JVC DLA-X500R Three-Chip D-ILA 3D Projector Review


The JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector On The Bench

I installed the projector right-side-up at a 12-foot throw distance. Test gear included Accupel DVG-5000 & DVDO AVLab TPG pattern generators, i1Pro spectrophotometer, Spectracal C-6 colorimeter, and CalMAN 5.2 software. Measurements were taken off the screen; Carada Brilliant White, gain 1.4.

I measured both the Cinema and Natural modes and found Natural to most closely match Rec.709 color and a D65 white point. You can calibrate any mode on the X500R; no controls are locked out for 1080p signals.

JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector Review

If you don't plan to calibrate the JVC, the Natural preset is your best choice. Grayscale errors are slightly red but not visible to the naked eye. The average Delta E here is 1.7; well below the generally accepted threshold of 3.0.

Gamma was measured against the new BT.1886 standard. Many displays will not conform to this slightly changed curve. For an explanation of the differences, please refer to my review of the BenQ W7500 DLP projector (insert link). The default gamma preset is called Normal and you can see by the chart it has a few problems. The peak at 10 percent and dip at 90 percent will actually crush a little detail even when the brightness and contrast controls are adjusted. I'll show you how to fix this below.

Here are the out-of-box color measurements.

JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector Review

Natural mode defaults to the Standard color profile. It's pretty good except for some under-saturation in red, magenta, and blue. You can see JVC's engineers have upped the luminance for those colors to compensate. The net result isn't too bad but for a display of this caliber and price point, it could be better.

After calibration of the gain and offset controls, the grayscale tracking is almost perfect.

JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector Review

Starting with a base color temp of 6500K in the color temp menu, I was able to improve the grayscale accuracy to near-perfection with only small adjustments. The controls don't interact so it's an easy result to achieve.

There's no multi-point gamma control like I've used on past JVC projectors so fixing those issues required me to measure several presets until I found one that worked. If you want the BT.1886 curve, select Custom and enter a Correction Value of 2.4. That will result in the measurement recorded above. If you find this gamma a little dark for your taste (I didn't), just change the value downward.

In the past you had to purchase the $8000 JVC model to get a color management system. Now you can get it on the $5000 one but there's a caveat; it doesn't work all that well.

JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector Review

You can see this chart is greatly improved over the pre-calibration result but it's not from changes made to the hue, saturation, and luminance controls. All I had to do was select a custom color profile and turn color management on (it's off by default). This tightened the chart up nicely; which is good because no other adjustments I attempted would make things better. So the bottom line is the CMS' adjustments won't improve color beyond simply turning it on.

Contrast Performance

JVC projectors are renowned for their native contrast and the latest models are boasting the highest numbers yet. To get any native black level measurements at all, I had to set the bulb to High and open the iris up all the way. When I did so, the peak output was 28.5307 footLamberts, the minimum black level was an astounding .0016, and the overall contrast ratio was 17723.9 to 1.

If you close down the iris, engage either auto iris mode, or return the bulb to its Low setting, the black level becomes immeasurable. Displaying a black field will close down the auto iris to the point where you can barely tell the projector is on. To say this is an astounding result is to engage in understatement. The X500R is the first display I've measured that can match black levels with a Pioneer Kuro plasma TV.

Black levels in 3D are also immeasurable, even with the bulb on High. I recorded a peak output number of 4.5379 fL which is 84 percent below the 2D number. This is about average for all the 3D projectors I've reviewed. The only one that measured significantly higher is the Epson 5020UBE I reviewed last year which peaked at 11.468 fL.

Video Processing

JVC DLA-X500R D-ILA 3D Projector Review

The X500R crops one pixel off the bottom of the image in all signal modes. To see above white and below black signals Input Signal must be set to Auto or Enhanced. Standard will clip information below 16 and above 235 no matter what the format. The 2:2 pulldown failure is a common one, but it barely passed the 3:2 test. It took about a second to lock on and maintained the lock thereafter.

Signal Handling

I added a new DVDO 4K pattern generator to my test kit just in time for this review. It supports resolutions up to 4096 x 2160 at 24p and 3840 x 2160 at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60p. The latter will only work in a 4:2:0 signal format. All of these resolutions are also accepted by the X500R over HDMI. I didn't have any actual 4K content to play but the test patterns rendered properly in all 4K variations. With 2160p signals at 60 Hz, the display is locked into a special 4K picture mode that eliminates the CMS, gamma, and iris controls. Since the majority of UltraHD content is likely to be film-based, 24p is all you need and the X500R is fully adjustable when receiving a 2160p/24 signal.

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