Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
JVC DLA-X55R Projector JVC DLA-X55R
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Street Price: $4,999
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:50,000:1
Lumens:1200
Weight: 33.3 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:D-ILA
Lens:2x powered
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  Component, HDMI 1.4a (x2), Network, RS232, 12Volt Out
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/50

JVC DLA-X55R
1080p D-ILA Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, May 24, 2013

Key Features

2D image quality. Despite the popularity of 3D, home theater is still primarily a 2D experience. Everything about the X55, from its light output to its black levels to its color calibrations and extra features, are primarily there to benefit the two-dimensional HD picture. Lumen output is tailored for screens in the 100" to 140" diagonal range assuming excellent light control. Within this range, the X55 produces a picture that is deep, rich, and high in contrast, with near-perfect color and razor-sharp detail.

3D. The X55 is a Full HD 3D projector, and with an optional emitter and glasses it can display full HD 3D images from Blu-ray, broadcast, cable, or satellite sources. The projector includes a 3D image mode which maximizes brightness, but the projector is not locked to this mode and the user may select any image preset or one of the five Custom user modes at will. As far as features go, you can still use 4K e-shift in 3D, but Clear Motion Drive is unavailable.

The glasses use radio frequency (RF) synchronization, so a line-of-sight connection between glasses and emitter or screen is not needed. The projector is also compatible with previous-generation JVC 3D emitters and glasses, which used infrared (IR) synchronization. The projector does not include either emitter or glasses in the purchase price.

Highly customizable. With Five user modes, three custom color temperature settings, and three custom gamma settings, the X55 is highly customizable. With this many settings to choose from, you can have a daytime setting, a nighttime setting, a sports setting, a game setting, and a photography setting, all custom calibrated to your preferences. Oh, and you can also adjust the factory presets.

Manual iris. A manual iris allows you to tailor light output to hit the exact point you wish. For some videophiles, that means 16 foot-Lamberts; for others, it could be any brightness you like. The X55's manual iris has sixteen stops (from 0 to -15) and can reduce brightness up to 53% in roughly equal intervals. The manual iris can also be used to knock down light output while the lamp is fresh, then open up to allow more light through once the lamp has a few hundred hours of use on it and output has decreased.

4K e-shift2. The X55 is not actually a 4K projector. Instead it has what JVC calls 4K e-shift2, or just e-shift for short. For a 1080p signal source, the projector looks at the content being input, then interpolates detail by creating another 1080p frame and projecting it over the first, shifted 1/2 pixel up and to one side. The result is shown in this diagram:

A demonstration of the shift occurring in the 4K e-shift engine

As you can see in the second diagram, this creates the appearance of four pixels for every one pixel of the original 1080p image. This is why JVC calls the system "4K," even though the projector uses native 1080p panels and cannot accept a 4K input signal.

The X55 also applies some smoothing, noise reducing, and sharpening steps to the signal as it undertakes this processing. These further processing steps are adjustable, and controls are available under the projector's "MPC" menu.

The result is a picture that is visibly sharper than its native-1080p source. However, like all systems that smooth motion or add detail, the extra detail is interpolated (not present in the original picture) and therefore video purists will likely opt for mild or no enhancement. As such the 4K E-shift can be disabled completely and is, in fact, off by default.

Outboard 3D RF emitter. By making the sync emitter a separate piece, JVC allows users to choose between RF and IR synchronization by using their current-gen or last-gen 3D glasses and emitters. Note, however, that you cannot use IR glasses with an RF emitter or vice versa.

Panel alignment. Any three-chip projector can be prone to panel misalignment. To counteract this, the X55 includes panel adjustment tools on-board. The relative positions of the red and blue LCOS panels can be altered to remove convergence errors. The system has both global (whole image) and zone settings, so if you're just seeing some color fringes in one corner or area of the image, you can fix it without altering the entire picture.

Clear Motion Drive. Frame interpolation is a common feature these days, but not all FI systems are created equal. The X55 includes one of the good ones, called Clear Motion Drive. The X55's Clear Motion Drive has three modes: Low, High, and Inverse Telecine. Inverse Telecine is the least noticeable mode, as it only seeks to restore the original 24p frame rate of non-24p content. Low is a good setting for movies and film, as it is effective but subtle. There are no traces of ghosting or artifacts in Low mode. High mode, while stronger, is still not over-the-top and displays almost no hint of the dreaded digital video effect.

Anamorphic stretch and Lens Memory. The X55 includes an anamorphic stretch mode for use with an external anamorphic lens. Paired with a 2.4:1 screen, this is the traditional method for achieving constant image height theater. However, not everyone wants to spend several thousand dollars on an anamorphic lens and a motorized lens sled. That's why the X55 also includes Lens Memory. Lens Memory allows you to set memory points for 16:9 and 2.4:1 display and then recall them later. This allows you to display 16:9 content at its full height in the center of the a 2.4:1 screen, then zoom up to watch 2.4:1 content on the entire screen while the top and bottom black bars are projected off the screen surface.

Fan noise. While the projector is actually a bit louder than average in full power mode, it is nearly silent in low power mode. Anyone seated more than a foot away from the exhaust vents likely will not be able to hear the projector.

