JVC DLA-X95R 3D D-ILA Projector Page 3

In Use
JVC continues to throw the best picture I’ve seen in my room. I was anxious to see what kind of performance benefits I’d see with the hand-picked parts that JVC advertises with its flagship design compared with my DLA-X75R that’s one notch down in their lineup. My DLA-X75R has near perfect convergence and outstanding pixel focus, so I didn’t think I’d see much if any benefit. The DLA-X95R was easily as good with pixel focus, but surprisingly, the convergence wasn’t quite as tight as my DLA-X75R. The right side of the image had some minor red convergence drift, but this was correctable using the 122-point pixel alignment feature. I think the main benefit of hand-picked parts is that you’re far less likely to have a unit with focus or convergence issues compared with the lower line projectors. Still, there are no guarantees. The DLA-X95R’s measured peak contrast was better than I could achieve with my DLA-X75R, but my projector had a bit more light output, and the difference in contrast was nearly imperceptible with real-world content.

2D images were spectacular on the DLA-X95R. There’s no denying that JVC’s native contrast performance brings images to a level seldom seen on any other display technology on the market today. The dynamic range is intoxicating and hard to ignore with darker material. One of the best images I saw during my time with the DLA-X95R was Sony’s Blu-ray presentation of Zero Dark Thirty. Reference video transfers don’t get much better than this, and the level of detail on display was astounding. The DLA-X95R delivered jaw-dropping detail, and the contrast performance went a long way in making the intense capture of Bin Laden watchable, with impeccable shadow detail in the near-black imagery. I can’t imagine how low-contrast displays would do with this film’s raid sequence, as it’s some of the darkest imagery I’ve ever seen; but I never had any issue with the DLA-X95R.

3D performance was similar to what I saw with the DLA-X55R earlier this year. JVC has made some slight improvements, with less ghosting apparent with difficult material. While I can’t say it’s been remedied completely, it is at least watchable with the more difficult titles I use to test with, like Despicable Me. DLP is still the leader in 3D playback on the consumer projector market today. Its utter lack of ghosting and bright image make for the most compelling 3D I’ve seen in the home. JVC continues to make strides, and I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to refine their performance with future models.

Of course, every playback device has its shortcomings. If not, we’d all have the same one. For the DLA-X95R, I’d say JVC could still make some improvements with motion resolution. This has been an ongoing issue with most display technology, and JVC has made some huge strides in this department. Earlier models had noticeable banding artifacts with high-motion scenes. The DLA-X95R shows some very slight banding with motion, but it’s hard to spot and drastically better than their earlier models. The Clear Motion Drive feature remedies this, but it this gives the image a rather unrealistic soap opera effect that I’d rather skip. I hope JVC continues to refine its motion resolution for normal playback modes.

Another feature I’d love to see JVC consider is a dynamic iris system. While the JVC line provides the best contrast performance I’ve seen on the market today, I think integrating a solid dynamic iris system like the ones we’ve seen from Sony and Sim2 would go a long way. This would allow JVC to achieve higher contrast ratios than they do today but without sacrificing a lot of brightness to achieve it. Because they have such an outstanding native contrast level to begin with, a dynamic system wouldn’t have to be very aggressive to deliver impressive results. That means less chance of image pumping and other noticeable artifacts associated with dynamic iris systems.

JVC continues to be my mainstay for projector recommendations. I have yet to use anything else that provides the overall image satisfaction that JVC provides. While JVC’s competition has upped their game, no one delivers the native dynamic range, and few approach the sharpness and black uniformity they offer. The DLA-X95R is an interesting gamble at its higher price point than the already outstanding line below it. Personally I’d probably stick with my DLA-X75R and use the extra cash toward a standalone video processor to achieve perfect calibration and other benefits that outboard video processors can provide. But the DLA-X95R does achieve the best contrast performance I’ve seen or measured to date and had spectacular pixel focus and uniformity. It also features the longest warranty of the JVC lineup at three years. This one definitely gets its place in our Top Pick recommendation for the over $10,000 projector club, and in my opinion, represents the best value in the pack.

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