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JVC DLA-NZ9 D-ILA Laser Projector Review

Posted on March 8, 2022 by Phil Jones
JVC NZ9-PQ with Projector Reviews best in class award

JVC has announced three new D-ILA home theater projector models. The JVC DLA-NZ9 is an HDR home theater projector that delivers true 4K resolution (4096 x 2160). It is the replacement for the award-winning DLA-NX9/RS3000 which we reviewed a while back. These JVC models all utilize their BLU-Escent laser light source, include 8K e-shift technology and they are the world's first projectors to offer 48Gbps 8K/60p inputs.

With a retail price of $25,999, the DLA-NZ9 sits at the higher end of JVC's D-ILA FPJ lineup but its high native contrast combined with 4K resolution results in exceptional performance. Since this is a native 4K unit (unlike a 2K pixel shifting projector), it can faithfully reproduce all 8.8 million pixels found in 4K content.

JVC NZ9-PQ D-ILA panels

While there are several 8K flat panels available on the market today but there are very few projectors that can display 8K content. JVC was the first company to offer a projector that could display resolutions higher than 4K. However, JVC's proprietary 8K e-shift feature which shifts each pixel diagonally 0.5 pixel to increase projected resolution was only available on the higher end NX9/RS3000 ($17,999 SRP). This year 8K e-shift is available on the DLA-NZ7/RS2100 which retails for just $10,999.

In addition, the DLA-NZ9/RS4100 or DLA-NZ8/RS3100 are equipped with the new and improved 8K/e-shiftX which can now shift the image in four directions (up, down, left, and right) to produce over 35.3 million addressable pixels, which is enough to display 8K resolution onscreen. The D-ILA drive device was improved, and it is now possible to display images at a speed equivalent to 240Hz. Faster pixel shifting makes it even more difficult to visually differentiate native 8K from pixel-shited 8K.

The unit's BLU-Escent laser light source technology can produce brightness up to 3,000lm for 20,000 hours of nearly maintenance-free operation. The NZ9's high native contrast ratio of 100,000:1 (1,000,000:1 Dynamic) combined with 4K resolution and JVC's industry-leading black levels result in exceptional picture quality.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front left
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 rear panel
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front right
JVC DLA-NZ9 Specs
Price$25,999
TechnologyDILA, 3Chip
Native Resolution4,096 x 2,160
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3000
Contrast100,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio2.00:1
Lens ShiftYes
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Weight56
Warranty3 year

 

OVERVIEW

JVC is one of the premium manufacturers of Home Theater Projectors. Over the years due to their high contrast, great black level, and native 4K resolution, their projectors have won numerous awards.

JVC offers two different series of D-ILA Home Theater Projectors which differ mainly in their cosmetic appearance. Both series are designed for home theater customers and production facilities but sell through different sales channels. For example, NZ (Procision) Series projectors are sold through retailers like BestBuy and Crutchfield, while the RS (Reference) Series models are available through the custom installation dealer network.

Procision Series (DLA-NZ9, DLA-NZ8, DLA-NZ7)

The three new JVC laser projectors are in both the Procision Series and Reference Series lines. The new Procision Series models are the DLA-NZ9, DLA-NZ8, and DLA-NZ7, and the Reference Series equivalents are the DLA-RS4100, DLA-RS3100, and the DLA-RS2100.

ModelPrice (SRP)Displayed ResolutionBrightnessNative ContrastLens
NZ9 / RS4100$25,999.958K/e-shiftX3,000lm100,000:1100mm All Glass
NZ8 / RS3100$15,999.958K/e-shiftX2,500lm80,000:165mm All Glass
NZ7 / RS2100$10,999,958K/e-shift2,200lm40,000:165mm All glass
NP5 / RS1100$6999.954K1,900lm40,000:165mm All glass

At a retail price of $25,999, the JVC DLA-NZ9 / RS4100 is at the top end of the JVC 4K projector lineup. It uses the same 18 Element, 16 Group, All-Glass 100mm Diameter Zoom Lens found in DLA NX9 /RS3000. However, the bulb found in the previous model has been replaced with a BLU-Escent™ (Laser Diode/Phosphor) light source which can deliver higher brightness (3,000 ANSI lumens).

JVC claims the NZ9 has a native contrast ratio of 100,000:1 (Dynamic Contrast Ratio 1,000,000:1) which is exceptional. Laser dimming gives the NZ9 a nearly infinite dynamic contrast ratio. In addition, the NZ9 can also deliver rich vibrant colors. JVC also claims that with the Cinema Filter engaged, the NZ9 can reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space.

In addition to the new laser light source-equipped 8K e-shift models, JVC also offers the DLA-NP5 /DLA-RS1100. These two native 4K D-ILA models are lamp-based units and do not include 8K e-shift. This helps keep the cost down compared to its laser-equipped big brothers. JVC is offering each of these projectors for $6,999 MSRP.

