One of the interesting things that I picked up on when previewing the new models back in October was that the chassis design has stayed the same as the previous X7 and X70 models. Usually JVC, like many other projector manufacturers, employ a two year cycle on the chassis design before adding or improving on it. This year is an exception as they stick to the same chassis and this perhaps points to how they have managed to introduce the more affordable X55 model to the line-up. In any case, there are new improved features on board the X75 and after allowing our production sourced sample to rack up at least 90 hours on the bulb, over the last few days, we are about to find out just how well this new high-end model performs.
Design and Connections
Moving around the back we find the same connections layout as seen on previous models with two HDMI ports, one component input, PC/VGA input, RS232C control port, the 3D emitter port and two powered triggers. Underneath the inputs is the power connector and to the right of this are manual controls to access the menu system if you lose the remote control. It seems strange that we have not seen any additional HDMI inputs over the last three years, so we can only speculate that it is a limitation of this chassis design. However, saying all that we can’t see the lack of any additional HDMI inputs being a huge problem for most users who will no doubt be using an AVR as a video switcher in their systems.
The remote control supplied with the DLA-X75 is again almost identical to last year’s handset which is a long and slim affair with a logical key layout that is easy to learn quickly. The remote sits neatly in the hand with the important every day button presses within easy reach. Whilst it is a plastic remote, it doesn’t feel cheap and we never had any issues with sync between the handset and projector. There is an additional MPC direct button on the remote this year for direct access to the E-Shift MPC controls, this replaces the CMD button from last year, which moves to replace the Anamo (Anamorphic stretch) button.
Another change from last year is the introduction of new 3D glasses and RF emitter. The new emitter is small and neat and slots into the connection port of the unit, staying out of sight. This is a big improvement over the IR stand-alone unit supplied with last year’s model. We found the sync with the glasses to be faultless with no drop out at any time. Plus using RF means that we can use our remote controls for sources without the room being flooded with IR signals, an issue with last year’s models. The new glasses (model PK-AG3) are far lighter than last year’s and also have nice large lenses which don’t restrict the view in any way and let in a good amount of light without any obvious tinting. In our opinion the new RF emitter being hidden at the rear of the projector is also a big plus point.
There are some big changes with E-Shift 2 with a new menu system and the opportunity to switch it off, which you could only do last year by entering the service menu. We are given a choice of profiles for the MPC which is part of the E-shift system, these are Film, High Resolution, HD, SD, Dynamic and Off. Under each setting you then have options for Enhance, Dynamic Contrast and Smoothing. Each selection adjusts the perceived sharpness of the image and addresses different image frequencies to figure out where to apply some sharpening or raised contrast. This is very similar in effect to Reality Creation from Sony and the Detail Clarity processor 4 on the new Panasonic PT-AT6000E. The only difference is that this works when E-Shift is engaged. Last year we had no real choice over the MPC settings or as much flexibility as we do this time around. In the X70 we found E-Shift to be beneficial as it didn’t add any unwanted edge ringing or any obvious artefacts. It added an acceptable sharpening and improvement to motion that we saw as a benefit.
This time around with so many choices there are some downfalls if you are looking for image stability and accuracy. Some selections do add a very noticeable sharpening and ringing to fine edges and if you get completely carried away you can make images look completely processed. We found that the film selection on default settings didn’t add any unwanted effects and provided a nicely balanced image that didn’t change the intended look of material. In other settings it was obvious that processing was being applied and as an example, in high resolution a heavy rain storm in a movie clip had a very odd look as the rain was highlighted with white edges completely ruining the scene. Obviously such controls will be used in high settings by some users who feel they like and accept the look and that’s fair enough. These types of features are very much a personal choice, but if you want the benefit of E-Shift 2 without any processing errors then we suggest the Film mode on its default settings.
Other features on the DLA-X75RB have been introduced to help those who want to run the projector for a while before getting a professional calibration (and with a projector of this level we highly recommend that you put aside the budget to have this done). THX certification is once again on board and with that comes the THX picture preset which attempts to produce an image that is close to the industry standards out-of-the-box. You can see how well this measures in the test area of the review under the tab above. Once again we get the Screen adjustment mode for matching the X75 to your screen material with a total of 255 possible modes (you may have to update the firmware according to the JVC website).
