JVC DLA-X35 Projector Review

JVC DLA-X35 - Overall Color & Picture Quality

Since the JVC lacks the controls for more perfect color, I have been asked about using outboard processors, such as the Darby Doublet, and the old DVDO Edge. I’m not an external processor guy, except maybe back in the days of the early Faroudja processors in the early days of fixed panel home projectors. Perhaps Mike will review the Darblet, in which case we can provide some feedback. Generally though, I look at such things this way. Instead of buying an external processor with projector A, why not by a better, projector B, that costs more than A, but not more than A + external processor.

For your consideration: Here are additional JVC DLA-X35 images, some of which can be found on other reviews for comparison purposes:

The bottom line on overall picture quality:

Great, but not the absolute best picture for the price once calibrated.  Good, but not exceptional “right out of the box”.  Black levels and dynamic range are excellent.  Color, shadow detail, and overall naturalness of the picture are all very good, but the JVC DLA-X35 is definitely not the best at any of those.

One plus, lacking the e-Shift2 of the more expensive JVC’s in one sense provides a more natural picture.  E-shift is an effective tool, but it, like Brilliant Color on DLP projectors, can make images look more contrasty, and with that, less natural.

Bottom line for HDTV on the JVC DLA-X35 Home Theater Projector

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JVC DLA-X35 Room Setup Slideshow

JVC DLA-X35

How the room was setup for the shoot.

JVC DLA-X35

Here's how the rear of the room looked for the football shoot

In this image, see the extra ambient light hitting in the upper right corner of the screen.

Let’s start with how the room was setup for the shoot. I’ve already said this is a projector designed for a dedicated home theater / cave. While you could consider the bonus room / family room type environments, I don’t believe this projector would be a good choice.

For our HDTV shoots, we did it two ways. Football images were taken with modest ambient light coming into the room, and the rear seven recessed room lighting turned on. Overall, though we’re letting a good bit less light in from the side and back shuttered windows than we do for brighter projectors, and that definitely includes the Epsons, Sonys, Panasonics…

Note the extra brightness from the window toward the top right of the screen. You can particularly see that light washing out the image more than other parts.

Here’s how the rear of the room looked for the football shoot – a large skylight is in that outer room, I have both side and back shutters a bit more open, when reviewing brighter projectors such as the Epsons or the Sony HW50ES. Few projectors to come through here, that are quality projectors for the home produce less maximum brightness than this, and other JVCs.

In the image below see the extra ambient light hitting in the upper right corner of the screen. It’s defintely lighter than the lower right, where some equipment is blocking light from the window, from hitting the screen. Even in the daytime, with the shutters closed, and the room lights off, almost no ambient light will hit the screen. Under those circumstances, the letter box areas would be essentially black, certainly if another photo was taken using the same exposure. Overall, this same image sizzles, without ambient light present.

When you place this projector in a dedicated home theater or cave, there’s plenty of brightness to do a really nice job on HDTV, and sports in general, as long as you don’t intentionally allow too much ambient light. Keep in mind that this is a projector only approaches 1000 lumens at its very brightest.

Putting the X35W in a family room environment, make sure you have the right screen, one that can reject most side ambient lighting. The JVC X35 models, be they black, or white finish, cannot handle a whole lot of ambient light, regardless of the room.

 

By comparison, the Sony competition is a good 20+% brighter in brightest mode, and the Epsons are about twice as bright! Most of the DLP projectors out there in the general price range, however, are pretty similar in brightness. And, of course, screen size makes a big difference.

Note below, in this image of Justin Bieber, from the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, that the blacks are very nicely black. For our non football HDTV images the rear lights are turned off, the door closed, and the shutters barely open, creating a far better environment.

Again, above, note the blacks in the man’s shirt on the right. With the shutters open as much as for the football photos, the black shirt would certainly have washed out a bit, consider, by comparison: No way the refs pants appear as black as the guy’s shirt above. The difference – the amount of room ambient light.

Bottom line for HDTV on the JVC DLA-X35 Home Theater Projector

It worked just fine here. For football, I typically more than fill my 124″ screen with DirecTV’s NFL GameCast, showing up to 8 games at once. That gives me a sports bar look with each of the games being almsost 37″ diagonal! With modest ambient light, that’s pushing the JVC a bit hard. I was definitely tempted to switch in an Epson 5020UB for that oversized image, when friends were over to watch. “Tempted” is the magic word. The Epson could have easily done better with twice the lumens, but this JVC was still able to handle the setup reasonably well. True, I didn’t allow as much ambient light as I could with the Epson, but the room was still pretty “social” friendly.

Very Bottom Line: This JVC DlA-X35 is just great for HDTV type work. Minor artifacts just aren’t an issue when watching some serious football, but the extra “apparent” sharpness and detail, is appreciated. A really good trade-off in this case.

As long as you have enough lumens to go around with this X35 JVC projector, HDTV and Sports will be really good. Sharpness may not rival single chip DLPs, but otherwise… The biggest concern should be having enough brightness to allow for whatever ambient light you need to have a nice social experience for “watching TV” as opposed to movie viewing in cave mode..

 

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