All the new DILA projectors in JVC's lineup including the NP5 /RS1100 are equipped with dual 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs designed to accept 8K/60fps and 4K/120fps signals. While the DLA-NP5/DLA-RS1100 can not display 8K, they are a great match with the latest gaming consoles like a PlayStation5 or Xbox Series X. The new 8K-shift equipped projectors like the NZ9 can not only accept but they can display both 8K/60fps and 4K/120fps content.

JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front

The NZ9 uses an all-glass 18 element lens in order to ensure that all the resolution provided by these 4K imagers reach the screen. This lens assembly is one finest offered on a Home Theater projector and they are a big reason why the NZ9 commands a premium price over the NZ7.

To maximize the HDR performance of the NZ9, it includes a couple of JVC proprietary technologies. First is Frame Adapt HDR which is dynamic scene-by-scene and frame-by-frame HDR tone mapping of HDR10 content. Next is Theater Optimizer which combines information provided by the user with the unit's current status to provide a more accurate baseline on which to apply their dynamic tone mapping.

In addition, to supporting the HDR10 format used in UHD Blu-ray and streaming, along with the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) format used in broadcasting, the NZ9 also supports HDR10+.

Combining 8K e-shift X, laser light source accurate colors, custom install feature with D-ILA's industry-leading contrast and black level put the NZ9 / RS4100 puts these models head and shoulders above the competition.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New 8K e-shift-X yields 8192 x 4320 projected image
  • 18 element, 16 group all-glass 100mm lens assembly
  • BLU-Escent laser light source technology
  • Three Chip Native 4K D-ILA (4,096 x 2,160)
  • 3000 lumens – bright enough to handle modest ambient light
  • 100,000:1 Native Contrast Ratio (1,000,000:1 Dynamic)
  • Two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) inputs support 8K/60P & 4K/120P
  • Laser light source rated for 20,000 hours (Low Mode)
  • Precise Dynamic HDR Tone Mapping
  • HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG Support
  • Wide Color Gamut (98% of DCI-P3)
  • Anamorphic Lens ready
  • Motorized kens with Lens Memory
    • Motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift
  • Full HD 3D
  • Low Latency Mode to reduce input lag when gaming
  • Up to 10 customizable picture preferences
  • 3-year advanced replacement warranty

Notable Features

8K E-SHIFTX TECHNOLOGY

JVC has long been a major player in the home theater projector space primarily because of the strength of their D-ILA panels. The DLA-NZ9 like all JVC DILA Home Theater projectors utilizes three JVC's 0.69inch native 4K D-ILA (4096 x 2160) devices. While manufacturers like Sony also make their own LCoS panels, JVC D-ILA panels historically have delivered higher native contrast which translates into superior black levels.

JVC 4K D-ILA

The DLA-NZ9 utilizes three JVC's 0.69inch native 4K D-ILA (4096 x 2160) devices

To further improve image clarity, a few years ago JVC introduced 8K e-shift technology in the NX9 which can shift each pixel diagonally 0.5 pixel to increase the unit's projected resolution.

The new and improved 8K/e-shiftX found NZ9/RS4100 along with the DLA-NZ8/RS3100 can now shift the image in four directions (up, down, left, and right) to produce over 35.3 million addressable pixels, which is enough to display 8K resolution faithfully. The D-ILA drive device was improved, and it is now possible to display images at a speed equivalent to 240Hz. The device is moving so fast that it would be difficult to differentiate between a "native" or "shifted" pixel.

JVC-4K-vs-8K-eshift-vs-8K-eshiftX - Projector Reviews Images

4K vs 8K e-shift vs 8K e-shiftX

While watching upscaled 4K and native 8K content, I switched the e-shiftX feature on and off and the difference was subtle but noticeable from my sitting position. This is because most content just doesn't have enough detail to fully exploit the benefit of native or e-shifted 8K.

The hottest buzzword in home theater is "8K." Most TV manufacturers offer at least one 8K flatpanel. However most flat panel TV range between 65" to 75" so they are too small to show the benefit of 8K from a normal viewing distance. However, the additional resolution provided by 8K could make a big difference in a projection system, particularly if you want to sit as close as possible to a massive screen. The NZ9 also includes a very good all-glass lens assembly to ensure every ounce of resolution is delivered on-screen.

100MM ALL-GLASS LENS ASSEMBLY

Good optics have a major impact on picture quality. The better lens assembly is one of the major reasons why the NZ9 (RS4100) costs $15,000 more than the (NZ7) RS2100.

JVC DLA-NZ9 lens assembly cross-section

18-element, 16-group all-glass 100mm diameter lens

The lens found in the NZ9 is 35 percent larger in diameter than the unit used in the NZ7. It also utilizes 18 all-glass elements set in 16 groups, with five of these elements featuring low dispersion optical coatings to prevent issues with chromatic aberration and provide a sharper edge-to-edge image

The better lens and selected parts make the NZ9 (RS4100) more efficient than the NZ8 (RS3100). The NZ9 can deliver an extra 500 lumens of brightness and 20 percent more native and dynamic contrast than the NZ* even though it uses using the same BLU-Escent laser light source. The len is the main reason why the NZ9 cost $10,000 more and is 5 pounds heavier than NZ8.

