When JVC announced new projectors at CES last January, I thought that might be it for 2017. I should have known better. At CEDIA, there are three new JVC projectors with even greater capability—and lower prices.
As many readers already know, JVC markets its projectors in two different channels—direct to customers and through custom installers—under two different model numbers. The new direct-to-customers models are the DLA-X590R, X790R, and X990R, while the custom-installer versions are the DLA-RS440, RS540, and RS640. The corresponding models are identical except for the model number and the fact that the X versions have a black bezel around the lens, while the RS versions have a gold bezel.
The new JVC projectors implement the next generation of e-Shift, dubbed e-Shift 5. The imaging chips in most JVC projectors have a native resolution of 1920×1080, and e-Shift is the process whereby each pixel is quickly shifted back and forth by half a pixel diagonally, doubling the number of effective pixels on the screen. Because the pixels are shifted diagonally, the effective horizontal and vertical resolution is doubled to 3840×2160—sort of. In reality, the number of pixels doubles from 2 million to 4 million, not 8 million. Still, the perceived resolution is greater than 1080p.
E-Shift 5 samples each pixel and looks at adjacent pixels for better interpolation than previous versions. The result is a sharper, crisper image.
Another improvement is the addition of a new high dynamic-range (HDR) profile. In previous models, a color filter in the light path allows wide color gamut (100% of P3), but it reduces the amount of light reaching the screen by about 20%. The new models let you remove the color filter from the light path, which increases the peak light output—great for HDR. However, the color gamut is much closer to BT.709. Take your pick.
The HDMI inputs on all three new models operate at 18 Gbps. The DLA-X590R/RS440 has a peak light output of 1800 lumens, a native contrast ratio of 40,000:1, and a dynamic iris that yields a dynamic contrast ratio of 400,000:1. Next up the food chain is the DLA-X790R/RS540 with a peak light output of 1900 lumens, a native contrast ratio of 130,000:1, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,300,000:1. At the top of the heap, the DLA-X990R/RS640 has a peak light output of 2000 lumens, a native contrast ratio of 160,000:1, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,600,000:1.
Even better, the mid-level and top-tier models have lower prices than the previous generation. The DLA-X590R/RS440 lists for $4000, while the DLA-X790R/RS540 is $6000 ($1000 less than the X770R), and the DLA-X990R/RS640 is $8000 ($2000 less than the X970R). All are expected to ship this month.
JVC had two demos going in its booth, both within blacked-out rooms. One was the DLA-X990R/RS640 with HDR content using its enhanced-HDR mode (no color filter). The screen was an 8-foot-wide, 16:9 Screen Innovations Pure White (1.3 gain). We saw clips from The Fast and the Furious 7 and The Great Wall, both of which looked stunning. I did not miss the wider color gamut at all; in fact, the colors in The Great Wall were spectacular.
The other demo was the DLA-RS4500, JVC’s flagship projector with true 4K resolution and laser-phosphor light engine. The screen was a 16-foot-wide, 16:9 Stewart StudioTek 130, and the content was SDR trailers for Atomic Blonde and Victoria and Abdul. Even though the content was not HDR, the blacks were excellent—better than I remember them when I first saw this projector at last year’s CEDIA. Overall, the image quality was superb.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of D-ILA technology, JVC is offering a souped-up version of the DLA-X990R/RS640 called the DLA-20LTD. Aside from the red enclosure, the limited-edition model is hand built and achieves an even higher native contrast ratio of 200,000:1.