JVC DLA-NZ900 4.5 1 4K D-ILA Laser 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
  • 4.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$25,999
Pros
  • Long-life laser light source
  • Improved brightness and contrast
  • Extremely High Contrast Ratio
  • Frame Adapt HDR Gen 2 tone-mapping
  • HDR10+ Support
  • Full bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports
  • 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz support
  • 100mm All Glass lens
Cons
  • Full P3 gamut coverage requires Cinema filter with associated light loss
  • Out of box accuracy could be better
Our Take

With its new DLA-NZ900 flagship, JVC has put icing on the cake of its highly successful NZ9 with similarly excellent and more refined performance and features.

JVC NZ900 front left angle

After much anticipation from enthusiasts and home theater fans, JVC has announced two new refreshes to replace its popular home theater projectors, the DLA-NZ9, known in JVC's Pro series as the DLA-RS4100, and the DLA-NZ8, which was reviewed by ProjectorCentral in July of 2022 and is also sold as the DLA-RS3100. These new models are the DLA-NZ900/DLA-RS4200 and the DLA-NZ800/DLA-RS3200. JVC says they will be available in June.

Much like their predecessors, these projectors represent more of an evolution than a revolution. Building on what JVC already excels at and retaining all the features that made the NZ9 outstanding, the NZ900 adds refinements to its overall performance, continuing to provide excellent contrast and black levels, as well as some of the best HDR tone-mapping available in a projector, with sharpness and detail to match.

Features

The JVC DLA-NZ900 is priced at $25,999 while its sibling NZ800 is priced at $15,999, so these will serve as direct replacements for their predecessors. At the heart of the new NZ series lies the third generation of JVC's D-ILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplifier) LCoS chipset, featuring a 0.69-inch native 4K (4096 x 2160) imaging chip where one chip per primary color (red, green, blue) is employed. This new iteration boasts improved alignment control of the liquid crystals and flatter pixels, along with enhancements to the manufacturing process that have improved screen uniformity. One result is that it offers 1.5 times the native contrast ratio compared to the previous generation used in the NZ9. During my time with the NZ900, I also did find that brightness uniformity was indeed higher and much more consistent compared to previous NZ9s and NZ8s I have worked on as a calibrator, as well as my own personal unit.

Additionally, the NZ900 was extremely sharp—much sharper than previous units I have encountered. This was clearly visible when checking the panel alignment and focusing on the individual imagers. Previously with the NZ7, NZ8, or NZ9 models, separating and then focusing each color usually resulted in green being the sharpest, followed by red, with blue generally not having the ability to be fully focused. This would make blue look blurry/fuzzy/soft. However, with the NZ900, at least with the early review sample provided by JVC, red was very sharp followed very, very closely by green, and blue was just a tad softer but still had definition. So once everything was converged and I made a few tiny adjustments to the red panel, the projector overall was extremely sharp. It had very little color fringing and to even see it you needed to be basically nose-to-screen. Although it's not apples-to-apples, it made my NZ8 appear soft in comparison.

The new Gen3 D-ILA chipset also offers an improved native contrast ratio, further enhancing the already impressive contrast in the original NZ8 and NZ9 that was due in part to JVC's High Contrast Optical Block first introduced in those models and also featured in the NZ900 and NZ800. The NZ9 was offered in two variants, with the typical specified contrast ratio at 100,000:1 and the 25th Anniversary variant boasting 150,000:1. The NZ900 is officially listed with a 150,000:1 contrast ratio and indeed delivers on that claim without the need for laser dimming when the aperture is closed, dependent on throw distance and using High Bright color temp.

JVC NZ900 front

With the aperture either being fully open or closed in High Bright (and dependent on throw distance) a user can expect about 32,000:1 to 154,000:1 contrast ratio, though if using a normal picture mode you can expect around 130,000:1 (the max contrast ratio I measured in the more usable modes was 129,109:1). So, as expected, JVC again meets and exceeds their specification and continues to provide excellent industry leading contrast. When utilizing laser dimming the contrast ratio could technically be infinite—the laser will turn off with a full black signal input. But depending on throw distance, aperture, and the laser dimming mode used (Low, High, or Balanced), the measured contrast ratio ranged from 790,000:1 to just under 1,000,000:1 to more than 1,500,000:1. During my testing I did find that the Dynamic CTRL (laser dimming) settings of Low and High were very repeatable and gave very consistent measurements on contrast ratio, while Balanced was a bit hit and miss and lacked the repeatability of the other two modes. It would, on occasion, measure close to High mode, or slightly between Low and High, or much, much higher than the High setting. But Balanced still ultimately provided the better viewing experience.

