I’ve been complaining, since HDR appeared as a technology linked to 4k UHD, that projectors don’t play particularly nicely with that tech.

My former projector, a 4k Sony, does a magnificent job with HD and also with 4k, except when imagery gets very dark. It’s a wonderfully reliable piece of gear, which gives wonderful, highly resolved images, with gorgeous color.

That has now moved on to a proper home, and I thought I’d put my initial thoughts in a column (in the software section) for those who may be considering an upgrade during their stay at home months.

For the past year, my two stalwart guides to the best in home theater gear, Robert Zohn of Value Electronics (www.valueelectronics.com), and Kevin Miller (www.isftv.com), one of the top ISF professionals in the field, have been advising me to either go without food, or sell a kidney, and pick up a JVC NX9.

I finally pulled the trigger – the two Jules Dassin films from Criterion are the first to be reviewed – and the result, after Mr. Miller completed his wonders, is nothing less than staggering.

Initially, there were some awkward problems, which JVC was not able to work through. I’m a believer that home theater gear, especially high-end, should just work. While I was able to run the HDR format with 4k releases, every time I switched a disc or shut down, the unit automatically retuned to User 1, actually not recognizing the HDR signal coming from the player to the projector, which it is supposed to do automatically.

Kris Deering did a consult, and he and Kevin were able to work through settings, which it seems were somehow mis-set by JVC. That was half a day of frustration. So, a huge thank you to Kris!

For those seeking quality calibration, Kris (www.deepdiveav.com) handles the northwest, working out of Seattle, while Kevin is available in the New York to D.C. megalopolis. If you ask really nicely, I believe they’ll both travel.

For those unaware, proper set-up is essential if you’re seeking to see what’s really on the discs.

There was another oddity with the NX9, in that it was a bit unsaturated, but once again, Kevin found a workaround. From what I’m led to believe, the factory setup for Rec 709 Color Profile is not correct.

As to brightness, one of the reasons I stretched from the cost of the 7 to the 9, was the optic, which is about as highly resolved and fast as anything one might wish. I’m able to see grain structure in large format presentations with ease. Focus is virtually flat from center to corners. Illumination actually had to be suppressed, as the glass allows more light to hit the screen than from the 5 or 7, with the same lamp.

Optics aside, the other major attribute here is JVC’s handling of HDR and tone mapping, made ever better with their frame to frame control (Frame Adapt HDR Mode), which is apparently going to be bettered by another software update in the fall.

Make no mistake, there’s nothing wrong with Sony gear, especially when you get into the laser range, which in JVC does not have the frame by frame as the 9.

From initial tests, colors pop off the screen, blacks are blacker than previously, and HDR is better handled – there is still no Dolby Vision, which apparently needs the brightness of a star to function properly – but does not beautifully on panels, especially OLED.

Mr. Zohn was kind enough to special order a unit for me. Apparently, they’ve been in short supply. Mr. Miller tweaked it to within an inch of its life.

Bottom line, if you truly have home theater as a hobby and part of your daily life, the JVCs are a great way of entering the high end. Not affordable, by any means – I do not received accommodations from JVC – but quality gear does hold value, and amortized over several years, can be less painful than one might expect.

As an aside, I ran a sequence from A24’s 4k of Midsommar for Mr. Miller, and viewed it on the JVC for the first time with him – literally pixel peeping at the screen. One can easily see extremely highly resolved details – people individually in costume in backgrounds – that were far less visible previously even in 4k.

Is it a miracle machine? No. But it takes what has been pressed to those shiny little discs, and displays them brilliantly. HDR still has a ways to come in the projection world, but at least with the 9, there’s a real step in the right direction.

Let’s see where we are after a few dozen newer films in HDR, and the forthcoming update.

As far as current reviews, this projector further exposes whatever wonders (or defects) that may exist, for better or for worse.

