I’m used to reviewing projectors that sell in the range of $1000 to about $15K, so getting the better part of the week to use and review the brand new JVC DLP-HD2K projector, which sells for $29,995, has been a rare treat. Before I go on, its performance is magnificent.
First of all, this JVC projector relies on D-ILA technology, which is, without splitting hairs, a type of LCOS technology. Basically D-ILA is a reflective LCD. That puts it somewhere in between traditional LCD technology (light passes thru the LCD) and DLP, where light is reflected off of tiny mirrors. JVC has been shipping D-ILA since 1998, shortly after the first DLP’s shipped. In many ways, being reflective, D-ILA tends to behave like DLP however – of great importance - pixels are far less visible on the JVC, than DLP projectors (essentially invisible at any reasonable viewing distance).
Perhaps more to the point, this is a three chip machine, no spinning filter wheel, and no “blurring” on some scenes where there is fast panning of objects. With 3 chips instead of one, comes better dynamic range – richer colors, vibrancy, vividness, whatever you wish to call it. I’ll speak more of that later.
But, it gets better. This JVC projector is a true 2K machine. Inside the box, those three D-ILA chips are each 1920x1080 – true highest resolution Hi-Def. We are talking about 2.25 times as much resolution (number of pixels) as all those 720p resolution projectors out there.
The end result is remarkable image quality, and clarity! I can immediately tell you, that I have yet to see another projector that can match this one. To be fair, I haven’t had the chance to play with any $50K CRT projectors, nor have I gotten any of the other $30K machines, like InFocus’s 777 to review yet. Still, having seen the 777 at CEDIA, I know it to be an excellent machine, but right off the bat, it won’t be able to touch the JVC on 1080 Hi-Def for sheer sharpness and resolution, since it is a three chip, but with only 1280x720 native resolution. This JVC projector, like their lower priced 720 resolution projector, is packaged differently than the competition. You will find that JVC has basically separated the projector head, from the bulk of the electronics. You receive an outboard processor with all of the expected inputs, and it outputs DVI directly to the projector. This means that you can place the processor with the rest of your equipment, and only need to run one cable to the projector (plus the power cord). This will save you the cost of some really expensive cables, since with this projector looking so fine, you don’t want to be scrimping elsewhere. Before we get into the details, one more comment. This JVC is all about picture quality, however beyond that, in some ways it is very basic. No keystone correction (that makes sense, why degrade a virtually flawless image), no optical lens shift, and no interchangeable lenses. Instead, you just get beautiful output.
First we will look at the Projector itself.
Front: The two front feet offer standard screw threads, as well as quick release drop down buttons. There is a sensor on the front for the remote control.
Manual Focus and zoom are located on the top of the projector, and recessed. From the processor’s remote, you can bring up various test patterns, which will help you get the best focus, as well as color balance, gray scales and more.
Also on the top is a full control panel with the usual power indicator and lamp indicator lights. This projector, like almost all projectors, will ceiling mount upsidedown. On the left side is a single input jack, for DVI. This connects directly to the processor box, which will sit with the rest of your equipment (DVD, cable/satellite tuner, receiver, etc.) On the back all you will find is the receptacle for the power cord and a sensor for the remote control.
Now, let’s check out the processor. On the front of the processor is a power switch and a read out display. There are a slew of inputs, including two sets of BNC’s for various sources that are RGB or Component. In addition there are:
One S-video, one composite video, and the all important DVI input.
There is also the DVI output that connects to the projector.