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JVC DLA-X700R review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score



  • Incredible contrast performance
  • e-shift 4K does deliver a more dense visual experience
  • Huge amount of calibration options


  • Very minor motion softness
  • Input lag is rather high
  • It's not really 4K

Review Price £7,300.00

Key Features: Full HD D-ILA projector; Active 3D playback (2 prs of glasses included); E-Shift 4K technology; 1,200,000:1 claimed contrast ratio; Lens memory functionality

Manufacturer: JVC

What is the JVC DLA-X700R?

The X700R is a home cinema projector using the contrast-rich DLA optical system and JVC’s potentially controversial e-Shift 4K technology. This delivers a sort-of-4K resolution effect without actually being a true 4K projector – a confusing state of affairs given an extra frisson by the fact that the X700R’s £7300 price sits potentially dangerously close to the £8,800 you’ll need for the native 4K Sony VW500 projector.

JVC DLA-X700R - Design and Features

It’s very much a case of ‘been there, done that’ with the X700R’s design. It’s absolutely identical to JVC projectors of seasons past with its low-slung, wide, angular shape adorned in a glossy black livery with two venting ‘wings’ on each side and a large centrally placed lens on the front edge.

The most interesting things about its design are its reasonably small footprint for a high-end projector, and the THX and ISF logos adorning its top edge.

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These logos indicate that the X700R has sought and gained the endorsement of two significant independent third party organisations. The THX group only allows products to use its badge if they’ve passed a stringent set of performance criteria, while the ISF name is only usable if a product is deemed sufficiently rich in picture tools to support an in-depth calibration by one of the ISF’s trained experts. It’s worth adding, moreover, that the THX certification is for 3D as well as 2D playback.

Connections on the X700R’s rear comprise two HDMIs, a LAN port, a socket for plugging in a provided 3D transmitter, a 12V trigger port, and an RS-232C jack for system integration.

The HDMIs are more interesting than most because unlike those found on last year’s JVC e-Shift 4K projectors, these ones can receive 4K video (even up to 60p, albeit only at 8-bit with 4:2:0 colour sampling). However, the projector can’t output 4K inputs in their native 4K resolution. Confused? Guess we’d best try to explain this e-shift 4K malarkey, then!

As simply as possible, e-shift 4K puts two full HD-resolution chips in sequence, with one offset from the other by half a picture up and sideways. This results in a picture with twice as many smaller pixels in than you’d get with a single full HD chipset, enhancing the sense of pixel density and (potentially) detail in the image – handy when you’re talking about pictures as big as those a projector is capable of producing.

However, the images going through the double imaging chips are NOT pixel-for-pixel 4K, even when the source you’ve fed in is native 4K. Feed a 4K signal into the X700R and it will downscale them before pushing them through the imaging system.

This raises a very real question over whether the ability to take in native 4K video is really worthwhile on the X700R or merely a rather disingenuous move by JVC likely to confuse the nascent 4K projection market. To be fair to JVC, though, we have found in other areas of the AV world that content delivered in HD but filmed/created in 4K can deliver slightly cleaner, crisper images. So it’s possible this ‘start with the best source you can’ logic will hold true as the native 4K feeds go through the downscaling and e-shift 4K processing steps in the X700R.

The X700R is on much more solid ground with the rest of its specification. Its claimed contrast ratio, for instance, is nothing short of mind boggling at 1,200,000:1. To be clear, this monstrously high figure (in a world where most projectors struggle to get above 100,000:1) is not a native contrast ratio figure of the sort JVC has traditionally quoted alongside its D-ILA projectors. Instead it’s a dynamic contrast ratio delivered via a new intelligent Lens Aperture (ILA) technology that automatically increases and reduces the amount of light the projector is outputting to suit the brightness or darkness of the content being shown.


This ILA system is only optional, though. If you’d rather stick with a more stable, consistent light output, the X700R’s native contrast ratio is still 120,000:1, which is still in a league of its own where native contrast ratios are concerned.

The intelligent lens aperture tech isn’t the only innovation focussed on making JVC’s already legendary projector contrast abilities even more stellar. For JVC additionally claims to have reduced the spacing between each pixel of its latest D-ILA chips by a startling 40%, to reduce light ‘waste’, while there are also new efficiencies in the path the X700R’s light takes through its optical system.