RAH

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Robert Harris

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Michael Osadciw

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Excellent choice with the JVC, Robert. The whole Sony projector line, while good for what it does, has limitations with HDR display and calibration. Sony is suited for priority HD-SDR viewing with UHD-HDR secondary. The JVC, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. UHD-HDR can be customized and calibrated with far more flexibility. It handles highlights and wide colour much better, and best of all, is absent of most visible banding that I've seen on every Sony I've calibrated for HDR. You also have two great calibrators to help navigate the set up. It sounds like you're in great hands to enjoy the next level of home video projection!
 

Robert Harris

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Excellent choice with the JVC, Robert. The whole Sony projector line, while good for what it does, has limitations with HDR display and calibration. Sony is suited for priority HD-SDR viewing with UHD-HDR secondary. The JVC, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. UHD-HDR can be customized and calibrated with far more flexibility. It handles highlights and wide colour much better, and best of all, is absent of most visible banding that I've seen on every Sony I've calibrated for HDR. You also have two great calibrators to help navigate the set up. It sounds like you're in great hands to enjoy the next level of home video projection!
Appreciated, Michael,

You should make your location known to readers, as having any of this gear with proper calibration is a waste of funds - and enjoyment.

Everyone who invests in home theater gear should consider calibration.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Great to "hear" this(!)... particularly as I'm seriously considering this route in the near-ish future... though being (and hoping to remain, LOL) happily married w/ kids (still w/ college either ahead or knee deep) means I can only realistically consider the NX5, which I hear is actually not all that much diff/less-capable than NX7. I'm currently leaning more towards settling for something like Epson 5050UB for now though and maybe hold off until laser FP (for that much desired leap in HDR capability) or similar comes down to us mortals before (stretching the budget and) making that kind of jump... Meanwhile, I do have plenty else that could use upgrades/refreshing on top of finally setting up a dedicated HT room...

But love "hearing" stuff like this (of course, especially coming from trusted industry experts and consummate craftsmen... and true, learned gentlemen) nonetheless. It's, afterall, part of why I (and I'm sure most others) frequent HTF as though it were our 2nd home...

Cheers!

_Man_
 
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Robert Harris

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Great to "hear" this(!)... particularly as I'm seriously considering this route in the near-ish future... though being (and hoping to remain, LOL) happily married w/ kids (still w/ college either ahead or knee deep) means I can only realistically consider the NX5, which I hear is actually not all that much diff/less-capable than NX7. I'm currently leaning more towards settling for something like Epson 5050UB for now though and maybe hold off until laser FP (for that much desired leap in HDR capability) or similar comes down to us mortals before (stretching the budget and) making that kind of jump... Meanwhile, I do have plenty else that could use upgrades/refreshing on top of finally setting up a dedicated HT room...

But love "hearing" stuff like this (of course, especially coming from trusted industry experts and consummate craftsmen... and true, learned gentlemen) nonetheless. It's, afterall, part of why I (and I'm sure most others) frequent HTF as though it were our 2nd home...

Cheers!

_Man_
Both the 5 and 7 are terrific units. I believe the major difference between those and the 9, will be the lens, which is an expensive piece of glass.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Ever since I started going to CEDIA back in the early 2000s, I always dreamed of owning a JVC projector. They were such huge "beasts" of a projector and when I saw them demonstrated, I was in awe of how beautifully they projected an image on the screen.

It took me many years to get to my first JVC after owning a Sony 1080p, but last year I bought a JVC RS2000 (which I think is the NX7) from Robert Zohn at Value Electronics.

Amazing projector. Had it calibrated by Gregg Loewen, who is one of the best calibration experts in the industry.

The NX9 was a little too rich for my blood, but I am happy that you ended up with one. That has to be one hell of a picture. Glad you got all the little disturbances worked out of it.

Happy Viewing, RAH!
 

Robert Harris

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Ever since I started going to CEDIA back in the early 2000s, I always dreamed of owning a JVC projector. They were such huge "beasts" of a projector and when I saw them demonstrated, I was in awe of how beautifully they projected an image on the screen.

It took me many years to get to my first JVC after owning a Sony 1080p, but last year I bought a JVC RS2000 (which I think is the NX7) from Robert Zohn at Value Electronics.

Amazing projector. Had it calibrated by Gregg Loewen, who is one of the best calibration experts in the industry.

