So how has the HD100 managed to improve on the HD1’s already immaculate efforts? Simply by refining all the key bits of the HD1’s Wire Grid system. But the results could be emphatic, for the HD100 claims a native contrast ratio of – drum roll please – 30000:1.
As you’d expect of a premium projector, the HD100 is full HD in resolution, and can take in and handle fluidly 1080p/24 feeds from Blu-ray players. What’s more, the projector’s HDMI sockets beat those of the HD1 by being built to the V1.3 standard, for Deep Colour compatibility. JVC handily has a new HD camcorder range with Deep Colour output, by the way, in case you were wondering where a Deep Colour source might come from.
The HD100 also scores over its cheaper sibling with its picture options. There are far more tweaks available to you, including a huge set of colour fine tuners, loads of different noise reduction systems, and customisable gamma settings.
The HD100 puts right a niggle of the HD1, too, by including an RS-232C control port so that it can be easily integrated into a home cinema installation. This should make it far more appealing to the custom install market that’s so important at the HD100’s kind of price level. Given the presence of the RS-232C port it’s surprising that the HD100 doesn’t go the whole ‘system hog’ and also add a 12V trigger output. And I also felt the lack of a dedicated D-Sub PC port was disappointing, since this meant that I had to use one of the precious HDMIs for PC connection – hardly an ideal situation on such an otherwise ambitious home cinema machine.
Final features worth running by you include the HD100’s use of the acclaimed third-party Gennum image processing engine, an excellently flexible x2 level of optical zoom, and the ability to shift the image by up to 80 per cent vertically or 34 per cent horizontally. These latter touches should help the HD100 work within almost any room shape or size.
The big question for the HD100 as we settle down to watch it in action is simply whether its clearly substantial refinements to the HD1’s optical engine, together with its extra fine tuning options, can really deliver pictures that justify the HD100’s substantially higher price tag. And the answer is that it can. Just about.