JVC DLA-NP5 4K D-ILA Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • Excellent HDR with dynamic tone mapping
  • HDR10+ support
  • Outstanding black level and color accuracy
Cons
  • Minor light pumping from mechanical iris
Our Take

The JVC DLA-NP5 delivers a truly superb picture in both SDR and HDR with JVC’s own dynamic tone mapping, even before calibration.

JVC DLA NP5 front left

There's been a bit of a shakeup in the dedicated home theater projector market over the past six months. JVC revamped their home theater projector line with the release of the NZ series laser projectors—the DLA-NZ9/DLA-RS4100, DLA-NZ8/DLA-RS3100, and DLA-NZ7/DLA-RS2100—that all have HDMI 2.1 and some form of 8K e-shift. As expected, the line has been well received and the $11,000 NZ7 received a ProjectorCentral Editor's Choice award. But there wasn't a new sub-$10,000 release in the line-up. Instead, the three new laser projectors joined the existing $6,000, lamp-based DLA-NX5/DLA-RS1000—an excellent projector in its own right, but one that has been around for a few years already.

Before the NX5's successor—the DLA-NP5/DLA-RS1100 featured here—could be released, Epson put out its own high-end home theater projector, the LS12000. And for $5,000, it's less than half the price of DLA-NZ7 and $2,000 less than the $7,000 DLA-NP5. But the Epson was missing two key features that many enthusiasts were looking for—Full 1080p 3D compatibility and dynamic tone mapping. So, instead of stealing all the focus from the NP5 announcement, it intensified it. Could the lamp-based DLA-NP5 satisfy those whose excitement was cut short by the LS12000?

The sample sent to me by JVC and used for this review is a the DLA-RS1100 integrator model. Save for a cosmetic gold ring around the lens, it is in all ways identical to the DLA-NP5. For the remainder of the review I will refer to the projector as the DLA-NP5 as it's the more common model number for the consumer market.

Features

The DLA-NP5 uses three 0.69-inch 4K D-ILA devices for a native 4K (4096x2160) resolution without the need for pixel shifting. This is the same imaging solution used in JVC's laser projector line, but unlike those models, the NP5 does not have support for 8K signals or offer any form of e-shift pixel shifting to enhance detail beyond native 4K. The projector also shares the same 65 mm, 17-elements in 15-groups, all-glass lens as the NZ7 and NZ8. The lens comes with a removable plastic cover. There's 80% vertical and 34% horizontal motorized lens shift and a long 2.0x optical zoom (zoom range distance measurements can be seen with the ProjectorCentral JVC DLA-NP5 Projector Throw Distance Calculator). The zoom and focus are also both motorized, which keeps initial setup quick and easy.

The same 265W lamp that was found in the NX5 is used in the NP5, although now JVC has managed to squeeze an extra 100 lumens out of it for a rated brightness output of 1,900 ANSI lumens. JVC lists the average lifespan (time to half brightness) of the lamp in Low mode at 4,500 hours. Based on previous information about this lamp (PKL2618U), in High Lamp Power mode it should last for about 3,500 hours. Replacement lamps cost $600. The projector's contrast ratio is rated at 40,000:1 native and 400,000:1 dynamic, which is equivalent to the DLA-NZ7 laser model, and half that of the DLA-NZ8 mid-level laser.

Frame Adapt HDR is JVC's own dynamic tone mapping that can be added to HDR10 signals. At best, HDR10 supplies static metadata to help the display manage tone-mapping, but Frame Adapt doesn't require it and applies the dynamic tone mapping on either a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis. The NP5 also carries over the Theater Optimizer feature from the NX5 and other earlier NX models. This allows you to fine tune the HDR image to your installation by entering screen diagonal, aspect ratio, and screen gain (although only by adjusting tenths, so if you have a 0.95-gain screen you'll need to choose between 0.9 and 1.0). A new feature added this year is HDR10+ support for available content (much of Amazon's HDR library includes HDR10+ versions). As I'll talk about below, the HDR10+ signals that include dynamic metadata performed slightly better than the Frame Adapt HDR tone mapping done by JVC's algorithm in my tests.

JVC DLA NP5 remote

The DLA-NP5 looks just like its predecessor, with the large lens front and center flanked on either side by exhaust vents (air is brought in from the rear). The projector measures 9.19 x 19.75 x 19.5 inches (HWD) and weighs a hefty 41.9 pounds. On the back is the connections panel that includes two 48-Gbps HDMI 2.1 inputs with HDCP 2.3 (although no CEC support), a 12V trigger, RJ-45 for LAN control, RS-232C, USB for service and firmware updates, and a 3D synchro port for the optional $100 PK-EM2 3D emitter (JVC's PK-AG3G glasses are $180 each, though the emitter is compatible with some other off-the-shelf RF shutter glasses). The HDMI 2.1 ports support 4K/120Hz signals for gaming on the Xbox Series X, PS5, or through a computer. There's also a Low Latency mode to decrease input lag while gaming, although with it on the only HDR picture mode available is HDR10. Both Frame Adapt HDR and HDR10+ are disabled.

The remote control is the same from the previous generation. It's light, fits in the hand well, and includes a button to turn on a nice, soft backlight. Differentiating between the buttons can be difficult unless you're looking at it with the backlight illuminated, which is a tad annoying as I prefer to look at the screen as I'm making adjustments. Some better button spacing or perhaps raised or angled buttons would go a long way for easier tactile identification. Still, it's only a minor gripe.

Performance

Picture Modes. The JVC DLA-NP5 has five picture modes for SDR—Natural, Cinema, and three User picture modes that measure the same as Natural (named User 1, User 2, and User3). For HDR10 content, there's Frame Adapt HDR (which adjusts the picture scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame), HDR10, and Pana-PQ that relies on the tone mapping done by the Panasonic DP-UB9000 UHD Blu-ray player (and is only intended to be used with that player). There's also an HDR10+ mode that is automatically selected when the projector senses an HDR10+ signal, and HLG for the HDR broadcasting standard that has still not been widely adopted in the US. Three additional User modes (User 4, User 5, and User 6) are able to be calibrated for HDR10 or HLG signals.

