1080p D-ILA Home Theater Projector
May 24, 2013
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:
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.