The NZ9 has arguably the best optics found on a projector anywhere near its price range. You would have to buy a more expensive Sony model like the VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP) equipped with ARC-F lens for the same optic quality.

48GBPS HDMI 2.1 INPUTS

JVC NZ9-PQ rear panel with and HDMI cable connected

Dual 48Gpbs HDMI Inputs can accept 8K/60fps and 4K/120fps signals

While the JVC-DLA NX9 had 8K e-shift capabilities but due to its 18Gpbs HDMI 2.0b inputs, could not accept an 8K signal. However, the unit could upscale 4K content to 8K before it was displayed. All the new 8K-eshift models like the NZ9 include two 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs so that they can accept both 8K@60fps and 4K@120fps.

JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
JVC DLA-NZ9 Info menu

Currently, there isn't a lot of 8K or high frame rate video content available but 4K@120fps can help deliver a smooth high-quality gaming experience from a high-end gaming PC as well as the latest PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles.

I connected the NZ9 to a variety of gaming consoles including a PlayStation5, Xbox Series X, and high-end gaming PC. All these systems support 4K gaming at 120 frames per second. In addition, JVC loaned me a media server loaded with 8K/60fps content. The NX9 has no issues playing back both 4K high frame rate and 8K material.

JVC DLA-NZ9 TV setup support

While the inputs can support up to 48Gbps, we should note that HDMI inputs/outputs found on most A/V Receivers, video switchers, and gaming consoles are limited to 40Gbps. This is fine because the video information in a 48Gbps signal far exceeds the capabilities of the 10-bit panels/imagers found in consumer TVs and projectors including the NZ9.

FRAME ADAPT HDR WITH THEATER OPTIMIZER

JVC DLA-NZ9 frame adapt HDR

Many of us have quickly become accustomed to outstanding HDR performance on our flat-panel TVs. However, HDR content doesn't just look good on many projectors. The HDR picture is typically too dark with blown-out, overbright highlights.

When it comes to HD and standard 4K content, most projectors can get the job done and have sufficient brightness to accurately convey all the information. When viewing HDR content, HDR projectors typically can't maintain the required brightness to faithfully reproduce the material. Therefore, projector manufacturers rely on tone mapping – which is a compromise between maintaining bright highlight details and delivering full-screen brightness.

A few years ago, JVC introduced an Auto Tone Mapping feature that automatically adjusts the projector's HDR settings (tone mapping) to optimize HDR10 image quality. The JVC projector used the static HDR metadata (Max CLL and Max FALL) to make tone mapping adjustments to better use the projector's brightness capabilities based on the on-screen image. To learn more about this feature, check out our review of the JVC LX-NZ3.

Auto Tone Mapping is a great step to better HDR, but embedded static MaxCLL and MAXFall metadata is applied throughout the entire movie so sometimes the tone mapping decisions made by the projector are inaccurate. For example, certain scenes can still appear too dark.

JVC determined that it was critical to add the capability to measure HDR metadata to further improve the HDR performance of their projectors. In 2019, JVC started shipping 4K DILA projectors equipped with both Auto Tone Mapping and Dynamic Tone Mapping. This new combination of technologies did an excellent job of balancing average screen brightness with the need to maintain highlight detail.

A flat panel TV's brightness is consistent regardless of the room environment but the brightness of a projected image can change depending on the screen size, screen gain, throw distance, and lamp life. To precisely tone map, the projector's processor needs to account for its exact brightness capability in your specific system.

JVC DLA-NZ9 theater optimizer menu

JVC's new Theater Optimizer feature combines information provided by the user with the projector's current status information to provide a more accurate baseline on which to apply dynamic Tone Mapping.

For example, the user can input information like screen size and gain while the projector takes care of settings like lens zoom position, lamp condition, and other relevant details. By utilizing that user-inputted information and default projector information, the projector can automatically and precisely adjust itself for optimum tone mapping and brightness.

Theater Optimizer and Frame Adapt HDR features result in great-looking HDR10 content while eliminating the hassle of having to constantly make manual Brightness and Contrast adjustments from bright to dark scenes or from movie to movie.

JVC Home Theater projectors also support HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) to ensure that users are ready for live future HDR broadcast. HLG is based on a Gamma curve just like SDR, it does not need to be tone mapped by the projector.

HDR10+

JVC DLA-NZ9 with HDR10+

The DLA-NZ9 supports HDR10+

While JVC's Frame Adapt HDR feature does an outstanding job measuring and dynamically tone mapping HDR10 content, the new DILA projectors like DLA-NZ9 also support HDR10+. This format is based on HDR10 but in HDR10+ content, the luminance information for each scene is embedded into the content as dynamic metadata, so tone mapping can be performed according to the specific scene. This helps the projector faithfully reproduce the HDR images as intended by the creators.