By eye, the SDR picture modes out of the box all looked excellent, especially Natural, which looked to have highly accurate colors and a pretty even grayscale. I used Natural mode both pre- and post-calibration for all of my SDR viewing. Cinema mode pumped the brightness of grays a bit, but was still highly watchable. I was able to verify this when I broke out my measurement gear and started the calibration with Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software, a Murideo Six-G pattern generator, and a X-rite i1Display Pro profiled against a X-Rite i1Pro 3 spectrophotometer.

In the default Natural settings (which sets Lamp Power to Low and Gamma to 2.2), the grayscale curve had a DeltaE (dE) average of 3.4 with midtone grays tracking slightly above the curve. The highest values were between 30% and 50% brightness (40% had a dE of 5.1). This is primarily due to the default 2.2 gamma, which tracks the 2.2 gamma perfectly from 10% brightness up to 90%. The 2.4 gamma setting is barely below the target 2.4 gamma line at 2.38. Both look great and should be adjusted based upon your room (I chose 2.4). RGBCMY color points measured even better with an average of 1.3 dE and a max value (with red and yellow) of 1.6. Color temperature was 6,452K. (DeltaE signifies how far a color is from accurate; anything below 3 is generally accepted as excellent and values approaching that are usually difficult to distinguish on screen.)

The DLA-NP5 calibration options include two-point grayscale and RGBCMY color point menus. At first I lamented the fact that there wasn't at least a 10-point grayscale adjustment similar to what's begun showing up on a range of projectors, but after my SDR calibration it didn't matter. Instead of the 30% (30 IRE) setting I usually use for bias/offset, I used 10% because a 30% adjustment ended up raising the black level. I used the 100% point to adjust gain (and chose a 2.4 gamma setting). The grayscale dE averaged 1 with a maximum value of 2 at 15% brightness. Primary and secondary color points averaged a dE of 0.5 with a max value of 0.8. For all intents and purposes, a perfect calibration by the numbers. The additional Color Checker Classic measurement in Calman—which measures a range of colors found in the world such as skin tones, foliage, and blue sky— was equally impressive with an average error of 1.1. As mentioned, a value of 3.0 or below is generally accepted as excellent.

HDR calibration numbers aren't as kind to projectors, and it's almost solely due to the fact that they can't get bright enough, making luminance dEs super high. But if we consider just the saturation and hue of colors (the x and y axes) the JVC does quite well. Pre-calibration all color points except for green (which is undersaturated) are close to their target points. And after calibration it gets even better, although green is still undersaturated a little bit. The grayscale can get a bit wonky, though, and it's at this point I was again wishing for a 10-point range. Grayscale color balance out of the box is relatively good, but when correcting the 100% brightness point, it caused issues between 40% and 70%. The RGB gain settings (100% white brightness) also didn't start actually doing anything until around -50 (their defaults are 0), so it robbed a bit of brightness from bright whites (about 6%). I've included my settings in the Calibrated Settings section below, but when it comes to HDR grayscale I recommend sticking with JVC's defaults. I should mention that this isn't an issue just for the DLA-NP5, but one I've seen with many projectors.

JVC DLA NP5 top

For another representation of color performance I checked the color volume coverage with Rec.709, DCI-P3, and BT.2020 color gamuts. Color volume measurements taken with an HDR signal showed a gamut of 131.8% of Rec.709, 88.5% of DCI-P3, and 59.8% of BT.2020. While this isn't as wide a gamut as the Epson LS12000 (which measured 93.1% of DCI-P3), it is a few percentage points better than the laser light source DLA-NZ7 that costs $4,000 more than the NP5. For a JVC that covers 100% of DCI-P3, you'd need to step up to the DLA-NZ8 for $16,000 (though that projector achieves this by placing a color filter in the light path that reduces brightness).

SDR Viewing. There are a few things that immediately transport me to my childhood, and one of them is Back to the Future. The detail on the 1080p Blu-ray transfer of the first film in the series looks excellent on the NP5. The slow zoom in as Marty and Principal Strickland are face to face in the high school hallway shows off the wrinkles of anger in Strickland's forehead and neck. And the skin tone on both is spot on. When we head back to 1955, the colors in Hill Valley make it look new and fresh in comparison to the original 1985 Hill Valley. The colors of the cars are nice and vibrant, even the clothes (like Biff's bright red shirt and Lorraine's pastel blue school-time outfit) give a sense of new to the time period.

For some reason I tend to default to cooking shows when I want to see how good SDR looks. In this case it was a recent show on Food Network called Tournament of Champions. It's a fast-paced competition show that pits eight chefs from the east coast against eight from the west in a bracket-style format hosted by Guy Fieri (say what you will about him, the man knows how to host a food show). It's full of close-ups of raw ingredients, on the stovetop, plating, and judging. It was eye candy on the JVC that got me salivating each time. Colors showed off the food cooking on the stovetops and the beauty of (some of) the plating techniques. There's some fast movement in it as the cameras and contestants rush around to complete dishes in time. The Low setting of Clear Motion Drive adds a touch of motion interpolation that I'm sure would be suitable for some people. Personally, I've never been a fan of this type of extra image processing, but it's not as heavy-handed as I've seen on other projectors.

HDR Viewing. With the dark film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, both HDR10 and Frame Adapt HDR handled the content well, with excellent detail in the cliff as Voldemort and his followers are about to begin their onslaught of Hogwarts. The blasts as the spells hit the shield around the school shone brightly against the night sky, but by comparison Frame Adapt certainly added more depth and dimensionality to the surrounding mountains and foreboding clouds. I watched through this scene and a few following with the Aperture (auto iris) setting in both Auto 1 and Auto 2 and there were a few moments that I could see the auto iris working (although thankfully there wasn't any accompanying clicking that can happen on other projectors). As the Weasley brothers are watching the Death Eaters' spell attacks impact on the invisible shield, we can see the light around them shine and slowly fade until the next attack hits. With both auto iris settings there was some subtle pumping to the light as it faded. When I switched the Aperture to Manual with the iris in the fully open position (a value of 0), the fade was much smoother. For the majority of my viewing I ended up preferring this Manual setting.

