Google Assistant
JVC Roku TV review: What you need to know
The JVC Roku TV is a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) HDR smart LED LCD TV that comes in 24in, 32in, 40in and 43in screen sizes. It uses a 60Hz VA panel with a direct LED backlight and supports HDR10 and HLG via its built-in apps, but not external devices due to the use of HDMI 1.4 inputs.
It runs the Roku TV operating system, which provides access to an excellent choice of streaming apps, including all of the UK TV catch-up services via Freeview Play.
Both the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant virtual assistants are supported (but not built-in) and there’s a dedicated game mode for low-latency gaming.
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JVC Roku TV review: Price and competition
At the time of writing you can buy the 43in JVC LT-43CR330 reviewed here for £199, and while that may sound like a very attractive price, it becomes less tempting when compared to some of the competition – especially TCL.
The 43in TCL RC630K is a bit more expensive at £289, but for the extra money, you not only get a 4K TV with a Roku operating system and direct LED backlight but also quantum dot filters and support for every HDR format, including Dolby Vision. There are three HDMI 2.0b inputs, along with decoding for Dolby Atmos audio and a dedicated game mode with very low latency.
In terms of other 4K alternatives, there’s the equally well-specified Hisense A6K, which costs £229 for the 43in version, the 43in LG UQ75 at £289 that includes a lot of the same features but drops HDR10+, and the Samsung CU7100, which also costs £289 but doesn’t support Dolby Vision.
JVC Roku TV review: Design, connections and control
The JVC Roku TV keeps things simple with a minimalist black design, plastic construction, thin bezel, fairly chunky chassis and dimensions of 835 x 84 x 558mm (WDH) without the feet. The feet are attached towards the edges of the TV to accommodate a soundbar between them, but there’s roughly only 65mm of clearance beneath the screen. If you’d rather wall mount, the JVC is compatible with a 300 x 300 VESA bracket.
The connections primarily face downwards, though the aerial socket, USB port and CI (common interface) slot point sideways. There are three HDMI 1.4 inputs, a composite video input, a stereo analogue audio output, an optical digital audio output, an Ethernet port and a headphone jack. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity. The HDMI inputs are unable to accept HDR from an external source, so you need to use the built-in apps if you want to enjoy HDR content.
The provided remote is a lightweight black plastic zapper, with an emphasis on icons to identify the various playback and navigation controls. It’s effectively a hybrid of the standard Roku remote and a regular TV controller, with a relatively intuitive layout for the buttons, along with direct access keys for Netflix, Disney+ and, unusually, Apple TV+. Surprisingly, there isn’t a dedicated button for Prime Video, but you get direct access to Freeview Play and Spotify Connect instead.
JVC Roku TV review: Smart TV platform
The JVC RC330 uses the Roku TV operating system, which is essentially an extension of the smart platform developed for its own devices but optimised for use in a TV. Setup is a doddle, with simple instructions for connecting to the Wi-Fi and tuning the channels, while the home page will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a Roku streaming stick, with additions for the TV.
On the left, there’s a choice of Freeview Play, streaming channels and the settings menu, along with a search function and the ability to save custom lists. Over on the right, you can access any connected devices and Live TV, along with all the apps you have installed. There’s sufficient processing power to ensure the Roku platform is responsive, but it’s also intuitive to use and easy to navigate.
The choice of apps is comprehensive and includes Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and YouTube, along with all the UK TV catch-up services. The apps are quick to load, simple to navigate and support HDR10 and HLG where appropriate. The JVC Roku TV doesn’t have a built-in voice assistant but does work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to offer a degree of voice control, while Roku’s smart app can be used to control the TV using an iOS or Android smartphone.
The TV tuner includes access to an EPG (electronic programme guide), and thanks to the inclusion of Freeview Play, there’s not only access to the catch-up apps but they’re also integrated into the EPG, allowing you to go backwards in the timeline and watch programmes you’ve missed.
