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As plenty of people know I have been a firm believer in the Sony projectors ever since I had their VW100 "Ruby" model. And as many people know I have also had other brands before and since, with my current favorite being their new VW85. Having recently had the JVC 550 and 950 (and previously a RS20 and FPJ1/RS2) I was not sure what to expect getting their "Hand Picked Parts" HD990 Flagship model. Will the fifth time

be the charm? I promised not to let the cat out of the bag early this time.


Looking at the DLA-HD990 it is basically the same design as before. I like the fact that the heat does not blow out of the back. I also am a fan of the black and silver trim look. It is also a very quiet projector and in Low Lamp Mode it is very hard to tell it is even on. The automatic Lens Cover is pretty loud and sounds like my electric razor but it works and that is what matters most. So enough about the boring stuff. How does the image look compared to my VW85?


Comparing the 990 to the VW85 (Sony) is not as easy as it should be. It is hard to put into words the differences. And before I do please keep in mind these are my own opinions and visual tastes. Everyone is different and at the end of the day any "normal" person would be more than happy with either or. Simply put the VW85 has a more "film" like look while the 990 seems more "digital" if that makes sense. Don't get me wrong, I like the VW85 but for my tastes the 990 has become my Reference Projector of choice in my theater. For example, NFL football was more clear and distinct. Even the graphics had different shades of the colors which we never noticed before. Especially CBS! We could see the white laces on the football during long throws (Live) using the JVC on Dynamic with Gamma B, Color Temp High Bright and Clear Motion Drive on High! * Pics 12-17 show pics live with Clear Motion Drive (120hz). While the Sony still put out a more than acceptable image the 990 just went a "little" further. The Metrodome Turf was easier to see the areas where they covered the baseball sections. They just stood out more. We did an A/B comparison and it was a majority vote the JVC did 120hz more cleanly. The Sony's Motionflow would have a light artifact around the players more often than the JVC. Not to say the 990 is perfect but for being their first shot at 120hz they definitely deserve an A for effort and execution. From the snap of a play it just looks better and has a more fluid type motion. My biggest loss from going with the VW85 over my beloved VW200 was color and the ability to render up converted 36 bit. The VW85 does not accept 36 bit or 30 bit. Sure sending in and having it display 24 bit still looks very good but the 200 was able to take it so why would they minus that with their new VW85? This is where the 990 shines. Using the DVDO Duo it was able to send in 36 bit up converted color (*the VW85's HDMI/EDID refuses it) while watching the football games. I have not seen the rich colors of the grass and helmets (including scratches) since the VW200. And keep in mind the 990 I have has not even been calibrated. The CMS (Color Management System) is untouched at this point. So enough about sports, let's jump into the Movie observations.


*Side Note: For those that do not know EDID is Extended Display Identification Data. EDID contains basic information about a monitor or display and its capabilities, including vendor info, maximum image size, color characteristics, factory timings, frequency range limits and character strings. I was fortunate to spend time this past Summer with Jeff Boccaaccio President and HDMI guru of DPL (Digital Performance Level) Labs and learned plenty from him about HDMI. Each time a new component is connected via HDMI keys are sent back and forth which will either allow or not allow the handshake (or features) between the components. And sadly the EDID in the VW85 tells different components it only wants 24 bit. It reminds me of my dating days when you would find out what is acceptable and what is not from your display/girl on the first date...



For the record I have always been a fan of the JVC projectors with "night" movies like 30 Days Of Night, The Strangers and Vacancy. Sure there are plenty more (mainly any movie with a night scene) but I will spare you are movie tastes. The 990 has exceptional shadow detail and displays terrific blacks from lighter shades to the deepest. All in the same scene. I just see a better depth of image with the 990 and I can say this is the best projector I have had in my theater to date. I will also point out that the Dynamic Iris on the Sonys have never bothered me. The native contrast of the 990 puts it at a "constant" higher level. No matter what the scene is (day or night) you get the most optimal image at all times. We watched Public Enemies and some of the scenes looked outstanding. The 990 is a very sharp projector. I would say the VW85 is right there with it though but add the entire package with the 990 and it makes it more preferable. And again I just used Cinema 1 and Natural picture modes at close to their defaults. Speaking of the Natural picture mode... We used it with regular DirecTV programming like the season ending show of Dexter (pic below). It looked terrific to say the least. The 990 gives you the ability to adjust the gamma (and customize your own) as well as the color temps (which also allow custom modes). The JVCs have always been a "tweakers" dream in regards to adjusting. And for the "lazy" people you get an already set up THX mode with an accurate image. Under Sharpness you have a Detail Enhancements that shocking do not hurt the image when turned up a little. It did an excellent job squeezing out even finer details in the close up shots. I have pics below of some of the set up menus. Without being redundant (please refer to my other JVC Projector Reviews 550 & 950) for a more detailed explanation of the menus and what they do. Simply put the DLA-HD990 with all the "tweaks" and its impressive specs (not to mention hand picked parts
) puts out an elite image.


*Motion... As many know I have had "issues" with previous JVC projectors when it comes to motion during slow pans. It was much less evident on the 550 and the 950 and for some reason I am having a very difficult time seeing it on the 990. And that is with both 120hz Off and On! I am not sure if they made some modifications somewhere but whatever they did I hope they continue it... Ding dong the witch is dead! Kudos!