JVC DLA NP5 harrypotter
The Frame Adapt HDR mode on the JVC DLA-NP5 delivers great dimensionality to the dark cliffside scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. (Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Frame Adapt HDR mode was all but necessary with the brightly mastered UHD Blu-ray of The Meg. In HDR10, the whites were consistently blown out when the sun shined down on the open sea, or when the lucite shark cage descends into the depths at the beginning of chapter 7, or even when sunlight glared off of faces. Frame Adapt HDR tamed all of it. Sunlight was far less oppressive, but still suitably substantial. And details in the darker portions of a bright image were still easy to see (such as the different dark tones of the ship's hull as it approaches the flotsam in chapter 6). The color accuracy, particularly in skin tones, was shown off in The Meg as well. The crystal blues of the sea looked inviting, forgetting about the enormous prehistoric shark lurking below the surface.

The benefits of Frame Adapt HDR didn't stop at bright discs. It was needed to get the most detail out of Sapper Morton's modest home at the beginning of Blade Runner 2049, too. That movie sits on the opposite end of the spectrum with its dark scenes and low average picture level. In fact, as K moves from the shadowy living room to the kitchen, I can't remember when I've seen as much detail in the dark, upright piano while also maintaining a nice and deep black level.

To get a sense of how well the DLA-NP5 handled content mastered at different brightness levels, I turned to the Spears & Munsil 4K UHD Benchmark disc, which allows you to select five different mastering levels for the HDR content—600, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, and 10,000 cd/m2 (nits). The demo scene of snow-peaked mountains and another of deer in a snowy field can be difficult for projectors. In the first scene there are details in the sides of the mountain and definition to the clouds that can disappear, and in the second, the background behind the deer can turn into a white wash. The NP5 had no significant problems up to 1,000 nits in both HDR10 and Frame Adapt HDR, but beyond that mastering level the Frame Adapt mode really began to show off its benefit. It was able to maintain a great level of detail to both scenes up to 4,000 nits where the HDR10 mode struggled, and Frame Adapt even did a good job managing the 10,000 nit content. Basically, if you're watching HDR10 content on the JVC, there's absolutely no reason not to use Frame Adapt HDR.

To see how the NP5 handled HDR10+ content, I pulled up the final episode from the last season of The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video (a great source for HDR10+ streaming content). There's a blood-pressure-rising spaceship chase scene midway through the episode that has great shots of deep space, drive plumes, and missile explosions that looked absolutely stunning on the JVC. The 4K detail on both the exterior of the ships and inside their command bridges is excellent at any distance from the scene, and the distant stars (and not so distant explosions) popped against the deep and dimensional black of space.

I had the projector Content Type set to Auto, so it automatically was put into HDR10+ mode when the show began, but I wanted to see how it compared to JVC's own dynamic tone mapping and spent some time flipping back and forth between the two modes by manually selecting them. The difference was incredibly minor—mostly in the amount of brightness of those drive plumes and explosions—and I was more than happy with either. But to my eye the HDR10+ edged out the dynamic tone mapping of Frame Adapt HDR. It's not a completely unexpected result considering the HDR10+ metadata is mastered for the content specifically while the JVC is (to an exceptional degree) figuring it out as it goes. If anything, it's a testament to the excellence of the NP5's dynamic tone mapping.

JVC DLA NP5 expanse
The JVC DLA-NP5's native 4K resolution showed off the interior details of the different ships in The Expanse, and displayed deep blacks and bright explosive highlights with HDR10+ content. (Photo Credit: Amazon Studios)

Based on some discussion in the comments after this review was originally posted, I went back to take a closer look at the "bright corners" issue that has been known to affect JVC projectors. During my testing I hadn't seen significant evidence of it, but after I adjusted my calibration to address an elevated black level caused by my initial offset settings I sat down to watch The Batman with Frame Adapt HDR and the aperture in the Manual fully open (setting of 0) position. For almost all of the movie the shadow detail was excellent and I only was aware of any extra brightness in the corners because I was actively looking for it. But there was one moment where this was very evident, and that was as the final shot switched to black and I could see a glow in all corners, particularly the top right and bottom left. So while it seems like the corners issue on my sample was mostly improved, there are still moments where bright corners can show up.

Gaming. It is an absolute necessity to turn on the Low Latency setting in the Motion Control submenu before any gaming. Unfortunately there is no button on the remote for direct access. The Advanced Menu button scrolls through a few different menus including the one that includes Low Latency but doesn't go there directly, so it takes some navigation to get there. Without it turned on, input lag is an unbearable 163.1 ms, but thankfully that lowers to between 36.5 and 44.8 ms depending on the input signal (all numbers are below in the measurements section).

One important thing to note about HDR gaming: the Low Latency setting can only be turned on in HDR10 picture mode. This is completely understandable as the dynamic tone mapping of Frame Adapt HDR undoubtedly adds lag (the DLA-NP5 doesn't support the relatively new HDR10+ gaming format). If you've turned Low Latency on in SDR, but you've been using Frame Adapt HDR for your movie/TV watching though (as I suggest you absolutely do), there's a minor frustration. Instead of the Low Latency SDR setting persisting when an HDR game is started, the projector will instead default to its previous HDR mode. For me, that was Frame Adapt HDR with its very high input lag. In order to turn on Low Latency in HDR, the projector needs to first be in the HDR10 picture mode, otherwise the Low Latency option is greyed out. It's a bit of a clunky process. It would be nice if there was the ability to switch on Low Latency in any HDR picture mode causing the NP5 to switch to its regular HDR10 picture mode as well, but instead it takes a few extra remote clicks and then it's ready to go for HDR gaming.

