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JVC DLA-X30 Procision Series D-ILA Projector Review

Hardware Review

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#1 of 7 Todd Erwin

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Posted April 12 2012 - 05:25 AM

JVC’s DLA-X30 projector, using D-ILA technology, is the company’s entry-level model in their Procision series, with an MSRP of $3499.95. That may be a bit steep compared to entry-level projectors from Optoma and Epson, but what JVC considers entry-level is very different from its competitors.


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JVC DLA-X30 Procision Series D-ILA Projector


Specifications
Display Technology: 3-chip 0.7-inch 1920x1080 D-ILA devices
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080) 2D/3D
Brightness: 1300 Lumens
Contrast Ratio: 50,000:1 (Native)
Throw Ratio: 1.4 to 2.8:1 (Distance/Width)

Note: Specifications are provided by the manufacturer and were not tested in this review for accuracy.

Demo material used for this review:
Digital Video Essentials Blu-ray
DTS 2011 Demonstration Blu-ray Disc
Puss In Boots 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack
TRON: Legacy 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Adventures of Tintin 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack
Blade Runner: Final Cut Blu-ray
Myth Or Fact: The Talbert Terror Blu-ray

After reviewing Optoma’s HD33 and GT750 DLP-based projectors, Home Theater Forum asked if I would like to review JVC’s new DLA-X30 Procision series projector. The unit arrived a few weeks later, and my first impression was how much larger and solid it was compared to the previous Optoma models, almost twice the size of the HD33. Weighing in at almost 35 pounds, it is no lightweight, either. Unlike the Optoma models that use a single DLP chip, JVC uses their D-ILA technology, based on LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), similar to Sony’s SXRD used in most commercial movie theaters (including Regal, AMC, and Cinemark), essentially one imaging chip each for red, green, and blue.

The DLA-X30 features two HDMI 1.4a compliant inputs, one set of HD component video inputs, RS-232C serial connection, an ethernet LAN port (for control and firmware updates only), a 12-volt trigger, a remote input, and a 3D synchro port (for the optional 3D Synchro Emitter). It also features a motorized zoom lens providing a 1.4 to 2.8:1 throw, as well as an 80% vertical and 34% horizontal lens shift. Surprisingly, JVC includes a users manual in printed form, the size of which could be intimidating (close to 300 pages total, 96 of which are in English).

The good news is that the projector is fairly simple to set up. For purposes of this review, I connected the HDMI output of my Yamaha RX-V563 receiver to HDMI 1 and the HDMI output of my PS3 Slim to HDMI 2, since the RX-V563 does not support HMDI v1.4a, necessary for 3D. At roughly 90 inches from the front wall, I was able to project a screen up to 73” measured diagonally with the powered zoom lens. Focus is also achieved electronically using the included remote. The DLA-X30 also has two Lens Memory settings for those that have a fixed height 2.40:1 screen and prefer to have all of your movies projected at the same height. There is also an anamorphic lens option.


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JVC was gracious to include, for this review, the optional PK-EM1 3D synchro emitter (MSRP: $97.99) and two pairs of PK-AG2-B rechargeable 3D glasses (MSRP: $219.99 each). The emitter was connected to the back of the projector, and the glasses were charged overnight, connected via USB to my cable HD-DVR. One drawback to the included emitter is that it uses infrared to transmit its synch signals to the glasses, meaning that the emitter needs to be placed in an area that has a line of sight with the glasses. One of the things I really liked about the Optoma projectors was the option of using either an RF emitter in conjunction with RF glasses, or simply use DLP-Link compatible glasses. JVC’s PK-AG2-B glasses are rechargeable, and I was able to view several 3D movies without ever having to recharge them. However, I did find the glasses a bit heavy having to wear them over my prescription glasses, with extra pressure on the bridge of my nose regardless of how I had the adjustable nose bridge support set.


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There are 6 Picture Mode presets available: Film, Cinema (based on the DCI standard), Animation, Natural (which adds minimal frame interpolation JVC refers to as Clear Motion), Stage (which adds much stronger frame interpolation), and 3D (which increases brightness and contrast as well as setting the lamp to its highest brightness setting to help compensate for the 3D glasses). There are also 5 custom user modes. I popped in my Digital Video Essentials Blu-ray disc and settled on Cinema mode as the preferred preset for 2D viewing, and 3D as the preferred preset for 3D. Black levels are deep while still maintaining bright whites without clipping or crushing. However, this will vary based on the room’s ambient light.

