Nothing short of the ultimate 3D projector will beat this absolute winner, which is highly recommended to those with the readies.
Having entered the projector high-end a few years back with the DLA-HD1, the JVC has steadily improved the performance of its LCOS-based devices to a point where they are considered among the best on the market; without spending truly silly money, that is.
I’m lucky to have sampled the fruits of JVC’s projector endeavours from the beginning with the aforementioned DLA-HD1, followed by the HD-100 and finally culminating with the excellent DLA-HD350 earlier this year.
Externally you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the HD350 and 950 save the ominous THX logo screened onto the new model’s casework, but as always it is under the hood where the real differences lie.
Contrast is improved from the 350’s 30,000:1 to 50,000:1, while the HD950 also features JVC’s Clear Motion Drive technology, essentially creating an intermediate frame for smoother, less jerky motion while watching 1080i or standard definition source material. The Clear Motion Drive doesn’t function during the viewing of true 1080P content, allowing the on-board HQV Reon-VX processor to display stunning 24fps imagery.
Of interest to those with large NTSC DVD collections is the inclusion of an Inverse Telecine mode. This nifty feature decodes the video at 24fps and doubles it to 48fps – avoiding 2-3 pulldown and resulting in a judder free, smooth picture.
Now to the THX designation: the HD950 is fully ISF compliant for those of us handy with a colour spectrophotometer (or those with well-equipped friends), but luckily for those outside the colour management loop there is a handy THX preset button. One press and, voila – instant THX calibration, and the results were pretty damn fine. One aspect of the LCOS system employed by JVC I hadn’t mentioned is the absence of a Dynamic Iris (as used in the vast majority of LCD projectors). This means consistent brightness (and darkness) while watching movies, and although most of the better LCD devices use sophisticated Irises it is still perceptible to the trained eye.
The fit, finish and weight of the DLA-HD950 was certainly representative of a top-end projector, and with my fond experiences of the HD950’s ancestors I slavishly connected the black beauty to my HT system and began my first giant screen popcorn fest of the season.
Using my Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player and Panasonic’s stunning DMRXW350 Freeview HD recorder as sources, the HD950 delivered simply stunning picture quality. Blu-ray movies such as Star Trek, Transformers – The Revenge Of the Fallen (okay, no classic but it has great eye candy, and giant robots) were exceptionally filmic with fluid motion and a clear lack of digital artefacts (except the CGI of course). Blacks were deliciously inky with real depth and delineation, while flesh tones were the better of anything I’ve seen in a cinema – period.
Look, the DLA-HD950 isn’t for everyone. The price will cull most of us in the market for a home theatre projector, but the sheer quality of the projected image at vast screen sizes is enough to convince this reviewer. I’m off to chat the boss up for a raise. GARY PEARCE