While HDR10 and Dolby Vision is the main way HDR content is currently distributed, Amazon Prime Video has announced support for HDR10+. There is also a limited number of 4K UHD Blu-ray discs available and a select number of UHD BD players from companies like Panasonic support it

Hardware

JVC DLA-NZ9 vs JVC DLA-RS4100

The DLA-NZ9 black/silver trim around the lens assembly while the trim on the DLA-4100 is gold

The DLA-NZ9 has a black chassis with black/silver trim and its twin model the RS4100 has gold trim around the lens assembly. The JVC DLA-NZ9 is larger and heavier than most Home Theater projectors. While the DLA-NZ9 dimensions are very similar to the DLA-NX9 it replaces the new unit at approximately 55 pounds is about 7 pounds heavier than the previous model. The BLU-Escent laser light source and components (power supply, cooling system) required to support it are the main reason why the NZ9 weights more.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front right
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the rear
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 right side
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front top

The motorized, 2.00:1 zoom lens is located Front and center. Since all the lens adjustments are motorized (with Lens Memory) there are no physical controls/knobs for zoom, focus, or lens shift.

Other than the exhaust vents on either side of the lens, the only other thing on the front of the projector is the IR sensor and three LED indicator lights (Warning, Light, Standby). In addition to providing Power status if there should be a problem, there's a list of warning codes in the manual.

JVC DLA-NZ9 rear button panel

DLA-NZ9 rear-mounted control panel

On the backside of the projector is the Control Panel, as well as the inputs and connectors. The DLA-NZ9 control panel is very simple but most people will only use the control panel for initial setup, then rely on the remote control or a home automation system for those types of functions.

On either side on the lower portion of the backside are air inlets which are covered by replaceable/cleanable filters. In between the two inlets is the power terminal.

The inputs are located on the rear of the chassis and they included a pair of 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 (HDCP 2.3) inputs which support 8K@60fps as well as 4K@120fps. There is also a 3D SYNCHRO terminal to connect the optional 3D Synchro Emitter.

JVC DLA-NZ9 rear connections panel

DLA-NZ9 Connections

For "old school" command and control, there is also a traditional serial RS-232C port (DB9 connector) along with a USB terminal used for service and firmware updates. Lastly, there is the RJ-45 jack for standard Ethernet networking and a single 12V trigger output which can be used to control a screen, the sled of an anamorphic lens, or motorized shades.

The DLA-NZ9 uses remote control that is very similar to the unit provided with previous JVC DiLA projectors. It is backlit and the buttons are well-spaced and easy to find. I like that there is a PICTURE MODE button to directly access the different picture modes,

There are also additional buttons to access the several menus settings including the projector's CMD (Clear Motion Drive) MPC (Graphic Mode), COLOR PROFILE, and the GAMMA SETTINGS.

LENS ASSEMBLY

The NZ9 is equipped with JVC's best lens assembly. The 18 all-glass elements set in 16 groups offer a zoom range of 2.0:1 along with a good amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift. The DLA-NZ9 offers a lot of installation flexibility for ceiling, rear shelf mount, or tabletop mounting the projector.

JVC DLA-NZ9 lens

Premium 18-element, 16-group all-glass 100mm diameter lens

The motorized lens with horizontal/vertical lens shift is a great feature if you can't line up the projector lens with the center of the screen. Like most projectors, the more horizontal shift you use, the less vertical adjustment you will have available.

Lens Shift: 100% Vertical and 43% Horizontal

For a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen: 100% of a screen height of approximately 50″ is approximately 50 inches. The DLA-NZ9 can be placed with the center of the lens as high as about 25 inches above the top of the screen to 25 inches below the bottom, and anywhere in between. The horizontal shift is a maximum of 0.43 x image width, which would be about .34 x 87 inches for a total range of about 37.4 inches of horizontal adjustment. A large amount of vertical and horizontal shift makes rear shelf placement a breeze.

Throw Distance for a 16:9 (1.78:1) Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)
80"                                     93.1 (2370 mm)190.6 (4840 mm)
100”117.2 (2980 mm)239 (6070 mm)
110”129.3 (3280 mm)263.3 (6690 mm)
120”141.3 (3590 mm)287.5(7300 mm)
130”153.4 (3900 mm)311.7 (7920 mm)
140’165.4 (4200 mm)335.9 (8530 mm)
150”177.5 (4510 mm)360.1 (9150 mm)

Throw Distance for a 2.35:1 Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal)Min Screen Distance (in)Max Screen Distance (in)
80"                                     73.1 (2500 mm)150 (5120 mm)
100”123.9 (3150 mm)252.5 (6410 mm)
110”136.7 (3470 mm)278.1 (7060 mm)
120”149.4 (3790 mm)303 (7710 mm)
130”162.1 (4120 mm)329.2 (8360 mm)
140”174.8 (4440 mm)354.8 (9010 mm)
150”187.5 (4760 mm)380.3 (9660 mm)

Lastly, for even more flexibility, you can save multiple configurations thanks to the Lens Memory function (accessible from the menus or the Position button on the remote control).