JVC Roku TV review: Image quality
The JVC Roku TV uses a VA LCD panel, and in terms of the contrast ratio the specifications are surprisingly understated, claiming 4,000:1 when it measured an excellent 6,000:1. The use of a direct LED backlight also helps here, and while there’s no form of local dimming, the screen uniformity is fairly good, with no obvious patchiness, clouding or dirty screen effect.
The TV ships in the Low Power mode, and as is par for the course these days, the resulting picture is highly inaccurate when compared to the industry standards, with an excess of blue in the greyscale and an exaggerated gamma combining to produce an average DeltaE (error) of 15. The colours are over-saturated, but at least the errors are slightly better at around 13.
Switching to the Film mode improves matters significantly, reducing the average DeltaE in the greyscale to 5.8, and delivering colours that cover 100% of the BT.709 gamut to an accuracy of four. Unfortunately, the gamma remains wildly inaccurate and is responsible for most of the errors in the greyscale measurements. Sadly there are no calibration controls to address this.
Motion handling is good for a 60Hz LCD panel, and while there is some blurring on fast motion like sport, 24p content is displayed without introducing judder, allowing films to retain a film-like quality. The video processing does a decent job of upscaling lower-resolution content to match the Full HD panel, and the processing can help minimise any nasty compression artefacts.
JVC Roku TV review: HDR performance
The JVC Roku TV isn’t a good choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the full benefits of HDR. As already mentioned, the panel is only Full HD, but it’s not that bright either. Even in the less accurate HDR Bright mode, it can only hit 379cd/m2, and this drops to 307cd/m2 if you switch to the more accurate HDR dark mode with the highest brightness setting selected.
These luminance limitations are combined with a colour gamut that’s not much larger than the BT.709 standard used for SDR and is only able to hit 80% of the DCI-P3 colour space used for HDR. On the plus side, at least the greyscale is accurate, and the tone mapping tracks the PQ EOTF target for HDR fairly well, while the colours track their saturation targets reasonably closely.
The JVC supports HDR10 and HLG, but not HDR10+ or Dolby Vision and the HDMI 1.4 inputs can’t handle external HDR sources. However, watching Blue Eye Samurai on Netflix at least reveals a decent HDR picture, with some nicely rendered highlights, good blacks and pleasing colours. The JVC may be limited, but it does manage to get the basics right.
To test the JVC Roku TV we used Portrait Displays Calman colour calibration software.
JVC Roku TV review: Gaming
The JVC Roku TV has a couple of strengths making it a capable TV for simple gaming. First of all, the input lag in Game mode is an extremely low 7ms, which is comparable with the best gaming TVs. Secondly, there’s no danger of image retention or screen burn-in with the LCD panel.
The HDMI 1.4 inputs restrict this TV to Full HD and SDR gaming, but within these limitations, the performance is good, with the low input lag resulting in a responsive and enjoyable experience. The Full HD images appear clean and detailed, while the 60Hz motion is pleasingly smooth.
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JVC Roku TV review: Sound quality
The JVC Roku TV sports a fairly basic sound system that uses a pair of downward-firing speakers, each with 8W of built-in amplification. The sound quality is adequate for a budget TV, with little in the way of bass extension, and a slightly strained sound at higher volumes. This is a TV that would benefit from the addition of one of the best budget soundbars.
JVC Roku TV review: Verdict
The JVC Roku TV is a perfectly capable display, and, if you’re looking for something in the 24in to 32in range, it delivers a solid picture, adequate sound and a comprehensive smart platform.
However, due to the inherent limitations of the panel resolution and HDMI inputs, anyone thinking of a 40in or 43in model will be better off looking elsewhere. For the price of a round of drinks in the pub, you can get a TV from the likes of TCL or Hisense that offers a higher resolution 4K panel, HDMI 2.0 inputs, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and even Dolby Atmos audio.