JVC DLA-X55R Projector Review

JVC e-Shift2 and "4K" resolution

Watch our video on the JVC “4K” e-Shift2 detail enhancement technology.

I can’t say I’m a fan of JVC for calling their e-Shift technology 4K resolution. That said, I understand what they are doing, and how they can claim it as 4K  More importantly, the setup really does provide benefits.  And, of course, like any other razzle dazzle, a touch of downside. For example, when e-Shift is engaged, CFI seems be a little more noisy around moving objects (like football players’ shoulders).

Overall, having the e-Shift feature is a good thing, and I believe most folks will engage it. I haven’t found a good reason not to.  There are a number of presets to choose from. We’ll show you how each one affects an image.  Check it out on the the performance page.  I expect just about everyone will use e-Shift2 at least some of the time. My issue is branding it as 4K resolution, which will only lead to consumer confusion.   I’ll say that the Film preset doesn’t “sharpen” as much as some other settings, but it retains a nice film “softness” while seeming sharper than without.

E-Shift2 needs to project two 1080p frames (one shifted diagonally by a half pixel up).  To do that, they need to create the data, from a single 1080p frame.  They analyze the image to determine what needs enhancing to “improve” the picture.

JVC’s MPC is the controls that handle the detail and contrast enhancement.  There are five settings besides off, Film is close to Off, but the rest…well take a look.

Let’s take a look.  Here are close-ups from the new Spiderman movie.

Each thumbnail will provide a 1000 pixel wide cropped close-up when clicked.

VC does a lot of image processing as part of the feature.  They do analyze the image and create a 4K resolution frame interpolated from 2K data.

Here’s one issue though.  A true 4K projector (let’s base it on 1080p), would be 3840×2160 pixels, or roughly 8 megapixels.  This JVC projector though doesn’t do 8 megapixels – it fires 1920×1080 twice, which is half the number of pixels as true 4K.  That’s the math.

By the way, a side benefit of e-Shift, is that it makes the almost invisible pixel structure of JVC’s LCoS chips essentially invisible. Now for a 100″ screen, you’ll have get within about 2 feet to see any pixel structure instead of 5 or 6 feet back.

Panasonic for years, has had SmoothScreen. It’s done differently, but also does at least one thing similarly: It makes the pixels more invisible at normal seating distances.

None of the JVC projectors with 4K e-Shift2 are capable of handling any 4K source material.

The X55 projector basically takes 1080p (1920×1080), and fires twice – 1920×1080 the first time, then shifts the image about 1/2 pixel diagonally, and repeats the process. That blurs the image, and spreads out the light to where the pixel mask is, thus the lower pixel visibility.

I think JVC’s got a good thing here, except for pitching it as 4K.  Don’t worry though, JVC will have help – lots of it, from the various LCDTV manufacturers.  Those players are starting to call all sorts of things 4K, that are also not true 4K.  Consider this:

JVC is addressing 4K, but they are merely overlapping pixels. Even if JVC could accept 4K, it definitely doesn’t provide the sharpness and detail of a true 4K projector like Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES.  The overlapping pixels, which at times can actually add softness on some fine work where there’s 1:1 pixel mapping, generally provides a sharper seeming picture.

Bottom line. The JVC appears a touch sharper than the Epson 5020, which seems pretty sharp for a 3 panel projector. I may yet get a chance to run the JVC with e-shift against a basic 1080p projector that is a sharp single chip DLP projector. Timing didn’t work out so that I could compare the Sony’s Reality Creation to JVC’s e-Shift.

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