JVC has also refined their 8K e-shiftX technology, offering what it calls Gen2 8K e-shiftX in the new models. It still employs 4-way pixel shifting actuators operating at 240Hz to achieve full 8K addressable pixel resolution, which was introduced with the NZ8 and NZ9 models and already demonstrated excellent performance. The latest enhancement utilizes JVC's updated ultra-resolution processing with a new 8K scaling engine to further enhance clarity and content reproduction up to 8192 x 4320 pixels. Combined with the increased overall sharpness of the NZ900, it delivers impressive 8K imagery.

The NZ900 also sees an increase in rated ANSI lumen specification vs. the NZ9, with 3,300 ANSI lumens. This surpasses both variants of the earlier model, which were rated at only 3,000 ANSI lumens. My review sample consistently met this specification, achieving 3,316 ANSI lumens in the green-leaning High Bright mode. In more accurate picture modes outside of High Bright, ANSI lumens measured over 2,500, with the exception of three picture modes: the new Vivid picture mode added to the NZ900 measured closer to 2,700 ANSI, while the Film and Cinema modes, which engage the Cinema filter for wider color gamut, measured between 1,600 and 1,700 ANSI lumens.

To deliver this level of light output, JVC continues to utilize its third-generation BLU-Escent Laser diode and yellow phosphor wheel, ultimately improving power efficiency and providing the typical lifespan of 20,000 hours to half brightness. Critically, the NZ900 incorporates the 101-step LD Power control first demonstrated in JVC's 3.0 firmware update for the NZ series. It offers a more granular 0 to 100 scale for laser output, replacing the previously coarse Low, Mid, and High settings. This allows for more precise tuning of light output to suit individual preferences and content.

Additionally, there is a difference compared to the current NZ series models in the fan curves and noise profile, and how they're tied to the LD Power. On the Current NZ8 and NZ9 models, the fans ramp up when a certain threshold is crossed. So, for example, after the Firmware 3.0 update, going from LD Power 46 to LD Power 47 would cross a threshold and cause a noticeable surge in fan noise. There now appear to be more stages for better control of fan noise. With the NZ900 I tested, crossing that same threshold from 46 to 47 still increases the fan speed but it's much, much quieter. When I measured with an UMIK 1 mic and Room EQ Wizard software it appeared to boost noise by about 0.5 to 1.2dB per grouping. The groupings appear to be LD settings 47 through 66, 67 through 87, and 88 through 100. Crossing into each of these ranges as you boost laser output increases the fan noise, but it remains fairly consistent within the values of each group. I checked this multiple times and it was repeatable and consistent. Ramping down from a brighter setting did not work the same way, and simply crossing the threshold didn't spin the fans down unless I further reduced LD Power. But the new adjustments will allow users to get more light output of the NZ900 without having to run the fans at their highest speed.

Like it's predecessor, the NZ900 still offers two full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports rated for 48 Gbps. They are spec'd for FRL (Fixed Rate Link) 12G@4L and DSC (Display Stream Compression) also at 12G@4L. By providing FRL 12G@4L, the NZ900 is capable of providing users 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz input for gaming, ideally when used with the NZ900's Low Latency mode. The NZ900 appeared in my sample to use the same HDMI module as the current NZ series, though I thought the HDMI sync may have been a tad bit faster compared to my NZ8. At the time of my evaluation features such as ALLM and VRR were not supported.

JVC NZ900 top

The NZ900 also offers some improvements to JVC's highly respected Frame Adapt HDR tone mapping. Not surprisingly, the NZ900 uses the Gen2 Frame Adapt HDR introduced at CEDIA 2023 and made available in Firmware Update 3.0 for the NZ series in November 2023. But some enhancements will help provide an even better image overall. First, Frame Adapt HDR will now look at the DML (Display Mastering Luminance) of the HDR content to help make more intelligent decisions on how to apply its Frame Adapt HDR algorithm. HDR content generally provides information for MaxFALL (Frame Average light Level) which indicates the average of the entire image as a whole, MaxCLL (Maximum Content Light Level) which tells the maximum light for a single pixel in the frame, and DML, which allows the NZ900 to know the nit level of the monitor used to grade the content. Previously, only MaxCLL was utilized so adding this additional layer should prove useful in helping to faithfully reproduce HDR content to the creator's intent when viewed on the newer NZ900 and NZ800.

The second addition to JVC's HDR arsenal is a feature called Deep Black. It uses an algorithm to subdue tones in the dark area of images. It's effective and adds more depth to scenes without crushing shadow detail. It can be selected to be Off or On, though there really is no reason to ever deactivate it. When tested and measured it appeared to help the projector track EOTF tighter for better accuracy on the lower end. As an example, when measuring with Deep Black turned off, something that should be 0.06 nits may actually measure 0.10 nits. But simply by turning Deep Black to On the same piece of content will now measure 0.07 nits. So, it does what its name says it should, pulling too-bright content in darker areas back down to where it should be. It's a great feature, though I'm somewhat disappointed that it is only available in Frame Adapt HDR and Filmmaker and not for all HDR picture modes, because there is slight over tracking on the low end of the EOTF in other modes where this would help. Though, of course, if the projector tracked EOTF accurately at the lower end this wouldn't be needed because it would already be correct. But it is nice to have the option to turn Deep Black on or off.

