Add industry leading contrast, reference-quality optics, and exceptional usability and you have a projector that punches way above its price point. It took a while, but JVC has finally updated its full consumer projector lineup to native 4K 4, x 2, resolution. The projectors feature a completely new chassis, new D-ILA imaging panels, improved video processing, and even a new remote control. As the company's flagship, the NX9 stands a bit apart from the rest of the line with its slightly larger chassis which is also quite a bit larger than previous JVC designs and mm all-glass lens—the same one used by the DLA-RS It's also the first projector from JVC to feature 8K e-shift.
While the NX9's e-shift optical actuator mechanism doesn't actually provide true 8K performance, it does increase onscreen resolution to near-8K quality.
The big caveat here is that the NX9 doesn't accept an 8K input signal, so it won't be compatible with future 8K sources if and when they arrive. During my testing, I honestly didn't notice e-Shift doing much to improve image quality. Even when viewing the crispest content I could find, I didn't see any clear benefit to the increase in onscreen pixels, despite viewing on an foot-wide screen.
I also didn't see anything that took away from the image quality either. At this point, I feel that 4K resolution is more than enough for even the largest home theater screens and am inclined to chalk up 8K as marketing more than anything else. This was one of my favorite features of that projector when I tested it, and I'm thrilled to see it now offered at this price point.
It's extremely rare to experience optics that deliver this level of performance: pixel focus was fantastic, with only the slightest hint of chroma fringing even with my nose right up to the screen. Focus uniformity was also very good, with only the slightest amount of softness appearing at the extreme edges of the image with the zoom at its shortest throw therefore using a larger portion of the lens. The only other projectors near the JVC's price point with similar high- performance optics are BenQ's flagship designs.
The NX9's lens is flanked by two air vents that exhaust hot air from the chassis, while the back panel has a filter for intake. I was hoping the new, larger chassis would mean cooling refinements to reduce fan noise when the lamp is placed in High mode.
Typically, a larger chassis allows for larger fans that can run slower, resulting in less noise. Fan noise is nearly undetectable in Low lamp mode, but this new design actually has a slightly higher noise level compared with previous JVC models when in High lamp mode.
It's low enough that the noise remains nearly undetectable when watching movies, although it can be heard during quieter passages. I definitely noticed it more than I did with the last two high-end Sony models I tested when running full light output. While the main selling point of any projector is image quality, usability is also important, and one of my biggest complaints with JVC models has been their long sync times. Changing an input signal to a different resolution or format would result in a nearly excruciating waiting game for an image to pop back onscreen.
Thankfully, sync time on this projector is greatly improved and in line with the best I've seen from flat panels and other projector designs.
This makes firmware updates substantially easier to apply compared with older projectors that required special adapters and cables. Other new features include an updated processing board to handle native 4K signals, and anamorphic lens support modes. A plethora of installation and picture setup options have also been added to the projector menu system that allow for a greater level of customization. The NX9's installation modes allow you to bounce through different lens positions, similar to projectors with motorized lens support.
They also give you a pixel convergence adjustment plus image blanking, aspect, and other settings linked to each of the 10 individual memories.To say the least, I was very impressed. Those who've been to trade shows know that demos are rarely given under ideal lighting. While JVC did a commendable job removing as many setup issues as possible, the demo left me wanting to see how this projector would look under more controlled conditions in my own theater. Sealing the deal for me to ask for a review unit was JVC's announcement that all existing native 4K models would carry over into Those familiar with the home theater projector market will know that JVC is a firm believer in economies of scale.
This is key in how JVC has historically offered such high performance at competitive price points. So, instead of repeating a lot of the same information readers can find in my RS review, I want to focus on what differentiates the NX9 and how these changes affect usability and performance. Among the upgrades offered, and arguably the biggest, is a far more impressive lens. Compared to the lens found on the NX7, the NX9's is 35 percent larger in diameter and features an upgraded aluminum barrel.
It utilizes 18 all-glass elements set in 16 groups, with five of these elements featuring low dispersion optical coatings to prevent issues with chromatic aberration.
While a sharper-looking image may be the most visually apparent consequence of this lens, it helps the NX9 achieve much more. JVC claims the design and quality of this lens make it far more efficient. In practice, I found this lens gave me more control to get a tighter focus on screen.