The NX9 was a little too rich for my blood, but I am happy that you ended up with one. That has to be one hell of a picture. Glad you got all the little disturbances worked out of it.

Happy Viewing, RAH!
Too rich for my blood also, but a necessity for properly reviewing here at HTF. May I suggest that each reviewer is issued one, akin to an M-1 Garand. No drill sergeants.
 
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Peter Apruzzese

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Hmm, I could probably get 6 or 7 grand for my original Vertigo one sheet and lobby card set. I've had them for 35 years - maybe it's time to let them go. :)
 
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sbjork

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Glad that you finally made the leap. I have the RS2000 (NX7) for more than a year now, and while I would dearly love the lens that you ended up with, it is still an amazing series of projectors at any level. The midpoint was the sweet spot for my budget. I have had it long enough to have lived through the initial upgrade with the 3.10 firmware, and it was the single biggest game changer of an update that I have ever seen for any equipment that I have owned. (Enough so that I am really curious to see how the next one will improve things further.)

You are right about Sony, of course -- there is nothing wrong with their gear -- but for the UHD world, tone mapping is everything. I look forward to reading your reviews going forward, knowing how well that the tone mapping has worked for me. Plus, I will know what to expect more accurately on my own gear!

By the way, while there are all kinds of demo discs that show off how well the tone mapping works, you might want to pop in the UHD for Pacific Rim. I just rewatched it last weekend for the first time since the firmware update last year, and holy cow. Understatement. For standard film material, the UHD for Christine really shows off how well it can handle the range of values. The only UHD out of the hundred or so that I own which has completely stumped JVS's algorithms is Pale Rider. Curious if you will have the same issues with it. The best look that I was able to get was by turning the lamp down to low but the mapping level up to high, and then stopping the iris down a bit. Still left something to be desired, though.
 
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Robert Harris

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Glad that you finally made the leap. I have the RS2000 (NX7) for more than a year now, and while I would dearly love the lens that you ended up with, it is still an amazing series of projectors at any level. The midpoint was the sweet spot for my budget. I have had it long enough to have lived through the initial upgrade with the 3.10 firmware, and it was the single biggest game changer of an update that I have ever seen for any equipment that I have owned. (Enough so that I am really curious to see how the next one will improve things further.)

You are right about Sony, of course -- there is nothing wrong with their gear -- but for the UHD world, tone mapping is everything. I look forward to reading your reviews going forward, knowing how well that the tone mapping has worked for me. Plus, I will know what to expect more accurately on my own gear!

By the way, while there are all kinds of demo discs that show off how well the tone mapping works, you might want to pop in the UHD for Pacific Rim. I just rewatched it last weekend for the first time since the firmware update last year, and holy cow. Understatement. For standard film material, the UHD for Christine really shows off how well it can handle the range of values. The only UHD out of the hundred or so that I own which has completely stumped JVS's algorithms is Pale Rider. Curious if you will have the same issues with it. The best look that I was able to get was by turning the lamp down to low but the mapping level up to high, and then stopping the iris down a bit. Still left something to be desired, though.
I’ll take a peek. Still have training wheels.
 

Jeff Cooper

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It's fascinating to read all of this. I have an Epson Pro CInema 4050 which is 'faux'K. It's 1080p native but projects 4k via pixel shifting. While the image from UHD's is quite stunning on a 110" screen. I've had to accept that HDR is a lost cause with this projector. It's just way too dark and any time I have HDR turned on, daytime scenes look like evening scenes, and night scenes are just near pitch black.

I also discovered that my UHD player was a big factor in the image quality, as it has two video settings, 'TV' and 'Projector'. Naturally I had it set to projector since that's what I have, but eventually determined that for some reason, when set to this it was causing huge dithering issues where the gradients were like steps instead of smooth transitions on very light and very dark colors. Switching it to 'TV' mode solved all those issues and color changes were smooth again.

I've always wondered though what could be eeked out of this projector with a professional calibration.
 

