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JVC LT-32CR230 review: a budget TV that’s ideal for your spare room

 JVC LT-32CR230 with deer on screen in snow hero image .
JVC LT-32CR230 with deer on screen in snow hero image .

The JVC LT-32CR230 is a budget 32-inch TV sold exclusively at Currys. It uses an HD Ready (720p) panel with an LED backlight and comes with Roku built-in as its smart TV platform. Priced at £139, the LT-32CR230 is also available in 24, 40 and 43-inch sizes (although the larger models are called the CR330).

JVC is not a name that comes up amongst the best TVs as it has limited availability, but the CR230's appeal is heightened by its use of Roku, which is amongst the best smart TV platforms due to its simplicity and easy navigation.

Picture quality on the JVC CR230 is mixed to say the least. After scrolling through the picture preset modes, Film stood out as the best option as other modes made images look unbalanced in comparison.

Starting with lower-resolution programs and live TV, the CR230’s picture quality was acceptable, although some textures looked slightly fuzzy.

Moving on to HD content, I started with The Batman on standard Blu-ray (1080p downscaled by the JVC to 720p). The TV’s edge-lit panel and basic LED backlight made blacks and shadow details in The Batman look sub-par, with obvious black uniformity (the ability to evenly display black tones across a screen) issues that resulted in a screen clouding effect. Textures and detail were mostly acceptable, but ultimately still lacking. When using Portrait Displays’ Calman software to measure Delta-E average values of the CR230’s grayscale, it gave a result of 4.04 (we typically look for below 3) which was actually better than I anticipated.

JVC LT-32CR230 with trees on screen
JVC LT-32CR230 with trees on screen

Next, I checked out the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Blu-ray, a disc that provides useful HDR demo footage for testing varying factors such as colour, contrast, and black levels. This footage showcased the JVC’s punchy colours, especially in the daytime nature scenes, while the snowy landscape sequences demonstrated that its handling of brighter white tones was also effective.

The next test was an HD-quality stream of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker on Disney Plus. Colours during the festival scene were vibrant enough, capturing the joyous atmosphere. A lightsaber battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed a more dynamic handling of colour from the JVC, with strong HDR highlights in the red and blue sabers. When measuring the Delta-E values for colour, the averaged result was 3.5 (again, we look for a result below 3) which is respectable for a budget TV of this type.

Motion was a struggle for the CR230. During the Batmobile chase sequence in The Batman, motion was choppy in places and there was judder present as the cars sped across the screen, panning from side to side. Motion processing such as judder or blur reduction would have been helpful here, but sadly there weren’t any obvious settings to help.

Sound quality was acceptable on the CR230. It wasn’t mind-blowing by any means, as this is a thin 32-inch TV, but I found it better than expected, and superior to the pricier Hisense 32A5K, another budget 32-inch TV. The best preset sound modes were either Theatre or Big Bass as these were more balanced than other modes which couldn’t handle higher frequencies without sounding tinny. Using the same Batmobile chase sequence from The Batman, the sound carried the weight well for a smaller TV and dialogue was clear. If this is your main TV, you may want to invest in one of the best soundbars. If not, you may find it acceptable, but just don’t expect home cinema-type sound.

JVC LT-32CR230 with Roku TV home menu on screen
JVC LT-32CR230 with Roku TV home menu on screen

The Roku smart TV platform used by the JVC CR230 is one of its strongest points. It's easy to navigate, with all the unnecessary recommendations that you find on other smart TV platforms stripped away from its home menu. Accessing apps is refreshingly easy and all the major apps you’d expect are here, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus along with Freeview apps such as ITVX and BBC iPlayer.

There are more settings to explore and tweak here than expected, and they offer plenty of ways to tailor the picture and sound to your liking. As I said above, though, motion clarity settings would have been a welcome addition.

The CR230 has a basic, but functional design. Its HDMI connections are housed at the bottom and back of the screen, making them awkward to access. I also found the supplied feet a little unsteady even after being fully tightened.

The CR230’s supplied remote did feel light and cheap, but had quick access buttons that were easy to see and use. Like the TV itself, JVC’s remote is solid but bland.

Gaming is not the first thing you would think of for a TV like the CR230, which is light on features. Like most budget TVs, it has a 60Hz panel, with a very basic Game mode that comes up short compared to the Game Optimizer found on the LG 32LQ6300. However, I can’t deny that I found gaming on the CR230 to be a fun experience. Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, the CR230 handled moments of graphical intensity well, especially during big shootout sequences.

JVC LT-32CR230 with Battlefield V on screen
JVC LT-32CR230 with Battlefield V on screen

Panning around the battlefield itself felt fairly smooth, though judder was occasionally present. Fast panning revealed choppy motion, but the picture itself was still vivid, especially during an autumnal mission with plenty of yellows and reds. This isn’t one of the best gaming TVs on the market by a long stretch, but for casual gamers stuck for space it will suit just fine.

Price is the key factor with the JVC CR230, which retails for £139 in the 32-inch size. That’s a fair price considering this TV’s performance and features. Admittedly, the picture on the Hisense 32A5K is better, but you’ll be paying between £199-£229 for that model, which for some people won’t be an option.

We’ve seen the LG 32LQ6300 priced as low as £179 before and if you can find it at that price, it is 100% worth the extra money over the JVC CR230 as the LG is one of the best 32-inch TVs available. But the LG can go for as high as £249, so the JVC CR230 offers a more reliable budget option if you’re in need of a bedroom or kitchen TV.

JVC LT-32CR230 connections panel
JVC LT-32CR230 connections panel

JVC LT-32CR230 review: Price and release date

  • Release date: 2023

  • Price: £139 (UK only) 

The JVC LT-32CR230 is currently priced at £139 and is exclusive to Currys. That is a very low price compared with other 32-inch TVs, but this is a budget HD-Ready (720p) set rather than a Full HD (1080p) one. If you want Full HD, you'll generally have to spend more.

JVC LT-32CR230 review: Specs

JVC LT-32CR230 review: Should you buy it?

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JVC LT-32CR230: Also consider

Hisense A325K with HP Omen laptop, Calman software and other testing equipment
Hisense A325K with HP Omen laptop, Calman software and other testing equipment

How I tested the JVC LT-32CR230

  • Tested in our lab under varying lighting conditions

  • Used SDR and HDR sources including Blu-ray and live TV

  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman 

I tested a variety of HDR and SDR sources including lower-resolution live TV, streaming through Disney Plus and SDR and HDR Blu-rays played through a Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player.

After cycling through the picture mode presets and landing on the best one, Film, I then used Blu-rays such as The Batman to test black levels and shadow detail and the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark 4K Blu-ray to test a variety of picture factors including contrast, colour, and detail. I tested gaming performance using Battlefield V on Xbox Series X.

For measurements, I used Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to test peak brightness levels (measured in nits) and grayscale and colour average, recording their Delta-E values (which demonstrates the margin of error between the test pattern and what is displayed). For all tests, I used the Murideo Six 8K test pattern generator.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024