The X700R isn’t the brightest projector in the world with its claimed output of 1300 Lumens. But you should feel more impact from each of these available lumens than you would with a ‘normal’ projector if the X700R delivers on its contrast claims.

The X700R is also a 3D capable projector, shipping in the UK with the necessary 3D RF ‘dongle’ and two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses.

Looking for other unusual or promising features about the X700R, there’s an ‘Environmental’ setting that automatically adjusts images to best match the room environment (though we’d suggest that this is not going to deliver results comparable to having a professional ISF installation carried out).

There’s also a very useful lens memory feature, where you can set up to 10 lens and zoom preset options for different aspect ratio movies when using a 21:9 screen.

Next, JVC has introduced a new Frame Addressing Driver system specifically to ‘cancel’ the crosstalk ghosting 3D problems that were really quite problematic on last year’s JVC projector range. And finally there’s a souped up version of JVC’s Clear Motion Drive processing for improving motion clarity.

Having already been blown away by the X500R model in JVC’s new projection range, which comes in substantially cheaper than the X700R at £5000, we ought to pick out the highlight differences between the two models to pinpoint what your extra £2,300 is getting you with the X700R.

JVC X700RThe main – and potentially decisive in itself – difference is that the X500R ‘only’ delivers a native contrast ratio of 60,000:1 and dynamic contrast ratio of 600,000:1. These figures are only half as impressive as those of the X700R – even though they still humble the figures of pretty much every other projector at anything like its £5k price point.

The X500R also only supports half as many lens memory settings as the X700R, and fails to provide the X700R’s calibration-friendly Real Colour Imaging Technology, which allows you to combine picture modes and dedicated colour profiles. One other difference that may interest some is the X700R’s ability to emulate the image characteristics of a Xenon lamp despite actually using a normal 230W UHP one.

JVC DLA-X700R – Set up

The X700R is fantastically easy to set up in terms of getting your images in the right place on your screen. This is because there’s both vertical and horizontal optical image shifting as well as an exceptional amount of optical zoom. Even better, these tools – as well as the projector’s focus system – are all motorised, so you can manipulate them via remote control.

Optimising the X700R’s images can be as straightforward or as complicated as you like. There’s a healthy and reasonably useful array of themed picture presets for people who want to keep things simple, but if you want to eke out every last drop of picture quality you can draw on deeper set-up tools like extremely fulsome colour management systems, white balance fine tuning, gamma fine tuning, and some welcome fine controls over the effects the e-shift technology has on images.

In terms of set up advice, our main tips would be that you don’t bother with the Clear Motion Drive system, as it can cause distracting processing artefacts, and that you set the Enhance element of the e-Shift 4K system down to around 30-35% to reduce grain, and the NR element down to 1 to keep images looking authentic and natural.

You might also want to turn off the intelligent lens aperture system, as while this gives a marginal extra ‘kick’ to the image, it can cause some small brightness stability distractions which we’d argue you don’t really need to be bothered by when you’ve got a projector with a native contrast performance as extreme as that of the X700R.

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October 22, 2013, 6:07 am

I'm currently totally underwhelmed by the prospect of 4k - at least in Europe / North America (the Far East may be a different story) there is neither (to my knowledge) a broadcast source nor suitably widespread high bandwidth home internet to make streaming viable, nor are there any affordable home players (4k Blu-Ray or equivalent), so spending money on a 4k TV or projector at the moment seems pointless.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure in 5 years' time it will be great, as PCs will deliver sufficient graphics power to play games in 4k; the next-next gen of consoles will likely be on the horizon delivering 4k gaming; and streaming/disc-based playback systems may be becoming viable, but for now it must be akin to having a 1080p TV ten years ago - nothing to feed it.


October 22, 2013, 1:03 pm

No, but it's never like that. It's like the chicken and the egg - without 4k content, who will buy a 4k tv? With a 4k tv, who will produce 4k content?

Yeah, it costs money right now to buy 4k tv along with some 4k material, but then early adopters always faced this issue. Companies need to recoup some of the R&D costs. As the price lowers and more people pick up a 4k tv, more 4k content will be produced, more 4k tvs are produced at a cheaper price... It's nothing new. But people like having the latest and greatest, being the first to get one, etc.

