TESTED: JVC DLA-HD350 HD Projector

A Great Performer

Count JVC as a leading proponent of Liquid Crystal On Silicon technology, which the company has dubbed D-ILA (for Direct drive Imaging Light Amplifier) as used in the firm’s top-tier projectors, such as the DLA-HD350 reviewed here. This three-panel technology has, at its core, LCD-like panels, but instead of being transmissive, the D-ILA imaging system features a combination of transmissive and reflective technologies to provide better light control, especially with respect to deep black and dark gray performance.

Introduced at last September’s CEDIA show in Denver, the DLA-HD350 was slated to carry an SRP of $6,000—which seemed entirely appropriate and competitive. In the three months since the trade show introduction and actual product shipments, the SRP dropped by 25 percent, making this the most affordable 1080p LCOS-based projector yet.

 

OVERVIEW

Consider this Projector if: you’re looking for a high value, high performance 1080p projector with LCOS/D-ILA technology that’s loaded with step-up features. Given the dramatic price drop, this latest JVC projector is, at $4,500, an exceptional value compared to earlier offerings.

Look elsewhere if: you’d like to be able to see a projected image with the most accurate HDTV color gamut (palette) possible, as this JVC’s extended color gamut tends to over-embellish colors. For some (or perhaps many), this might be desirable, though.

Ratings

  • Overall picture quality (SD): 7
  • Overall picture quality (HD): 8
  • Features: 8
  • Connectivity: 7
  • User interface: 8
  • Value: 9

 

FEATURES

  • Motorized everything on the JVC, including focus and zoom, along with vertical and horizontal lens shift, which allows quick and accurate setup by letting you stand close to the screen to dial in the sharpest possible picture. A test pattern is automatically called up during the focus/alignment process, which further aids setup. There’s even a motorized sliding lens cover to help keep dust and dirt off the lens when the JVC is powered down.
  • There are picture adjustment options galore, with numerous picture-setting memories and three user-defined memories, so tuning the JVC for daytime and evening modes is easy. In addition to the usual array of aspect ratio choices, this latest JVC now features Vertical Stretch (prior models didn’t), which is a special 1.33 vertical stretching mode that allows the use of an external anamorphic lens (such as the Panamorph) for true 2.40:1 “scope” widescreen reproduction (you’ll need a suitably wide 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen, of course).
  • With two lamp modes and three iris choices, the JVC can be tweaked for brighter daytime viewing and for optimum nighttime viewing with the lower lamp mode, which will help to significantly extend the lamp life.

 

Comments

Steven Stone -- Fri, 06/19/2009 - 12:55

You mention the color is "dialed up to 11" in Spinal Tap-speak.
 
Is it correctable with the projector's controls or do you need to use other means to bring it into a more standard color space?
 
On page two I notice that your setting have the color set to -3. Was this enough to lower the color saturation to a more correct level?

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Zenbob (not verified) -- Tue, 06/30/2009 - 00:50

As a former JVC Engineer in Pro-Video, I have long respected their commitment to innovation and high quality at realistic prices.  I did not see mention in your excellent review of this model's specifications, life expectancy and cost for replacement bulbs -- potentially a deal breaker for many otherwise excellent projectors.  Could you follow up with some of these specs from JVC? 
As a second comment, I wish to underscore your wonderful understanding of black level/contrast and detail, vis-a-vis the cost to value relationship of a top quality projection or in fact, any video display.   Many movies, especially action or thriller type movies seem to have a great percentage of their action shots captured in relatively dark or shadowy surroundings -- and lesser quality products reduce this to simply a washed out dark gray mumble that reveals no details whatsoever -- very disappointing.   Many products can look quite stunning displaying a full daylight park or seaside resort, but move the action to a dimly lit gothic thriller and -- woosh -- the film may as well have been shot in a cave, at night, during an eclipse, whilst wearing welding goggles -- but worst of all -- the picture is still not actually black but dark gray with artifacts.   Your comments were very astute and clearly identified benchmarks for consumers to compare performance in a realistic manner without the need for technical test gear.  Thank You!
 

Brian Boru (not verified) -- Wed, 07/08/2009 - 01:57

The article describes this JVC as the most affordable 1080p LCOS-based projector yet, at $4500 list.  But, the

Sony BRAVIA VPL-HW10 1920 x 1080 SXRD projector uses LCOS-based chips and lists for $3500, a full $1,000 less than the JVC. Hence, the article was incorrect on this point.

 

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