JVC DM65USR 4K Ultra HD TV Review
The 65-inch JVC DM65USR Diamond Series 4K Ultra HDTV is a competitively-priced option with desirable features like contrast-enhancing full-array local dimming and a modern design. However, its numerous visual quirks will give videophiles second thoughts.
Many people are familiar with JVC’s superb home theater projectors, but the company exited the TV business a few years ago and now licenses the JVC name for TVs to AmTran, a Taiwan based electronics manufacturer.
Style and setup
The JVC DM65USR frames its 65-inch screen with a half-inch wide matte-silver bezel that’s slightly thicker along the bottom edge. A non-illuminated JVC badge is centered on the lower bezel and a pleasingly-subtle power indicator light is located in the lower left corner.
A matching base stand measured just under 26 inches at its widest point. Stand stability was average, with a bit more flexing than I care to see, but the TV is compatible with standard wall mount hardware.
The JVC DM65USR retails for $1999.00
The DM65USR uses a VA-type LCD panel with 3840×2160 pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The TV’s matte screen surface effectively minimized room reflections, and the lack of 3D support will likely disappoint few people.
Videophiles will be pleased to note this TV has a direct-lit LED backlight system, with full-array local dimming featuring 32-zones. The 85-inch version of this TV doubles the number of local dimming zones to 64. For comparison, Vizio’s 65 inch 4K P-Series matches the number of local dimming zones of the larger JVC, providing more granular control of the local dimming.
The TV provides a generous number of HDMI inputs: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports that are HDCP 2.2-enabled, plus a fifth HDMI port that’s MHL-enabled. Two USB ports (USB 2.0 and USB 3.0) are available for connecting external storage devices containing multimedia files.
A two-sided rectangular remote provides an uncluttered layout of standard TV and playback controls on one side. Flipping it over reveals a QWERTY keyboard and touchpad that made typing WiFi network details much easier during setup. One criticism of this otherwise solid remote design was the need to carefully aim it for consistent reception.
The DM65USR also features convenient hardware button controls that are within easy reach on the back of the lower right corner.
The built-in over-the-air (OTA) digital tuner proved very good at pulling in local stations using a modest indoor antenna. The lack of an electronic programming guide (EPG) may disappoint cordcutters, but an editable channel list made for convenient and speedy channel selection.
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If you’re looking for a 4K UHD (ultra-high definition) television that provides the latest 4K streaming options from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, the DM65USR has none of that. Instead, a 1080p Roku Streaming Stick is included in the box. The Stick is a good match for the TV’s MHL-enabled HDMI port as it provided the necessary power without an additional cable.
The TV’s WiFi and Ethernet networking are reserved for retrieving local weather information, DLNA-style multimedia streaming, and a web browser that enables a good web surfing experience, largely thanks to the convenient text entry via the keyboard remote.
Most Internet-enabled TVs have an auto software update feature, but there was no sign of this capability.
The DM65USR’s built-in photo and music player also worked well – the latter supported lossless FLAC audio decoding and album art.
The TV’s 15W down-firing stereo speakers delivered distortion-free volume at levels that were adequate for a mid-sized room. 3D and normalization audio effect options are available, as is a 5-band equalizer for those that wish to further customize the TV’s sound quality. I found the 3D audio effect a quick way to enhance sound quality, but I eventually settled on using the custom equalizer setup for regular listening.
The DM65USR provides Audio Return Channel (ARC) on HDMI port 4, and its optical audio output passed multichannel PCM and Dolby Digital from all sources connected via the HDMI inputs.
Contrast and color
The DM65USR is a very bright LCD TV, with peak brightness measuring nearly 117 footlamberts (400 nits) with a full-field white pattern.
The TV’s Movie picture preset came closest to the grayscale and color standard used in HD video production, but the related controls to tame its overly warm white balance proved highly interactive. Use of the TV’s 2-point white balance controls made it easy to mess up the gamma response and cause significant color errors in the darker grays.
Sticking to the 10-point grayscale controls proved effective, but the DM65USR defaults to the truncated picture presets of the Standard and Game modes when fed 2160p video. This means that even if you calibrate the Movie mode, it’s not available when using a 4K source like the Sony FMP-X10 Media Player.
The DM65USR provides no means of applying its 10-point white balance or color calibration results to other HDMI inputs, other than tedious manual entry.
Also disappointing was the difference in color accuracy with HD and UHD video sources. HD color accuracy improved nicely post-calibration, but switching to 2160p input produced a skewed response especially with secondary colors.
Similar to the Vizio P-Series, the DM65USR clips below black and above white video information with the component (YCbCr) input, potentially sacrificing deep shadow and bright white detail.
The TV’s brightness picture control also had a dramatic impact on the hue of dark gray shades – adjusting it one or two notches produced significant color shifts.
The DM65USR also displayed a sharp roll-off of high resolution color information as indicated by the Spears & Munsil V2 chroma tests.
The excellent, but more expensive, Samsung HU8550 UHD TV exhibited none of the clipping or picture preset quirks of the DM65USR.
Compared to an IPS panel, the DM65USR’s VA panel technology sacrifices viewing angle performance for improved contrast. Noticeable loss of color saturation occurred at about 25 degrees off-axis, but this result was average for a VA panel and the picture remained quite watchable out to extreme angles.
Overall screen uniformity was good save for some slight dim vertical bands that seemed to lessen after a light massaging with a microfiber cloth.
The TV’s full array local dimming LED backlight system made for excellent dark room viewing as the black bars of letterboxed movies were nearly imperceptible.
The motion resolution of the DM65USR is similar to every other LCD television that lacks motion interpolation, or has the feature turned off: about 300-350 lines on a 1080 line test pattern. With the TV’s CrystalMotion Pro feature enabled, motion resolution results approached an admirable 1000 lines with only slight smearing/ghosting noted on the trailing edges of scrolling text.
Unfortunately, the DM65USR had a nasty habit of re-enabling motion interpolation after the related picture control had been disabled. Restarting the TV, changing inputs, and sometimes changing input video resolution would re-enable motion interpolation and its overly-smoothed video rendering. Annoying to say the least.
1080i benchmark tests revealed excellent processing of video and film-sourced material. Video filtering proved excellent at minimizing jagged edge artifacts, and progressive scaling of 720p content also looked good.
Bottom line/take away
If you care about picture quality and you are on a budget, it’s always better to go with a 1080p TV rather than a 4K UHD TV, given similar pricing.
The JVC DM65USR Diamond Series 4K Ultra HD TV is a well-priced direct-lit LCD with local dimming and plenty of HDMI 2.0 ports, but its numerous visual quirks and lack of 4K streaming content are likely to be sticking points for discriminating shoppers.
HD Guru awards the JVC DM65USR 2.5 out of 5 Hearts
Disclosure: Review sample was obtained as manufacturer’s loan.
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