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JVC has – for years – been an industry leader in the projector segment, with gear that delivers incredible clarity, color saturation, and dreamy ink-like blacks. In fact, the company’s only real projector performance hiccups have been middling 3D reproduction and bulb life issues, but those problems were quickly minimized by new model fixes. Being a JVC owner, myself, I must admit a slight case of fanboyism and bias, so please allow me some latitude as I gush over the company’s new line of projectors in today’s product preview.




This week at CEDIA 2016, JVC announced three new Reference Series models (DLA-RS600, DLA-RS500, and DLA-RS400) in conjunction with three mirror Procision Series models (DLA-X950R, DLA-X750R, and DLA-X550R). Of these models, the DLA-X950R/RS600 and DLAX750R/RS500 carry full THX 3D Certification, meaning these models passed more than 400 THX lab tests conducted to analyze parameters such as color accuracy, cross talk, viewing angle, and video processing – it’s a safe bet that this means 2D performance is likely equal to the task. So, if you’ve held onto JVC 3D concerns over the years, it’s time to cast them away and approach these new models with open arms.

All six models feature full 4K UHD, HDR, and HDCP 2.2 compatibility with dual 18Gbps HDMI inputs. With 18Gbps data rates, these HDMI inputs insure the projectors can receive native 4K material (4K 60p 4:4:4, 4K 60p 4:2:2/36bit, and 4K24p 4:4:4:/36bit) and HDCP 2.2 copy protected content from two different input sources. This also means that HDR and Wide Color Gamut are in play, which is incredibly exciting on the projector front.




If you’re wondering how JVC is achieving HDR, look no further than the inclusion of a new high-power lamp technology. JVC says the combination of its new 265-Watt lamp and proprietary D-ILA device allows the new projectors to blow the doors off previous models, brightness wise. In addition, a narrow pixel gap provides high light efficiency and pixel-free film-like images that can fill large screens and properly illuminate screens in rooms with challenging ambient light.

Of course, JVC returns to the scene of the crime with its e-shift technology (e-shift4), that provides clear 4K precision (3840x2160) images by ever-so-slightly shifting pixels diagonally (0.5. pixels at a rate of up to 120 Hz). This year’s new models have been optimized with new e-shift tech to take advantage of both 4K feeds and the higher levels of brightness discussed above. You can also expect insane contrast ratios (the DLA-X950R/RS600 has a contrast ratio spec of 150,000:1), thanks to a new optical engine and a user-selectable Intelligent Lens Aperture.

If you’re into tweaking, you’ll be happy to know that all models offer six-axis color management and 12-point manual gamma adjustments. JVC is also including an expanded list of screens to be found within its Onboard Screen Adjustment Mode. If you aren’t into tweaking, all models have an onboard Auto Calibration Function that can be used with a third-party optical sensor (not included) to automatically calibrate the image.

All six of JVC’s new darlings officially go on sale in November 2015. Pricing ranges from $3999.95 (X550R/RS400) to $6999.95 (X750/RS500) and $9,999.95 (X950R/RS600).

Image Credits: JVCKENWOOD
 

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Nice that the prices have come down on this line versus their predecessors. I have heard that the increased brightness comes at the cost of a slight increase in black levels. Do we know if that's the case?
 

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Ive always heard that the JVC projectors are the sweet spot for affordable and quality. I just wish my version of "affordable" was in that price range.
 

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Nice that the prices have come down on this line versus their predecessors. I have heard that the increased brightness comes at the cost of a slight increase in black levels. Do we know if that's the case?
I had a chance to see demos of all three PJs... Still working on writing a show report - which will feature JVC (hopefully will finish in a few days). Short-end: blacks looked good to my eyes. Just because light output is increasing, that doesn't mean that black levels will lighten to a noticeable degree.
 

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Very excited about these new projectors. I was basically sold on the previous generation but my theater room is still in the early stages of construction so I have been delaying the purchase.
True 4K would be nice but in this price range I think JVC went the right way with focusing on contrast over resolution.
 

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Very excited about these new projectors. I was basically sold on the previous generation but my theater room is still in the early stages of construction so I have been delaying the purchase. True 4K would be nice but in this price range I think JVC went the right way with focusing on contrast over resolution.
Couldn't agree more. It will be interesting to see if JVC comes out with true 4k next year. Their marketing team is definitely carefully tiptoeing as not to call attention to their pseudo-4k status. That being said, we all know that resolution isn't the end-all be-all and JVC's PQ qualities are keeping their PJs at the top.
 

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Yes, better blacks is a great thing, but the use of a dynamic iris to achieve it isn't the most desirable option...
 

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Why exactly is an increase in black levels a bad thing? I figured the darker the black the better.. am I wrong?
An increase in black levels means that they are not as black. Conversely, a lower black level means less light in the black areas, or a darker black. The terminology used to confuse me too.

Yes, better blacks is a great thing, but the use of a dynamic iris to achieve it isn't the most desirable option...
The dynamic iris was introduced in the models prior to this one (two years ago). It appears that native black levels are a little higher in these new models; that is, not quite as black ;) The good news, I think, is that the higher brightness will allow those with smaller screens to run eco mode and close down the manual iris, which is where JVCs have always delivered their best black level performance. So it may be a wash for many. Including me.
 

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Just to note, any material with HDR will require high lamp mode.

I've talked to A JVC rep about their reasoning behind they dynamic iris, and couldn't get a straight answer.
 

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I've talked to A JVC rep about their reasoning behind they dynamic iris, and couldn't get a straight answer.
I think it may have had to do with being able to keep up with the sometimes ridiculous contrast claims of the competition (nearly all of which use dynamic irises). Just remember that no other consumer projector company was able to keep up with JVC in native on/off contrast without using one, and I believe that is still the case. A dynamic iris on top of class-leading native contrast numbers is just icing on the cake (assuming proper implementation and minimal visible artifacts) and can only make best-in-class even better. IMHO
 

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That's the most obvious answer... But why go through the trouble of adding it if the numbers are fudged anyway?

I don't believe they had the dynamic iris engaged in their demo area... I for one, would leave it off. You don't calibrate with it engaged, and once a projector is calibrated, engaging it would make your calibration settings non-ideal.
 

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That's the most obvious answer... But why go through the trouble of adding it if the numbers are fudged anyway?

I don't believe they had the dynamic iris engaged in their demo area... I for one, would leave it off. You don't calibrate with it engaged, and once a projector is calibrated, engaging it would make your calibration settings non-ideal.
I'm not even suggesting fudged numbers. It's just that a projector with a dynamic iris can be made to produce crazy contrast because the iris can be closed nearly all the way and produce near zero light output. Combine that with a projector capable of very high brightness, and you've got a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio or whatever. A fixed aperture cannot hope to produce maximum brightness and the darkest black levels at the same setting in a lamp-based projection system.

Anyway, as you point out it can be turned off. Win for everyone. I can hardly wait until I can get one (gotta figure out if, and where, we are moving in the next year or less).
 

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Got it. Just to note, the numbers these companies report are frequently deceptively twisted and stretched to sound way better than they actually are in real world operating conditions.
 

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Seems prices are coming down on the entry models. A good thing. It appears my biggest issue is my throw... I have 12'6"-13' of throw and need to project 135" on a 16:9 screen. Not many available to do that... they require longer distance to throw the 135".

Seems I'll be hurting on the upgrade department until someone can get the throw that I need.
 
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