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First Look: JVC's 3D D-ILA Projectors

As hoped/expected, seeing 3D writ enormously large through the X7 really makes 3D footage come to life, making it far more immersive and spectacular.

We were also struck by how much detail there was in the X7’s picture, with the projectors stunning native sharpness combining with the sheer screen size on show to really ram home full HD 3D’s advantage over lower-res passive systems.

The extra brightness of the new optical engine proves very significant too. For while 3D viewing inevitably looks markedly less bright than 2D viewing, it’s still watchable and punchy to a degree that would have been unthinkable with JVC’s previous optical engine.

Also evident during our 3D viewing was how natural motion looks on the X7, and what a huge benefit it is to the depth and veracity of the 3D effect to have black level capabilities as genuinely spectacular as those of the X7 – and JVC’s D-ILA projectors generally.

The X7’s 3D performance wasn’t wholly beyond reproach, though. Our biggest concern was the appearance of noticeable crosstalk (double ghosting) noise around some objects in 3D pictures. It’s not as continually distracting as it is with most LCD TVs, but it’s more obvious than it is on plasma TVs and it still bothered us more than we’d hoped it would. Maybe JVC’s final production samples will improve things in this department a touch.
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Our other issue with 3D playback was that colours became more washed out and a little less natural looking than we would have expected. We didn’t get the opportunity to fully explore the projector’s colour management routines, though, so it’s entirely possible we’ll be able to get round this issue when review samples arrive.

With 3D material still in short supply, anyone buying one of JVC’s new X series of projectors will probably spend the majority of their time watching 2D stuff. And with this even the early X7 model we looked at was nothing short of sensational.

Colours look emphatically natural and believable even sticking with out of the box presets. Detail levels are extraordinarily high, yet there’s no video noise unless it’s there in the source. The picture has clearly more dynamism at the bright end of the spectrum than any of JVC’s previous D-ILA models. And motion continues to look effortlessly cinematic and real.

Best of all, though, is the X7’s black level response, which comfortably outperforms even the already class-leading efforts of JVC’s previous D-ILA models. Even better, the extra brightness now available means that the stunning black colours can co-exist in the same frame as much punchier, richer bright picture elements, making the overall contrast feel out of this world.

In fact, it’s actually the stunning quality of the X7’s 2D performance that stayed with us more than its more headline-grabbing 3D performance – even though it’s the optical improvements ushered in for 3D that actually help 2D shine so much!

And if the 3D performance wasn’t quite as awesome as we’d hoped it might be, it’s worth stressing that unlike Sony, JVC is pretty much giving you 3D for free, since its new series costs pretty much the same as last year’s non-3D models.

As ever, watch this space for reviews of all the models in JVC’s new 3D DLA range when full production samples start to appear in November.

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