JVC HD100 D-ILA Projector Review

It may be aimed at the custom install market, but JVC’s new DILA model could very well be the best sub £10k projector ever? Phil Hinton investigates

by Phil Hinton
Home AV Review

1

Reference Status
JVC HD100 D-ILA Projector Review
SRP: £5,500.00

Introduction

Ever since the HD1 hit the market last year, JVC have enjoyed unprecedented levels of praise from the industry as well as a sales boom in the front projection market. Indeed the HD1 is still our reference point here at AVForums reviews, against which every new product is assessed. The major features that gave the JVC such an astonishing performance, were a native contrast close to 15000:1 and black levels that challenged the old school CRT devices. Having such an impact on the market has also seen it’s competitors push their own technology to try and match the very high levels set by JVC. This obviously has pushed the front projection market as a whole to improve the different technologies, so thumbs have to be raised to JVC for having such an impact.

The HD100 is aimed at the custom install market and is not a replacement model for the HD1. Instead the HD100 takes everything positive from its brother and then adds in some new features to further push the DILA technology. This includes the use of three upgraded 0.7-inch 1920 x 1080 panels using an advanced form of their wire-grid polarisers, along with a 200w UHP mercury lamp. As explained in our HD1 review the DILA technology allows red, green and blue light sources to hit the DILA panels and then through the vertically aligned pixels. This light is then directed into a single lens in such a way that any spillage is reduced within the optical path, allowing the high contrast levels from the technology. One of the main advantages of DILA (like LCD) is the lack of any rainbow effect seen on some single chip DLP models, and unlike LCD there are also no obvious pixel structures to be seen in the final image. The lens system used on the HD100 looks similar to the HD1 but certainly feels heavier, suggesting an upgrade on the glass which is welcome.

In terms of looks and size you would be hard pushed to find any cosmetic difference between the HD1 and HD100, other than the dark case and front air vents. The same controls and central strip is also present on the top case and the front vents work in exactly the same way as the HD1. In terms of control the remote is again identical and the connections for sources are also present and correct at the rear of the unit. There are no differences seen with the connections such as two HDMI v1.3, one component, s-video and composite connections and an RS232 port. However for a model aimed at the custom install market, the lack of any 12volt trigger switches is a bit of an oversight.

In terms of initial set up we do see some welcome changes over the HD1. The first is the fact the lens set up has been expanded as well as the zoom and focus which are now remotely controlled. The lens set up is still a manual affair with the two wheels under the front of the projector, but this does allow a higher (or lower) adjustment of 80 percent vertical and 30 percent horizontal. This allows a greater degree of placement for the projector to allow a higher or lower final placement above or below the centre of the screen.

The remote zoom and focus are an added advantage and accessed through the test patterns offered on the projector. The feature uses the green crosshair on black background pattern, and allows you to stand next to the screen to get the focus as sharp as possible. This is an acceptable way of achieving focus, but we would have preferred an option to use the focus in normal picture mode and not through a forced test pattern.

The menu system is intuitive to use and offers all the set up and picture settings required to get the best from the projector. You have the usual picture adjustments, a selection of colour temperatures (low, middle, high and two memories), Gamma (Theatre 1&2, dynamic and custom), RGB offset and pixel adjust. Also available in the sub menus are component selections, screen aspect (anamorphic stretch), film mode, image profiles (cinema, dynamic, natural and user settings), HDMI adjustment as well as a wealth of other fine set up controls such as Horizontal/vertical flip. One area missing again from the set up menus are RGBYMC colour management and full RGB temperature settings to allow a full calibration to standards such as REC709. The colour presets are said to align with the standards however as you will see in the calibration area of the review the HD100 follows its brothers over saturated gamut.

So how does this new addition to the JVC family actually behave once set up out of the box and then calibrated?

HD Tests

Tests Possible Score Test Score
HD Noise Reduction
Noise is problem that continues to affect high-definition video sources. While analogue noise is typically introduced during the duplication and editing process, noise in HD sources represents film grain and CCD noise introduced at the time of recording (particularly in the darker areas of a scene), noise introduced during the compositing and post-processing stage due to color and exposure correction, as well as during the compression process itself. Noise affects all HD sources.

The challenge is removing the spurious noise while preserving the detail in the scene.
25 - Noise reduced without loss of detail.

15 - Noise reduced somewhat and detail is preserved.

7 - Level of noise reduced but detail is lost.

