The JVC DLA-X90 sports the same heavy design as the X70, with its distinctive cooling ‘wings’ down each side, and is impressively compact by the standards of the £10k projector market.
It’s pretty well connected too, with the usual two HDMIs (surprisingly few projectors, even high end ones, offer more than two), the aforementioned RJ45 port, a component video input, a PC port, a 12v trigger port, a hard-wired remote port, and an RS-232 for system control. Plus there’s a port for attaching the external 3D transmitter.
External 3D transmitter
The fact that the 3D transmitter isn’t built into the JVC DLA-X90’s bodywork could irritate some folk, we guess. But actually it doesn’t bother us at all; in fact, we can readily imagine room set ups where being able to position the transmitter away from the main projector body could actually be helpful.
Although the transmitter isn’t built into the projector, it is given away free with the projector in the UK – as are two pairs of 3D glasses.
Further signs of the X90’s high-end credentials include its carriage of full gamma and colour management internally if you don’t/can’t take advantage of the external PC calibration system, and its endorsement by both the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and THX.
Beginning our tests with 2D material, with those concerns about whether the X90 can really get away with costing £3k more than the immaculate X70 ringing in our ears, we were rather startled by just how quickly those doubts were quashed. For the X90’s advantages are immediately clear rather than just being something you only see over time, or if you really go looking for them with a fine-toothed comb.
As hoped, for instance, the greater precision of the JVC X90’s optics does indeed give an extra dimension of impact to the e-Shift technology, making images look even more pixel – or semi-pixel – perfect than they did on the already preternaturally sharp X70. Indeed, so extreme is the X90’s detailing and clarity that you can’t help but feel that without e-Shift, 2D pictures would maybe have looked a little too forensic, highlighting the mechanics behind the picture’s production to the detriment of the image as a whole.
Another way to think about what the combination of e-Shift and the X90’s awesome optics allows the projector to achieve is to imagine the gorgeously polished, smooth, dense image of a high-quality 55in TV doubled in sized without any hint of the pixel-wielding technology that’s behind it.
Even more outstanding, though less surprising, is the X90’s black level impact. In a fully blacked-out room, dark scenes look even more contrast-rich, believable and immersive than they did on the X70. Which means pretty much by default that dark scenes look richer and more believable than they do on almost any home cinema projector – including many of Sim2‘s glorious output. Especially as the DLA optics system can deliver such immensely deep blacks without needing the aid of a dynamic iris, so that dark scenes look wonderfully stable and uniform.
To be clear, you do need to be watching in a totally dark room to fully appreciate the X90’s contrast improvement over the X70; let any ambient light in and the black level difference reduces to pretty much zero. But as noted earlier, surely anyone with the best part of £10k to splurge on a projector will be installing it into a place where full justice can be done to it.