Projector Reviews

JVC DLA-X70 Projector – Comments on 4K

JVC DLA-X70 projector - 3D, and "4K"

Greetings,

I mentioned in the last blog, that the JVC DLA-X70 home theater projector has arrived, and Mike is calibrating it. It will be working in my theater not more than an hour or two after I return from travels this Wednesday night.

One of the “interesting things of JVC’s DLA-X70 – and the X90, (and also the identical DLA-RS55 and and DLA-RS65 home theater, projectors), is the claim of 4K resolution.  None of those JVC’s though have 4K LCoS panels, instead they are doing some “pixel shifting” for lack a a precise term.  The tech isn’t that important, what is of interest is how much truth is there in the 4K claim.

Mind you I’m not at all criticizing the performance of JVC’s X70, X90, and their twins the RS45 and RS55, just concerned about calling what they are doing “4K”. That said, if you want to see real 4K, the Sony VPL-VW1000ES is the ticket, but it’s $25K, not around $8,000 to $12,000.

If you see a 4K photo on that Sony, it’s awesome.  No way the JVC can match the sharpness, with or without “4K”, with the Sony we’re talking about  1 for 1 pixel mapping (one pixel for each data point) at 4K.

So I do want to say, that the JVC’s tech does bring something to the party, but “true 4K it ain’t”.

So, let’s discuss further.  One person at EHX in the JVC demo area owns “4K JVC projector”, he said that after having it a bit, he and his son definitely thought that the JVC was more natural looking “film-like” (in some aspects) then it was in 2K.   He also noted that overall, in 4K, things seem a touch softer, than it 2K…  (that should be a clue).

I thought that a very interesting comment, since it makes sense the way JVC’s doing it.  Since they are doing 2K, then doing 2K again, a fraction of a pixel shifted, the pixel structure (already barely detectable in 2K) becomes smoother.  – My take is this is adding the “film like”, by virtue of the smoother, softer image.

The amusing part of the story, I think, Is that I told him how we did it in the “old days” before 1080p, even before 720p:

Data was lower res with standard DVD’s being 853×480, and that the highest resolution content around. Naturally back then, therefore, pixels were larger, and more distinct as well.  As a result, close ups of faces for example, didn’t look smooth at all.   Everyone (I was still a dealer back then), writing about home theater projectors back then, would talk about defocusing, many recommending it.

Defocusing a home theater projector?

That is:  Get the projector focused to its sharpest, then de-focusing to blur the image just a tiny bit, to smooth and soften everything, and make the pixels less visible.

Most folks liked that, after all, imagine the image if you were watching a 400″ screen at 10 feet instead of a 100″ screen – pixels and data would be much larger, more coarse to the view, and look terrible.  Don’t think so?  Go to the theater and sit in the front row.

Darn, of course, back then I don’t think any reviewers thought to claim higher resolution, the setup was 853×480 maximum (disk and projector).  JVC, is actually doing addressing 4K, but with a 2K chip, and the image shift.

The defocusing technique did not give non HD projectors HD resolution, but by defocusing, you ended up with a smoother, softer resolution.  Sound familiar?

Also Panasonic has been using their Smooth Screen technology for several years in the PT-AE series, ie the new PT-AE7000 projector.  Without getting into the details of their technology, Panasonic creates an image that seems a bit smoother, and a bit softer, than say, an Epson using the same LCD chips, but uses nothing like SmoothScreen.

SmoothScreen is one reason (especially in past generations, I often said that a PT-AE projector was a touch more film-like than the competing Epson.

So the fun begins.  This will be my first chance to really play with an JVC X70, with me in control, with the content I know, etc.

You better believe I’ll be discussing JVC “4K” again, extensively, in the full review, which should be up in about 10 days.

You folks hang in there.  -art

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