Yet another lovely knock on effect of the HD950’s native black level prowess can be seen in the outstanding levels of shadow detail it can reproduce during dark scenes. There’s no sign of that slightly hollow look you can sometimes see in dark picture areas with projectors that have to use a dynamic iris.
The dynamism induced by the HD950’s terrific native contrast performance goes a very long way, too, towards effectively disguising the projector’s rather run-of-the-mill brightness output – unless, that is, you’re daft enough to be using an HD950 in a room containing quite a bit of ambient light.
The HD950’s images glory in another traditional D-ILA strength, too: pretty much perfect levels of clarity and sharpness. Feed it a good quality Blu-ray or Sky HD image, and the crispness, detail and texture of the image will have you purring with delight. It kind of follows from this that the HD950 is also pretty ruthless when it comes to exposing video noise on those occasions where, say, Sky hasn’t given an HD broadcast enough bandwidth, or hasn’t used a very good HD remaster of a film. But this is hardly JVC’s fault!
While I’m on the subject of the HD950’s clarity, I should remind you that the D-ILA system means the projector doesn’t have any issues like DLP’s rainbow effect and motion noise, or LCD’s ‘chicken wire’ effect.
The HD950’s biggest improvement over the HD750, meanwhile, comes in the area of colour. There’s a fraction more subtlety and expressiveness in the way it handles fine tonal shifts and blends, as well as a generally more natural and evenly balanced tone. Especially if you or preferably a professional installer spend a little time calibrating things to perfection.
With the HD950 also running remarkably quietly (19dB) for such a potent projector, there really isn’t much negative I can say about it beyond the aforementioned avoidable/unfair Clear-Motion-Drive/highlighting-poor-sources issues.
I guess you could possibly argue that the HD950 is only a fairly small evolution of the HD750 rather than a real leap forward. But then the HD750 was so good itself that it’s hard to imagine how a massive improvement could have been delivered without significantly upping the price. Which is precisely why I just can’t wait to get my hands on the HD990!
The HD950 might only be slightly better than its predecessor. But when that predecessor was as superb as the HD750, even the HD950’s gentle evolution is enough to make it the benchmark product in its price range.