The last new feature of the NZ900 is the addition of a new SDR picture mode labeled Vivid. Vivid is largely designed for animation, CGI, games, etc. It uses a cooler color temperature and its own gamma curve to provide more vibrant images and pop to those that want it.

JVC NZ900 remote

One of the most important and eye-catching features of the NZ900 is the 100mm, 18 element, 16 group lens featuring 5 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements in an all-glass optical system. It is the same high quality lens featured on the NZ9 and helps control chromatic aberration. It's a fully powered lens that provides 100% vertical range and 43% horizontal range for lens shift, and its 2.0x zoom can project anywhere from a 60-inch to 300-inch diagonal screen image, with throws ranging from 5.75 to 56.2 feet. That means the NZ900 can fit almost any home theater environment. Those familiar with the NZ9, which shares the same dimensions, cosmetics, and weight as the NZ900, know it's a heavier projector coming in at 55.7 lbs., so one will want to plan accordingly when installing. The NZ900 does support vertical keystone though, as always, its recommended to avoid using such features to maintain integrity of image quality. To determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral JVC DLA-NZ900 projection calculator.

Everything else in the NZ900 is generally a carry over from the NZ9 and includes a number of other valuable features. These include HDR10+ support for a metadata-driven dynamic HDR option alongside Frame Adapt HDR, the UHD Alliance's Filmmaker Mode, 3D support when using the PK-EM2 3D RF emitter, and full DCI-P3 gamut coverage when activating the projector's Cinema filter (though at the cost of approximately 33% of the light output). Also brought along is the company's Theater Optimizer feature that allows you to input your screen brand, size, and gain for better Frame Adapt HDR performance. And the NZ900 offers the same compatibility with JVC's free Autocal software, and the same compact remote control.

Since the NZ900 uses actually the exact same chassis design as the NZ9, so too are the rear I/O connections identical, including the aforementioned two HDMI 2.1 inputs (48 Gbps, HDCP 2.3, no CEC support), an RS232 port, USB for service (firmware, and settings backup), a 3.5mm mini-jack for DC 12v trigger support, an RJ45 port for LAN connection, and the 3D Synchro port to connect a compatible 3D emitter. The back panel also sports two cool-air intake ports and an on-board keypad to navigate menus and control the NZ900.

Performance

Color Modes. The NZ900 has quite a few picture modes. Eight dedicated picture modes for SDR include Natural, Cinema (which engages the Cinema filter), Film (which also engages the Cinema filter), Filmmaker, the new Vivid mode, and User modes 1-3. There are also eight picture modes offered for HDR. Three of them are Frame Adapt HDR 1-3, plus HDR10, Filmmaker HDR, and User 4-6 slots which are also shared with HLG giving HLG a total of four. HDR10+ content has a singular picture mode. Some of the picture modes allow for very limited customization—such as Filmmaker, where the gamma or color temperature cannot be changed and various features cannot be turned on. HDR10+ is another example of this, and to a smaller degree Vivid is limited in that you cannot use a different color temperature than the default unless it's done in one of the 3 custom slots available for color temperature. This would also apply to a picture mode such as Film.

Outside of these specific cases all of the picture modes allow for a great deal of flexibility and calibration potential by providing access to standard global controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Color, and Tint. In addition there are the usual calibration tools including two-point RGB Gain and Offset for white balance and a full CMS (Color Management System) allowing for adjustment of Hue, Saturation, and Brightness for the RGBCMY primary and secondary colors. Picture Tone is also available to help in gamma calibration, allowing adjustment of white, red, green and blue for the entire picture tone or just targeting the bright or dark levels. As mentioned, JVC AutoCal software will be updated to support the NZ900 and allow achievement of an extremely accurate picture if desired, though it was not available at the time of this review. The one thing I would like to see that is still missing from JVC's menus is multi-point white balance controls that go above and beyond the classic two-point Gain and Offset.

OOTB (out of the box), the NZ900 was good, though it was a bit too warm in its 6500K color temperature setting that seeks to mimic the industry-standard neutral gray white point targeted for most movie production. However, it was good enough that a user could put it in a picture mode like Natural, Filmmaker, or User and be okay. That said, if a user finds the NZ900's 6500K too warm out of the box, choosing the 7500K setting will likely track closer to 6500K. That would mean using either the Natural or User modes, as Filmmaker does not allow for the color temperature to be changed from its 6500K default, though it can still be adjusted/calibrated with the Gain and Offset controls. For HDR, simply using one of the Frame Adapt HDR picture modes would suffice for most users as the NZ900 throws an excellent picture and the color temperature was much closer to target.