A motorized lens system with lens memory is a useful feature if you have a self-masking projection screen. You can also use the Lens Memory to zoom and reposition video projected in different aspect ratios (2.35:1 and 16.9) to best fit a fixed aspect ratio screen.

For example, when viewing 16:9 material on a 2.35:1 aspect screen the image can be zoomed to fit top and bottom of the screen but you will see "black bars" on the left and right sides.

The DLA-NZ9 is also compatible with commercially available anamorphic lenses and ultra-wide format screens for an immersive movie theater experience. It also features a new scaling mode that is optimized for the full native 4,096 x 2,160 (17 x 9) resolution of the D-ILA device.

Beyond basic Lens Memory, the DLA-NZ9 is also equipped with a new "Installation Mode" that saves and recalls up to 9 different combinations of settings including Lens Control, Pixel Adjustment, Mask, Anamorphic on or off, Screen Adjust, Installation Style, Keystone, Pincushion of lens settings, different aspect ratios, lens presets, convergence, and screen masking positions.

MENUS

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 gamma menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 picture mode menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu

The NZ9's menu system is similar to what JVC has utilized on its projectors for several years. There are some new setting adjustments to support newly introduced features like HDR10+.

The images of the menu shown in this section represent only a small number of all the sub-menus available. I tried to show a couple more notable sections found in the most useful sub-menus (image, setting, networking, etc.).

The DLA-NZ9's overall menu is well organized and easy to navigate. While the type size on the menu is a little small, it is still readable at a "normal" distance. The position of the menu can also be moved.

PERFORMANCE

Like the RS3000 I reviewed last year, I would rate the JVC DLA-NZ9 out-of-the-box picture quality as outstanding. Whether you are watching HD, 4K, or HDR, the DLA-NZ9 delivered an excellent picture. The native 4K D-ILA imagers and high-quality optics ensure that the DLA-NZ9 had no problems delivering sharp, detailed 4K imagery

Due to its fantastic black levels, and bright vibrant image, I would have been happy to have the DLA-NZ9 as a permanent part of my reference system.

COLOR REPRODUCTION

Whether looking at SDR or HDR content, the color reproduction was outstanding. The NATURAL and USER modes were the most accurate of the four different preset SDR picture modes available.

In addition to the NATURAL picture mode, the JVC also includes a CINEMA and a FILM mode. The CINEMA mode image was a little warmer and brighter while the FILM mode picture was even warmer with boosted contrast.

The three USER configurable modes look identical to the NATURAL picture mode. The USER modes can be used to store picture settings after calibration, such as “SDR Night” mode or “SDR Day” mode.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector color depth illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector color depth illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector color depth illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector color depth illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie

The NZ9's color reproduction was excellent right out of the box

In addition to the Picture Modes, the NZ9 has over dozen built-in color profiles to help fine-tune the look of HDR and SDR material.

Natively, the DLA-NZ9 reproduces approximately 88% of the DCI-P3 color space. To maximize color performance, the JVC NZ9 has a "Cinema Filter". The Color Filter is engaged in the BT2020 Wide and Off Wide Color Profiles.

When the Cinema Filter is utilized, the NZ9 can reproduce about 98% of DCI-P3 (70% of BT2020), providing a wider and more accurate color palette. Also, note that when the DLA-NZ9 color filter is utilized, there is a noticeable drop in brightness.

Like every other JVC home theater projector that I have ever reviewed, I would be satisfied with the picture quality of the DLA-NZ9 right out of the box. However, like all Home Theater projectors, I took the time to calibrate the unit.

Since your room and screen material has a major impact on the overall picture, I don't recommend using someone else's calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else's results can actually be detrimental to the picture quality rather than improving it.

Just as an example, I am including the before and after results of calibration for my specific room and set up.

To test the projector's color accuracy we use Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.

Pre-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

JVC DLA-NZ9 Color Tracking graph

All of the picture modes were a little too warm out of the box. The projector’s NATURAL and USER were closest to my color temperature of 6500K, but both modes' images were too warm.

We calibrated the USER1 mode for SDR viewing in a room with low ambient light.

  • Picture Mode: User 1
  • Color Temperature: 6057K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 0.61
  • Average Grayscale dE: 4.6
  • Gamma: 1.9

Post-Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

JVC DLA-NZ9 Color Tracking graph

We set the COLOR TEMP to Custom with a Correction Value of 6500K. To produce good grayscale (RGB Balance), I reduced the RED GAIN and the RED OFFSET. This resulted in a color temp much closer to my target of 6500K.