Also new this year to the X75 is auto-calibration using built-in software and a Spyder4Pro or Spyder4Elite (optional extras) to run through the greyscale set up. There doesn’t appear to be an automated CMS facility. We were not in a position to test this as we use Klein K10 and i1pro meters and didn’t have a Spyder4 to hand. However, as the greyscale is the number one area of the image to get right and to check over long use of the bulb, this auto feature should prove valuable to those who choose not to go the professional route. If you do go the calibrator route then the X75 has all the available controls under its ISFccc certification including a CMS, Greyscale and Gamma editor to make sure a very accurate image can be dialed in. Again, see our test results for more details on this.
Another interesting new addition is the Environmental Setting control. By entering your rough screen size, viewing distance and wall colour, the marketing materials proclaim that the X75 will adjust the image to suit your environment. However, no matter what we tried, we didn’t find any use for this or visible change in the image. Curious.
One feature we personally cannot live without here at AVForums is the lens memory function. Owners of 2.35:1 screens can now enjoy up to 10 memories to store the usual aspect ratios, and those not so usual, so you have all bases covered. There is very little brightness drop in zooming like this and as a result the functionality has almost removed the need for an expensive anamorphic lens completely. The change between ratios is still a little slow compared to the Panasonic system, but we don’t see that as an issue to be honest. Watching your favourite scope movies on a scope screen and with the benefits of E-shift 2 and JVC’s now famous film like images is an experience we would recommend to any film fan. For those who want to stick with their existing Anamorphic lenses then the X75 still has the stretch facility on board. One final addition here is a pincushion adjustment for use with a curved screen.
Rounding off the features are the Clear Motion Drive settings for the frame interpolation system. This has not changed from last year and remains very much a user preference setting. The X75 also retains the powered lens cover for when the projector is not in use and the pixel adjustment tool which offers 121 adjustment points to check the convergence.
Under the main menu we have number of picture modes and user settings (5) as well as the usual picture profiles such as Film, Cinema, Natural (Default), Stage, 3D and THX. Again we also have a selection of Colour Profiles which includes the Standard selection which this year is a little over saturated against Rec.709 compared to the last two years where it was slightly under. The other selections are all much wider in varying degrees. Colour temperature can be set to 6500K which does a good job, for an out-of-the-box setting, with the greyscale tracking and Gamma has quite a number of presets and a separate custom menu for set up. The dark/light and colour tone controls remain here and if employed carefully can be of some limited use, however we would always recommend leaving them at default and making adjustments in the greyscale and gamma settings for complete image accuracy.
As posted above there is a new menu section for the MPC controls as well as a new menu page for the environmental controls. Lens memory has a dedicated menu and button on the remote for direct access to save profiles and CMD has an off switch with is always good to see. Finally the lens aperture is also still available in the advanced menu with its full 16 steps.
With the JVC DLA-X75 we are actually given a few choices in terms of out-of-the-box settings to use, from THX to User modes. In this section of the review we feel it is interesting enough to show just what the different settings and results are with the X75, so let’s start with the THX mode.
Note:These measurements were taken after 90 hours was put onto the bulb of the DLA-X75RB.
Starting with the greyscale and we can see a nice parallel track of the red, green and blue points, which should mean that a two point correction will bring them together easily at our desired 100% point. As Blue is down by 5% and Red and Green just above the fold we do get higher DeltaE errors as we add more luminance to the signal, however we only detected a very slight yellow cast to images on screen and while watching film material, which most users would be happy with for an out of the box setting. Gamma was a little off with black hitting 2.4 and the high end just hitting 2.2 but this curve actually didn’t have a negative impact on image quality overall. This is a very good set of results for an out-of-the-box preset.
The colour gamut results are also very good in the THX mode with only the white balance error shifting our secondary Cyan and Magenta towards green and red respectively. Overall DeltaE errors are under 4 and the most important point, Luminance (brightness) of our colour points is also excellent. Again, after 90 hours on the bulb this is a very respectable result. So quickly moving on to the 6500K setting in user mode and the colour profile Standard, we get the following results.
As we can see in the greyscale results in User mode and selecting 6500K we get very similar results to the THX preset with near identical DeltaE errors and tracking. However gamma does track slightly better at 2.2. Moving to the colour gamut results we see a difference over last year’s Standard colour profile with slight oversaturation of green, yellow and red. This is actually a better result than last year as we should be able to use the CMS to fully correct this gamut to Rec.709 without adding too many inputs to achieve the desired goal. In fact the calibrated results below took 5 minutes to achieve.
