- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 25 June 2014
The JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector In Use
The image from the X500R must truly be seen to be believed. I've seen many adjectives written about the other new JVC models like intoxicating, addictive, and compelling. Yeah, it's all those and more! Oh, and don't forget breathtaking. Contrast is on another level from any other projector I've seen to date. And that's without the excellent auto-iris. Even in its native state, it was like watching a giant plasma TV in my theater.
Dune is a classic sci-fi flick from 1984 that has been given an excellent treatment on Blu-ray. That being said, it long pre-dates the digital age and therefore has plenty of soft imaging, film grain, and obvious use of compositing in its special effects. The opening scenes in the Emperor's palace were quite a surprise to me. All the actors are dressed in black costumes and the background is a brightly-lit gold. Everyone literally popped out from the screen; like it was 3D only it wasn't. This is contrast and clarity at its finest.
Of course this projector will show you the bad as well as the good. During the sequence in Paul's quarters, when Gurney approaches from behind to begin shield practice, the image suddenly goes soft just before the body shield effect comes into play. It didn't impact my enjoyment of the film but when a display renders detail this well, you're going to see some things not necessarily intended to be seen.
I tried both the 3D conversion feature and the Clear Motion Drive (frame interpolation) during this film. I experienced a nice surprise when I watched scenes from Dune in 3D. While darker material didn't look any different, the brighter sequences rendered a decent 3D effect. This is about the best conversion I've seen outside of a 4K television.
Clear Motion Drive has been on JVC projectors for several generations now. It makes a noticeable improvement in motion resolution but the net effect always looks flat and un-natural to me. The X500R has two settings, Low and High. Even the Low setting was too much for my taste. There were no artifacts like screen tears present, which is a good thing.
Turning to Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel, gave the X500R a chance to strut its stuff with a reference-quality transfer. It didn't disappoint in the slightest. Again the characters just popped from the background in a way I truly haven't seen before. There is plenty of deep dark material in this film and at no time did I see a loss of detail. This is truly the first display that I can say matches contrast performance with my Pioneer Kuro plasma TV. And as you'll see in the benchmarks, the numbers support my perception.
Casino Royale is a great film to watch for its warm natural color and its excellent black & white opening chapter. During said opening, I saw lots of film grain which softened detail somewhat. In this case, perhaps the X500R's clarity was a little TOO good! Once the film switched to color, the grain went away and all I saw were lush saturated hues and more of that phenomenal clarity. The brightest portions had a virtually endless sense of depth and dimension that was truly compelling.
Star Trek Into Darkness comes in both 2D and 3D versions so this was my chance to make a back-to-back comparison. I always go for the first part that takes place on a very red alien planet. The X500R's accurate color ruled the day here as those reds looked entirely believable and loaded with detail.
Dropping in the 3D disc, my first impression was that the gamma had gone a little bright. A check of my settings confirmed that I was still set to 2.4. The only change I made was to kick the lamp into its High mode. I won't go as far as to say it looked washed out but there was definitely less contrast in the mid-tones. My luminance measurements showed a peak output drop of 84 percent so it makes sense that some of that brightness loss was at fault. It made the image no less excellent though when I marveled at some of the cleanest and deepest 3D I'd seen in a while. There are brighter 3D projectors out there but none have this kind of contrast.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3D is the first 3D Blu-ray I ever bought. As such, I've watched this film on every generation of 3D display up to the current day. It's a good test of crosstalk and depth. I had already measured a ridiculously low figure of .39 percent so I didn't expect to see any ghosting, and I didn't. I also saw more depth than ever. And even though e-shift is not available in 3D, the image is sharp enough that I was fooled into thinking it was.
I did experience two ergonomic issues with the X500R. First, the HDMI handshake process was extremely slow when changing input resolutions, refresh rates, or signal formats. This is problematic when wading through the previews and ads that introduce most Blu-ray titles. Every time the signal changed, the projector went dark for as long as 30 seconds while it tried to lock on. The second issue involved the 3D glasses. The instructions say you only have to pair them once but for me that was not the case. I had to power them up, hold them within one meter of the projector, and press the button again to pair every time I watched 3D content. After talking to JVC, they informed me that this is not normal behavior. The glasses should remain permanently linked with the emitter even when changing it to another projector. I obviously received a defective pair.