The more we see of 3D, the more convinced we are that it really needs to be watched big.
Sure, you can appreciate the cleverness of 3D on a small TV, as well as the extra visual information that can so enhance some sports broadcasts. But if you really and truly want to become lost in a 3D world of the sort lovingly crafted by the best 3D films, then the more a screen can completely dominate your field of vision, the better. And of course, nothing can deliver this sort of epic picture size better than a projector.
So it was with unabashed enthusiasm that we headed off to North London to spend an exclusive afternoon with a working prototype of one of JVC’s new 3D projectors.
It wasn’t just the thought of seeing 3D images more than 100in across that had got us feeling unusually happy with our job, either. For JVC has been responsible for some of our all-time favourite projectors in recent years, so the thought of that quality being brought to the 3D world was frankly mouth-watering. Especially since we found out that one of JVC’s new 3D projectors, the DLA-X3, is going to ship for a mere £3,600 – that’s a grand less than Panasonic’s 65in VT20 plasma TV, and nearly three grand less than Sony’s incoming 3D projector debut.
Having been ushered into JVC’s custom-built projection suite, the first thing we noticed about the mid-range, £6,600 DLA-X7 model we were about to spend time with was that it looks different to anything JVC has done before, thanks to extra grilles protruding from the projector’s left and right sides.
The extra cooling these provide is needed because JVC has significantly improved the X7’s brightness versus previous DLA models. Now a 220W bulb delivers up to 1300 Lumens versus the 200W lamps used previously to deliver a maximum of 1000 Lumens.
As well as potentially overcoming the slight lack of brightness and colour punch that have pretty much been our only gripes about JVC’s otherwise terrific previous DLA projectors, this extra brightness may well prove essential to the X Series’ 3D ambitions given how much brightness tends to be lost when you’re wearing active shutter glasses.
JVC has also improved further the efficiency and design of its proprietary Optical Wire Grid technology to cope with the extra brightness, and introduced completely new optics too.
There is one 3D feature lacked by the X7 and the other models in JVC’s new projector range, though, and that’s 2D to 3D conversion. Personally this doesn’t bother us, though, as it’s our view that even the best 2D-to-3D conversion produces results that are no match for a source shot and mastered in 3D and may in fact damage 3D’s long term prospects and quality.
The X7’s connections include two HDMIs and are almost the same as those of last year’s equivalent HD950, with the exception of an extra jack for attaching the 3D transmitter. For unlike Sony’s inbound 3D projector, JVC’s three new models don’t have their 3D transmitters built-in. Instead an external transmitter and a single pair of active shutter glasses come bundled with the projectors.
One final bit of spec information we need to cover before sharing our first impressions of the X7’s 3D efforts is that JVC has pushed up its native contrast figures once again. Now, remarkably, the entry level £3,600 X3 delivers 50,000:1, while the mid-range £6,600 X7 delivers 70,000:1 and the top-end £9,600 X9 delivers a truly staggering 100,000:1. Remember, these are native figures, not numbers rustled up with the help of a dynamic iris facility.