What's more, this focus performance stretched out almost all the way to the edge of my screen. These finer steps in control also meant that the lens memories I use to switch between aspect ratios on my scope screen were recalled with better precision. Like previous generation e-shift enabled D-ILA projectors, the NX9 optically shifts its image up and over a half pixel every other frame in order to create a higher resolution image.
The difference here is that the two subframes that overlap each other to create the single higher resolution image are no longer p as they are with older JVC projectors; they're 4K. These subframes are generated by analyzing video upscaled to 8K by the projector. While many consider this feature nothing more than a marketing gimmick, only included for first-to-8K bragging rights, I found that it actually does make a noticeable difference in image quality.
Improvements in software stability and efficiency have occurred as well, with the most noticeable side effect being faster boot times. Lastly, JVC has upgraded the auto-calibration software, with it now supporting a wider selection of meters. Performance So, what do these upgrades mean for image quality?
In short, the NX9 delivers the absolute best image for movies that I've personally seen from a home theater projector and, in my opinion, is only potentially beaten out by two other projectors consumers can purchase at the moment. Besides these two, there are other projectors available past the NX9's asking price. But I would argue you're trading important image quality traits, such as color and contrast performance, for more light output.
What's so appealing about the NX9 is that it strikes an extremely impressive balance with its image, with nearly all of the constituent parts reaching either class-leading or reference levels of performance. Because of this, I think the NX9 offers a strong value proposition at its asking price.
After placing the optional P3 color filter into the light path, which boosts color saturation for HDR content, I measured the NX9 to cover What's more, this boost in color performance only cost my review sample five percent of its light output. This drop in light output is visually imperceptible, so using the filter for HDR content is a no-brainer.Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.
For much of the time I have covered front projection as a journalist, JVC's LCoS-driven projectors have been among the most sought-after for serious home theater enthusiasts. Many of the respected projector reviewers I've worked with in the enthusiast press eventually purchased one as their reference—"I bought the review sample" was a common refrain among colleagues—and some have gone through several generations.
Admittedly, along with a few of the higher-end Sony projectors also LCoS-basedthe premium attached to the JVCs has made them less attainable for the average home theaterphile.
Drawing a parallel with the world of automobiles, these projectors have played the role of the Porcshes, Ferraris, McLarens, et. The interest in the JVCs and Sonys among those who care deeply about image quality is easily explained. As with televisions, contrast and black level in a projector are the holy grail. Accurate color is easy to engineer if the will is there, and every manufacturer has the ability to equip their product with a great lens and optics if cost is no object.
Much of what separates the good from the very best dark-room home theater projectors today comes down to dynamic range. That doesn't mean you can't push brightness to attain higher contrast ratio the difference between the darkest black and brightest whiteand there are applications—such as ambient-light viewing—where higher brightness trumps the need for darker blacks. But, if the goal is to render a reasonably bright picture in a dark viewing room with a truly deep black, while also retaining subtle shadow details in the dark areas of the image, LCoS imaging devices like the D-ILA chips in JVC's projectors or the SXRD devices in Sony's are a good place to start.
If well engineered, they attain a low native black level among other positive attributes that can then be enhanced with a dynamic iris or other light-modulating scheme to achieve a deep black on the most demanding dark scenes—one that doesn't call attention to itself with a gray haze over the image, or crushes shadow detail in the near-black region.
A good, solid black will also show itself in brighter scenes as well, adding both dimensionality and a more organic, saturated look to colors. All of this is to say that JVC had a reputation to protect in rolling out its new native 4K projectors after competing for several years with models using its e-shift pixel-shifting technology that delivers an approximation of 4K resolution with p imagers. So how did they fare? Let's take a look. All the models have a professional-line equivalent sold through the integrator channel.
Though not as hefty as the pound RS, the NX models are still large, solid projectors. All are approximately 20 inches square by 9 inches tall.
The NX5 and NX7 weigh in at 44 pounds each, while the NX9, with its larger lens, tips the scale at 48 pounds and adds about an inch of depth compared with its smaller siblings. This configuration brings with it the benefits of equal white and color brightness as well as immunity from rainbow artifacts. JVC has also adopted its Wire Grid polarizer from some of its professional projectors to further deepen blacks. Additionally, the NX model projectors were all introduced with an important feature called Auto Tone-Mapping, and were recently upgraded via firmware to add a more advanced Frame Adapt HDR tone-mapping mode.