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The Viewing Experience
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Performance
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Shootout vs AE8000 and 5020UB

Reader Comments(14 comments)

Posted Feb 2, 2014 1:57:48 PM

By Khristal

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Hi my name is Khristal hunter I just brought a 130" IMAX 4K Pro-Curve screen it's ratio is 2.35:1 I need help in finding a projector screen best for me... Plz help

Posted Jan 15, 2014 6:41:01 PM

By Todd Krueger

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For those waiting to make the final decision and are waiting to hear some practical 'hands-on' experience, I dove in and purchased the JVC. As a collector of 35mm films and an avid video game player, the JVC has impressed me every step of the way. Even in the darkened theater scenario, it requires the viewing of the green power on LED on the projector itself, or the fan, to know the unit is on. Also, the 12' distance is more than enough distance for a theater room with this unit. The power lens shift, focus, and zoom with the five separate memory assignments make placement on a shelf that is off center a breeze and the unit works well with video games. The only negatives: Fan noise (when lamp on brightest setting), only two inputs (HDMI), and the requirements of a low light area to enjoy it.

Posted Oct 10, 2013 5:08:00 AM

By william johnson

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Was looking at buying the x55r but I do a lot of online gaming. Is it going to be too slow to play shooters? if so what would be the best choice for gaming, movies, and 3d for me... price up to 5000.. I want the best I can afford. And I do a lot of gaming.. lol Thanks Bj

Posted Sep 13, 2013 5:03:58 AM

By jeremy

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yes you can as long as the projector has the cook up. like with XBOX just use HDMI

Posted Jul 26, 2013 12:03:34 PM

By bassa

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hey, I wanna know whats the minimum distance should we keep between projector and the screen. Is 12 feet enough for a good performance.?

Posted Jul 8, 2013 7:28:31 AM

By james H

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I was wondering if i can hook a gaming system to the projector. or any projector.

Posted Jul 7, 2013 9:35:19 AM

By james H

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I was wondering if i can hook a gaming system to the projector. or any projector.

Posted Jul 3, 2013 9:26:42 AM

By Vick Bhugun

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Hi.. for my situation. Fully light controlled room with dark grey walls and black roof and black carpet floor.. I should get a white screen with 1.3 gain ?

what screen would you recommend for size 120" 16:9

Posted Jun 20, 2013 2:49:50 PM

By Bardia

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Bill, I was set on the X55 until I read your comment about how it's an over kill for a family room. I plan to only use the projector at night witht he lights off and the only ambient light in the room would be begie walls, white ceiling and white furniture, which now sounds like plenty.. If I get a 120" diagona StudioTek 130, would I have washed out blacks when viewing?? What would be a better projector if this is not the right one for my set up. Thank you!

Posted May 28, 2013 12:35:09 PM

By Bill Livolsi

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Hi folks,

I see a lot of people are wondering why we didn't compare the JVC X55 to the Sony HW50 we reviewed back in March. The simple answer is that we returned our sample of the HW50 shortly after completing the review, so we did not have both projectors in-house at the same time.

When writing a shootout piece, we need to actually see both projectors side-by-side on the same screen. And yes, we could compare the two projectors on things like features, or our measurements, but that's something that any reader could do simply by reading both reviews. While we could write up a shootout based on our recollections and notes, we see a lot of projectors over the course of a few months and the human memory is a fragile thing that's often wrong. So, instead of not writing a shootout, we chose to compare the X55 to two projectors we did have in-house -- the AE8000 and 5020UB. The AE8000 comparison is particularly useful since we also shot it out against the HW50, and now our readers can look at both projectors compared to the same baseline.

The real value of a shootout piece comes from the insights we gain from actually shooting out the two projectors, side by side, in the lab. When we stop insisting on that, the quality of our articles as a whole suffers. I would have loved to do the X55 vs HW50 shootout, but the timing just didn't line up. I apologize for not being clear about the reasoning up front.

Posted May 28, 2013 9:58:17 AM

By Gerry

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Since the Sony VPL-hw50es uses LCOS technology like the JVC, shouldn't you have used the Sony to compare against the JVC?

Bill, you reviewed both JVC and Sony so I'm a little curious why you chose to compare the Panasonic and Epson instead.

Posted May 25, 2013 6:14:33 AM

By Gerry

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Nice review. You also reviewed the Sony VPL-hw50es, how does it compare to the JVC since both are LCOS projectors.

Posted May 25, 2013 2:50:20 AM

By singing italian

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GIVE ME A BREAK. The Epson projectors have the most inconsistent performance of all the big projector companies. In fact every unit I received 8500, 8700 or 9700 all had some significant flaw. The new 5020 after you perform panel alignment would be considered a joke after looking at JVC X55R or the Sony VPL-HE50ES. Also black and white movies exhibit poor uniformity on left and right sides of the screen with green and red tinting on a black and white movie, its very obvious ( but then again you guys never look at black and white material ) The other projectors listed do not experience anywhere near the inconsistencies of the Epson. Projector Central use to be far more objective. GIVE ME A BREAK the 5020 is no where near the same class of projector as the JVC X55, SONY VPL-HW50ES or Panasonic 8000. simply because of their poor quality control. Most Epson owners have a minimum of 3 returns. Don't waste your time on EPSON unless you got a lot of time to waste.

Posted May 24, 2013 7:47:47 PM

By Cory

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Hey Mike, So I've gotta ask the $1M question...how does it stack up against the Sony VW-50es.

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