Once everything was properly selected, I started up Elden Ring on my PS5—which I've slowly been working through. The world of Elden Ring looked beautiful, with amazing detail in the grass and rocks of cliff sides. I could feel a very slight delay from the input lag, but it wasn't enough to drastically affect my play. I had a similar experience with Destiny 2. Each planet's color palette looked vibrant and rich, and there was nice dimensionality to shadows. Response was quick enough to keep me blasting through the different game modes and I didn't experience any noticeable screen tearing.

JVC DLA NP5 eldenring
The landscape of Elden Ring looked beautiful on the JVC DLA-NP5 with excellent detail and rich colors. (Photo Credit: FromSoftware)

I switched over to the Xbox Series X to get my Star Wars fill and replay through some of the unfortunately too short campaign of Star Wars: Squadrons. Again, the input lag here was low enough as to not affect me to a drastic degree. The low black levels of the JVC made the blackness of space seem expansive and the cosmic backgrounds popped with color.

3D Viewing. The lamp on the DLA-NP5 is plenty bright for 3D in a darkened room, and can even hold up to a bit of ambient light if necessary (although it does rob some from the image depth). I found the visual 3D performance to be very good. While watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, moments of slow movement look stunning and impressive—a shot of the Finalizer star destroyer at the beginning of chapter 20, "Kylo Is Updated," conveyed its truly enormous and imposing size as the nose of it comes out to meet you. And in Chapter 18, "The Falcon Flies Again," as Rey pilots the Millennium Falcon across the sands of Jakku, there's excellent spatial placement to the Falcon and the chasing TIE Fighters. At times there were slight moments where the picture fell out of perfect focus and there looked to be very mild crosstalk towards the back of the image. But once I just sat back and became immersed into the world, the JVC delivered an overall enjoyable 3D experience.

JVC DLA-NP5 vs Epson LS12000 Comparison

When the JVC DLA-NP5 arrived on my doorstep it had only been a week or so since I bid adieu to the Epson LS12000. Even though the light source type is different between the two, the NP5 is sure to be considered by many as a strong option to the LS12000. While I missed the opportunity to do a direct side-by-side comparison, I thought I'd provide my impression having them in my room in such close temporal proximity.

The main spec sheet benefits of the JVC are its 3D support, dynamic tone mapping, and native 4K imaging. In practice, the Epson also measured lower input lag on some signal types, most notably 4K/60 where it measured 19.5 ms, less than half of the NP5's lag. It was closer on most other signals.

The fact that it has 3D support is a check in the win column for the NP5. Case closed. And as stated above, the 3D looks excellent with only minor fleeting issues that will likely not bother most.

For dynamic tone mapping it's a bit more of a discussion. To begin, both projectors do offer HDR10+ compatibility for dynamic tone mapping with compatible content. Dialing in the regular HDR10 performance on the Epson LS12000 can take some experimentation to get the absolute best picture with each disc, but this is not nearly as involved a process as some have made it out to be. It's possible to just keep the HDR Dynamic Range slider somewhere in the middle and get great performance without fiddling; if you do need it, the control is directly accessible via a button on the remote. But the dynamic tone mapping of Frame Adapt HDR does take any worry out of the process (there is still the option to fiddle with the JVC menu settings, but it isn't necessary). Advantage: JVC—although I'd say not as definitively as with the 3D support.

Related to the dynamic tone mapping and HDR support is the overall light output of each projector. Comparing the most color accurate picture mode for each projector—which happens to be Natural for both—the Epson has the edge with almost 400 extra lumens in their default modes. Switching the JVC from Low Lamp Power to High Lamp Power closes that gap, but the Epson is still only at 75% brightness so it can again pull ahead by bumping that up to 100% (or any 5% increment in between). And High Lamp Power on the JVC will burn through the lamp faster, so there's an added cost to the higher light output. You can occasionally see both the Dynamic Contrast feature of the Epson and the mechanical iris of the JVC working, but it's subtle when it happens.

There's been quite a bit made of the difference between native 4K (as we have with the JVC) and 4K with pixel-shifting technology (used by the Epson as well as single-chip 4K DLP projectors). On a technical level are they different? Sure. And if I had the ability to put the two projectors side-by-side for a direct A/B visual test, it wouldn't surprise me if the Epson looked ever so slightly softer if I was standing right up at my screen. At a normal viewing distance from the screen, though, I don't believe one would look softer than the other. I never wanted for more detail from either projector while watching 4K material.

JVC DLA NP5 front

Both projectors are fantastic and I'd be happy with either in my theater, as I'm sure most of ProjectorCentral's readers would. But since 3D capability isn't a major concern for me and I don't mind using the HDR slider when necessary, the value of the Epson (particularly the fact that replacement lamps are unnecessary) makes it the one I would purchase.

Conclusion

In a home theater world that's beginning to be dominated by solid state projectors, the JVC DLA-NP5 is an excellent example of how good a lamp-based projector can be. Both SDR and HDR performance are superb, especially when using Frame Adapt HDR or the new HDR10+ support JVC offers. And keeping their 3D support is sure to please a number of potential buyers. The drawbacks are few and minor (the remote can be a bit annoying during calibration and the auto iris can exhibit some pumping), though they include the expected extra cost from a light source that runs on lamps—$600 every couple years for a new lamp, depending on your viewing hours. That said, JVC has made yet another world-class projector that has a sharp 4K picture, deep blacks, and excellent HDR performance with JVC's Frame Adapt HDR.

Measurements

Brightness. The brightest picture mode on the JVC DLA-NP5 is any of the three SDR User modes (labeled 1-3), with the Color Temp. set to High Bright, Aperture at 0 (in the Manual setting), and Lamp Power at High (its default setting). With those settings, the JVC measured 1,905 ANSI lumens, just over its 1,900 ANSI lumens spec, though the image exhibited a green bias that made it undesirable. Natural Picture Mode, the most color accurate in SDR, measured 1,062 ANSI lumens both before calibration and after. HDR picture modes all measured 1,462 ANSI lumens, apart from HDR10 which was only two lumens off that number. The default Lamp Power setting for Natural and Cinema is Low, and for all other modes the default is High. Color brightness measured 102.7% of white brightness, which is expected for a three-chip projector.

