JVC DLA-HD1 1920x1080 Home Theater Projector Page 2
The only consumer sources of 1080p/24 material at present are the outputs of a few (not all) Blu-ray players. Movie material on HD DVD is also native 1080p/24, but as yet no HD DV D players will output this resolution. Instead, they convert it, at best, to 1080p/60, with 3/2 pulldown. (A firmware update to Toshiba's HD-XA2 to allow 1080p/24 output is rumored to be imminent- Tech Ed.)
Other features include six different built-in test patterns, a video/film mode (Auto or Off), HDMI input level (Standard, which is the one to use, or Enhanced), Black Level (a 0% or 7.5% offset adjustment for the video and S-Video inputs only), a selection to allow the component input to accept RGB sources or even SCART (for those in Europe), Aspect (4:3, 16:9, or Zoom—no fancy stretchy modes here), Menu Display (times out the menus in five seconds or leaves it on until you defeat it, thus lowering the blood pressure of calibrators everywhere), and the ever popular Sleep Timer.
While I've found some minor issues, none of them diminish enthusiasm for this product—an enthusiasm that has, if anything, increased since my Short Take report.
While the JVC isn't quite a light cannon, it's definitely bright. Out of the box, it put out just over 20 foot-Lamberts on my 78" diagonal, 16:9 Studiotek 130 screen (white, 1.3-gain) in the Normal lamp mode, and 25fL in High. After 200 hours, including a fresh calibration, this decreased to a maximum of 16.3fL (Normal lamp mode) on the same screen. This 20% decrease, in my experience, is not unusual in lamp-driven projectors. Above this point the whites clipped, but unlike many projectors, which tend to show subtle discolorations in a multi-step grayscale pattern when pushed to their pre-clip limits (tints that often don't register in the grayscale measurements), the JVC held thje pattern to a true white-gray-black, without odd color shifts. And at this same 200-hour mark I could still wring 20fL out of the projector on my screen if I switched to the High lamp mode.
The deinterlacing and scaling of the JVC turned in a fair performance overall. It was good to excellent when upconverting a 480i component input to the projector's native 1080p. But it degraded to fair, at best, with a 480i HDMI input. Here it clearly stumbled on some of my standard tests for jagged edges.
The problem appears to originate in the JVC's 480i-to-480p deinterlacing. To check for this, I fed the projector the same material in 480p HDMI from a Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player. The latter is equipped with a Silicon Optix HQV REON processor, which we know to have outstanding 480i-to-480p deinterlacing. The result: all of my jagged edge tests now looked flawless on the JVC.
This result suggests you should avoid feeding the JVC a 480i HDMI source. Why the projector's deinterlacing of 480i-to-480p is better in component than in HDMI remains a mystery. But it is. Fortunately, I can't think of a compelling reason to use an HDMI source at 480i.
The JVC de-interlaced 1080i program material (both film and video) directly to 1080p, as it should. But it did not recognize 3/2 pulldown in a 1080i film source. While the latter limitation was quite visible in test patterns, I never saw any evidence of it with real 1080i program material.
Most of the criticism of past LCD and LCoS projectors has focused on their blacks, with good reason. But the LCD and LCoS projectors I've reviewed before have also had a tendency to look a little faded on bright scenes as well, which reduced their punch and dimensionality. This effect is subtle on the best of these projectors, but never completely absent. Many of these displays were equipped with auto irises.
I noted this in my Short Take report on the JVC as well, but I also observed that the JVC suffered less from this bright scene fading than most LCD and LCoS designs I've seen, even those that like the JVC don't use an iris. A dynamic iris can greatly improve the depth of a projector's blacks in dark scenes, but once it opens up on a bright scene you're left largely with the naked, native contrast of the imaging chip and light engine.
While such fading isn't entirely absent in this new JVC design, I have found it to be more and more difficult to spot, particularly since the Sharp XV-Z20000 DLP was sent back to its maker and the opportunity for additional A/B comparisons thereby eliminated. I saw it rarely before; now it doesn't bother me at all. While some bright scenes initially looked a bit more saturated and three-dimensional on the Sharp compared to the JVC, I now find that the JVC's image, particularly on good high-definition material, offers plenty of depth and dimensionality.
The JVC is very quiet in its Normal lamp mode, and only slightly louder in High. It's not as quiet as the Sony Pearl or Mitsubishi HC5000, but quieter than the Sharp XV-Z20000. Its noise is also pitched fairly low, making it less intrusive than the usual high frequency, rushing air sound.
While I didn't use the JVC's Dynamic Noise Reduction for serious viewing and testing, it was very effective. At a setting of 11 out of 30 it virtually eliminated some annoying grain/noise in the standard DVD transfer of Star Trek: Insurrection. It made the image far more watchable, and did not make it soft. Each increased step in NR is subtle, making it a very effective tool for improving marginal transfers.
I noted earlier that when the JVC receives a 1080p/24 source, such as the native video from a Blu-ray Disc, it quadruples it to a frame rate of 96fps and displays it without the usual motion judder of 3/2 pulldown present in 24fps, film-based material displayed in video format at 1080p/60. In theory this should result in smoother motion. And that's just what I saw. But the improvement is not immediately obvious; 3/2 pulldown judder is something we've all lived with so long that most of us can tune it out. It's nearly impossible to spot on rapid motion. But if you look carefully you'll see improved smoothness in slow pans, zooms, and the sort of leisurely motion that hides motion blur in displays prone to it.
While I did see some very subtle motion blur in fine details moving across the screen, I see the same effect from DLPs. The only modern display technology that can do better on this (sometimes) is plasma.
While the subjective color of the JVC was excellent, some of its primary (red, green, and blue) and secondary colors (yellow, cyan, and magenta) were a little oversaturated. Green glowed too brightly on sunlit foliage. Red was also a little intense, though unlike green, a bit too much fire in the reds can often be pleasing—provided that flesh tones look right. And the JVC's post-calibrated flesh tones were just fine, as long as the program source allowed them to be (there's a lot of color processing going on in today's films).
The color temperature was reasonably accurate in the Middle Color Temp. setting, but minor tweaking in the user controls (with appropriate calibration tools, of course) produced an even better and more accurate result. But it did take different settings for the best results in each of the two lamp modes. Fortunately, the projector provides those two User color temperature memories. If you have a need to alternate between lamp levels, perform two color temperature calibrations and save each one separately.
While less than specified (not uncommon), the JVC's contrast ratio still provides state-of-the-art performance for a digital projector (See"Measurements.") The only chink in the JVC's black-level armor is a slightly brighter level in the four corners of the screen, noticeable mainly when the projector is displaying a completely black or very dark image. (I saw this same artifact on the Sony VPL-VW100 or"Ruby," but not on the Sony VPL-VW50"Pearl.")