0 - There is no apparent reduction in noise and/or image detail is significantly reduced or artifacts are introduced.
15 - Noise reduced somewhat and detail is preserved.
HD Video Resolution Loss
The odd and even fields of interlaced video are recorded a fraction of a second apart (1/60s or 1/50s). This presents several problems to the video processor. When the video contains non-moving objects, it is possible to recover the full resolution of the original scene. On the other hand, if the video contains moving objects, resolution is necessarily lost; it was lost at the time of the recording.

A good video processor needs to distinguish between objects in motion or objects that are not in motion. Doing so ensures that all of the resolution is preserved. If a video processor assumes that a non-moving object is, in fact, moving, as much as half of the useful resolution is being discarded. Likewise, if a video processor assumes that a moving object is, in fact, not moving, then 'feathering artifacts' can be seen.
20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.

0 - The boxes in the corners strobe - half resolution processing
20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
Video Reconstruction test
In these tests, we will evaluate the quality of the video reconstruction. Recall that with interlaced video, resolution in moving areas has been lost at the time of the recording. In order to replace the missing data, most video processors compute the average of the pixel above and below the area of interest. This loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominent on diagonal lines. High-quality video processors can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' by implementing more advanced reconstruction methods such as a diagonal interpolation (also called diagonal filtering).

The only method for dealing with motion is to throw away some of the pixels that would cause feathering. So, the difference between a good and bad video processor is how selective it is at throwing away data. If you only throw away the pixels that would cause feathering, you maximize as much detail as possible.

When you throw away data, you must replace it by averaging pixels above and below the area. The loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominently on diagonal lines. High-quality de-interlacers can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' through intelligent reconstruction methods. The reconstruction process get increasingly difficult as the angle becomes more oblique.
20 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.

10 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.

5 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.

0 - None of the bars have smooth edges.
10 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.
Film Resolution Loss test
1080p content exists today. In fact, the majority of today's HD content on CBS and NBC is 1080p. Virtually all major Hollywood films and the majority of 'scripted' television shows broadcast over 1080i60 are originally recorded as 1080p24 (1080p resolution, 24 frames per second).

Content that has been recorded at 1080p24 is converted into 1080i60 for broadcast purposes via a telecine process. A good video processor should be able to decode the original 1080p data by recognizing the '3:2 cadence' of the repeated fields generated in this process. This process is known as 'inverse telecine.' With support for this feature, 100 percent of the pixels from the original 1080p source can be seen. Without proper inverse telecine, the video processor discards half of the resolution.

This test is relevant for testing Blu-ray and HD DVD players for any content that is 1080i and was sourced from a 1080p master that underwent a telecine process. This includes some concert footage, documentaries, films, and many television shows. For example Discovery's China Revealed available on Blu-ray is a combination of 1080i video and 1080i 3:2 content.
25 -You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.

0 - The boxes in the corners strobe, or the edges of the boxes have vertical bands - half resolution processing.
25 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
Film Resolution Loss Test (Stadium)
This test is a follow up test to the film resolution loss test. If you failed the previous test, you will fail this test. Pay attention to the stands. Any moiré or flickering in the upper stands indicates half resolution processing. This test provides you with a real world video that can show you how improper video processing can affect an active image.

The stands in this stadium are very high in detail and a good processor, player or display should be able to reconstruct the intended 1080p image with all of its intended resolution properly.
10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.

0 - Moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
Total Score for HD Tests out of a possible 100 = 80.

PAL DVD Video Processing Tests

Tests Possible Score Test Score
Colour Bar / Vertical Detail
This test verifies how good the processor is at identifying motion 10 - Image detail Is seen at marker '1', no flicker Is observed. 5 - Minor flickering is seen at marker '1'

0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
5 - Minor flickering is seen at marker '1'
Jaggies Pattern 1
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 5 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area; Logo is free of Jaggies

3 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the yellow area; Logo is free of Jaggies

0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
3 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the yellow area; Logo is free of Jaggies.
Jaggies Pattern 2
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 5 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.

3 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.

1 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.

0 - none of the bars have smooth edges
3 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.
Flag
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 10 - Jagged edges are not seen In the red and white bars, and the flag exhibits fine detail.

5 - Some Jagged edges are seen, and/or the background appears soft.

0 - Jagged edges are quite apparent along edges of the bars
5 - Some Jagged edges are seen, and/or the background appears soft.
Detail Enhancemennt
A high-quality detail enhancement algorithm is a mathematical restoration of data that is lost during the recording and mastering process. 10 - The bricks on the white building exhibit fine detail and sharp outlines, resulting In a crisp, realistic Image.