Robert Harris

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It's fascinating to read all of this. I have an Epson Pro CInema 4050 which is 'faux'K. It's 1080p native but projects 4k via pixel shifting. While the image from UHD's is quite stunning on a 110" screen. I've had to accept that HDR is a lost cause with this projector. It's just way too dark and any time I have HDR turned on, daytime scenes look like evening scenes, and night scenes are just near pitch black.

I also discovered that my UHD player was a big factor in the image quality, as it has two video settings, 'TV' and 'Projector'. Naturally I had it set to projector since that's what I have, but eventually determined that for some reason, when set to this it was causing huge dithering issues where the gradients were like steps instead of smooth transitions on very light and very dark colors. Switching it to 'TV' mode solved all those issues and color changes were smooth again.

I've always wondered though what could be eeked out of this projector with a professional calibration.
Your local calibration tech should know.
 
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OliverK

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It's fascinating to read all of this. I have an Epson Pro CInema 4050 which is 'faux'K. It's 1080p native but projects 4k via pixel shifting. While the image from UHD's is quite stunning on a 110" screen. I've had to accept that HDR is a lost cause with this projector. It's just way too dark and any time I have HDR turned on, daytime scenes look like evening scenes, and night scenes are just near pitch black.

I also discovered that my UHD player was a big factor in the image quality, as it has two video settings, 'TV' and 'Projector'. Naturally I had it set to projector since that's what I have, but eventually determined that for some reason, when set to this it was causing huge dithering issues where the gradients were like steps instead of smooth transitions on very light and very dark colors. Switching it to 'TV' mode solved all those issues and color changes were smooth again.

I've always wondered though what could be eeked out of this projector with a professional calibration.
Your projector has more than enough light for HDR on your screen size.
It is really a matter of setting up your projector correctly and maybe updating its firmware.
RAH is right best to look for a calibrator and take it from there unless you are willing to spend a lot of time to get this right yourself.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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@Jeff Cooper, curious what 4K player you're using w/ that issue mating w/ your Epson 4050 re: "projector" display setting. Doesn't sound right... though I haven't moved upto a 4K FP yet, but am considering the Epson 5050UB as transitional FP for next few years or so -- still just using a sub-$1K, 1080p BenQ w/ Sony X700 player myself (though I do also have a Panny UB420 still new-in-box)...

_Man_
 

john a hunter

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I have the Epson model before yours Jeff and don't have any of the problems you complain of.
I would have a close look at your player.When I got the Panny 420,it took image quality to another level.
 

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My Epson TW8300 serves me very well -- I don't know what the model is called in Australia, but I'm very pleased with its result when paired with my Oppo 4k player.
But I have a suggestion which I think should be met with a great response from fellow senior Forum members. I think it is incumbent on the HTF administration to do a sponsorship deal with JVC which will grant (in exchange for great word of mouth publicity etc) a free top-range 4k projector for all senior forum members such as myself. Because I am in Australia, I would be prepared to pay cost of shipping, and even pay for a voltage converter if one is necessary. If total sponsorship funds can't be found, then a levy should be placed upon more junior members, who should be more than happy to pay, given that they will benefit from our considerably more informed postings and advice.
This is, in the words of Dr Swift, a modest proposal, which will provide a great benefit for all.
 
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Robert Harris

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My Epson TW8300 serves me very well -- I don't know what the model is called in Australia, but I'm very pleased with its result when paired with my Oppo 4k player.
But I have a suggestion which I think should be met with a great response from fellow senior Forum members. I think it is incumbent on the HTF administration to do a sponsorship deal with JVC which will grant (in exchange for great word of mouth publicity etc) a free top-range 4k projector for all senior forum members such as myself. Because I am in Australia, I would be prepared to pay cost of shipping, and even pay for a voltage converter if one is necessary. If total sponsorship funds can't be found, then a levy should be placed upon more junior members, who should be more than happy to pay, given that they will benefit from our considerably more informed postings and advice.
This is, in the words of Dr Swift, a modest proposal, which will provide a great benefit for all.
For the record, I have no accommodation arrangement with JVC. Some manufacturers are pleased to place gear, at a nice discount, with certain folks that might be helpful to them. I did not find that to be the case with JVC.
 
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