JVC DLA-NP5 ANSI Lumens

Picture Mode High Lamp Power Low Lamp Power
Natural 1,465 1,062
Cinema 1,468 1,064
User (SDR) 1,905 1,381
Frame Adapt HDR 1,462 1,060
HDR10 1,460 1,059
Pana-PQ 1,462 1,060
User (HDR) 1,462 1,060

Zoom Lens Light Loss. Changing the zoom from the widest setting to full telephoto resulted in a 32.7% loss of brightness. With a long 2x zoom a bit of light loss is inevitable, but this is a little beyond what's expected. Plan your projector placement accordingly if you need to retain brightness.

Brightness Uniformity. Brightness uniformity on the DLA-NP5 in its widest lens setting measured 85%. This dropped to 71% in its max telephoto position.

Input Lag. With a 4K Leo Bodnar lag tester and the Low Latency selector in the off position, I measured input lag at 163.1 ms in both 1080p/60Hz and 4K/60Hz. With a 1080p/120Hz signal, it measured 71.8 ms. With the Low Latency set to On, the DLA-NP5 measure 36.5 ms in 1080p/60, 35.8 ms in 1080p/120, and 44.8 ms in 4K/60. All measurements were taken in Natural (SDR) picture mode. The 4K Leo Bodnar lag tester does not have the capability to test 4K/120Hz or in HDR.

Fan Noise. JVC lists the noise level of the DLA-NP5 as 24 dB in Low Lamp Power mode using the standard multi-point measurement system in a soundproof room. In my living room that has a noise floor of 32 dBA, I measured the NP5's noise level at 33.9 dBA in Low mode—barely perceptible with my head three feet below the ceiling-mounted projector. With the Lamp Power set to High, as it is in all the HDR picture modes, the noise was only 36.6 dBA. Not nearly enough to be distracting, especially when a movie is playing. In High Altitude mode the noise measured 36 dBA and 41.1 dBA in Low and High Lamp Power settings, respectively.

Connections

JVC DLA NP5 connections
  • HDMI 2.1 (with HDCP 2.3, no CEC support)
  • 3D sync output
  • 12v trigger
  • RS-232C
  • USB (for service and firmware only)
  • RJ-45 (LAN control)

Calibrated Settings

Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.

SDR

Content Type: Auto (SDR)

Picture Mode: Natural

More Settings

Lamp Power: Low
Aperture: Manual (0)
Contrast: 0
Brightness: -1
Color: 0
Tint: 0

Color Profile: Auto
Color Management: On

Red Green Blue Cyan Magenta Yellow
Hue -5 0 0 -1 0 1
Saturation 0 -2 -1 0 0 0
Brightness 0 1 0 0 0 0

Color Temp: 6500K

Red Green Blue
Gain 0 -4 0
Offset -1 -0 -1

Gamma: 2.4

MPC Level

Graphic Mode: High-res 1
Enhance: 1
NR: 0
BNR: 0
MNR: 0

Motion Control

Low Latency: Off (except when gaming)
Clear Motion Drive: Off
Motion Enhance: Off

HDR

Content Type: Auto (HDR)

Picture Mode: Frame Adapt HDR

More Settings

Lamp Power: High
Aperture: Manual (0)
Contrast: -2
Brightness: 0
Color: 0
Tint: 0

Color Profile: BT.2020
Color Management: On

Red Green Blue Cyan Magenta Yellow
Hue -3 12 3 3 -4 -1
Saturation 6 5 9 0 15 5
Brightness 0 0 0 0 0 0

Color Temp: HDR10

Red Green Blue
Gain -56 -54 -59
Offset 0 0 0

HDR Processing: Frame by Frame
Theater Optimizer: On (settings dependent on screen)
HDR Level: Auto

MPC Level

Graphic Mode: High-res 1
Enhance: 2
NR: 0
BNR: 0
MNR: 0

Motion Control

Low Latency: Off (except when gaming and Picture Mode set to HDR10)
Clear Motion Drive: Off
Motion Enhance: Off

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our JVC DLA-NP5 projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

 
Comments (22) Post a Comment
Jack Cargill Posted Apr 20, 2022 12:26 PM PST
Great review! Thanks.
Daniel Posted Apr 20, 2022 12:56 PM PST
In the JVC/Epson comparison, how would you say Epson's black levels compared against the JVC? Were the differences marginal or obvious?

I'm still wanting the Epson... the only way I'd get the JVC is if the price dropped at least $1K. But then again, while movies are important, I game a lot on my projector, so the lower input lag of the Epson would be a big factor. Sounds like for me the only benefit of the JVC is deeper blacks and frame-adapt HDR whereas Epson has lower lag and a light engine I don't have to worry about.
Kurt Højmark Posted Apr 20, 2022 3:00 PM PST
When you calibrate like you do you reduce contrast quite drastically, sadly its quite common the calibrators dont know how to calibrate/ apply the ISF / THX textbook method and elevate the offset/ black level, and reduce gain/ white level, all settings limiting dynamic range, if you had measured contrast before and after calibration ill think you reduced it with around 25-30%

So based on your settings and calibration methods the projector would have been better in out of the box settings, and your review is therefore quite useless.
Nick Posted Apr 20, 2022 8:41 PM PST
Very useful and informative review, thanks! Especially the comparison with the LS12000 which so far is number 1 on my next projector shopping list. Since I often watch during the day and can't eliminate ambient light completely I need those extra lumens. Icing on the LS12000 cake would be 3D capability although having the laser light engine is probably more beneficial.
sajid khan Posted Apr 20, 2022 8:51 PM PST
rob...im fed up...just tell me one projector which doesnt have judder issues...ive been testing a few in the last week...the benq 3000i being the last...the judder issue is consistent...pls help..
Seth Posted Apr 20, 2022 8:58 PM PST
Can the additional cost of the NZ7 really be justified if I only put 1200 hours on a bulb in 5 years?