These are both significant advancements over the manual HDR brightness controls provided by most projector manufacturers to accommodate the wide range of HDR content. For those unfamiliar with how HDR works: HDR programs are mastered with brighter highlights than traditional high definition content—hence the "high dynamic range" moniker.
The brightness limit for the HDR10 standard is 10, nits, and today's programs contain peaks of up to 4, nits that no consumer displays can yet reach—particularly projectors, which are brightness-challenged compared with flat-panels. So every display must apply a "tone-map" to adapt the HDR content to its own capabilities. The ideal is to tame the highlights just enough to retain visceral punch and detail in the bright areas while also maintaining good contrast in the dark parts of the image.
Most projectors have an HDR brightness or gamma control typically limited to three or four stepped options; Epson recently introduced a step slider for its newest projectors. JVC projectors dating back to the last generation already offered more fine control over gamma for tuning HDR than I've seen on any other home theater projectors.Basic Luminance uses the projector's color filter to provide the widest color gamut and is optimized for around nits light output.
High Luminance does not use the filter and is optimized for around nits light output. Both modes emulate a specific dynamic range "package" that the full HDR signal which could go up to 4, nits! Generally, the higher the dynamic range of the original content, the more range you want to permit to avoid artifacts like clipping. While both methods delivered HDR images that looked far better than what we typically see with projectors, they weren't perfect.
The Basic Luminance mode works well for most available Ultra HD Blu-rays, but occasionally needed fine-tuning for higher nit titles. The High Luminance mode is optimized for higher nit titles but delivers lower color saturation by foregoing the color filter. Thank you. Search form Search. Log in or register to post comments. Paladin DCR lens question Submitted by jaypederson yah Panamorph Submitted by Kris Deering on May 5, - am.
Hi Jay! When you have a fixed lens in place for a scope screen it works perfectly for "scope" content. But if you want to watch 16x9 or 1. It does offer this for the non-DCR version though. The only way I know of to get proper 16x9 framing inside the frame would be to use an outboard video processor like the Lumagen Radiance Pro.
Hope this helps! Brightness measurements Submitted by Tigerpawgt on April 25, - am. Was the post calibration 16 ftL achieved using a high or low lamp output? White point Submitted by Kris Deering on May 5, - am. I was able to achieve a 16 fL white point in either mode on my screen. For the review I just left the projector in high lamp so I could use the aperture more aggressively to increase native contrast overall.
Obviously the total light output you'll see in a system will depend on a variety of factors including throw distance, screen size, shape and gain.
Thank you Submitted by jaypederson yah Thanks for the explanation Kris! That makes sense now. Related Latest Reviews News. Terminator: Dark Fate. Can Movie Theaters Survive the Shutdown? Zombieland: Double Tap. Ford v Ferrari.
Is an Anamorphic Lens Still Useful in a Modern 4k Home Theater?
Apparently JVC offers a mode that allows for viewing 16x9 material with a fixed anamorphic lense. Does anyone out there know what this would look like in the real world.
Is an Anamorphic Lens Still Useful in a Modern 4k Home Theater?
The diffence in price between a fixed lens and a motorized lens is several thousand dollars. Thanks, Michael. Joined Feb 6, When the film starts I push the Vertical stretch AR button for 2.
I understand this is the arrangement you plan to use all the time with a fixed lens? I've watched some content with the lens still in place usually after the main film I switch over to my PVR which receives some channels in HD.
I don't think it looks bad in this mode, but if I watch a whole 1. If you have a curved screen then there is some arguement for leaving the lens in place all the time as without the lens you will get barrel distortion due to the screen's curve. As I'm at a vvery long throw 2. It means I have a separate memory setting in my HD with slightly different iris aperture settings to match the fL in both modes, but the other benefit of a fixed lens is that you have the same brightness for all ARs.
