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JVC DLA-1 review: JVC DLA-1

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The Good Reproduces deep shade of black; solid video processing; excellent feature package; numerous picture adjustments, including LCoS panel alignment.

The Bad Primary colors, especially green, are quite inaccurate, making overall color fidelity suffer.

The Bottom Line The JVC DLA-HD1 projector does a lot of things very well at a reasonable price for a 1080p projector. If JVC were to improve color accuracy, it would be a world-class product.

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7.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Editors' note, March 11, 2007 The rating on this review has been lowered from 8.1 to 7.5 due to changes in the competitive marketplace, including the review of the Sony VPL-VW200 and the DLA-HD100.

JVC's first relatively affordable 1080p DILA (aka LCoS) projector has garnered a lot of praise on Internet forums recently. The DLA-HD1's coveted 1080p resolution, at a price somewhere between the Sony VPL-VW50 (aka the Pearl) and its big brother, the VPL-VW100 (aka the Ruby), may have something to do with it. From a setup and picture optimization perspective, the DLA-HD1's feature set is outstanding, and we really like its sleek design.

In most areas of picture quality, JVC's DLA-HD1 is certainly an excellent 1080p projector. If the company would improve on the primary and secondary color accuracy, green in particular, it would be worthy of CNET's Editors' Choice award. Unfortunately, this is the norm in our industry, and as a result, there are very few HDTVs of any type that can deliver truly accurate color. This is the main reason the 720p resolution Samsung SP-H710AE remains our reference projector. With that said, the JVC's other logical 1080p comparison would be to the Sony Ruby. The DLA-HD1 is superior to the Ruby in video processing, grayscale tracking, gamma implementation, light output, and panel alignment, and they are about the same price. As a result, the JVC is our favorite LCoS-based projector so far, but it still can't match the picture quality--specifically the color accuracy--of the best 1080p DLP projectors.

This JVC projector is available in two versions, which are identical in every way aside from color. The DLA-HD1 is silver and black, while the DLA-RS1U is all black.

The lens is centered on the chassis, giving the projector a symmetrical look and making ceiling installation much easier. At roughly 25.5 pounds, it is rather heavy by today's projector standards. Even so, at just more than 7 inches high, the HD1's profile or footprint is quite small, giving it a sleek, streamlined look. Its attractive design lends itself well to many a family room as well as to dedicated home theaters, because it should be easy to integrate its elegance into a room's decor.

The remote control is extremely well designed and quite easy to use. Thankfully, it is fully backlit, making setup quite simple in a darkened home theater setting. There are direct access keys for all inputs, all picture modes (JVC calls them Image Profiles), and all picture parameters (Contrast, Brightness, and so on). Navigating the internal menu system is also quite intuitive.

We mentioned the JVC's 1080p resolution at the outset, which enables the projector to resolve every detail of 1080i and 1080p sources, the highest currently available. Higher resolution is especially important in projectors, whose very large screen sizes are capable of really showing off the extra detail. As an LCoS-based unit--JVC calls it DILA--the DLA-HD1 employs three separate liquid crystal on silicon panels, which has the advantage of avoiding any possibility of the "rainbow effect" that some viewers of most single-chip, DLP-based displays can see (more info).

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.

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