What is the JVC DLA-X500R?
We were pleased to see JVC launch a mid-range projector last year, it filled an obvious gap in their line-up and offered a wider set of features at a more affordable price.
Design and Connections
The out-of-the-box performance was reasonably good, although in the case of the greyscale it could have been better. We chose the 6500K setting for the colour temperature of white, which should approximate the industry standard of D65. However, as you can see on the graph below left, the greyscale has too much red and green energy and not enough blue, resulting in a shift towards yellow. The DeltaE (error) measurements are between 3 and 5, which is certainly visible to the human eye, with an obvious yellow tinge to the image. We selected a gamma curve of 2.4 but it actually measured at 2.3, although it was tracking in a straight line which is good to see.
If you take a look at the graph below right, the colour performance was better than the greyscale, with overall errors at or below the tolerance threshold of three. The luminance measurements were excellent and the errors in the hue are undoubtedly the result of the inaccuracies in the greyscale. So once we have calibrated the greyscale with the two-point white balance control, the hue errors in the secondary colours should drop out. That only leaves some minor under-saturation in blue and magenta to address but since the X500 has a CMS, we should be able to improve the colour accuracy still further.
As we expected, the greyscale was fairly easy to calibrate with the two-point white balance control, we just dialled down the red and green and brought up the blue and fairly quickly we had errors that were all below two and most below one. The gamma curve was still tracking in a nice straight line at a measurement of 2.3, which should be ideal for most home cinema environments.
The two areas where JVC projectors usually reign supreme are their black levels and contrast ratios, so we expected good things from the X500 and we weren’t disappointed. JVC claimed a native contrast ratio of 60,000:1 for the X500 and we actually measured it at 40,000:1, which is excellent. The blacks produced by the projector were superb, measuring 0.01 cd/m2, the resulting dynamic range was impressive and the X500 retained an excellent level of shadow detail. JVC claim a brightness of 1300 lumens but after calibration we measured the X500 at 700 lumens and, with the lamp on high power for 3D, we got nearer 1000 lumens. This should be bright enough for most home cinema environments but to really take full advantage of the X500's deep blacks, you should use it in a room that is as dark as possible. Given the dominance of their projectors in terms of blacks we found JVC’s decision to include a dynamic iris this year a strange one. This type of technology was developed to improve the perceived blacks on projectors where this is a weakness but clearly in the case of the JVC projectors, they just don’t need it. For the purposes of completeness we tested the feature but quickly realised that it added no real value and returned to the X500’s already superb native blacks.
The first thing we should point out about the X500, is that it can not accept either 480i or 576i, you need to send standard definition as a progressive signal. This isn't really an issue since just about any device can output a progressive signal and most DVD and Blu-ray don't even offer the choice of an interlaced output. This minor point aside, the X500 performed well in our tests, scaling standard definition up to its projected resolution without introducing any unwanted artefacts. The X500 was equally as impressive in the tests using high definition content and with our Blu-ray player set to 1080i the X500 correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests and showed excellent scaling and filtering performance, as well as good resolution enhancement. With 1080i material the X500 also had no difficulties in showing video text overlaid on film based material and also handled 24p content without any problems. The default setting for HDMI is Standard where the video levels are set to 16 to 235 but this was clearly clipping peak white from 235 to 255. It is best to choose Super White which shows video levels 16 to 255, a fact we confirmed using the Spears & Munsil test disc. We also confirmed that the X500 wasn't clipping the three primary colours either.
JVC DLA-X500 Picture Quality
We watched the recent Blu-ray of Captain Phillips and the X500 delivered a superb image, retaining all the inherent film grain whilst rendering Paul Greengrass's trademark hand-held camera work with style. Similarly when it came to the Blu-ray release of Riddick, the digitally shot images were totally clean and brimming with detail. There's no doubt that you find a better looking image at this price point and whilst the X500 might not have a native 4K panel, thanks to e-shift and the inherent quality of its performance, the projector makes an ideal stop-gap until 4K becomes both cheaper and more readily available. The X500 can even accept 4096 x 2160 at 24p and 3840 x 2160 at up to 60p, so there is a degree of future proofing. Although we should stress that due to the limiting nature of the 1920 x 1080 panel, the X500 can't pass the full 4K resolution. However for the next few years the majority of our viewing will remain high definition and this resolution content, and especially Blu-ray, looks very impressive on the X500.
JVC X500 Video Review
JVC X500 Picture Quality 3D
- Reference black levels
- Superb dynamic range
- Excellent shadow detail
- E-shift can be effective
- Reference greyscale and colours
- Impressive video processing
- Superb 2D images
- Excellent 3D performance
- Superb set of features
- RF emitter and glasses included
- No native 4K panel
JVC X500 (DLA-X500) 3D D-ILA Projector Review
The latter seems especially redundant because as we would expect from a JVC projector the native blacks on the X500 are superb, as is the dynamic range and the level of shadow detail. The out-of-the-box accuracy could have been better but the X500 delivered a reference performance after calibration and the video processing was also excellent. Whilst motion handling has never been a strong point of D-ILA, the use of e-shift appears to help matters here and the increase in the projected resolution did result in some very impressive big screen images. The 2D performance was highly detailed and natural looking, with a lovely film-like quality; whist the 3D was bright, immersive and crosstalk free.
The projector market may be getting complicated in the £7,000 to £9,000 price bracket but it's a lot simpler down at the £5,000 price point, where the JVC DLA-X500 is about the only game in town. When you consider all the features you get for the price, not to mention the level of performance, the X500 remains something of a bargain and thus as far as mid-range projectors go it's a Best Buy.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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