I just have the nagging doubt though that I'm wasting some pixels doing this, hence why I always remove the lens for a whole film. Is the horizontal squeeze mode this other mode that the JVC offers in order to obviate the need for a motorized lens transport? That's the mode you'll need sometimes known as Panamorph mode 2 I know my HD has it somewhere in the menu, but the new models have a direct button for these modes IIRC.
The scaling may not be quite as good as an external processor, but in truth I could only see a slight difference using test patterns, rather than real film. It's more the convienience of having direct buttons on the remote which you'll have anyway that makes me use the VP for this function. So do you recommend that I just go with the less expensive fixed lens option, and use the two modes they provide in the projector?
I depends on how much content you watch and whether you consider it important to see it at full resolution and whether or not you'll have a curved screen.
If you can remove the lens as I do, complete with the stand for the sake of 2 minutes setup time, then IMHO it's better to view without a lens, but some leave them in place all the time; it's certainly convienient, just not the maximum resolution.
Forgive my ignorance, but how does a curved screen factor into this? Joined Oct 20, If you have a curved screen to compensate for the pincushion of a shorter throw setup, then when the lens is removed the image will not line up with the curved screen, so you will get an image that is taller in the middle barrel distortion.
As Prof says for HDTV leaving the lens in place doesn't seem to noticably effect the picture I often do this after I've watched a film and I don't like to move the lens after I've had a glass or two. However if it's a whole film on a BluRay it just seems a shame to waste resolution, but as I have a flat screen there isn't an issue with not putting the lens in place for me.
In case of HDTV broadcast in 2. Joined Jan 17, For the OP. The mode that the older HD series offered was called V-Stretch for Scope and you used 4 x 3 mode for HS for when leaving the lens in the light path all the time. I've tested the X series projectors vertical stretch which is now called "anamorphic" but I've not had a chance to test the 4 x 3 mode to see that it still gives the needed HS effect.
Thanks for the input Join the discussion.Visit our complete list of articles. Is your home theater all about getting the most immersive experience? These movies are meant and created to be the largest experience in your theater but on a flat panel TV or projection system they are actually displayed as the smallest experience with the lowest performance. The anamorphic advantage means these projectors can actually deliver better movie performance than you can get in most commercial theaters.
All instantaneous. All at the push of a button. Complete content is displayed in its original format with full vertical resolution but reformatted using horizontal resolution.
Note 1. When 2. This may impact the visibility of very small characters if they are placed close to the edge such as with sports broadcast scores. About the Author. How Does Anamorphic Compare to Zooming? How does anamorphic projection increase the brightness and detail of movies? Consumer UltraWide 4K movies are delivered using horizontal x vertical pixels to maintain their original 2. While no real, additional source resolution is implied, upconversion from real movie content has been proven to not only provide the additional image brightness from those millions of additional pixels but also additional realistic detail and subsequent improved clarity to the projected images.
This restores the original 2. How can you watch TV in your anamorphic 2. The Best Screen Format: 2.During occasions when TV or smaller movies are desired in a mode not filling the screen they can be watched with the Paladin DCR still in place by selecting the Anamorphic D mode see bottom section of How Anamorphic Cinema Works.
The standard Paladin lens may also be used with JVC Anamorphic A and B modes by employing just the central x resolution of the projector. However, the standard, lower cost Paladin will provide less movie brightness and detail enhancement by using only out of the full horizontal resolution; will create slightly greater edge distortion than the DCR; and is only recommend down to a minimum 1.
For these reasons alone the Paladin DCR is the most recommended and most used lens model especially for maximum movie performance. Note also that these projectors only accept 3D content using the Anamorphic A and B modes for the standard Paladin.
This edge distortion decreases with higher throw ratios ie longer throw distances for a given screen size and is very difficult to see above 1. The JVC projector models above can partially correct for residual edge distortion using an internal distortion correction feature applied to the top and bottom edges. Paladin lenses can be adjusted to help fit 2.
Flat screens are always recommended to minimize additional barrel distortion at the top and bottom of the image due to the screen curvature.
A screen border width of at least 40mm is highly recommended to mask residual distortion and slight content aspect ratio variations. Please see the Anamorphic Cinema Design Guide for complete details. Please also visit JVC for the latest firmware update coming end of October, Are you new to anamorphic cinema?
Anamorphic Cinema Design Guide. Are your theater and screen a good match?