After reviewing various content using the OOTB picture modes it was apparent that the NZ900 would benefit from calibration. That's not to say that it was offensively wrong, but it was clear just by eye that some parts of the image were incorrect, mainly in white balance and hue. For those who choose not to calibrate—probably an oversight with such an expensive and high-performing projector—I would suggest selecting Natural or User 1 for SDR. Filmmaker is an option as well but it unfortunately has too many items disabled for my personal taste, and technically it wasn't any more accurate than the Natural or User modes. I would suggest selecting 6500K color temp to start with along with 2.4 gamma, then changing to 7500K as suggested above if 6500K looks too warm. For HDR I would suggest using Frame Adapt HDR, with the Frame by Frame, Auto Wide, and Deep Black On options in the HDR Processing menu, while using the Balanced setting for Dynamic CTRL for both SDR and HDR.

Those who do calibrate the NZ900 will likely achieve excellent results. Without going too far into the weeds here about how JVC's work with gamma tables and the various methods that can be used to calibrate these projectors, you should be good to go as long as you have the appropriate equipment and software or hire a professional who is familiar with how to get the most out of JVC projectors. I do highly recommend using reference level equipment to achieve the best results, specifically a spectroradiometer with a spectral bandwidth that is at least 4.5nm or less due to the laser light source in the NZ900.

I calibrated the NZ900 with Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, a Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, a Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and a Murideo 8K Seven Generator. During my time testing the NZ900 I calibrated and tested the unit at various throw distances which included 11 feet 2 inches, 17 feet 6 inches, and 22 feet 1 inch. The NZ900 was calibrated to both a 100-inch diagonal screen size and a 135-inch diagonal scope screen size on a Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 G4 projection screen. I ran my normal measurements to confirm what I saw in OOTB viewing prior to calibration.

JVC NZ900 front right angle

The NZ900 pre-calibration measurements for SDR in Filmmaker mode had somewhat high errors, which was mainly attributable to the color temperature and hue being pulled off axis. Grayscale with the 6500K color temp setting measured an average of 5.3dE (delta E) and 8dE max due to a deficiency of blue, which is why the 7500K setting looked more accurate to the eye in OOTB viewing. The 8dE max persisted throughout the measurements, which was due to 100% white being off, and luckily that was the highest error in all measurements. Outside of that measurement all of the remaining averages for other measurements were acceptable. The RGBCMY color points that determine color gamut had a 3.3dE average, a large 150+ patch Color Checker showed a 3.6dE average, and 10% saturation sweeps averaged 3.4dE, while 10 percent luminance sweeps measured a 2.5dE average. HDR measured OOTB in the HDR10 mode tracked much better as it had a closer to correct color temperature and most of the errors were due to luminance or gamut coverage depending on whether the Cinema filter was engaged or not.

(DeltaE (dE) is the metric used to determine visible errors. It has been determined that anything over a dE of 3 is visible, anything over 2.3 is a just noticeable difference for trained eyes and anything below 2.3 should ideally not be seen to the eye.)

Additionally, as with the NZ8 and NZ9, utilizing the Cinema filter still results in a 33% reduction in light output, though it does provide 98.1% xy and 99.2% uv gamut coverage for the DCI-P3 color space used to master most HDR content, while offering 72.8% xy and 76.1% uv coverage of BT.2020 per our measurements. When opting not to use the Cinema filter, the NZ900's gamut coverage for P3 came in at 85.8% xy and 90.0% uv, while BT.2020 measured 62.8% xy and 66.1% uv. Rec.709, the gamut used for regular HDTV, reaches full 100% coverage regardless of filter use.

My normal procedure for calibrating a JVC would be to use High Bright and Profile Off and import a custom gamma table, or at the very least, to use JVC Autocal to correct the internal table. Unfortunately, the JVC Autocal software was not ready yet for compatibility with the NZ900 at the time of writing, so I opted to calibrate the User 1 picture mode targeting the production industry standard D65 neutral gray white point after closing the aperture some and using the Gain controls. This effectively fixed the majority of issues seen pre-calibration and then just some light changes in Picture Tone got everything dialed in well. HDR was much the same while calibrating the HDR10 picture mode; a few light changes to the Gain controls was all that was really needed. CMS adjustment of the color points wasn't really required, as the gamut tracked accurately after white point correction. Though using the CMS would gain a bit more accuracy, I felt it wasn't needed at the time. I did, however, test it to ensure it functioned properly, which it did as expected.