Not sure the 8k input and eshift adds enough unless going to the NZ8 and eshiftx.

Big decision about to be made. Just curious what others thought.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 20, 2022 9:00 PM PST
I believe the primary reason to step up in any of JVCs line ups, including this current one, is to gain higher contrast ratio/deeper blacks…or a better lens as can be found in the NZ9. You need to step up to the NZ8 from the NP5 to get that, a result of the more sophisticated optical block.
Kurt Højmark Posted Apr 21, 2022 12:29 AM PST
Rob Sabin: Can you explain what effects the +14 on blue offset ,and -5 contrast and -55 on all gain settings do to the black level and maximum light output, and what that means to the contrast? Also, what was calibrated contrast on this review sample calibrated?

Could you post a 21-point gamma/ grayscale measurement, 1-2-3-4-5% ire gamma and grayscale tracking, and accurate contrast measurements, and share what meter, and how it was set up.?

You might find the questions stupid, but if you care to check you might be surprised how messed up the review projector is
Aaron Posted Apr 21, 2022 12:52 AM PST
Can you please respond to Kurt Hojmark's comment with some contrast measurements to back up your claims rather than calling people Arrogant and stupid? You have no contrast measurements in this entire review in SDR or HDR. Can you please do some with the iris at some basic settings.

Measuring lumens is pretty useless without these numbers.

Also please share your contrast methodology.

However this isn't too arrogant or stupid of a reply to ask for proper quantiative data.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 21, 2022 1:00 AM PST
Okay guys, let me respond to all this in the light of day and begin with an apology to Kurt for my initial unbecoming response. It was a late night, reactive post and I should know better after all my years as an editor not to respond that way despite the attack on our work. I have removed it from the thread.

I was reacting primarily to two things in Kurt's comment that triggered me, neither in context with what was apparently being said about this specific calibration. The first was the implied notion (perhaps misinterpreted I realize now) that the classic ISF/THX approach is somehow not valid and that we should be calibrating to the extremes of the display's capabilities without respect for matching it to the color/grayscale standards by which the content is created. That is the underpinning of all calibration in my opinion -- we calibrate to a standard -- and I thought that idea was being challenged here. That was the part I thought "stupid."

I also reacted, quite legitimately I think, to our review being called "quite useless" by someone who wasn't in front of the projector, didn't see the on-screen or measured result that came from that calibration, had no direct context for the comment, and obviously did not read the review and what the reviewer said about the HDR calibration and the challenges it presented. This is all at the top of the Performance section:

"The grayscale can get a bit wonky, though, and it's at this point I was again wishing for a 10-point range. Grayscale color balance out of the box is relatively good, but when correcting the 30% and 100% brightness points, it caused issues between 40% and 70%. The RGB gain settings (100% white brightness) also didn't start actually doing anything until around -50 (their defaults are 0), so it robbed a bit of brightness from bright whites. I've included my settings in the Calibrated Settings section below, but when it comes to HDR grayscale I recommend sticking with JVC's defaults. I should mention that this isn't an issue just for the DLA-NP5, but one I've seen with many projectors."

Kurt, I think you were clearer in your second email about your concerns about the numbers and I got what you were saying. I think it's legitimate to question whether the dynamic range was fully preserved or what may have been sacrificed in an attempt to keep an even RGB balance on HDR grayscale with a projector that offers only 2-point calibration. Calibration is often an exercise in compromise. But if the controls are having essentially zero effect except at a point well off the default, a few clicks off that point would presumably have very little overall effect. Maybe that's not true in this case, but if the on-screen result was dramatically attenuating highlights or failing to preserve shadow detail and blacks at a decent level on his screen John would have tossed it outright and reset to the defaults. (As he has done on some other review samples and recommended users do here with this JVC). I'll also add that I know several ISF instructors and they do train students to optimize dynamic range to the extent possible, as it is regarded as the most critical attribute of image quality.

As for contrast measurements, I hate to just repeat what I've said previously but the issue we face as a reviewing entity (same one we faced at Sound & Vision and Home Theater while I was the editor there) is that different reviewers evaluate in different environments, many of which are not perfectly black caves. Any variation from the black cave and measuring instruments can effect the black level readings, and if we use different reviewers we cannot count on any consistency. The problem then becomes that if we put out a contrast ratio measurement on a projector it is inevitably used for an apples-to-orange comparison with another projector reviewed by a different reviewer in another location, maybe even one from a different reviewing entity, so we potentially do a disservice to the reader as well as the manufacturer.

That said, I do acknowledge that contrast measurements are valuable and valid from a comparative standpoint if you can set two or more projectors up in the same space under the same conditions using the same measuring instruments (though not necessarily valid from a numerical standpoint if we are attempting to quote ANSI or another recognized measurement standard). I currently have the Epson LS12000 in house and am bringing the NP5 to our video studio in New York for a side-by-side. I'll do some basic contrast measurements (in defaults and calibrated) to see how they fare directly against each other, as it would be good to put these two competitive models in context on black levels and dynamic range.

Kurt Højmark Posted Apr 21, 2022 10:45 AM PST
Rob. You posted a long post with no objective data, i happen to have worked on more than a few JVC projectors, and if you adjust offset to +14, your contrast is shot, you don't buy a high contrast projector just to elevate the black level. The main problem is when you measure 20 or 30% ire and correct it with the offset, in general it tracks a fairly nice color temperature out of black, like 1% ire with factory settings, the gamma is typical to low on the NX and NZ series, the offset can be used to adjust the level 17 18 19 out of black, by adjusting them all to -4 ish, that will require that you have the capability to measure accurate black level every time, to get an accurate gamma calculation if 20 or 30% ire is off you have the 3 point gamma tool in the menu, or the JVC calibration software with a multipoint gamma tool, ot the JVC autocal, that way you can maintain proper out of black gamma and color tracking, the 0-20% is likely the most important area of the gamma and grayscale, do yourself the favor of measuring the full 8-bit resolution to understand what happens when you use the offset to adjust grayscale, the 11 point grayscale is utterly insufficient for that purpose.

