It’s been 6 years since I built my THX and SMPTE specification home theatre. Since its first day, it keeps evolving from an HD theatre to 3D, then I added Darbee Vision projector with additional upgrade to the subwoofer, speakers, projection screen, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The latest upgrade is full-spec UHD with Wide Color Gamut and High Dynamic Range. The problem for me is the price.
The only projector that can do all that cost $16,000. Thanks to JVC, there is now an alternative streeting at less than half of that. It is not a true UHD (8MP) but uses 4K eShift instead.
Compared to my Panasonic PT-AE8000U it replaces, the JVC X750R is about 50% deeper, 25% thicker and a whole lot sturdier. It certainly has nothing flimsy about it. Everything from lens shift, zoom, focus even the lens cover are motorized making set-up a breeze. The inclusion of 4 adjustable feet (as opposed to the usual two on most projectors) makes positioning the projector perfectly an easy task. By using these feet, you can adjust both yaw, roll, and pitch in the most accurate way possible.
JVC‘s e-Shift technology shifts sub-frames by 0.5 pixel both vertically and horizontally to achieve 4 times the pixel density of the original content. So visually, it’s closer to 4K “interlaced” as opposed to full 4K. Call it whatever you want, be it Faux-K or 4K-lite, it’s the end result that matters… and due to our eyes’ temporal image retention, the difference between the real 4K vs eShift 4K (version 4) is virtually indistinguishable during playback of moving images.
DLA-X750_950aAlso featured on this projector is a U-shaped ventilation system where the incoming and outgoing airflow are located in front of the projector so the projector can be mounted as further back as you want as opposed to the regular 12″ clearance most projectors need.
As I have mentioned in my various posts on various discussion forums and my Tweets (@davidsusilo), 4K/UHD video is about more than just increased picture resolution. One of the other enhancements is Wide Colour Gamut (colour space). A wider colour gamut means the resulting image is able to include more accurate colour palette. HDTV uses a limited colour gamut that is defined by the ITU Recommendation 709. For UHD, ITU has defined an extremely Wide Color Gamut as part of their Recommendation 2020 and the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc system has adopted REC 2020 as the ‘container’ for conveying a Wider Color Gamut. That does not mean movies released on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will actually be created for display using the full REC 2020 colour gamut. Rather the colour gamut can be greater than REC 709 and up to a maximum of the color gamut defined by REC 2020. For now and the foreseeable future, the movie studios plan to release their Ultra HD Blu-ray titles using the colour gamut already being used by the digital cinema industry and this is called DCI-P3. This is what you see at the cineplex.
Although the JVC X750R cannot reproduce the full REC 2020 colour space, it is the only projector at this price range that includes specific provisions for supporting the DCI-P3 colour gamut. If you want a full 4K projector that can do a full DCI-P3 colour gamut you will then have to choose the Sony VPL-VW1100 at $26,000. Now playing in order to reproduce DCI-P3 colour gamut, a filter is used and in the case of the Sony VW1000 (and the upgraded VW1100) the filter causes a noticeable light loss with the projected image being approximately 23% dimmer with the filter in place; whereas the JVC X750R only suffers from 7% brightness loss.
Another interesting characteristic
HDR is the second additional enhancement being introduced with UHD video. Just about all of the movies already announced for release on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will include support for HDR and even Netflix will also be supporting HDR. However, there are outstanding issues with how projector will handle HDR content. This is because UHD HDR specifications have adopted characteristics that assume the use of a very bright (LCD and OLED flat panel display) as the peak image highlights will be displayed very bright (e.g., 1000 NITS or almost 300 ftL). The commercial digital cinema industry, on the other hand, has defined a commercial version of HDR that has much lower peak brightness level requirements that would be applicable to home theatres, but that’s not what is going to be used for the consumer video sources. So the question is although JVC (and Sony) claim support for HDR on some of their new projectors, will it be possible to calibrate these projectors to produce satisfactory results when connected to a consumer 4K/UHD source providing HDR enabled video? The answer is yes. In the case of the JVC DLA-X750R projected to my 96″ 21:9 Stewart Studiotek 130 G3 screen, the projector can achieve very good HDR results by using Gamma D preset, setting the Picture Tone to 13, Dark Level to 5 and Bright Level to 6. This preset is automatically selected when the projector detects HDR10 content entered its HDMI 2.0a inputs as the case when I play back “Salt” UHD BD using the Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD BD Player.
