JVC Goes 4K

JVC opened the show with a bang, introducing eight new projectors. Six of them are further refinements of last year's models, with some significant new features. As last year, they are paired in sister designs, the Reference models (DLA-RS65 at $12,000, DLA-RS55 at $8000, DLA-RS45 at $3500—the latter a $1000 price drop from last year's corresponding model!) and the Procision models (DLA-X90R, DLA-X70R, and DLA-X30R—at the same respective price points as the Reference models) The respective Reference and Procision models are identical in features and differ only in minor cosmetic details and their sales channels (the Reference models are sold through Pro dealers).

There are two additional, new Reference models, the DLA-F110E at $7500 and the DLA-RS4800 at $5000, but without further details than were provided these did not appear to offer any features that would drive a buyer to choose one of them instead of one of the three updated designs (apart perhaps from the fact that the F110 comes in a white cabinet).

I'll restrict this discussion to the Reference models, but the comments apply to their sister Procision models as well. All of the new projectors are 3D, with a claimed significant increase in 3D brightness and reduced crosstalk. But the 3D glasses (2 pair) and 3D transmitter are standard only on the RS65. All of the projectors now have color management systems, even the RS45, and a 2D-to-3D conversion mode said to be based on a JVC pro converter. All of the projectors now have an anamorphic mode for use with an anamorphic lens, and claim that they can now use an anamorphic lens in 3D. All three also have three lens memories that can automatically alter zoom, focus, and horizontal and vertical lens shift, a feature that facilitates using a wide 2.35:1 screen without an anamorphic lens, if desired. The RS55 and RS65 are both THX and ISF certified. The DLA-X90R and DLA-RS65, are said to be built using hand-selected, hand-tested components and have a 120,000:1 native contrast ratio. The claimed contrast ratio of the other models are lower, but similarly impressive.

But the big new addition is 4K in the RS55 and RS65 (and the X90R and X70R as well). Working with the NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories, NHK Engineering Service Inc., JVC has developed a system they call e-Shift. With this technology, 2D HD content (but not 3D) is upconverted and scaled to 4K (3840 x 2160) or over 8 megapixels. The added pixels are displaced in time from the original pixels and displayed by using a diffraction lens to shift them by one-half pixel. While this isn't a true 4K image (the imaging chips are still 1920 x 1080 and the projector will not accept a 4K input source, should one ever become available to the consumer apart from still photos) JVC argues that the result is nevertheless a significant image improvement.