And that is exactly what we get with our calibrated results. We could have spent another 5 minutes getting the greyscale tracking fully flat on the graph, but as no errors were visible at this point on screen there was no point. Reference level.
And again for the colour gamut, we have a reference result with minimal and invisible errors. With such an easy calibration possible (depending on set up and environment) we can't recommend getting a professional calibrator in enough.
Picture Quality – 2D
The JVC line-up of projectors over the years have been top dog for a reason, and the X75RB is no exception to that rule. 2D images are sensational in calibrated mode, with the depth of blacks and shadow detailing we have all come to expect. Colour performance was also exceptionally good with natural skin tones and bright, vibrant and accurate primary colours where they are needed. We viewed a number of new release Blu-rays and our own selection of reference favourites to really push the JVC in the picture stakes. Although Nolan went for a crushed noir look with The Dark Knight Rises, certainly in the early moments of the movie, the X75 oozed that cinematic image quality that we have all come to expect to see.
Detail is fantastic with skin pores front and centre and with the E-Shift 2 in Film mode, there is a nice definition to complex high detailed objects, like roofs, walls and clothing. While this particular film deliberately crushes the blacks, by choice, we switched to our old favourite King Kong and chapter 48 of Peter Jackson’s epic monster hit. This is a great test of shadow detailing and gradations from black, which the JVC excels in showing correctly. Mix in a deliberate yellow cast to the meeting between Kong and his love interest and then, the primary Christmas lights during the ice pond scene, and you soon get lost in the X75’s filmic talents. I don’t know how many times I have now watched this scene and the mark of a great image is that I then continued watching until the end of the movie.
There is no doubting that competition in the projector market is tougher than ever, but in the correct batcave surroundings, we have yet to see any model at the price point or below come close to beating the native contrast performance of the JVC’s, which helps to produce sublime cinematic images. The usual nearest rival to the X75 is the Sony VPL-VW95ES which is last year’s model and is not slated for an update this year. Given that we thought the X70 of last year just pipped the Sony as an overall package, we have to stick with that choice with this new JVC model; it is class leading when it comes to 2D performance for the high end home cinema.
Picture Quality – 3D
Our advice with projectors be it 2D or 3D is to allow at least 30 minutes warm up time to get the bulb settled before any critical film watching, but we can understand that some will want that instant switch on and play experience. So for those users they will see an improvement with 3D during warm up and then some more during further viewing. We saw fewer instances of crosstalk or ghosting with the X75 over last year’s X90, which we had in the testing room at the time of this review. The performance really is a step up to the same level as the competition which scored better in last year’s round up. We couldn’t really fault the odd occasion of crosstalk as for 98% of the time it just wasn’t visible.
The new glasses and RF emitter work perfectly together and were always in sync throughout our testing. The glasses might feel a little on the plastic side but the wide lenses and light weight construction made them easy to wear during a full movie watching session. It is obvious to us that JVC has taken the feedback from last year and made a nice improvement to the 3D capabilities of the X75RB. Good work!
- Reference black levels and shadow detailing
- Reference colour and greyscale once calibrated
- Excellent 3D performance
- Stunning cinematic images and lens memory for scope screens
- New 3D glasses are lighter, brighter and now RF
- Good THX and User modes out of the box
- CMD function adds artefacts and the dreaded soap opera effect
JVC X75 D-ILA Projector Review
Going through the two weeks of testing we didn’t find anything we didn’t expect, we had superb black levels, stunning shadow detailing and image depth. Calibrated colour performance was outstanding and the cinematic images the X75RB threw out were the same jaw dropping quality we have come to expect over the years. There is no revolution here, it is definitely a case of evolution and that is no bad thing. The X75 keeps the plus points of last year’s reference level performance and adds a few new bells and whistles along the way.
It is a tougher market place this year and that perhaps explains why the only competition at this level of the market comes from the VPL-VW95ES, that Sony released last year and have stated it will remain that way with no signs of a replacement. The Sony is a very, very good performer but the X75 just moves things along with a small increment in performance and 3D to now match the VW95ES. Are there any models a little further down the price scale that could match what the X75 does? Er, no, would be the honest answer.
So overall, we have a replacement for last year’s Reference projector that delivers to an even higher standard, improves the 3D and turns in a stellar performance. The JVC DLA-X75RB is our reference level projector for yet another year and deservedly so on both performance and price point.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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