JVC DLA-HD100 D-ILA Projector Real-World Performance
I was quite surprised to find that the HD100 was considerably less bright than the RS1 I currently have on hand—despite the fact that the HD100 had about half as much time on its lamp. The HD100 produced 13.47 foot-Lamberts (fL) on my projection screen in Normal lamp mode. This is a respectable amount of light and did not leave me feeling deprived in any way as viewed on my screen, but it does suggest that the HD1 (and RS1) might be better suited for larger screens, particularly considering the inevitable reduction in light output as the lamp ages.
While the HD100 is clearly no screen burner, there's a lot more to a good picture than sheer light output. It will not come as news to most readers (especially those who read the opening words of this review!) that JVC currently has the lock on great black levels from a video projector. It's not smoke and (definitely not) mirrors, but clever engineering that delivers those inky blacks. And the HD100's blacks are deeper than those from any other projector I have measured to date.
Lowering the black level of a display pays huge dividends, improving even bright scenes by enhancing depth and dimensionality. But it's in the dark, difficult scenes that the benefits are most obvious. Virtually the entire third act of National Treasure: Book of Secrets on Blu-ray takes place in a dark underground cavern. (If that sounds vaguely familiar to fans of the original…well, the filmmakers thought it was so nice, they did it twice!) On the JVC, there wasn't a hint of the foggy gray look that can compromise dark scenes on lesser displays.
The same was true in The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. The night scenes are some of the best-photographed in the film; the bright scenes often look overexposed—which is clearly in the source, not the projector. Such dark scenes can often look flat on many video displays, but on the JVC, they retain a convincing dimensionality.
I doubt that many viewers will object to the JVC's color, even though the gamut is too wide. Green and red, in particular, were oversaturated. Green foliage and flesh tones are the best tests for natural-looking color. Humans can easily forgive many color aberrations, but we see grass, trees, and people every day. Fortunately, despite the excessive saturation, the calibrated HD100 did a fine job with flesh tones, which vary more than a little on even the most accurate display depending on the source material. Greens occasionally looked a little unreal, but no more so than on many other digital displays.
You will either love or hate the JVC's reds. When a bright red object comes along, you can't miss it. As confirmed in the Measurements section, the HD100 is a bit creative in how it treats the color standard—more so, in fact, than the HD1. Few will object, but if you're a stickler for absolute color accuracy, you might.
The JVC's resolution, particularly on single-pixel black lines on a white background, is a shade less textbook-crisp than I've seen from the best single-chip DLP designs, but this was only evident on test patterns. On real program material, it left nothing to be desired in its reproduction of sharp, crisp detail.
Finally, the HD100 isn't nearly as dead quiet as the Sony SXRD projectors and some of the better LCD projectors I've tested. But it's reasonably hushed in its Normal lamp mode, particularly with anything but a perfectly silent soundtrack. The High lamp setting is considerably noisier.