We set the GAMMA SETTING to Custom (2.3) to achieve our target of 2.2.

While the NZ9 offers CMS adjustments, after adjusting the projector grayscale, the average color tracking dE was just 0.61 so we didn’t feel the need to make any adjustments.

  • Picture Mode: User 1
  • Color Temperature: 6524K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 0.61
  • Average Grayscale dE: 0.54
  • Gamma: 2.21

Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy of 3 and under is considered 'Excellent' and imperceptible by the human eye. The picture from most projectors that utilize a blue laser phosphor light source is usually way too cool out of the box. The NZ9 was actually too warm. However, even before calibration, the DLA-NZ9 had an average Grayscale dE of around 4.6 which is good. After calibration, the projector's average color dE was just 0.54, which is outstanding.

You may have noticed that color tracking measurements in the pre and post-calibration images above look identical. This is because, once the RGB balance was adjusted, the color tracking was outstanding with an average dE of just 0.61, so we didn’t feel the need to make any CMS adjustments.

Like SDR, the colors were a little too warm when viewing HDR content. However, adjusting the Red Gian and Offset produced a good RGB balance (Grayscale). When the Cinema Filter was engaged, the NZ9 color tracking of DCI-P3 was excellent as well.

While there was some improvement to the picture after calibration, the difference was not dramatic. The colors and skin tones looked great the instant I turned the unit on. Unlike many laser-equipped home theaters, I didn't feel the need to fiddle with the unit's picture adjustments. As I mentioned earlier, I would be satisfied with the picture quality of the NZ9 whether it was calibrated or not.

BRIGHTNESS

The DLA-NZ9 has a rated brightness of 3000 ANSI lumens which is 800 lumens bright than the NZ8 /RS3000 which it replaces. While this much brightness is not needed to watch SDR content on a 120" screen in a dark room, the extra brightness is beneficial when viewing HDR content.

At wide-zoom, with the LD POWER laser output set to High, the JVC DLA-NZ9 produced 2,985 lumens in USER mode. This is very close to the projector’s rated brightness of 3000 lumens.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector brightness setting illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC NZ9-PQ performance illustrated by displaying an image of three women
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector brightness setting illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector brightness setting illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie

The NZ9 high brightness made HDR content pop

Premium projector manufacturers like JVC tend to be more conservative when rating brightness. JVC owners are more interested in great black level and accurate color reproduction than absolute brightness. 

While many 4K UHD DLP projectors can produce much higher max brightness, it is usually at the expense of accurate colors. Once these projectors are calibrated their brightness advantage quickly disappears. Those projectors often lose nearly half their brightness when they are adjusted to reproduce accurate colors.

The DLA-NZ9 can still deliver most of its rated brightness even after calibration. For example, the NZ9 retained About 85% of its pre-calibrated brightness after calibration.

The NZ9 is equipped with a color filter to increase the projector color gamut coverage. As a result, the projector can reproduce 98% of the DCI-P3 color space when the cinema filter is engaged. However, the unit's overall brightness is reduced by about 25 to 30%. When viewing HDR, I think the benefits of higher brightness out weights the advantages of a wider color gamut reproduction.

The NZ9’s great black levels and high brightness combined with great overall color (calibrated or uncalibrated) deliver SDR and HDR picture quality that very few home theaters projectors can match.

BLACK LEVEL AND SHADOW DETAIL

The black level from the NZ9 was outstanding. While great black levels are important, so is shadow detail. Not only did the DLA-NZ9 handle the darkest scenes, it also did a great job reproducing the darkest details.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector contrast illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector contrast illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector contrast illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector contrast illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie

The DILA panels used in the NZ9 delivered class-leading blacklevel and shadow detail

For maximum dynamic contrast, the NZ9 has a Dynamic Control setting that can modulate the laser light output scene by scene. While adjusting the laser light output can be used to increase the perceived contrast, it is not 100% transparent. Therefore, dynamic light modulation can sometimes be noticeable as the projector adjusts from scene to scene. The mode offers three levels: Off, Mode 1, and Mode 2. We chose Mode 1 because it was less aggressive so the changes in brightness were less noticeable.

Since JVC's newer 4K D-ILA device used in the DLA-NZ9 delivers higher native contrast, less aggressive dynamic light modulation is needed to reproduce great blacks and shadow detail. So even without the DLA-NZ9's Dynamic Control engaged, few projectors can come close to this JVC's performance on dark scenes.

Most competitors' 4K projectors can't match the DLA-NZ9's native contrast. So, if you love deep blacks on very dark scenes, it would be hard to find a competitively priced projector that can beat this JVC.

