Adobe RGB-capable HDTV tries and semi-fails to please the pros

Color space is something most people never have to deal with, and for good reason: like the fruit from that infamous tree, knowledge of color gamuts and response curves will eject you forever from the comfortable Eden of ignorance. Media professionals, however, like photographers, printers, and effects artists, absolutely have to know (and use) the differences between the popular color spaces, and one of the components for doing so is a display which supports those color spaces.

Why a pro would want to use a 42″ 1080p HDTV instead of a nice color-checked monitor is beyond me, but I suppose it can’t hurt JVC to offer such a device. Unfortunately, the fact that it doesn’t entirely succeed in its mission may be a death blow, as exacting professionals won’t exactly flock to a first-generation product that doesn’t do what it says.

jvc-lt-42wx70-colorgamut2I can be picky about colors sometimes, but since I distribute my images and media on the internet (as you likely do), that means fidelity is degraded and color space data cannot be relied upon to be used by another’s display or browser. We’re okay with that because we’re just doing it for fun, but if you’re a professional photographer and your shot is going to be on a billboard or displayed in a bunch of stores, your income depends on the quality of that image. Therefore color space is essential for them and their display better be capable of showing it. If there is, say, a lack of saturation in the greens, as there is in this JVC display, that means that it’s unfit for duty. You or I might use it for a year and never notice, but it’s their business to see it and I guarantee they will.

Add to this chromatic inadequacy the asking price of over $2300, and you’re looking at an expensive proposition that doesn’t entirely follow through. It doesn’t mean the entire concept is flawed, but I don’t see many professionals shelling out for something like this when they could be picking up a new lens, a better tripod head, or a tried-and-true monitor. Hopefully we’ll see more of these “color-accurate” TVs coming out, but I’d skip this introductory generation.