Post calibration DeltaE errors very much improved for both SDR and HDR. In SDR the grayscale average was 0.5dE with a max of 1.2dE, color gamut came in at 0.9dE average with a max of 1.4dE, the large 150+ patch Color Checker came in with a 0.9dE average and 2dE max. Saturations sweeps at 5% had an avg. of 0.7dE and a max of 1.4dE. Luminance sweeps at 10% came in at 0.7dE avg. with a max of 1.7dE. Post calibration for HDR would vary depending on filter use, though ultimately the grayscale was relatively flat and a more modest color checker did well, with some slight desaturation in blue. The majority of the errors were due to luminance since projectors don't have the luminance to properly track the HDR EOTF, though 20% gamut sweeps on DCI-P3 and Rec.709 within P3 were generally correct, averaging roughly 1.6dE when not accounting for luminance errors.

The devices I used for reviewing content post calibration were an Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray player, Kaleidescape Terra Prime movie server, and a gaming PC using an Intel Core i9 14900K CPU and a NVIDIA RTZ 4090 GPU.

1080p/SDR/3D Viewing. I selected Tron: Legacy on regular 1080p Blu-ray via the Oppo 203 to check out the projector's SDR performance. The NZ900 did fantastic. Obviously, all of the colors were what I expected, but it was the detail and sharpness of the image that was most impressive. An example was when Quorra rescued Sam from the light cycle battles and they were driving through the desolate land; all of the small particles and debris were so sharp and clear. Even the small sparkles that were trailing the rover were visible and sharp. Many parts of the movie had an almost HDR impact to them, such as the moments when the light cycles would explode. This movie really did look great. I also viewed it in 3D as well just to confirm there were no issues, and my JVC PK-EM2G RF Emitter connected without issue to my Hi-SHOCK 3D glasses. It produced a very bright, watchable image.

JVC NZ900 tron
Colors on the NZ900 during Tron: Legacy in SDR were excellent, but even more impressive was the amount of detail. (Photo Credit: Disney)

4K/HDR10+ Viewing. I started with watching the movie 1917 in HDR10+, via 4K UHD Blu-ray on an Oppo 203. From the very moment I started up the disc everything was very crisp and vibrant. Beginning with the Universal logo with the contrast of space against the deep blue of the earth, everything had a great amount of depth and that carried into the film itself. The scene I wanted to focus on was when Schofield woke up in the dark at the bottom of the stairs. I choose this scene because it's a fairly difficult scene for many displays to render due to the low APL (Average Picture Level). The NZ900 actually handled it very, very well. I was able to see his face and clothing without obscuring any of the main detail of the rest of the image.

Used in combination with the Balanced laser dimming setting and the HDR Quantizer set to Low, the image was great. It provided depth when the flares would go off and bright highlights from gunshots hitting off metal fences.

As the scene played out and Schofield hid and looked up as he was near the poster of Cirque de Louis, the wall showed an extreme amount of detail and sharpness. I felt it was almost a little too sharp but unfortunately the way the HDR10+ picture mode works it does not allow for changes to the MPC/eshift settings to lower the enhancement. It wasn't bad, I just would have liked to turn it down 1 click to 4 or maybe 3. Ultimately, though, the image was fantastic.

4K/HDR10 Viewing. The next movie I watched was La La Land on Kaleidescape in 4K HDR. I watched many different parts of this movie multiple times, watching with BT.2020 Wide, which enables the filter for wider gamut coverage, as well as in BT.2020 Normal, with Deep Black On and Off in both instances. This movie looked great no matter which I chose, but my preference for this movie's very punchy, colorful palate was definitely viewing with BT.2020 Wide with the filter engaged and Deep Black On.

The Cinema filter really showed its value in scenes such as when Mia arrived at the pool party. Immediately turning it on you can see so much depth come back to the image and the richness of the reds and greens. This was the case throughout the film, especially in the very rich, saturated colors seen in some of the outfits. This is where the NZ900 really allows you to make use of its good light output, since the user can engage the filter and not feel like they're sacrificing too much. Now, that might be different for a very large screen, but for a more modest sized 130-, 140-, or 150-inch screen it's great, with enough brightness in reserve to still make a fine showing even with the filter in place.

JVC NZ900 lalaland
No matter the color filter mode, La La Land on the JVC DLA-NZ900 looked great. (Photo Credit: Lionsgate)

Another moment that stood out was when Sebastian was playing for The Messengers on a concert stage where the spotlight is only on him. The image had a nice dark black floor and nice highlights. Utilizing Deep Black gave just a little extra to get the black floor lower without crushing shadow detail when the camera cuts to Mia in the crowd. Again, not surprisingly the NZ900 did a great job.

