Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
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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

Performance

Light output. The X55 is rated at 1200 lumens, which doesn't sound like a lot. However, JVC's home theater projectors have always produced ample video optimized lumens, so the maximum lumen ratings tend to be irrelevant.

Our preferred operating mode, and the projector's default, is Cinema mode. After calibration, Cinema mode produced 820 lumens on our test unit with the lens at its widest angle setting and the lamp at full power.

In most home theaters, 820 lumens is more than enough light. In point of fact, many people will likely want to reduce light output. Switching the lamp to low power mode reduces light output by 33%, bringing our test sample to 551 lumens in Cinema mode. On a 120" diagonal 1.3 gain screen, that works out to almost exactly 16 foot-Lamberts.

However, a lot of people won't be using the maximum wide angle zoom. At the telephoto end of the zoom range, the X55 loses 31% of its light output potential. In other words, Cinema mode would measure 565 lumens with the lamp at full power and 380 lumens with the lamp at low power. The latter is enough for a 100" diagonal 1.3 gain screen at 16.7 fL.

Cinema mode turned out to be our test unit's brightest 2D image mode. The projector's 3D mode does measure higher, at 917 lumens on our test sample, but remember that 3D glasses cut brightness quite a bit -- even a theoretically perfect pair would reduce brightness by 50%. It is not uncommon to see total 3D system efficiency around 20-25% of 2D light output.

Contrast and black level. The X55 has the best black levels we have seen in a projector under $5,000, period. The difference between it and its competitors is not always night and day; projectors are too advanced these days for any huge, show-stopping differences to crop up like that. But when placed side by side with other home theater projectors, the X55's black levels were consistently the deepest, the darkest, and the most natural (thanks to the projector's lack of an automatic iris).

Shadow detail is no slouch, either. The X55 was consistently able to render even the most difficult of shadow details in the deepest darkest corners of images, creating a smooth, natural image that is a pleasure to watch. The depth of the image creates a real sense of three-dimensionality, even watching 2D content.

Color. The X55's default color temperature settings are almost perfect as they are. With zero adjustment, our test sample measured 6530K across the board in Cinema mode, with a slight push towards green in both shadows and highlights. Reducing green bias by two points and green gain by one point gave us a perfect 6500K grayscale curve with no major spikes or flaws.

JVC X55 color temperature pre-calibration

JVC X55 color temperature post-calibration

Please note that the divergence in color temperature at 0 IRE in the above graphs is because the X55's black level is deep enough that our meter has trouble obtaining a valid reading. There is no visible color shift in solid black.

As far as gamut is concerned, the X55 measured close to the Rec. 709 standard though it still can benefit from some fine-tuning. As the X55 has extensive color controls including a full color management system, these adjustments are fairly simple. A qualified custom installer can do this if you don't have the equipment to do it yourself.

Sharpness and detail. Native sharpness on the X55 is more than sufficient to bring out the fine detail found in Blu-ray and HD content. The default sharpness setting is 0, and it should stay in that position; the projector is perfectly sharp without any artificial edge enhancement.

However, one cannot discuss sharpness on the X55 without also discussing the 4K e-shift system, which is designed to increase sharpness and detail clarity by interpolating to 4K. What the system really does is analyze the 1080p signal and interpolate detail, which is similar to how a smart sharpening system works on other home theater projectors. The difference is that, in delivering this interpolated detail, the X55 physically shifts the image to create the overlapping-pixel mosaic that is their claim to 4K resolution. During this upscaling and image overlapping, the system (named MPC in the projector's menus) also applies a number of image processing functions to increase apparent detail.

The results can be fascinating. The e-shift system has a number of presets, ranging from "Film" on the unaggressive side to "HD" on the highly processed side. When watching film or movies, anything above the "Film" setting appeared too aggressive in some instances. Meanwhile, when watching video, the "SD" setting was a good fit. SD applies more processing than Film but less than HD. However, some content wasn't a good match for the SD setting, and some ringing and other artifacts became visible. The SD setting also increased digital noise in certain images.

The 4K e-shift system has some definite benefits, but overdriving it can lead to the same sort of problems one finds when overdriving smart sharpening systems on other projectors. Used in moderation, 4K e-shift has the ability to enhance your picture without making it appear artificial or over-processed.

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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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