The Art of Home Theater Projectors

JVC DLA-X900R Home Theater Projector – New Flagship Wows at CEDIA 2013

Every year both JVC divisions – Consumer and Pro, offer a new flagship projector, in this case, the Consumer division’s is the DLA-X900R.  The JVC DLA-X900R like its predecessors, is $11,999, and like them, is the “best of the best” in terms of build quality.  JVC literally makes both the X900R with “hand picked components”, and the less expensive (a still hefty $7999) DLA-X700R.

A couple of years back we reviewed both a predecessor, and the non-hand picked component predecessor.  There really is a difference.  Is it worth $4,000 extra?  If you want the ultimate in black level performance, and a slightly “clearer” image thanks ot the best of the lenses, you bet.  But, of course $11,999 isn’t for the average wallet.  Naturally most will settle for the lower cost JVC.  BTW the equivalent in the Pro series is the DLA-RS67, it sells for the same price, and only differs, to my knowledge, in the slight difference in the trim.

There’s big news on these projectors.  JVC has long been the black level champ.  Their older versions of these projectors lacked a dynamic iris yet still offered the best black levels in the industry, despite everyone elses use of dynamic irises.   Well, not only has JVC dropped in new LCoS panels with thinner wire frames for a native contrast increase, but they have added a dynamic iris. Naturally they don’t call it a dynamic iris, that would be too easy.  So, let me introduce you to JVC’s “Intelligent Lens Aperture”.  One can argue that because it’s up front by the lens, rather than further back int he light path it deserves a different name, but, there are trade offs no matter where you put your dynamic iris.  It’s the bottom line that matters.

Without engaging the dynamic iris the DLA-X700R projector now claims a native contrast of 150,000:1  (note that most other projectors under about $15K stopped publishing native contrast several years ago, so as not to be embarrassed.  Turn on the Dynamic iris and JVC jumps their claim to 1,500,000:1.  That’s a record.  Epson showed a prototype projector a couple years back claiming 1,000,000:1, but the next highest number I’ve seen is on Epson’s new (and far less expensive) Pro Cinema 6030UB and Home Cinema 5030UB projectors, also launched at CEDIA.   Trust me, those Epson’s have phenomenal black level performance for the price, but this new top of the line JVC will leave the Epsons in the proverbial dust.

The X700R, I should note claims 120,000:1 and 1,200,000:1 contrast.  That’s not a really great difference, really having 20% less contrast is a very slight difference, but if you seek perfection, the X900R is 20% closer…

The X900R is also just a little brighter than last year’s, and is now claiming 1300 lumens (they attribute that to the new panels).

The other major change for 2013-2014 with the JVC DLA-X900R is the lastest for JVC’s “4K-e-shift3″   (last year was e-shift2″.  I’m sure there are subtle improvements, and I’ll still argue that this isn’t real 4K, just a fancy upscaling, or detail enhancement (the panels are still only 1080p, so you just can’t do a thinner line).

But the real difference is that this new JVC projector can at least accept a 4K source, something only Sony has offered before.  If you start with a 4K source, obviously you have more data, so when you process the data you will get a more precise data set to throw at e-shift3 to simulate real 4K.   Those really seeking the best will have to ultimately consider the DLA-X900′s no doubt awesome black levels and their e-shift, against the slightly more expensive ($14999) Sony VPL-VW600ES – a true 4K projector, that has excellent blacks but still not in the league of the X900R.  Of course well discuss this in-depth in our full reviews.

So when can you lay your hands on one of these?  I actually got mixed signals at the show, depending on which JVC person I spoke to.  Consensus is this year. November or December.  That said, JVC is usually the last to ship in recent years.  Often in January.   Of course they want to have these out for your holiday shopping so my money says they ship this year.

Other items of note.   There’s now smartphone apps for controlling these new JVC projectors.  (Always a nice touch).  From a performance standpoint, JVC is now on the bandwagon with RF glasses instead of IR.  BTW your $14999 will include 2 pair of the new 3D glasses and the external RF emitter.  And “of course” the X900R is THX and ISF certified.

Can’t wait to get my hands on one of these!  -art

 

 

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