If you cant measure contrast you cant calibrate a JVC projector properly, all you need is a profiled i1display pro, and there is no excuse, room is a different discussion, and should not be an issue in a review as nobody would make a review in a non-optimal room for projection.

On JVC projectors parameters like black and white uniformity measured would also be very useful as JVC has struggled with huge sample tolerances and very bright corners.

When you know JVC projectors, you have no doubt that the settings listed are drastically limiting the projector performance, and the calibrator has no understanding of JVC calibration, its a very very common isue among calibrators.

Normal end consumers have no clue, if you guys would do us the favor to post a before and after 21point gamma/ grayscale, saturation sweep, 1-2-3-4-5% ire gamma/ grayscale measurement, not just graphics, the full data readout, and ill be happy to point out the major issues in the calibration in the review, and why it should not be reviewed like that.

This is not a 500$ DLP projector, so deserves more than a 20$ calibration. Subjective opinions is useless, objective data rocks, and you should have the capability to provide it.
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Apr 21, 2022 10:50 AM PST
Kurt, thank you for bringing the JVC offset eccentricities to my attention. I've gone back and adjusted my calibration with my i1Display Pro profiled to my i1Pro 3. As you said, the 30% IRE I calibrated to did cause the black level on the NP5 to rise to a perceptible level on the i1Display Pro. This was corrected by using a 10% IRE and keeping the offset values at or under 0 (I've updated the calibration settings for my sample in the review). The black level on my sample after calibration is now too low for the i1Display Pro to read a value other than 0.

After calibration there was a small dip in white brightness (in SDR it fell by 1% and in HDR by about 6%). The HDR contrast setting of -4 caused about a drop of 4 cd/m2. When I went back and redid my calibration I actually decided that a Contrast setting of -2 was acceptable, which caused a drop of around 2 cd/m2.

As for the HDR gain settings, as I say in the review they don't start making a measurable change to the color balance until they reach around -50 on the slider. The before and after white luminance measurement is:

Pre-cal: 137.5 cd/m2

Post-cal gain: 128.6 cd/m2

Also, since I just did these brightness measurements, they're with 163 hours on the lamp.

While doing this I also looked more closely for the bright corners, which were most evident when going from an image to full black screen (such as at the end of The Batman that I watched on the projector this weekend before packing it up for shipment), but not too much otherwise on my sample. I have also added a statement on this to the review.

My primary concern is always to provide an impression that's as accurate as possible of whatever projector I'm reviewing, which I firmly believe takes a combination of objective measurements and subjective views in a room. And to achieve that, I appreciate when a better methodology is suggested (even if I might not be a fan of the tone in which it is presented). Regardless of my years of experience in any field, I will never claim to be all-knowing on any subject. As are we all, I'm a human that is constantly learning and happy to grow, especially if it allows me to better serve those that read my reviews.
Stephane Posted Apr 21, 2022 11:19 AM PST
Hi, If i have the opportunity between an NX7 of NP5, both brand new. What would you recommend.

Another question, on a pratically black scene does both NP5 NX7 have the same blacks levels and only the brightest part will be brighter on the NX7?

Thanks Stephane
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 21, 2022 11:22 AM PST
Stephane, with both of these being lamp projectors the NX7 is by far the superior projector from the standpoint of rated contrast ratio/black level, with literally double the spec. You may recall that the NX7 was the step up from the NP5's predecessor, the NX5, and it offers 80,000:1 native vs 40,000:1 native contrast on both the NX5 and the updated NP5. Both have the same rated brightness at 1,900 lumens. The only obvious sacrifice you make with the NX7 vs the NP5 are the updated HDMI ports that can handle 4K/120 gaming from the consoles or PC. I think it's a no brainer to go for the NX7.
Reed Posted Apr 23, 2022 10:13 PM PST
Hi John. Thanks for the review and all the info! Love that we get side by side reviews of the LS12000 and the NP5 from the same reviewer fairly closely together. Since many of us are trying to decide between the two.

Question for you regarding your comparison of the two projectors on tone mapping: You said "Advantage: JVC—although I'd say not as definitively as with the 3D support." Your comments here seemed lukewarm enough to leave me thinking you view the NP5s automation of the tone mapping process as the only thing that edges it ahead. This surprised me, as I'd expect the NP5s frame-by-frame mapping tech to also produce significantly better overall HDR picture quality. Did you not find that to be the case?

The other thing that surprised me was no mention of the difference in contrast and black levels between the two in the comparison. I believe more than a few people consider this the most important reason to consider paying more, significantly outranking the 4K differences and even the tone mapping differences. Word on the streets is that the contrast/black performance is much better, but only in certain types of dark scenes, and will only be apparent in a light-controlled & well-treated room. Is there anything else you could add to help us put the contrast differences in perspective?
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Apr 24, 2022 10:26 PM PST
Hi Reed,

Let me clarify about the comparison. The NP5's dynamic tone mapping with Frame Adapt HDR with frame-by-frame mapping absolutely gives a better HDR picture quality than the Epson and its manual slider. Personally I question whether that performance is $2,000 better. For me, in purchasing a new projector (which I actually am in the process of considering), 3D isn't a concern, so that difference in price would need to be made up solely with HDR performance.

I was hesitant to comment on the black level difference in the text since I didn't have the two projectors side-by-side, but yes, to my recollection in a completely light-controlled, well-treated dark theater the JVC would perform much better. Especially in difficult dark movies, such as the example I mention above in Blade Runner 2049. I can't stress enough that I've never seen that scene look better in my room.

