- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 25 June 2014
The Design of the JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector
JVC calls their imaging technology D-ILA (Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) but we know it just as well by its common name, LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon). It's similar to LCD in that three chips, one for each primary color, are used along with a UHP lamp to create the image. The difference is in how the light is directed from the bulb to the lens.
In an LCD projector, light is passed through the three imaging chips one time on its way to the lens. The chips, like the LCD layer in a television; act as a light valve. The individual crystals are twisted to either admit or block light. This is the main reason why LCD projectors are usually brighter than their LCoS counterparts. But since a heavy polarizing layer is needed to maintain image integrity, the pixel gap as shown on the screen is fairly large. This results in what's known as "screen door effect."
LCoS attacks that very problem by using a reflective layer behind the chip so the light passes through it twice. This makes the pixel gap extremely small. In fact, JVC has shrunk that gap another 40 percent with this year's model line making it pretty much invisible on-screen. Since the light is passing through the liquid crystal layer twice, overall output is reduced. To get the same footLamberts on the screen, an LCoS display has to use a more powerful lamp than an LCD one. And there's only so far you can go with wattage before heat becomes a problem.
This year's JVC projectors are externally the same as last years. The chassis as fairly large and at over 32 pounds, heavy too. If you're upgrading from a lightweight LCD model, make sure your mounting system is up to the task. If you use a shelf, there are four large feet that are independently adjustable for precise leveling.
The lens is center-mounted with a large metal trim ring around it. Everything is finished in a matte-black plastic; a great choice for dark theaters. Lens controls are all motorized so there are no dials or levers to clutter the front or top panels. Shift and zoom are quite generous so you should have no problem adapting the X500R to just about any small to medium-sized theater. Ventilation is accomplished by two intakes on the rear and two exhausts on the front. I didn't see any light leakage from them at all. The fan is almost silent at the lamp's low setting and still fairly quiet on high.
Around back is a small control panel that just has the basics; power, menu navigation, and input toggle. Speaking of inputs, there are only two HDMI 1.4a ports. JVC has completely eliminated the analog circuitry. Control can be accomplished via Ethernet or RS-232, and there is a single 12v trigger out. The only other input is for the 3D emitter which is a small plastic piece that syncs with the glasses via RF.
The $100 emitter is tiny and won't be noticed at all once plugged in. The glasses are light and comfortable; as they should be given their lofty $180 price-tag. These items are sold separately unless you buy the $12,000 X900R which includes the emitter and two pairs of glasses.
The glasses charge via an included USB-mini cable. You can use your computer or an appropriate wall-wart to juice them up fully in about 90 minutes. Pairing requires two presses of the power button on the right earpiece. After 60 seconds of inactivity they will power down automatically.
The remote is similar to past JVC projector wands. At the top are discrete power keys. The input selector is a single toggle which isn't a big deal since there are only two inputs. Following that are buttons for quick access to things like 3D and Clear Motion Drive. In the middle is the menu navigation. Rounding out the control pad are picture mode keys and buttons for gamma, color temp, color profile, and the picture adjust menu. The handset is fully backlit and very powerful. I had no trouble bouncing my wishes off the screen. The X500R's chassis has IR receivers on the front and back.