Next, I watched Passengers in 4K HDR on Kaleidescape. Everything here also looked good. The image was bright and skin tones were natural, and my critical eye didn't really see anything out of place. I opted to mainly view this in BT.2020 Normal and even in scenes with bright highlights, such as when the ship passes the sun, everything was nicely saturated with great shadow detail and depth. In another scene, when Jim gave Aurora roses, the lights going up the wall and ceiling were bright and displayed a nice clean white. The sharpness was also impressive, such as when they're in the bar and Jim is playing the piano. Everything had a very crisp and detailed look.

I also decided to evaluate the Spears and Munsil HDR Benchmark, focusing on both HDR10 and HDR10+. Enthusiasts familiar with this popular test disc know that the high quality evaluation clips can be viewed in either format, which makes for interesting comparisons. On one of the most difficult HDR scenes, where horses are seen standing in a white-out snow storm, the NZ900 did well but still sacrificed some detail in the foreground snow, and this was in both HDR10 and HDR10+. Outside of that it did well and didn't exhibit any of the issues that the montage can expose on other projectors, such as shimmering on the birds' feathers or posterization and banding in the gradients of the skies. The NZ900 was essentially free of such problems, which was expected and a relief since the JVC's normally don't have those issues.

Gaming 4K/60, 4K/120, 8K/60. I played multiple games such as Street Fighter 6 (4K/60Hz), Armored Core 6 (4K/120Hz), and Death Stranding (using DLSS to do 8K/60Hz). The overall experience was positive as the NZ900 does have a slightly lower input latency compared to the NZ9/NZ8, though not enough to make it a vastly different experience. It ranged from a measured 24 to 38 milliseconds depending on frame rate (see the Measurements section for details). The image was sharp and detailed in all games that I played and responsiveness was good. Much like the NZ8 and NZ9, the NZ900 offers an immersive gaming experience that is more suited for casual or single player play, since the latency isn't really low enough for more serious completive play. The main things to note are that for the absolute lowest latency a user would want to play at 8K/60Hz, and Low Latency must be enabled, which means Dynamic CTRL for laser dimming must be turned off and Frame Adapt HDR picture modes cannot be utilized if playing in HDR.

JVC NZ900 left

Conclusion

The JVC DLA-NZ900 is a great projector just as the NZ9 is/was before it. It's a worthy successor and improves on everything the NZ9 did well while adding several new features. I go back to what I wrote at the beginning of the review: It's more of an evolution than a revolution, or better said, it's more of a refinement of its predecesor. The NZ900 definitely does enough different to say that it is a better projector than a NZ9. It won't feel unfamiliar or new to existing NZ9 users, which is not a bad thing. It is a solid refresh to the series. Summing up the changes, you have the Gen3 D-ILA chips with higher native contrast and better sharpness, brighter output with a 10% bump in ANSI lumens, potentially better HDR tone-mapping by making use of Display Mastering Luminance metadata and an effective Deep Black feature that lowers the black floor, and a new Vivid picture mode for use with animated or gaming content. You can also factor in the little changes, such as alterations to the LD Power fan speeds for quieter operation. All together it adds up to a solid set of new features and refinement, and ultimately makes the NZ900 a better projector than the NZ9 and its competition.

Now, admittedly, there are things I would have liked to see in the NZ9 successor that aren't there. I do feel the big miss here is the gamut coverage and the requirement for a brightness-stealing filter to achieve DCI-P3. As more and more people continue to opt for larger screen sizes and can end up with fairly long throws, they generally need all of the light they can get, right alongside wide gamut coverage, to get the best reproduction of HDR content. Having to sacrifice about one-third of light output to hit full P3 coverage may be a lot to ask in some setups. So, I was really hoping that JVC's next generation models might use something like dual laser diodes, or a laser diode and LED hybrid light engine, to achieve both high brightness and wide gamut. I wasn't even expecting discrete RGB laser, though that would be amazing. I was just hoping for the next generation to get gamut coverage approaching even just 94-96% P3 without a filter. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

Outside of that I really have no real complaints with the NZ900. The factory LUT could be a little better out of the box for a more accurate default calibration, but at this price point I would assume any buyer would have the NZ900 instrument-calibrated to get the absolute most out of the unit. And eventually we'll see more samples in the wild and get a better view of unit-to-unit variation; I would expect to see some as there is always some in display devices. With all of this it's still a great projector.

So, who should be looking at getting a NZ900? Honestly, anyone who wants a brighter, sharper projector should be looking at the NZ900, especially if you watch a lot of HDR. I would say that if you have a NX series projector and you were on the fence about getting a NZ series and held out, the NZ900 is an excellent option with some great features. Those who currently own a NZ8 and are considering upgrading will find the NZ900 a very worthwhile upgrade and most won't be disappointed. It becomes a little tricker if you already have a NZ9, and even more so if you have a 25th Anniversary NZ9. Those users will really need to weigh the features that have been added and see how they come into play with how they use their current projector.