5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.

0 - The bricks on the white building appear to be flat and the bricks' outline Is blurred
5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.
Noise Reduction
Noise, or film grain, is inadvertently added to a program through capture, duplication and editing and compression process. 10 -level of noise Is noticeably reduced without loss of Image detail.

5 - Level of noise Is reduced somewhat when noise reduction Is turned on, or Image detail Is reduced.

0 - No apparent reduction In noise and/or Image detail Is significantly reduced, or the TV or monitor has no noise reduction feature
5 - Level of noise Is reduced somewhat when noise reduction Is turned on, or Image detail Is reduced.
Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction
In this test, noise has been added to a video of a roller coaster. A temporal filter that is does not distinguish the movement of the roller coaster from random noise will produce an echo or ghost-image of the moving roller coaster. 10 - The sky exhibits little or no noise, Image detail Is sharp and crisp, and no motion trails or smearing artefacts are observed.

5 - Some noise Is evident In the sky and/or the Image appears soft; the roller coaster appears to be slightly blurred.

0 - Noise Is clearly present In the sky and/or motion trails are visible behind the roller coaster as It moves through the scene.
5 - Some noise Is evident In the sky and/or the Image appears soft; the roller coaster appears to be slightly blurred.
Telecine A&B Detection
Hollywood motion pictures are shot, edited and screened with a picture refresh rate of 24 frames per second (fps), progressive scan (24p). To convert these films for DVD or 1080i HDTV, a conversion process is used to find a common mathematical relationship between the original program (24fps) and the broadcast format (25fps or 50 fields). One common technique to deal with this issue is Telecine A. With Telecine A the film is digitized at 24 fps (i.e. 2:2 film) and then played back 4.166% faster (25/24 = 1.04166). A less common technique is Telecine B where you take 24fps material and add a field at the 12th and 24th film frame. 20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.

15 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A.

0 - Flickering and Jaggies apparent with telecine A & B.
20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.
Total score out of a maximum 80 = 41

Calibration

This is one area where you can really improve the picture from the HD100 and tame some of that over saturation and any risk of crushing blacks in your set up. Correct RGB offset is easy to achieve and it flattens the greyscale (across all profiles) nicely with errors under 1 deltaE from around 30ire up to 100ire. In doing so the secondaries come in nicely and with some slight tweaks here and there we get an overall acceptably accurate image quality. It would have been nice to have had an RGBYCM colour management system built in to this more expensive model to allow some adjustment of the primaries, however all is not lost here, and it won’t really affect viewing enjoyment. Gamma control is also available within the HD100’s menu system and careful selection and manipulation gets us close to the desired 2.2 curve.

JVC DLA-HD100
Colour temperature before Colour temperature after
JVC DLA-HD100
JVC DLA-HD100
RGB levels before RGB levels after
JVC DLA-HD100
JVC DLA-HD100
Gamma curve before Gamma curve after
JVC DLA-HD100
JVC DLA-HD100

Now in terms of measuring on/off contrast we have set out to measure all projectors the same way. This means it is set up to project on a 7.5ft 1.78:1 screen at a distance of 14ft (to the front of the lens). Our Gretag Macbeth i! One Pro is positioned facing the projector at a distance of 48” (this prevents over saturation of the probe, which also has a filter attached). Measuring in normal lamp mode with the HD100 we managed to measure a native contrast of 29,000:1 on/off. Yes, that is a correct reading as it was checked a number of times (although repeatable, it was at the limit of the meters performance). Screen uniformity was also excellent from the projector with less than a 2% drop at any point over the screen, again another astonishing result. This has to be the first time that our results in our light controlled testing area has managed to get anywhere close to what the manufacturers have claimed in their figures. Kudos to JVC, that is certainly the highest contrast we have measured yet from a fixed panel projector, but how does this equate to viewing material?

Picture Quality - Out of the box

Out of the box viewing is very good indeed with nothing to put any dampeners on proceedings. We really need to find some more test material, but to be honest the King Kong HD DVD is still one of the very best transfers out there with plenty of bright daylight scenes, as well as broody dark moments. It’s those darker scenes that really set the JVC projectors apart from almost every other on the market. Chapter 45 from our test disc has Kong meeting up with the love of his life outside a gloomy Woolworths building. It is this scene, along with his walk through the back streets towards the frozen pond, which really stands out here. On most LCD and DLP machines we have tested, it has looked good with solid blacks, but there has also been a slight lack of depth. With the HD100 the backgrounds suddenly have substance and edge to them, which looks truly three dimensional. The shadows have a texture and depth, with the dark coloured parked cars in the street standing out as they should. Colours are also good and there are not many occasions where over- saturation ruins things. Indeed, unless it is a gaudy colour palette such as the reds seen in Moulin Rouge, you would be hard pushed to have any inaccuracies take you out of the film.

