OK, movie fans, brace yourself: the 4k resolution revolution starts here. Well, kind of.
Sat on our straining projector stand is JVC’s DLA-X70. The arrival of any new JVC home cinema projector is usually a cause for celebration. But this one is especially welcome - or at least interesting - because it claims to deliver a 4K pixel count. Um, but it can’t take 4k sources, and doesn’t use any upscaling technology. Confused? So were we at first. But actually it’s not all that complicated once you get into it.
Making the "4k" claims possible is a proprietary technology called e-Shift, which JVC has developed with forward-thinking Japanese broadcaster NHK. What this technology does is introduce a device between the main optical array and the lens that produces a slightly offset copy of the source full HD image, with the copy positioned half a pixel upwards and left of the original image.
Combining these two images back together again essentially doubles the number of pixels in the image that finally emerges through the projector’s lens - despite the fact that there’s no processing in sight.
This does not mean that the JVC DLA-X70 is actually producing a 4k picture in the same way that the imminent Sony VW1000ES projector will; you’re not getting 4k pixels of totally separate image data. Indeed, the X70 is unable to receive native 4k signals. But what e-Shift certainly can and does do is deliver the same sort of image/pixel density that you get with a ‘true’ 4K image, and that in itself has the potential to deliver significant benefits in terms of both image brightness and perceived resolution, especially where contoured edges are concerned.
The JVC DLA-X70 predictably doesn’t disappoint with other areas of its spec, either. The single biggest selling point of JVC’s D-ILA technology is its contrast performance, which here results in a mind-boggling 70,000:1 native contrast ratio, with the native bit meaning that it doesn’t need to resort to any auto-iris, brightness-adjusting trickery like all other non-DLP projectors do. This means the X70‘s image can look completely stable and consistent even during dark scenes in a way just not possible with even the best auto-iris projectors.
The JVC DLA-X70 also boasts a decent brightness output of 1200 Lumens. This isn’t a rise on last year’s DLA-X7, but experience with that model suggests that it should be bright enough to ensure that the projector’s active 3D pictures still look reasonably dynamic.
As with previous JVC 3D projectors, to make the JVC DLA-X70 3D-capable, you need to attach an external transmitter. This little box is flimsily built, but we didn’t suffer any connection glitches with it throughout our tests. The transmitter and two pairs of glasses are included in the price.
When it comes to connections, the X70‘s highlights are two HDMIs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC port (something the entry-level, non-e-Shift JVC X30 projector does not have), and a suite of jacks to aid the X70’s installation into a full home cinema system: an Ethernet port, a 12V trigger jack, an RS-232 control port, and a hard remote control port.
The X70 is extremely easy to set up, thanks to its provision of silky smooth and very accurate motorised zoom, focus, and vertical/horizontal image shifting. Built in test screens are provided to help get the picture’s size and focus exactly right.
In-depth tinkerers will also find a full if slightly fiddly colour management system, as well as extremely adjustable noise reduction, gamma control and white balance tools. There’s also the option to use JVC’s Clear Motion Drive processing - though this makes images look a touch too unnatural for our tastes.