But again, the key takeaway is that the DLA-NZ900 is undoubtedly a better projector then its predecessor, which was already amazing at what it did. That ultimately earns the NZ900 ProjectorCentral's Editor's Choice Award.

Measurements

Brightness. The JVC DLA-NZ900 is rated for 3,300 ANSI lumens. The brightest picture mode available can be achieved by using the High Bright color temp. Using these settings the NZ900 measured 3,316 ANSI lumens which is essentially on target with JVC's listed specification. This effectively applies to any picture mode that can use High Bright.

The LD Power scale for adjusting laser output varied in its luminance increase/decrease depending on the value selected and ranged from an average of 0.8% increase to 1.5% each step. The luminance decrease going from LD Power 100 to LD Power 46 was 21.2%. When engaging the Cinema filter, a 33.1% decrease in light output was measured.

JVC DLA-NZ900 ANSI Lumens

SDR Mode LD Power 100
User 1 High Bright 3,316
Natural 2,525
Cinema 1,733
Film 1,626
Filmmaker (SDR) 2,544
Vivid 2,669
User 1-3 2,578
HDR Mode
Frame Adapt HDR 1-3 2,560
HDR10 2,574
Filmmaker (HDR) 2,540
User 4-6 2,518
HLG 2,520

Zoom Lens Light Loss. The DLA-NZ900's light loss when shifting from the widest zoom position to its longest telephoto position was 25.72%.

Brightness Uniformity. The JVC DLA-NZ900, projecting a 100-inch diagonal image, resulted in measured brightness uniformity of 90% while in either the wide angle zoom or longest telephoto zoom lens position. The brightest portion of the screen was the middle bottom and center, with the dimmest the top left. The difference in brightness on a full white screen was not noticeable.

Fan Noise. JVC rates the fan noise for both the NZ900 and 800 24 dB in Low mode. Using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, my theater room ambient noise floor measures 33.3 dBA. The DLA-NZ900 measured at the following dB in the following laser power settings at a distance of 3 feet.

LD Power 0
Front: 34.9
Rear: 36.2
Left: 34.0
Right: 35.6
Top: 34.9

LD Power 46
Front: 35.1
Rear: 36.9
Left: 34.9
Right: 35.1
Top: 35.8

LD Power 100
Front: 36.6
Rear: 38.2
Left: 36.8
Right: 36.4
Top: 36.7

Input Lag. Input lag measurements were done using the User 1 picture mode with Laser Dimming Off to allow for Low Latency to be Enabled. The same results were measured with e-shiftX either On or Off.

1080p/60Hz = 38ms
1080p/120Hz = 30ms
4K/60Hz = 38ms
4K/120Hz = 30ms
8K/60Hz = 24ms

Connections

227185 RearPanel NZ9  NZ8 Laser connections
  • HDMI 2.1 (x2; HDCP 2.3; 48Gbps FRL: 12G@4L & DSC: 12G@4L)
  • RJ45 LAN 100 base Tx
  • RS-232C
  • 1 Mini Jack (3.5 DC12v trigger)
  • USB 2.0 Type A (service/firmware updates - no media playback)
  • 3D sync x1 (Mini-DIN 3-pin)

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, lighting, 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

Picture Mode: User 1

More Settings

LD Power: 46
Dynamic CTRL: Balanced
Aperture: -9
Contrast: 0
Brightness: 0
Color: 0
Tint: 0

Color Profile: AUTO / BT.709

Color Management: Off

Color Temp: 6500K
Gain Red: -3
Gain Green: -10
Gain Blue: 0
Offset Red: 0
Offset Green: 0
Offset Blue: 0

Gamma: 2.4
Color Selection: White
Picture Tone: 0
Dark Level: 0
Bright Level: 0

Color Selection: Red
Picture Tone: 1
Dark Level: 0
Bright Level: 0

Color Selection: Green
Picture Tone: -1
Dark Level: 0
Bright Level: 0

Color Selection: Blue
Picture Tone: 0
Dark Level: 1
Bright Level: -1

MPC/e-shift

8K e-shift: On
Graphic Mode: Standard
Enhance: 2
NR: 0
BNR: 0
MNR: 0

Motion Control

Low Latency: Off
Clear Motion Drive: Off
Motion Enhance: Off (or Low)

HDR

Content Type: Auto (Frame Adapt HDR 1)

Picture Mode: Frame Adapt HDR 1

More Settings

LD Power: 100
Dynamic CTRL: Balanced
Aperture: 0
Contrast: 0
Brightness: 0
Color: 0
Tint: 0

Color Profile: BT.2020 Normal

Color Management: Off

Color Temp: HDR10 (6500K)
Gain Red: -13
Gain Green: -14
Gain Blue: 0
Offset Red: 0
Offset Green: 0
Offset Blue: 0

Theater Optimizer: Set to your screen specifications

HDR Settings
HDR Processing: Frame by Frame
HDR Quantizer: Auto Wide
Deep Black: On

MPC/e-shift

8K e-shift: On
Graphic Mode: High-res 1
Enhance: 3
NR: 0
BNR: 0
MNR: 0

Motion Control

Low Latency: Off
Clear Motion Drive: Off
Motion Enhance: Off (or Low)

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our JVC DLA-NZ900 projector page.