Picture Quality - Calibrated

Even in calibrated mode, the colours on the HD100 should be more natural than they are, however like above, it takes a lot for them to really jump out and spoil things. The JVC really does give us a tour de force of solid blacks and clean white level which allows HD material to come into its own. There is an obvious cinematic appeal of the JVCs picture quality which is also hard to describe fully here. Sometimes described as being soft this is just the projectors high point in full flow, it looks so film like you could be mistaken for believing you are watching a CRT or 35mm projector. One of my favourite scenes from Kong is close to the end where they await daybreak, with dark clouds approaching from the river. On the JVC the sheer detail of the streets below, contours and gradations of colour and backgrounds stretching for miles look super real. This is where some of the best of the competition fall down, that contrast ratio between serious black and whites allows the image to take on depth not seen on other projectors. In a word, stunning.

Picture Quality - Standard Definition

Feed the JVC a high quality DVD feed and the great picture quality continues to blow you away. There are a couple of niggles using the s-video or component inputs where we still see issues with overscan and a softening of the image. However using our Denon 2930 via HDMI gave us no issues whatsoever with Standard Definition playback. The old cliché that is ‘Star Wars’ turned up again in this test and who can argue with that choice when you see star fields like those projected by the JVC. Stunning white stars, against a deep black and no sign of dimming or brightness changes due to an iris moving about. The JVC truly hits that native contrast with great effect as the star destroyer comes in to view and Vaders shuttle heads for the new death star in ‘Return of the Jedi’. What also stands out is the forrest moon of Endor which actually looks like it is a real planet, an object of substance, and not just a matte painting.

The one thing that you really notice about the HD100 is just how cinematic its pictures can be. On the downside can be material like Moulin Rouge on NTSC DVD. This was used to compare the Epson TW2000 to the HD100 is an unscientific side by side test (read the TW2000 review to get the result). The strong reds used in that films colour palette, didn’t sit that well with the JVC and its tendency to look over saturated. The Elephant medley is a good example where things can stand out a little too much with the HD100, as Nicole Kidman’s lipstick suddenly looks like it should be in a cartoon! But add in the stunning depth of field to the same scene, where the knotted rope above the seating area takes on a lifelike dimensionality, and you suddenly forget, or ignore, the saturated lips. Overall I cannot really find anything negative to say that cannot be fixed with calibration, or the use of an outboard scaler, which is highly likely if used in a custom install.

Verdict

10
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • True high native contrast performance
  • Sublime black levels and depth of field
  • Cinematic picture quality with solid screen uniformity in both out of the box and calibrated use.
  • Anamorphic stretch mode
  • Easy to use menu system and good build quality

Cons

  • Video processing on SD material is not great
  • Pricing may put a few off
  • Colours can look over saturated with certain material
  • No Colour Management SystemNo 12v Trigger output

JVC HD100 D-ILA Projector Review

So in rounding up the JVC DLA-HD100 we move on it the Anamorphic stretch settings, with the possibility to add in a suitable lens and 2.35:1 screen for that truly cinematic performance. There are many options where lens are concerned, but actually marrying the lens with the projector so you get the best of both worlds (16:9 and 2.35:1), can be difficult. JVC has launched its own solution for the HD100 and you can see how it works in the video below.

What anamorphic brings to the HD100 is nothing short of jaw dropping, as that cinematic picture quality is now married with the real scope size. If you are in the market for an all round, cinematic performer then we would point you in the direction of an HD100 authorised dealer so you can see it in full flow.

There may be a few niggles we still have with the JVC, but what eclipses all that is its sheer performance and picture quality. Sure the colours could be tamed slightly with a proper CMS menu and the processing, especially with Pal material, could be far better. But at the end of the day with three high quality projectors in my room at the same time as this review sample, time and time again I found myself switching on the HD100 to sit back and watch a movie, and I think that says everything that needs to be said. Reference Quality at its best.

Reference Status

Scores

Features

.
.
8

Ease Of Use

.
.
8

Build Quality

.
.
8

Value For Money

.
9

Verdict

10

2D Picture Quality

.
9

Video Processing

10

Image Uniformity

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
.
.
.
5

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

10
10
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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