JVC DLA-X95R Projector Review

JVC DLA-X95 R Projector: Special Features

JVC Projector iOS app! Last week JVC announced their App for controlling JVC home theater projectors remotely from your iPhone, iPad…

How well does it work?  I have no idea.  But I will.  I have downloaded it, and will start using it for my review of the JVC DLA-X35 which is already here and waiting to be reviewed.  I will report on the app, in that review, which should be about 7-8 days behind this one’s publishing.

No Dynamic Iris

Yes it is a feature of sorts! This JVC projector accomplishes truly superb black level performance without using a dynamic iris nor having to deal with the limitations of using one.

One might say that JVC is the only company out there capable of delivering really good black levels without an iris. Hey, no one else even tries!

JVC’s exceptional blacks are due, first and foremost, to their LCoS panel design. They simply created a panel that has higher native contrast than the panels coming from Sony or Canon. Arguably, JVC X95R may well produce the blackest blacks of any projector I’ve worked with. (That is, other than a CRT in the “old days”.) The $25K Sony true 4K projector (and just maybe their VW95ES), might beat the X95R’s blacks, on really dark scenes, but definitely not overall.

On brighter scenes, those Sonys have great blacks, but the JVC X95 rules! Because the black levels are achieved without a dynamic iris, medium and brighter scenes, still produce equally black blacks as those in darker scenes. Other projectors (with irises), such as the Sonys, project blacks that aren’t as dark, when doing brighter scenes, as the iris remains open so as not to dim the bright areas.

DLA-X95R 3D Abilities

This JVC X95R is 3D capable. Just plug the RF 3D emitter into the back panel, find some 3D content, and turn on JVC’s active shutter glasses. As we discovered reviewing the “mid-priced” X55R, 3D has been seriously improved this year. Last years’ JVCs had more image problems in 3D than any other projectors I reviewed in the price range (and worse than some entry level projectors)! This year, the 3D is really very good. Last year I basically said: Skip JVC if you want to take 3D seriously. Not the case this year.

Everyone seems to be getting brighter 3D this year than last, out of the same number of 2D lumens, whether due to glasses improvements or firmware, Still, this JVC still isn’t even close to being a 3D powerhouse.

I watched 3D in both 16:9 (just under 98″ diagonal) and 2.35:1 content – out to about 120″ diagonal. I found the 98″ diagonal to be “almost bright enough.” That is, watchable, but still a little dim, dim enough that twice friends asked for a different projector or 2D. At about 120″ diagonal, the image was downright dim Daylight sunny scenes in The Hunger Games, that should have looked bright, and vibrant, had the “brightness” that seemed more like a heavily overcast day. Daytime scenes in the woods, seemed more like it was about dusk. I could watch at 120″ but rarely left it there for a long period of time, typically bringing it down to less than 110″ before I was well into whatever movie I was watching. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks the JVC should stick to small screens for 3D:

I originally reported that JVC was waiting for THX 3D certification. This is the first projector I’ve reviewed to receive this certification. Interesting tidbit:

The footnote in JVC’s brochure, regarding THX-3D, recommends a 90″ diagonal screen as the optimum size for this projector. That sounds just about right for me, to have a decently bright image, with 100″ diagonal still likely to be acceptable for many of you, if not your friends.

Let's talk 3D active glasses

For 3D, of course, the X95R uses active glasses which means if you have a lot of friends, more money for glasses. JVC’s glasses, however, are unusually expensive comparedwith many other projectors.  (I also used SIM2′s glasses with the JVC). Some others should work as well. The good news, is that you should be able to find some 3rd party glasses, that are well below $100. I have simply never found the time to do a 3D glasses comparison.

2D to Simulated 3D on the DLA-X95R

I can’t really recommend watching 2D movies in 3D. I’ve tried. Kids might like it, but it doesn’t do much for me. The practical use for 2D to 3D is to watch your own family videos in 3D. Definitely!

This JVC’s 2D to 3D isn’t quite as good as the Mitsubishi HC8000, and neither are ready for prime time. I spend time in the HC8000D review discussing details of what I’m seeing that looks ‘wrong”. Check it out if you want to investigate further.

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JVC DLA-X95 R Calibration

The JVC X95R has a full CMS – color management system for proper calibration. This sets it apart from the lower cost X35 which has less color controls, lower contrast, etc.

Image taken with more than a little ambient light in the room.

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JVC X95R Creative Frame Interpolation

JVC’s CFI modes are typical.  The low setting should be tolerable to some (many?) for movie viewing, but I’m in the “purist” camp, when it comes to using CFI with movies.  I can think of only two, maybe three projectors where I had watched part or most of a movie with CFI engaged on low, and really didn’t notice.  One, for example was a Runco, almost 3 times the price.

For sports I used the low setting.  There is a slightly visible noise around the “fast moving objects” that may be a little more detectable than some other CFIs, but I wouldn’t consider that an issue.  I find CFI to be a fairly personal choice. Especially for movie viewing, where I’m definitely “old school”.

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