Getting back to the HD350/HD750 differences, the HD750 has been certified for its performance by George Lucas’ THX ‘quality control’ organisation (making it the first THX-certified projector we’ve seen). This THX approval is a function, we suspect, of its new colour management tools.
The HD750’s connectivity outguns the HD350 too, adding a 12V trigger output and a D-Sub PC input to proceedings. The addition of a dedicated analogue PC port is particularly appreciated.
Another difference appeared during setup, as the HD750 provided a rather excellent 16 steps of manual lens aperture adjustment for fine-tuning brightness levels versus just three on the HD350. And finally (unless I’ve missed anything!), the HD750’s claimed maximum brightness of 900 Lumens is actually slightly less than that of the HD350. Though this needn’t be a bad thing, actually, as brightness can be an enemy of good black levels if it’s not well controlled.
In other ways, the HD750 matches the HD350 point for point. It looks equally lovely in its glossy black finish, for instance – though if I had to be picky I might say that its extreme depth makes it look a little over-long and clumsy versus Sony’s latest SXRD projectors.
The HD750 also sports an impressively flexible x2 optical zoom, plus oodles of vertical and horizontal image shifting, all motorised and controlled with reasonable finesse from the remote control.
Also familiar are some of the key adjustments available in the onscreen menus, such as a Kelvins-based colour adjustment, a number of thematic picture presets (of which we generally preferred Cinema2), Gamma presets, noise reduction, and colour transient improvement.
I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed about the remote control used to access all these features; it’s extremely plasticky and unluxurious for such a premium product. But hey – at least it’s got a backlight for the buttons!
As I start to watch the HD750, it’s worth reflecting that my biggest concern was simply if it could improve enough on the HD350’s performance to justify its extra cost. And the answer is that yes, it just about can – but only if you fully intend to get stuck into the colour management system.
In other words, while the HD750’s performance ‘out of the box’ was superior to that of the HD350, it only became truly significantly superior once I’d spent some quality time fiddling around with the projector’s colours to compensate for the luminance characteristics of my screen and testing room.
Once this calibration was complete, the extra subtlety, expression and especially tonal naturalism of the HD750’s colours really became apparent, proving why JVC really should have introduced decent colour management on its projectors before.