Setup features, which provide the ability to fine-tune the picture, abound on the JVC. For starters, a High Lamp mode opens the iris all the way for use with larger screens, while a Normal mode, for smaller screen sizes, will produce deeper black levels. A total of five selectable color temperatures are on board, including two user temps that add red, green, and blue color adjustments for tweaking the grayscale. There are also a total of six Image Profiles (picture modes), including three user modes. Three user memory profiles, and the ability to create memory profiles for the Cinema, Natural, and Dynamic Image Profiles, provide for ample memory slots.
By far the coolest feature, however, is Pixel Adjust, which allows you to converge the three LCoS panels so they line up with one another, improving the clarity of the picture. This is a first in the industry as far as we know, and it works well. Zoom and Focus features are manual at the lens assembly as opposed to electronic, and the zoom ratio is a generous 2.0:1, giving the projector a lot of flexibility in terms of placement in the room relative to the screen. Finally, in addition to vertical lens shift, the DLA-HD1 also sports horizontal lens shift, which is something we are used to seeing only on much more expensive projectors.
Connectivity options are adequate if not generous. There are two HDMI inputs, one component video input, an S-Video input, a composite input, and an RS-232 control port for touch panel remote systems such as Crestron and AMX. We were a bit surprised that it lacks a 12-volt trigger for electric drop-down screens.
As far as picture quality is concerned, the DLA-HD1 does many things very well. Its video processing is excellent, with 2:3 pull-down for film-based material. It also deinterlaces 1080i properly, preserving all the vertical resolution in 1080i HD material, which not all HDTVs and projectors can claim (see the Geek Box for more). Speaking of resolution, the HD1 also delivers all of the resolution in a 1080p signal at the HDMI and the component video input--many competing projectors roll off resolution at the component video input. Color decoding is accurate for HD and for SD. Black-level performance is also very good, as evidenced by the deep, rich blacks it reproduces on dark movie material.
The DLA-HD1, along with much of its competition, falls short in the area of overall color fidelity. While grayscale tracking and color decoding are both excellent, the accuracy of the primary and secondary colors are both way off the mark. In fact, it may have the worst green we have ever seen on any display device. Fortunately, this won't show up with all program material, but where it reared its ugly head repeatedly in our system was watching the YES-HD channel with Yankees baseball in HD. The grass on the field simply looked sick due to excessive yellow.
In our system, with an 80-inch-wide, 92-inch-diagonal Stewart Grayhawk reference screen, the light out was more than ample in the Normal mode. In fact, we had to take contrast down from the factory preset and ended up with just less than 15 footlamberts of light output. Grayscale tracking in the Low color temperature setting was reasonably close prior to calibration, and after calibration was very accurate. Looking at an all-white field, it was apparent that white-field uniformity, especially at the edges of the picture, was slightly compromised, but that is an issue with all LCD- and LCoS-based displays.
Black-level performance is indeed compelling on the JVC DLA-HD1. Black and very dark areas of the picture appeared deep, rich, and clean, with little or no visible false contouring or low-level noise. Chapters 4 and 28 of the HD DVD version of Batman Begins are two excellent scenes to evaluate blacks on any display. In the jail cell in Chapter 4, there was a lot of fine detail clearly visible in the walls, indicating good shadow detail. Again in Chapter 28, with Batman racing against time to save the girl's life, details in the shadows were impressive. Chapter 13 on the HD DVD of Seabiscuit, on the other hand, was problematic, as it showed primary and secondary colors throughout the chapter. The track building is cyan, for example, and the infield, of course, is green grass. These are the types of scenes that may bother viewers with a keen eye for color fidelity.
Blu-ray from our Samsung BD-P1200 player at 1080p output looked mostly excellent, with the exception of the aforementioned color issues. Casino Royale, an outstanding Blu-ray transfer, was as sharp as a tack, and the chase scene in the beginning, for example, looked snappy indeed.
|Before color temp (20/80)||8084/6698K||Average|
|After color temp||6676/6462||Good|
|Before grayscale variation||386K||Good|
|After grayscale variation||85K||Good|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.661/0.337||Poor|
|Color of green||0.291/0.695||Poor|
|Color of blue||0.146/0.040||Poor|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down detection||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|