Watching the opening sequence to Blade Runner: Final Cut was breathtaking, with deep blacks, vivid colors, and exceptional detail. However, watching several shows in HD from my cable company, Cox, revealed many motion and compression artifacts that were not as noticeable on my 56” DLP rear projection. And watching my short, Myth Or Fact: The Talbert Terror, on a 73” screen from a 1080p Blu-ray disc I had authored, revealed some of the limitations in the HD camcorder used in the production. But that is to be expected, since the average home viewer has a 46” or smaller television.

Now it was time to throw some 3D titles at the projector. First up was Steven Spielberg’s Golden Globe-winning animated feature, The Adventures of Tintin. With the picture mode set for 3D, movement was lifelike, colors appeared natural, and I saw no crosstalk or ghosting issues to speak of. Next up was TRON: Legacy, which appeared much more colorful and sharp than I remember on the Optoma HD33. Again, I saw no crosstalk or ghosting issues to speak of. That is, until I watched Puss In Boots. I do not recall any ghosting issues when I saw this in the theater in 3D, but there were a few instances where the edges of Humpty Dumpty’s shell seemed to overlap. Since the issue was isolated to this film only, I have to chalk this up to an authoring issue on the Blu-ray, and not with the projector.

JVC has included a 2D to 3D conversion feature on this projector, and all I can say is users should proceed with caution. Yes, the conversion does add some depth, but all I saw when viewing 2D material in this mode was the same 2D image appearing slightly behind the plane of the screen, and after several minutes, found myself with a headache.

Overall, this is a fairly quiet projector, especially in 2D mode with the lamp set on Normal. Obviously, there will be increased fan noise when projecting in 3D mode (the lamp is automatically set to High). Also, light leakage is at a minimum, thanks to a well-designed chassis. Another plus is having remote control IR sensors on the front and rear of the projector.

JVC’s entry-level DLA-X30 projector, using D-ILA technology, is a solid performer, offering outstanding 2D high-definition video and spectacular 3D high-definition video (from 3D Blu-ray sources). For those willing to roll up their sleeves, there are a lot of settings to tweak, but I found the presets to be more than adequate for most users. This is a projector well-worth seeking out.




#2 of 7 tshea

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Posted April 12 2012 - 06:44 AM

Hi, all. I handle PR for JVC here in the U.S. Thanks for the review. Just one note -- the signal from the emitter can be bounced off the screen, so you don't need to have a line of sight with the glasses.

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Posted April 12 2012 - 05:40 PM

Thanks for sharing this review with us Todd.


I was curious if you could elaborate on your impressions of contrast ratio with the JVC compared to the other projectors that you referenced in your review.  I haven't had the opportunity to play with a production current series of JVC projectors, just say them demonstrated at CEDIA, but they were not production units.  What I saw at CEDIA was the best contrast ratio, particularly on/off that I have ever witnessed.  I also noticed the removal of the white flares in the corners that I had with my RS-2.




#4 of 7 Todd Erwin

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Posted April 13 2012 - 06:26 AM

Kevin-


Black levels and overall contrast on this projector were far superior to the Optoma HD33. Since I normally view movies on a RPTV, the screen I use for projector reviews is a pull-down Da-Lite that usually leaves me with a white border on the top and bottom of the screening area.


While watching TRON: Legacy, the black bars during the 2.4:1 sequences were not at all noticeable, nor were they noticeable during Puss In Boots and Blade Runner (both 2.4:1 films). In other words, you could not tell where the unmasked top and bottom portions of the screen ended and the projected image began. This was not the case with the Optoma HD33, and especially the GT750.



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Posted April 14 2012 - 06:52 AM


the black bars during the 2.4:1 sequences were not at all noticeable


Wow, that's impressive!



#6 of 7 Sam Posten

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Posted April 18 2012 - 02:14 AM

Hmmm

At roughly 90 inches from the front wall, I was able to project a screen up to 73” measured diagonally with the powered zoom lens.

Throw Ratio: 1.4 to 2.8:1 (Distance/Width)

Maybe I don't understand throw ratios as well as I thought I did. Shouldn't 90/73 be a 1.23 ratio and be outside of spec? Does it focus correctly?

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#7 of 7 Todd Erwin

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Posted April 24 2012 - 10:48 AM

Sam,


It focused correctly. My screen size is, at best, an estimate.