I hope that helps.
Kurt Højmark Posted Apr 25, 2022 11:10 AM PST
Stephane Posted Apr 21, 2022 11:19 AM PST Hi, If i have the opportunity between an NX7 of NP5, both brand new. What would you recommend.

Another question, on a pratically black scene does both NP5 NX7 have the same blacks levels and only the brightest part will be brighter on the NX7?

Thanks Stephane

In short, the NX7 should be better, but... Sample tolerances means that depending on the sample you are looking at you might get a good NX5 or NP5 that will perform better than a bad NX7 sample. If reviews like this one looked at the actual calibrated contrast, and tested contrast and white uniformity, with fully open and fully closed iris, you would get the bigger picture.

I have a NX9 that got beaten by a NX7, on all measurable parameters, and not with a bit, calibrated contrast on the NX9 is 40000:1 and on the NX7 60000:1 in the same setup, and matched light output. the NX7 has around 50% contrast drop in some corners, the NX9 has around 75% contrast drop in the corner. The white uniformity has a error around dE 15 with fully closed iris.

To be fair the NX9 is struggling to keep up with my old X500, and dont hold a chance against the RS600. Recently tested an NZ8, it had a very very good performance, contrast to spec in medium lase, calibrated, around 2100 lumen calibrated, 330:1 ANSI contrast, compared an N5 or NZ7 will likely be around 130-170:1 ansi contrast. But then the lens of the NZ8 was to say it mildly, absolutely horrible, my fingers were itching to mount one of the old X3 lenses on that projectors, so lens tolerances is also huge on JVC. My recomendation is to buy JVC with 2-4 weeks full return right, hire a calibrator to measure minimum and maximum contrast, lightoutput, contrast and white uniformity in fully open and fully closed iris setting, and then put up some good focus/ resolution patterns and evaluate the lens performance.
Ben Posted Apr 25, 2022 4:45 PM PST
Hello John, if I'm not a gamer and don't care about 2.1 features how does this compare to the NX5?
Robert McCarty Posted Apr 25, 2022 7:09 PM PST
Thanks for the nice review. I’m like most folks it seems, trying to figure out if the JVC is worth $2000 more than the Epson. I don’t watch many 3D movies, so that moves me closer to the Epson, but I do appreciate deep blacks as I have two LG OLEDs and have come to love those blacks. I guess it’s doubtful another manufacturer will come out with a new projector that will beat the Epson (at $5000) anytime soon so I’ll be throwing my money their way. Keep up the good work.
Kurt Højmark Posted Apr 30, 2022 12:35 PM PST
John Higgins, Reviewer Posted Apr 21, 2022 10:50 AM PST Kurt, thank you for bringing the JVC offset eccentricities to my attention. I've gone back and adjusted my calibration with my i1Display Pro profiled to my i1Pro 3. As you said, the 30% IRE I calibrated to did cause the black level on the NP5 to rise to a perceptible level on the i1Display Pro. This was corrected by using a 10% IRE and keeping the offset values at or under 0 (I've updated the calibration settings for my sample in the review). The black level on my sample after calibration is now too low for the i1Display Pro to read a value other than 0.

After calibration there was a small dip in white brightness (in SDR it fell by 1% and in HDR by about 6%). The HDR contrast setting of -4 caused about a drop of 4 cd/m2. When I went back and redid my calibration I actually decided that a Contrast setting of -2 was acceptable, which caused a drop of around 2 cd/m2.

As for the HDR gain settings, as I say in the review they don't start making a measurable change to the color balance until they reach around -50 on the slider. The before and after white luminance measurement is:

Pre-cal: 137.5 cd/m2

Post-cal gain: 128.6 cd/m2

Also, since I just did these brightness measurements, they're with 163 hours on the lamp.

While doing this I also looked more closely for the bright corners, which were most evident when going from an image to full black screen (such as at the end of The Batman that I watched on the projector this weekend before packing it up for shipment), but not too much otherwise on my sample. I have also added a statement on this to the review.

My primary concern is always to provide an impression that's as accurate as possible of whatever projector I'm reviewing, which I firmly believe takes a combination of objective measurements and subjective views in a room. And to achieve that, I appreciate when a better methodology is suggested (even if I might not be a fan of the tone in which it is presented). Regardless of my years of experience in any field, I will never claim to be all-knowing on any subject. As are we all, I'm a human that is constantly learning and happy to grow, especially if it allows me to better serve those that read my reviews.

Thanks for the response, if you are interested you can join the JVC projector owners group on facebook, and your welcome to contact me there.

With the i1display pro you can, and should calibrate measuring from the lens, that way you will be capable of measuring the actual contrast, and out of black tracking.

All you need to do is balance the color temp on screen measuring off the screen at 100% ire, and then apply the diffusor to the i1display pro, and put it around 60cm from the lens, then you create a white point correction, correcting for your screen and diffusor.

Now you can test minimum and maximum contrast, ansi contrast, contrast uniformity, color uniformity, whatever you need, you actually have better contrast measurement capabilities than a Klein K10.
Carl Posted May 14, 2022 11:43 AM PST
I think I have misunderstood, its claimed that you don't need to change light source in the Epson, I think that is not correct the laser will last 20,000 hours but it will have reduced output before that.

I think the JVC lamps are rated at 3500 hours with reduced output way before that, but at least you can get a new lamp, last I swapped lamp in an JVC it was 129 dollars so, brand new lamps with housing are 500 dollars for the NP5. Not sure I understand the hype around laser projectors.
Johan Posted May 16, 2022 6:04 AM PST
Hello, interesting review thank you for making it.

My budget is way out of NZ7 so I have to stick to lamps. Epson is good for gaming but overall PQ seems to be better on JVC. Between NP5 and NX7, which one would you buy ?

The NP5 should have newer processing, should be brighter, 120/4K is irrelevant for me The NX7 should have twice the contrast, maybe slightly lower brightness, it's a older tech tho but I can still get a new unit with full warranty at the price of NP5.

Is the motion handling significantly better on the NP5 over NX7? (24p judder)

Thank you

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