And this gen of consoles generally don't do games in 1080p, the next gen should (I hope). Whether the next gen of consoles after that can give us 4k gaming is another matter.


October 24, 2013, 4:05 pm

Thanks for a very interesting article.

A question to John Archer: when you say that eshift3 can currently only work with 1920x1080 inputs, do you mean:

1) that when fed a 4K native picture the 4K signal has to be first downscaled to 1080p before the whole eshift process can be applied (which means one MORE conversion to 1080p before the usual upconvert to 4K, creation of the two 1080p subframes and using the physical eshift device to re-create a near-4K picture),


2) that the 4K native picture is directly converted to two 1080p subframes which are then displayed using the eshift device to recreate a near-4K picture (which means one LESS conversion as the picture is already in 4K, so no need to upscale it first).

I was expecting 2) as in less work needed when inputting native 4K vs 1080p (the upscaling to 4K isn't necessary as the input is already providing a 4K picture), but your article can be read the other way and imply more work (downsampling to 1080p first due to a limitation of the eshift process).

Thank you for clarifying. If 1), please could you link to or quote some technical documentation of eshift3 when processing a native 4K picture, that explains the need to downconvert the signal to 1080p first before applying the eshift process?


October 25, 2013, 11:46 am

I have obtained a confirmation from JVC that there is no need to downscale the 4K input to 1080p before the eshift processing (so what happens is 2), not 1) as listed above), so it would be good if you could clarify/correct your article, as that part is at best ambiguous and confusing, at worst incorrect. Thank you.


October 28, 2013, 12:15 pm

Does anyone from trusted reviews ever read user comments?

How do you plan to deserve the "trusted" part of the title if you don't mind leaving misleading or inaccurate information in an (otherwise very good) article?

By the way there is another inaccuracy which is that there are no two sets of 1080p imaging chips diagonally offset by half a pixel.
Here is how e-shif works: "Using e-Shift, the original 1920 x 1080 signal is processed with a correlation detection algorithm to uncover detail that can be enhanced on a 4K display. This enhancement improves edge transitions, eliminates aliasing and stair-stepping, and increases contrast in detailed areas. New sub pixels are generated based on this detection and a 3840 x 2160 frame is created. This frame is then temporally separated into subframes 1920 x 1080 pixels each and projected using the D-ILA optical system and through the e-Shift device. This device utilizes a property of liquid crystals called birefringence and can switch between straight light and refracted light by 0.5 pixel both vertically and horizontally. It has no moving parts. The result is an image with 4 times the pixel density of the original content."

Full description here: http://pro.jvc.com/prof/attrib...

It would be nice to show your readers that you do mind about accuracy and find a way to correct the content of this article.


October 29, 2013, 9:22 am

manni01 We do care, believe me. I've forwarded your comments onto John, but he's away at the moment. We'll get you can update soon.


October 29, 2013, 10:10 am

Thanks Andy, that's good to know! :)
I'm looking forward to hearing back from John.


November 5, 2013, 9:08 pm

Any news from John?


November 8, 2013, 6:21 pm

Andy? John? Anybody home?


November 11, 2013, 7:13 am

True, without the early adopters we'd never get tech like 4k to mass market. All I was saying is that, subjectively, the equation doesn't add up for me yet - the price is too high to justify the purchase of a 4k TV, given the lack of content available at this stage. This was not the case when I purchased my first HDTV or my current 3D TV - the relevant "cutting edge" technology (1080p in the first case; 3D in the second) was effectively delivered "free", in the sense that I chose a TV based on price, features and image quality, and it just happened to have the latest and greatest built in. That is not yet the case for 4k - you need to make a conscious decision, and fork over a considerable premium, to get a TV which is 4k capable. Personally I will be waiting for a while longer, by which time HDMI 2.0 should be standard, prices will have come down, and 4k content should be more readily available. A nice 60" 4k OLED with a Moth Eye filter would do me just fine - wake me up when they are available for under 3 grand :-)

You are right that in many cases current gen consoles can't deliver games at 1080p (though the PS3 does for some games, such as WipeOut HD; I don't know about the Xbox 360 as I don't have one). The PS4/Sbox One certainly should deliver everything in 1080p, one would hope.

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November 23, 2013, 1:55 am

Let's hope due to Sony 500 it forces the JVC prices to be even far below than MSRP.

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