JVC DLA NX7 Home Theatre Projector Test
The Japanese brand JVC is not unknown for hi-fi and audio owners. JVC engineers put in place state-of-the-art technology when producing the DLA NX7 theatre projector.
What are the criteria for choosing a projector?
One of the most important aspects you would need to observe when selecting projectors is image quality. Also for televisions and projectors, the ratio of contrast to black level is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new device. The quality and type of lens and optics also affect the colours and tones of projected images. The higher the brightness of a projector, the more intense, deeper black tones it can produce in higher light, so that subtly of tones will be kept.
Well-designed projectors produce low native black levels, which can then be processed later with dynamic iris or other methods, resulting in saturated, deep black levels even in the darkest scenes. Lcos imaging devices were used to produce the JVC NX series.
Thanks to the 0.69-inch, native 4K D-Ila imaging chips, a truly stunning black level and perfect contrast is achieved with the NX7 projector. This great device can also display 8.8 million Pixels! The projector features extensive colour palette, balanced white level ratio and brightness. The Wire Grid polariser further deepens the black level, and the Auto Tone-Mapping feature allows you to display HD content in even better quality thanks to the more advanced Frame Adapt HDR mode. The NX7 model has 1900 lumens of brightness and a nominal native contrast of 80,000: 1.
A firmware update has also been released for 4K D-Ila home theatre projectors and is available for free download. The Frame Adapter is a dynamic tint mapping feature that automatically adjusts HDR10 content for optimal brightness, colour composition, and hue. The brand uses its own algorithm to analyse the different colour content and brightness, as well as the peak brightness of HDR10 content, and then adjusts the dynamic range of the most perfectly projected image based on them, not only for darker scenes but also for brighter scenes. It also analyses the colour saturation, hue, and brightness of video files to adjust them to the appropriate level, meaning that this update automatically adjusts all necessary settings when projecting HD images. Frame Adapt HDR audio mapping performs dynamic adjustments.
The HD update is further tuned with the Smart Optimiser smart feature, which calculates projection conditions and projector status during setup. With this new function, it is also possible to specify the size of the projected image and the light gain of the projection screen in the menu. It also takes into account the factors that determine the projector’s luminous flux, the condition and setting of the lamp, the position of the zoom lens…, and so on. Previously, the image mode could be set in 3 steps, with the NX7 projector the setting is performed in five steps. In practice, this means that HD content will appear on the screen even more perfectly, nicely and clearly.
The NX7 offers much finer settings for HD content than its predecessors. The three default settings are Picture Colour, Dark Level, and Light Level. These allow you to adjust the overall brightness of the image, or adjust only the dark or only bright parts if you wish, but there are already five adjustment options available through updates.
The large glass lens provides sharp images, wide focus, even light transmission, and even brightness. The JVC projector also has excellent zooming and switching capabilities. A true glass lens results in less distortion and a sharper image, and the common rainbow effect characteristic of DLP projectors, and the pixel grid of LCD projectors are not seen when using this unit. The 65mm diameter motorised lens and focus also guarantee perfect image quality. The projector is very quiet compared to its predecessors.
Features include Clear Motion Drive frame interpolation and Multiple Pixel Control (MPC) for improved detail. Low latency mode can also be selected on this excellent projector, which offers 11 adjustable image modes. It is equipped with a 265 Watt NSH lamp with a lifespan of about 3,500 hours, and in Eco mode it can increase to up to 4,500 hours. Compared to previous models, the brightness has also been increased.
The remote control has become much smaller and contemporary in design than, for example, the NX5 projector’s remote. However, these changes have been implemented at the expense of practicality as this small remote control is rather difficult to handle and, although it has a backlight, fat finger effect will prevent you from proper use of the small buttons.
The image test
The testing was performed in a sophisticated cinema room of approximately 25 square meters. The complete darkness was insured by the owner using thick acoustic curtains, so we had the feeling to sit in the cinema of one of those plazas. Installing the projector was very easy, quick and hassle free. Our first test subject was the 2006 fantasy adventure film Eragon. We were pleased with the performance of the projector, experiencing extremely lifelike colours, optimal hues and satisfactory black levels in both in the dark and at daylight. The same was true while watching the 2010 fantasy film Clash of the Titans. The projector delivered perfectly clear motion pictures, and we had the ability to test the brightness after switching on the lights, and the result was not disappointing at all.
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JVC’s K projectors are rightly among the best projectors. Benefits of the NX7 include an extremely quiet operation, a true glass lens that allows you to project much more vivid and clearer images than LCD and DLP type projectors. And thanks to firmware updates, there are even more opportunities to further optimise image quality. It transmits HD images flawlessly. The brightness has been increased so that this device works perfectly even in daylight or in lamp light. Both the zoom and the lens are perfect, and the light transmission and brightness are balanced with an extremely wide colour palette. And the impressive Auto Frame Adapt and Auto Tone Mapping features add a lot to make HD content appear on the screen in truly perfect and lifelike quality. The extensive image adjustment menu is also very useful.
However, we were no longer so satisfied with the remote control. Previous models had a larger, logically arranged remote control, while the NX7’s remote control turned out to be less practical. We missed wireless HDMI, and it would be nice if this great projector would be available in other colours than black. The contrast could be even more perfect, and although the black level has improved a lot compared to previous JVC projectors, it could still be slightly more refined.
Written by Róbert Polgár