SDR AND HDR PICTURE QUALITY

Good 4K upscaling continues to be critically important because most TV shows and live broadcasts will continue to be produced in HD for at least several more years. The JVC 4K upscaling was excellent. Whether I was watching sports in 720P or 1080p Blu-ray Disc content, it looked very good. Most movies and TV shows do not have enough fine detail for you to see a noticeable difference between native 4K and upscaled HD content.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in SDR displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in SDR displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in SDR displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC NZ9-PQ performance illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie

The JVC DLA-NZ9 produced one of the best-looking HDR images I have seen from a projector. Frame Adapt HDR can measure and tone map HDR10 content either Frame by Frame or Scene by Scene. For my HDR viewing, i choose the Frame by Frame option.

In most situations, when viewing HDR10 content, the Adaptive HDR tone mapping feature combined with the Theater Optimizer did a great job balancing the need to deliver good full-screen brightness while still displaying bright highlight detail. However, users do have the ability to adjust the tone mapping brightness curve using the HDR LEVEL setting but I never felt the need to do so.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in HDR displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector performance illustrated by displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in HDR displaying a scene from a movie
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 Projector in HDR displaying a scene from a movie

The NZ9's HDR picture quality was outstanding

If HDR10+ content is detected the NZ9 will automatically switch to HDR10+ mode and use the dynamic metadata found in the content to tone map the material scene by scene. There are three PICTURE MODE levels available for HDR10+. The three levels (High, Medium, Low) are designed to compensate for differences in screen sizes and projection distance. Based on my 100" screen and viewing distance, choose the Medium setting.

The only projector I have reviewed that provided a better-looking HDR picture was the Sony VPL-GTZ380 ($80,000 SRP without lens), but that unit cost about three times more.

While 3D was removed from most flat panel TV several years ago, projector manufacturers like JVC are still offering projectors that are 3D-ready. The NZ9 supports 3D, so you can continue to take advantage of your 3D content library.

You will need to purchase the optional JVC 3D Synchro Emitter (PK-EM2) and a pair of PK-AG3 3D glasses. I did not have the accessories needed to test the NZ9 performance but I am sure the NZ9 will perform as well as the previous JVC D-ILA projectors. Playback of 3D requires more brightness than 2D material, so the picture quality should definitely benefit from the NZ9's rated brightness of 3000 ANSI lumens.

8K and High Frame Rate 4K

  • JVC NZ9-PQ performance illustrated by displaying an image of a building
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
  • JVC NZ9-PQ performance illustrated by displaying an image of a building
  • JVC NZ9-PQ performance illustrated by displaying an image of a building

JVC was nice enough to loan me their media server loaded with 8K content, While many scenes in feature films and TV shows do not have enough fine detail to take full advantage of 8K resolution, there are some pieces of content where the benefits are noticeable. The JVC was full of landscape footage and higher resolution could easily display all the detail in the buildings and countryside.

JVC DLA-NZ9 info menuJVC DLA-NZ9 TV setup support

The NZ9 supports 4K/120fps gaming using the latest game systems

I was also lucky enough to have multiple gaming systems available including a Playstation5, Xbox Series X and an HDMI 2.1 equipped gaming PC. All of these systems support gaming at 4K/120fps. Gaming at 120p resulted in smooth clear motion. While a movie enthusiast would balk at such a high frame rate, it really enhanced the gaming expensive and would be great for viewing sports

AUDIBLE NOISE

Most Home Theater enthusiasts are just as concerned with sound quality and picture quality. A noisy projector can negatively impact the audio experience. We do not measure audible noise but JVC rates its noise out as 24dB in low LD Power mode which is whisper quiet. Even at full power, it is significantly quieter than most of the Home Theater projectors we have reviewed. The large chassis allows room for larger slower moving fans which is probably a big reason why the unit is so quiet. The only direct competitor we tested that was as quiet was the Sony VW1025ES.

AUDIBLE NOISE

Most Home Theater enthusiasts are just as concerned with sound quality and picture quality. A noisy projector can negatively impact the audio experience. We do not measure audible noise but JVC rates its noise out as 24dB in low LD Power mode which is whisper quiet. Even at full power, it is significantly quieter than most of the Home Theater projectors we have reviewed. The large chassis allows room for larger slower moving fans which is probably a big reason why the unit is so quiet. The only direct competitor we tested that was as quiet was the Sony VW1025ES.

SUMMARY

JVC DLA-NZ9 from the front top

The DLA-NZ9 retails for $25,999 and delivers 3000 Lumens with a high native contrast ratio of 100,000:1. The projector's BLU-Escent laser light source technology ensures 20,000 hours of nearly maintenance-free operation. It can also deliver rich vibrant colors. JVC also claims that with the Cinema Filter engaged, the NZ9 can reproduce nearly 100% of the DCI-P3 color space.

The NZ9 utilizes JVC's 0.69-inch 4K D-ILA devices to offer not only native 4K resolution but higher native contrast than most projectors in its price range.

