PROS / You can access the most popular smart TV apps through the Streaming Stick.
CONS / This TV does not have a built-in web browser.
VERDICT / Although it isn't technically a smart TV, this JVC has most of the same smart apps you would find on the best smart TVs – but at a much more affordable price.
Editor's note: JVC Emerald EM50RF5 is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review the EM50RF5 when we next update the Smart TV reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about the EM55FTR.
Many smart TVs have built-in Wi-Fi and a smart hub interface that's unique to the TV. The JVC Emerald does it a little differently. This TV includes a Roku Streaming Stick instead of built-in Wi-Fi. Roku is known for making some of the best internet media players for TVs, so including the Streaming Stick is an innovative workaround for a TV that doesn't have onboard Wi-Fi. This helps JVC keep the price down while you still get access to the most popular streaming apps.
A Roku Streaming Stick works like any other Roku player; it gives you access to hundreds of apps through an easy-to-use interface. A few of the more popular apps include Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video. You can also play games on the Roku – for example, Angry Birds.
The picture quality on this TV is subpar and does not match up against the best smart TV. The black levels and color accuracy scores are ranked fairly low and the TV’s processing engine is slower than the best smart TVs.
This JVC TV has two HDMI ports and one Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) port. The MHL port is a more powerful HDMI port that powers Roku Streaming Sticks; this port also allows your Roku remote to work with your TV. Since the MHL port is occupied with the Roku Streaming Stick, it leaves only two HDMI ports for game systems, cable boxes, Blu-ray players and other high-definition devices.
This TV includes an industry-standard one-year warranty. JVC can be contacted through a toll-free number or email for customer support, but the company does not offer a live chat option.
Although the JVC Emerald is not a smart TV in the technical sense, the inclusion of a Roku Streaming Stick gives this TV the basics of a smart TV. You can access apps such as Netflix and Hulu Plus along with many other Roku apps and games. Unfortunately, the picture quality is noticeably lower than the best smart TVs. The JVC Emerald series is not your typical smart TV, but the Roku Streaming Stick gives you smart features, while cutting down costs. You can even move your smart features by switching out your Roku stick to different TVs.