If you own a 55-inch 3DTV, chances are you've invested in at least a cheap soundbar to match the power of the picture. You basically have to because the built-in sound on the thing is horrendous. The new 55-inch JVC Black Saphire 3DTV is more than twice as powerful as comprable TVs, and from what we just heard in a hotel room in New York, you might not need that soundbar anymore.
The TV has a built-in 45-Watt, 2.1 channel sound system, which can mimicsurround sound using proprietary JVC processing. (The TV is actually made by a OEM called AVC, which is using the JVC name under licence.) It's loud -- at just 50 per cent volume the action from a scene in Transformers was enough drown out anything else in the room.
But more than the power, the better overall sound was evident. For example, you could make out dialog from background ambiance. There was even some totally passable bass coming from the 4.5-inch subwoofer. Spinning helicopter blades that sound realistic on TV is actually incredible given the sorry state of the sound from flatscreens. The effect isn't earth-shattering, but for a lot of people it's probably enough.
The main drawback is that to improve the quality of the sound the manufacturer had to add some heft; The 55-incher is an 1.5-inches thick, which is hardly flat. Otherwise, the rest of the specs are more or less what you'd expect from a $US1300 Wi-Fi connected 3DTV. We'll find out if it's worth it when the TV launches in January. [JVC]