  • JVC DLA-NZ9 frame adapt HDR
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 info menu
  • JVC DLA-NZ9 with HDR10+

By combining native 4K D-ILA devices with JVC's proprietary 8K e-shift-X technology, the NZ9 can deliver an 8K (8,192 x 4,320) projected image. Not only will the NZ9 upscale your HD and 4K content to 8k, due to its 48Gbps HDMI input it can accept 8K@60fps and 4K@120fps signals.

The DLA-NZ9 is equipped with a 100 mm diameter lens which adopts an all-glass design with 18 elements in 16 groups to deliver a high-resolution image with sharp focus across the entire screen.

The Adaptive HDR tone mapping combined with Theater Optimizer dynamically measures the brightness of HDR10 content and automatically adjusts the DLA-NZ9's settings to deliver the best HDR picture possible. The NZ9 also supports HLG and HDR10+.

JVC NZ9-PQ in use in a home theater

The DLA-NZ9 be a great addition to any Home Theater

JVC 4K D-ILA projector lineup in divided into two series starting at $6,999.95. The first is the Precision Series and it consists of the DLA-NP5, DLA-NZ7, DLA-NZ8, and the DLA-NZ9. The second is the Reference Series, which includes the DLA-RS1100, DLA-RS2100, DLA-RS3100, and DLA-RS4100.

Spending an additional $10,000 to step up from JVC's mid-level 4K projector DLA-NZ8 ($15,999 SRP) to the JVC DLA-NZ9 ($25,999 SRP) provides a noticeable boost in performance.

While both models feature JVC’s proprietary 8K/e-shiftX technology, the DLA-NZ9 uses JVC's top-of-the-line 100mm all-glass lens assembly. The higher quality lens not only delivers sharper focus but also gives the NZ9 a noticeable boost in brightness and contrast ratio over the NZ8.

JVC 1900 Lumens

The 100mm all-glass lens assembly delivers a crystal clear image while maximizing brightness and contrast

The NZ9 claimed brightness (3000 ANSI lumens) is 500 lumens higher than the NZ8 (2500 ANSI lumens).The DLA-NZ9 (100,000:1 native, 1,000,000:1 Dynamic) offers 20 percent more contrast than the DLA-RS2000 (80,000:1 native, 800,000:1 Dynamic).

In addition to being both THX® 4K Certified and ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) Licensed, the DLA-NZ9 is built with hand-selected components.

Compared to the competition, I have yet to find a single chip consumer 4K DLP projector that could come anywhere close to the color fidelity, contrast, and black level of a JVC LCoS projector like the DLA-NZ9. It is not even a fair fight – the DLA-NZ9 is in a whole other league. If you have the budget to step up from a 4K DLP projector to a 4K JVC D-ILA, you should absolutely do it.

The JVC D-ILA projectors' only true competition is Sony 4K SXRD projectors. Looking at the Sony FPJ lineup, the VW1025ES ($39,999) is comparable to the DLA-NZ9 ($25,999). The JVC offers the same native 4K resolution similar quality optics but with higher native contrast for $14,000 less.

JVC NZ9-PQ with Projector Reviews best in class award

The Sony XW7000ES is one of the best home theater projectors available for under $40,000

The only projector I have ever reviewed that delivered a noticeably better HDR picture was the prosumer Sony VPL-GTZ380 but that unit cost $80,000 without the lens. While it is the ultimate HDR projector, you could buy three DLA-NZ9s for that price.

Since we have the previous JVC DLA- NX9 hanging from the ceiling in the reference theater in the office which we chose because of its great picture quality. I am very familiar with the picture quality of that unit and we are switching to the DLA-NZ9 as soon as one is available because it is definitely an improvement over the older model. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the performance of the DLA-NZ9, it is arguably the best home theater projector on the market today.

JVC DLA-NZ9 – SPECIFICATIONS

Sony VPL-XW7000ES projector from the front

JVC DLA-NZ9 Specs

Projector ModelDLA-NZ9
TechnologyDILA, 3Chip
Price$25,999
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim)3000
Brightness DescriptionLaser
Contrast Ratio100,000:1
ProjectionD-ILA-3
Native Resolution4,096 x 2,160
Max Resolution8192 x 4320
3DYes
Blue RayYes
Ultra Short ThrowNo
Native Aspect Ratio4252
Video Compatiblity720p, 1080i, 1080p, UHD, 4K. 8K
HDTV720p, 1080i, 1080p
Lamp Life20,000 hours
Noise Level (-db)24dB (low mode)
AudioNone
DVI or HDMIYes
Power Zoom FocusYes
Lens ShiftYes
LAN NetworkingYes
Zoom Lens Ratio2.00:1
Optional LensNo
ClassroomNo
SpeakersNo
Special Features8K e-shiftX, 48Gbps HDMI Inputs, Dynamic HDR Tone Mapping, HDR10+ support
Wireless NetworkingNo
Dimensions19 ¾ x 9 ¼ x 20 ¾
Weight56
Warranty3 year
Year2022

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