NuVision Lucidium NVU55FX5LS LCD HDTV Page 3
Colors popped impressively on the NuVision, which was no surprise given the measured results. I had to reduce the Color control quite a bit below its theoretically correct setting (determined by using a test pattern with the set’s Blue Enable control). Otherwise, fleshtones definitely looked oversaturated. After I made that adjustment, I saw no sign of cartoonish color. Fleshtones looked right, and most green foliage appeared natural, without that fluorescent look. Nothing jumped out at me as wrong. The bright opening scene in Spider-Man was stunning, as were the often eye- popping colors in Seven Years in Tibet.
The NuVision produced consistently sharp and detailed images. This isn’t a rare accomplishment these days on most flat-panel and LCD displays, but it’s always welcome. One of the first real-world Blu-ray Discs I reach for to check resolution is Seven Years in Tibet. It’s not a new title, but with the possible exception of Baraka, I haven’t seen one that has a more astonishing level of detail throughout. (Baraka does have several advantages over most Blu-rays, including its 70mm source and many shots with almost glacial motion, which prevents any detail-obscuring motion blur.) I can’t name a flat-panel display that does a better job of revealing the detail on this disc than the NuVision.
I didn’t see any artifacts on HD material, either. Motion blur without the FFM anti-motion-blur feature was about average for an LCD set. It won’t likely bother most viewers. But off-axis viewing, beyond roughly 20 to 25 degrees, is typical of an average LCD. If you move beyond that, the image starts to lighten, and its colors fade. You’ll want to demand dibs on the middle seat.
I also checked out a few standard-definition titles. Titanic on DVD can be a challenge for any display, particularly the original letter-boxed release. With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the active image on this disc has severely limited native resolution (just over 220,000 pixels compared with over 290,000 for a16:9 disc and over 1.5 million for a 2.35:1 HD transfer). The image quality didn’t bowl me over, but the NuVision did as well with this material as any other similarsized display could do, and it likely did better than most. The disc showed few artifacts, and the film quickly drew me in. Isn’t that the whole point of home theater? Even with the disc’s limited image quality, I had to keep pulling myself back into critic mode. It wasn’t easy.
I can’t quite recommend the NuVision NVU55FX5LS. Why? Primarily, because of its uneven side lighting. You may not notice this in a well-lit room, with the brightness setting at the too-high factory level, or on most program material even when the room is dark. But that’s beside the point. I’ve seen this problem on other edge-lit sets, but I forgave it to a degree there—because those sets were far less expensive.
That brings up value. The NVU55FX5LS’s price will induce sticker shock in today’s market. That’s fine if we’re talking state of the art, or nearly so, in all areas. The NuVision comes surprisingly close in its color and subjective resolution, but that uneven screen illumination is a deal breaker.
We’re also on the cusp of seeingg 3D sets in the marketplace, perhaps as soon as three or four months after this issue’s cover date. We certainly won’t withhold a recommendation on a set simply because it doesn’t have 3D. But at this price point, it’s difficult to seriously recommend a 2D set unless it’s so spectacularly good that there’s no alternative.
Still, in many ways the NuVision NVU55FX5LS is a very impressive HDTV. I wish it had a more accurate color gamut, but once I tweaked the color setting, I never found the deviations from the Rec. 709 HD color standard distracting. The images often drew me in, with their rich detail and vibrant color. Even the blacks and shadow detail on most program material were often in a league with some of the best sets we’ve seen (and not only subjectively, but objectively as well, as you can see in HT Labs Measures). The heart of a winner is here, but the limbs—mainly that pesky screen illumination issue—still need work.