What’s more, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of JVC’s optical wire grid technology, these ultra-deep blacks are outstandingly natural, meaning there’s none of the flickering and brightness jumping you can often see with projectors that have to use dynamic irises to improve their black levels.
The fact that the HD990 doesn’t have to reduce its overall brightness to deliver outstanding black levels also means that the dark picture areas it shows are full of shadow detail, making them look layered, extremely dynamic, and much more believable.
But improved black levels aren’t the only charms delivered by the HD990’s superior optics. We also felt there was an extra degree of punch to its colours – which isn’t particularly surprising, as this often accompanies improved black levels.
Rather more surprising was our sense that the HD990’s pictures looked slightly crisper than those of the HD950. The improvement is extremely subtle, and it’s hard to pinpoint the reason; maybe the perfected D-ILA chipset can converge light and colour slightly more accurately, or maybe the enhanced contrast and colour means you can see slightly more subtlety in colour tone shifts. But whatever the reason, it’s certainly another subtle string to the HD990’s bow.
Another unexpected benefit of the HD990 is that its superior optics help JVC’s built-in Clear Motion Drive motion processing work more effectively – especially when it comes to reducing unwanted processing side effects.
So far, we’ve deliberately tried to retain an air of clinical detachment when describing the HD990’s pictures. But it’s high time we unleashed our emotions, by simply saying that the HD990’s picture quality really is deliriously, mesmerisingly, actually almost kissably good – a bona fide ticket to home cinema heaven.
If you’re thinking of using the HD990 in a commercial situation, a room with a degree of ambient light in it, or a particularly massive home cinema room with a mammoth screen, then we guess the HD990 might struggle to produce enough brightness for you. Certainly it’s nothing like as bright as the sort of high-end, over-£10k DLP projectors shipped by the likes of Runco and SIM2 (though this fact does help it run remarkably quietly – 19dB in normal mode – for such a high-spec projector).
But the bottom line is that in any remotely typical, blacked-out domestic room environment, there’s really nothing negative at all to say about the HD990’s pictures.
The HD990 is a bit better than the HD950, rather than delivering a mammoth leap forward. So if £7,900 seems a stretch, you can snap the HD950 up for nearer £5k if you look around without feeling like you’ve sacrificed too much performance quality. That said, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford the absolute best the sub-£10k projector world has to offer, the HD990 is the one to get.