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JVC TH-P7

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On test

DVD home cinema system Approx price: 220

JVC TH-P7

JVCs latest budget home cinema system may cater for those surround sound novices, but David Smith nds that it leaves a lot to be desired
his budget home cinema system doesnt betray its status with its looks its a very attractive setup, highlighted by the four elegant oorstanding speakers. It does not pack much of a punch on its spec sheet, however, and it eschews some of the latest hot technology, such as HDMI outputs and DVD-Audio playback. But this is a budget model, and as such it has a right to leave some things out.

looks and features

Not only are the satellite speakers attractive, the main unit is easy on the eye as well. A warning note is sounded by the subwoofer, which doesnt live up to the image of such beasts, being decidedly diddy. The centre speaker is also verging on the tiny, yet it is quoted as handling a hefty 100W from the digital amplier section. This seems
Each satellite gets just one 55mm full-range cone, a rather puny complement for such a large speaker. The centre, meanwhile, gets a pair of 65mm units, while the sub (which also gets 100W of power) carries a 160mm cone. We dont hold with this inequality, especially across the front soundstage, where sound effects have to pan smoothly. Connectivity is spartan.You get component video outputs with progressive scan, and an RGB Scart output, and thats it. There are no audio inputs for hooking up other gear, and no outputs for potentially upgrading to more powerful amplication at a later date. As per usual for these budget systems, speaker terminals are weak spring-clip types. Which is always a shame, because they just won;t be able to accomdate sturdier speaker wire if you think the supplied wire
There is also an AM/FM tuner if radio is your thing.

ease of use

Assembling the speakers is easy and doesnt take long, but if you use the bottom sections to boost the height of the satellites you are left with an unsightly trail of speaker cable peeping out from the back. Other such speakers weve seen thread cable down through the centre of the tower and discreetly out at the back of the base. The speaker cable is also very imsy, and we found that our initial attempt at connection, which looked perfectly sound, had failed to properly connect the subwoofer. Elsewhere, the onscreen menu system looks simple, but is a little tricky to navigate until you get the hang of how it works. The remote control is, frankly, a nightmare. Full marks to JVC for trying to avoid one of those gargantuan monsters with buttons hidden all over the place under aps, but this is crowded and too many of the buttons have dual functions that you can only access by holding down a Shift key. Via the onscreen menu you can set up your speaker outputs, boosting or trimming the decibel level of each channel, including (thankfully, as it turns out) the subwoofer.You can also set the crossover point of the sub, choosing between 120Hz, 150Hz or 200Hz, depending on how enthusiastic you want it to be.
Nice looking at rst glance, but hopelessly cramped
Having arrived late, the sub then seemed bent on dominating the party
hopeful, and is all the more confusing considering that the four tall-boy speakers only get 40W each. This is a seriously imbalanced soundstage on paper and is far from the Dolby Digital/DTS ideal of equal power to all speakers. The satellites come in three sections a circular base, a bottom section that does absolutely nothing except hold the top section off the base, and the top section itself, which houses the drive unit. isnt up to the job. But its not all bad surprisingly, on the front panel there is a USB port, which is very handy for connecting external storage devices. Its back to normal though as Playback options are standard, with such features as a zoom, programmed play and repeat playback. Multimedia compatibility is very good, with DiVX (including VOD), WMA, MP3, JPEG and ASF les all catered for.

Looks Layout Labelling

Details

FEATURES

HDMI/DVI output Prog scan output DVD-A/SACD Audio formats No/No Yes No/No Dolby Digital/ DTS/ProLogic II Sats power 4 x 40W Centre power 100W Sub power 100W Dimensions 435(w) x 70(h) x 308(d)mm Weight 3.0kg Other features: Zoom; VFP processing; repeat play; dynamic range compression; AM/FM RDS tuner

performance

The rst thing we noticed during our test sequences was that the subwoofer wasnt working. Having

WHAT IT PLAYS

DVD; DVD-R; DVD-RW; DVD+R; DVD+RW; VCD; SVCD; CD; CD-R; CD-RW; WMA; MP3; JPEG; DiVX; ASF

Speaker terminal

Spring-clip style sockets to plug in t he 5.1 speaker system

Scart socket

The RGB Scart is the only other video output option

AM/FM input

Sockets for the AM/FM antennae for receiving radio broadcasts

SOCKETS

Front: USB port; headphone sockets Rear: Component video output; RGB Scart output; AM/FM antennae connections; spring-clip speaker terminals

CONTACT

5000 www.jvc.co.uk
074 I What Video and High-Denition TV I Issue 309

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Also Consider >>

SAMSUNG HTP-1200 With DVD-Audio and SACD playback, plus an HDMI output, this system offers superior audio results, but it costs a bundle more Reviewed: Issue 308
PIONEER RCS-77H Not the best audio, but it throws in an HDD/DVD recorder combi as well. Reviewed: Issue 304
5.1-channel sound system Progressive scan DiVX VOD playback MP3/WMA/JPEG playback USB port checked the setup procedure we looked at the cabling, which appeared ne. A slight adjustment saw the sub spring into life, so be careful when you hook it up. Having arrived late, the sub then seemed bent on dominating the party. The opening shots of Charlies Angels are a great test for subwoofers a persistent bass riff underscores the opening moments and the sub in this system overrode everything else. Trimming the output slightly had no effect, and we had to cut it down by -6db, as well as limiting the crossover point to 200Hz before things settled down. The centre channel produced a rather tinny sound, free from any warmth (this was easy to hear when the sub was refusing to play). Unfortunately, the other speakers followed the centres lead. The surround soundstage exhibits some effective steering of sound effects, but the whole thing sounds hollow. There is little cooperation between the different elements of the soundstage the sub may be raucous, but it doesnt mesh with the other speakers. This impression is reinforced on CD playback, which is just plain unpleasant at decent volume levels. This is all a shame, because the picture through the RGB Scart output is dynamic and bold. We worked through a few of our favourite test sequences, never quite marvelling at the picture but certainly enjoying it. Sadly, our test sample had a problem with its component video
outputs, but these would probably have added a touch more depth and stability to the image. DiVX playback, a welcome feature, was a mixed bag. Several
les that play back happily on other systems would not spin, and one exhibited badly out of sync sound and occasional hitches in the picture playback. To summarise, this is a very basic offering, with a fairly unimpressive sound system. If you demand anything like lively volumes you need to look elsewhere because the satellite speakers just cannot handle any real volume and the sub charges off uncontrollably with the slightest encouragement. But its not all bad for the money its good value, and if you just want a solid picture provider, with some modest surround sound thrown in for extra ambience, and you want all of this delivered in a very attractive package and at a reasonable price, the TH-P7 could still be a system to audition

The TH-P7 looks good, but has in imbalanced soundstage

Ratings

WHATS GOOD

Design; picture

WHATS BAD
Picture Sound Features Ease of use Value

VERDICT

An underpowered sound system lets the side down
Issue 309 I What Video and High-Denition TV I 075

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31/5/06 2:18:53 pm

 

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