JVC EM55FTR Review
55” 1080p LED TV, Roku Included Smart TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The new licensees of the JVC brand (AmTran, Taiwan) have produced a compelling price sensitive model in the Emerald series LED TVs. This aggressively priced TV features some nice basics that will appeal to those needing a TV for "that other bedroom,"" or "guest house."
- Price Roku 3400 Streaming Stick Included Produces good brightness levels for lighter room conditions
- Semi-clear reflective panel shows glare from lamps and background lights Side Angle Viewing contrast loss Fast motion blur in some cases - 60Hz panel Backlight uniformity (some light bleed around edges in dark scenes and some shading with a static white background)
- Sound Quality
Picture Quality Rating: 81/100
Out of the box try the Warm preset picture mode setting as your closest to accurate color temperature. There is no color management system to fine tune the picture calibration so go to Warm and then tweak the color, backlight and brightness settings until you have a suitable picture depending on your in-room light.
Direct Lit Backlighting
First, dont get too excited. This is not the super high end local dimming backlighting of the XBR Sony. This is simple non-dimming LED backlighting and it works pretty well. With a white or light static image you may see some shading or splotchiness in areas of the screen. It's frankly to be expected. Backlight uniformity is difficult in all LED TVs. Although the direct backlight helps, somewhat side angle contrast does start to degrade around 20 degrees off center.
Adaptive Backlight Feature
This feature is designed to manipulate the direct backlight inbuilt in the JVC Emerald series LED TVs. Although, it does work to some extent, we recommend turning it off due to unwelcome changes in picture contrast when viewing. I would rather have a bit less contrast than see the TV visibly working. Contrast and black level performance in this TV is adequately saturated without it.
Features Rating: 78/100
Smart TV – Best Feature
Rather than hassle with Smart TV Apps inbuilt, JVC has opted to use a convenient Roku streaming stick which gives the user access to all that great Roku programming. It's a nifty move. The included stick is about the size of a USB drive and plugs into the MHL (mobile-high-definition enabled) HDMI port. Then wirelessly stream your heart away with programming from Netflix, Amazon on Demand, Hulu Plus and all the others. The included remote control works well with Roku's operating system.
While this is not a high end TV, it does contain two 15W speakers that produce decent if not a bit hollowed out sound. The slightly deeper cabinet of course provides a bit more room for these inbuilt speakers.
Value Rating: 91/100
At $649 the EM55FTR is a formidable price model contender. It's available mostly at discount warehouses like Costco and Sams Club and at Amazon. Competition is mainly from Vizio with the E550i-B2.
Overall Rating 82/100
- Direct-Lit LED backlight
- HDMI inputs – 3
- 60Hz panel (CM120Hz manipulated with backlight)
- 48.80” x 28.59” x 2.72” / 38.6 lbs without stand
- 48.80” x 30.24” x 11.02” / 43.9 lbs with stand