HD and UHD Formats Coding
Traditional HD video sources all are encoded with 8-bits per color while the baseline standard for UHD uses 10-bit per color. Dolby’s version of HDR is an option on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and when offered will provide metadata that provides for 12-bit depth for HDR content. The JVC DLA-X750R is the only projector that offers a full 12-bit path from the HDMI input all the way to the displayed image. The D-ILA (LCoS) panels used by JVC support 12-bit colour resolution and the signal processing within these projectors also support the 12-bit depth. Not even the Sony $26,000 projector uses a 12-bit panel. Even though these JVC projectors do not include Dolby Vision processing, having full 12-bit support may prove useful as the 4K/UHD video standards and video sources evolve over the next few years as the support of Dolby Vision, should JVC choose to join the bandwagon, will only a matter of firmware upgrade.
Home Automation Control
This JVC projector is equipped with an Ethernet socket so it can be controlled by Control4 or any other home automation you might want to use. It is also app controllable although there was no way for me to test it as the app keeps crashing and sometimes even freezes both my iPad and iPhone…so JVC, please fix this (note from JVC: “The app is not compatible with iOS 9 and there is no set schedule when the app will be updated“).
An automatic calibration software is available to download for free but ironically, even after multiple attempts (even with JVC Canada‘s assistance) the end results were less accurate than the THX factory preset; this is most probably caused by the method JVC uses to do the calibration by reading the direct projection values instead of reflected-from-screen values. Also as a calibrator, I was surprised that the THX preset, with a little general tweaks, results in a fairly accurate result. In fact, this is the most accurate-out-of-the-box projector I’ve ever encountered in my life. Of course, for the utmost accuracy, a professional calibration is still required.
Convergence is also pretty much bang-on right out of the box with less than 1 hour spent to perfect the convergence. Something that I have not seen in quite a while. In fact, just last night I calibrated a $16,000 projector which took me nearly two hours to perfect its convergence. To me, it is not so much about having the convergence to be correct out of the box or otherwise, but more of a testament of the quality control done by JVC at their factory. No wonder they call their delivery system as “4K Precision Image”.
In terms of brightness, the DLA-X750R has greatly improved brightness which translates to much improved 3D performance both in terms of brightness and in a very noticeably lower 3D crosstalk/ghosting…something that I’m very prone of. With the brightness of 1,400 lumens using a 265-watt light bulb (based on real-life measured-performance, not manufacturer’s claim), I can easily watch a movie presentation with all my lights turned on. Too bad, however, a 3D emitter priced at $150 is sold as an optional extra in order for me to watch 3D presentation. I also find that the price for the 3D glasses at $200 per pair to be very high in these days. No wonder the industry is starting to call it quits on their 3D displays. Not too many families are willing to cough up an additional $1,000 for an emitter and 4 pair of glasses.
A General Overview
All in all, the JVC DLA-X750R is an amazingly affordable UHD-Premium Class projector which both black and brightness level is unsurpassed by any projector even doubling its price range. Add that to the fact that cable TV providers, Netflix, Shomi, and Crave are starting to broadcast in UHD, plus the barrage of UHD Bluray Disc being offered, to those who are on the fence in getting into UHD, now it’s the time for you to jump in.
• Very affordable for what it can do
• Super bright
• Great out-of-the-box performance
• 12-bit panel
• 12-bit HDR capable
• 100% DCI-P3 Wide Colour Gamut capable
• App does not work
• 3D requires an optional emitter
• Expensive 3D glasses
Price : $8,500
Warranty period : for the projector, 2 years, parts and labour
and for the lamp, 1 year or 1,000 hours (whichever eventuality comes first)
Tél. : 905.670.7211
Equipment used for this review:
AudioQuest Pearl HDMI 2.0a Cable (UHD BD player to receiver)
GutWire B10 Power Cables for all equipments
JVC DLA-X750R Projector
Monoprice Cabernet Redmere HDMI 2.0a Cable (receiver to projector)
Pioneer Elite SC-95 Receiver
Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD BD Player
Stewart Filmscreen Studiotek 130 G3 Projection Screen
Torus Power AVR15+ Power Conditioner