The Remote (pic below)... It lights up! It is very easy to see in the dark lighting up with the orange-ish color and black writing on the command buttons. I also love having the Direct Input buttons. There is also all the picture modes (Cinema 1-Movies, Cinema 2-HD/vivid colors, Cinema 3-animated movies, Natural-general viewing, Stage- concerts, Dynamic- NFL/Sports, USER 1 & 2 and also the THX mode). You also get a cool "Hide" option which allows you to make the screen disappear quickly which helps in case you are watching something you don't want someone to see when they are coming down the stairs hint-hint. Seriously though it is a cool feature because you can have the movie on pause and ready to go and then when the guests sit down reveal the image and hit play. You also get direct Gamma, Color Temp, Lens Aperture (allows adjusting from Dark -15 to 0 Bright) and general Adjust Pic buttons. These appear at the bottom of the screen and allow for a "quick" adjustment. I like the fact the JVC gives you the option to move the menu bar anywhere you want. And lastly you get the Menu, Light (lighting the remote) Aspect and Lens commands. And I almost forgot the cool Test Patterns the JVCs provide. From the remote you can use them to help set up your image. Overall the remote is very nice and fits easily in your hand.


Other stuff... Setting up the 990 is very easy. The latest JVCs have been very easy to set up. Taking about 5 to 7 minutes to have it perfectly lined up in my screen makes me feel like a seasoned veteran. Putting it into Focus was interesting. I had it clear then when I was ready to stop I tapped it one more time and surprisingly it went to an even sharper level! I have never seen that before with any of my other projectors. You then hit select and move onto Zoom and then again to do Lens Shift (up and side to side). It does not get much easier! You also can do these adjustments with the "special" Lens set up screen off. It is easier for me to use the DirecTV guide and menu screens to fit it in my screen. The HDMI menu option allows you to select the Color Space and Standard and Enhance signal. I kept it in Standard 16-235 and used YCbCr (4:4:4) for most of my viewing. Also depending on which resolution you are sending in you can use the JVC's Noise Reduction controls. There is also a Masking System that allows you to cover the outer edges of the screen. This is nicer on the Sony since it allows you to close each side and top and bottom to your exact liking. The JVC's allow 2.5% and 5% only. Not a deal breaker by any means though. And lastly (for my Review anyway) there is a Screen Adjust mode. This allows you to set the white balanced which could be skewed from characteristics of different screens. It's like they thought of everything!


*The Manual... Is it me or are the JVC Projectors User Manuals as good as Home Theater for Dummies? They are nice "books" and no way are close to the pamphlets you get with the Sony Projectors. They read very easy and explain everything in very nice detail.


My pics... I do not have any movie shots yet. Like Kris Deering from Home Theater Magazine (which whom I admire and respect) my HD990 had HDMI 2 issues and I want to make sure before I attempt any "serious" movie pics it is the absolute best it can be. I am having another one shipped to me this week. I am sure by now JVC has corrected whatever HDMI issue there may have been with the latest units- so no worries.


Other... Please do keep in mind I (or SOWK) has not had a chance to get any official readings. The 990 I have has very low hours and I will be getting another one with zero hours again. My findings are based on my eyes (and some of my Football Guests) with doing A/B comparisons. They are to be taken with a grain of salt...


Final Thoughts (for now)... Trust me when I say whether you have the VW85 or the HD990 that you have the absolute best there is to offer for 10K and under. They are more alike than different. Even the HD950 holds its own and is nothing to sneeze at. I made my choice because we watch Movies and Sports (during football season it's half and half) and JVC's Clear Motion Drive (120hz) for sports comes through. For Movies the high Native Contrast creates an image that has unmatched depth with accurate colors and nice sharpness. Be it a night scene or day scene you just know you are viewing it at the most optimal setting. If you don't mind paying a "little more" to get "Reference" performance then the HD990 is the projector for you.


I'd like to thank Robert and Wendy for their continued support and in helping me obtain the HD990. Without them many of my Reviews would not be possible.


Equipment Used:


JVC DLA-HD990

SONY VPL-VW85

Pioneer 09FD Blu ray

Oppo 83 Blu ray

LG BD390 Blu ray

Onkyo 5507 pre-pro

B&K 200.7 AMP

Niles SI-275 AMP

DirecTV HR21 Pro

DirecTV HR23

DVDO iSCAN DUO Video Processor

Carada Masquerade Masking System

Harmony 1100 Remote


What's next? The Denon AVR-4810CI & Denon DBP 4010CI Combo Review. My last of 2009!






 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Last set up menus...



Once again I like that the JVCs show the up converted color bit (first pic) in their Info area of the menu bar. Nice!





 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Clear Motion Drive (120hz) Live in action... Warning: pics are a little blurry for obvious reasons. View at own risk.





 

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are you going to have Sowk calibrate this unit or will you wait on the new unit with zero hours to come in?


Thanks in advance and glad your happy with the JVC.
 

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I'm glad that JVC finally fixed that motion issue during slow pans. It's about time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by kutlow /forum/post/17722500


are you going to have Sowk calibrate this unit or will you wait on the new unit with zero hours to come in?


Thanks in advance and glad your happy with the JVC.

That's the plan.



Of course by then we should have plenty from Kris, Jason and possibly other places...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawguy /forum/post/17723000


I'm glad that JVC finally fixed that motion issue during slow pans. It's about time.


Me too. I'd also like to hear from others as well who feel the motion is superior to the RS20.


Thanks for the review Joe!
 
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