Sorry about all this background tech so early in a review, but it’s really impossible for me to set the scene properly for the HD350 without making you aware of what makes it tick, technologically speaking.
What’s more, we can now turn to rather simpler matters: the HD350’s looks. These are an improvement over the previous HD1 and HD100 models, as a very glossy black body wraps itself elegantly in a vaguely diamond shape around the extremely large lens and optical barrel.
When it comes to connections, the HD350 is perhaps a touch disappointing. The main reasons we say this are the presence of only two v1.3 HDMIs when I’d have perhaps liked to find three on such a movie-loving projector; the absence of a dedicated D-Sub PC input; and the lack of a 12v trigger output. The DLA-HD750 model that sits higher up JVC’s new D-ILA range provides both these missing jacks, but surely it wouldn’t have been too much to ask for them to be included on the HD350 as well?
On the upside, you do get an RS-232C port for system integration – the sort of thing that’s pretty much essential for any projector hoping to appeal to the custom installation market as much as the HD350 doubtless does.
Custom installers will probably also appreciate the big advances the HD350 makes in terms of both the flexibility and simplicity of its set up. A much improved onscreen menu system, for instance, gives easy access to motorised vertical and horizontal image shifting, motorised zoom (over an excellent x2 optical range), and motorised focus options, all tweakable with the help of a simple geometrical test pattern.
There’s also keystone correction to help correct the sides of the image if the projector is offset from your screen vertically or horizontally – though I’d recommend you try and use the shifting facilities rather than involving yourself with the inevitable digital distortions of the keystone system.
Another handy touch is a really sensibly calibrated series of image presets, including two Cinema modes and a Stage mode. In addition there are three User memory slots where you can store preferred settings for different source types, a blindingly simple colour temperature adjustment that includes 5800K, 7500K, 9300K, and High Bright options, along with the key 6500K setting always reckoned to be best for video viewing, and three custom options.
Then there is a series of Gamma presets, as well as another three customisable options, and plenty of flexibility in the image’s sharpness setting, complete with a detail enhancement processor.
And still there’s more, with a three-step aperture adjustment allowing you to adjust the amount of light output through the lens. Just to make sure you’re clear on this, the aperture adjustment is a manual system with which you can adjust the overall brightness tone of the picture; it’s not any sort of automatic system the projector has to use during films to keep maximising its contrast. As we stressed earlier, the HD350 can deliver its contrast without any dynamic iris trickery.