 
Comments (11) Post a Comment
Mike Posted May 1, 2024 7:41 AM PST
Very detailed and precise review, one of the best, if not the best review, I’ve read on Projector Central!

Curious why the performance was not 5 stars?

To address the elephant in the room, a comparison to some of the new televisions available now seems to be an important aspect which is missing.

Given the price points of these projectors a comparison to some of the larger televisions available would be appreciated. Before I spent that much I’d compare these projectors to a direct view experience for home use
Sammie Prescott Posted May 1, 2024 8:49 AM PST
@Mike,

Thank you I appreciate that. The reason the Performance was not 5 stars is honestly because of the Cinema Filter. At this point they really should be using either dual lasers or a hybrid light engine like Laser/LED, or if they could RGB laser.

The 33% decrease in light output is just too much honestly to only reach 99.7% coverage of P3. Especially when one factors in that some smaller life style projectors can hit well beyond P3 (not without some issues like speckle on some) it really is a big miss.

It ultimately doesn't make it any worse or better than the NZ9 but they really should be hitting full P3 without a filter.

I do understand your point on the TV comparisons I just don't have one to compare it with. At least the large scale 100" models that have been releasing. The displays I do have that I can compare them with in terms of picture quality are entirely different animals since they're QD-OLED and can hit close to BT2020 and are in the 1400 nit range. I'll definitely factor it in and apply it when suitable though if it provides value to the readers.
Erich Posted May 1, 2024 9:43 AM PST
I am really curious as to how this product got the editors choice award.

Please breakdown for me how exactly this minor upgrade "dramatically exceeds expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design".

Also, is there a reason why JVC is going to market earlier than expected? Is this unprecedented?
Sammie Prescott Posted May 1, 2024 10:10 AM PST
@Erich,

That's a fair question. In a vacuum and only comparing it to the NZ9 it wouldn't receive that award because even though it's a marginally better unit it didn't really do enough, though it is technically a better unit. Like I said it's more of a refinement of what the current NZ9 is just a little bit better.

When looking at this I look at it not just factoring in is it better than its predecessor, it's what else is available. In terms of performance at this price point it's still better than pretty much anything you can get, in terms of contrast, HDR tone mapping, etc. Then once the NZ9 is gone and you can only get the NZ900 you can only compare it to what's available.

So again in a vacuum if I only compared it to JVC's previous iteration it likely wouldn't have got that rating, but I try to take a broader look at everything that is available.

As for why they released it now I'm not really sure versus having it aligned with a large show like CEDIA, IFA, or CES. It's not something I can personally recall any manufacturer doing in recent memory.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 1, 2024 10:12 AM PST
Erich, just to back up what Sammie said, the projector is not being graded on how different it is from the one that preceded it, it is being judged on how it compares to the competition. Just as the NZ9 rightfully deserved our top award, so too does this improvement of it.

As for timing, the NZ9 first shipped in February of 2022, so it's a bit over two years later. I would say top line projectors like this used to go about 3 years before a replacement model was announced; I think in this case JVC probably saw enough of an improvement in specs and performance that they deemed it worthy of a new model number. They remain committed to providing ongoing firmware improvements to their projectors, and with the hardware changes required for this new model they probably needed to delineate it from the earlier NZ9 so they don't have multiple versions of the same model out there with different specs (putting aside the limited edition 25th Anniversary NZ9)...
CyberAthlete Posted May 1, 2024 10:15 AM PST
Thank you for this early review and insight into the new projectors. Any word on when this and the NZ800 start shipping to consumers?
Sammie Prescott Posted May 1, 2024 10:16 AM PST
@CyberAthlete

Unfortunately all I know is that they will be available in June of 2024. Not sure if they will ship prior to that so users start receiving at beginning of June or if they will start shipping in June. All I know is the date is June 2024.
Tom Posted May 1, 2024 11:02 AM PST
Fantastic review! Did they re-institute the auto lens cover? I miss that. Thanks!
Joseph Posted May 6, 2024 1:15 PM PST
Does this NZ800/900 still blank the picture, leaving you in the dark, while adjusting lens memory?
John Yelcick Posted May 7, 2024 12:55 AM PST
The added support for HDR10+ is terrific, which would mean that the projector should be up to doing Dolby Vision. Why is JVC being son”cheap” and not licensing it - the cost would be so minimal compared to the overall price of the projector.
Robert Becker Posted May 7, 2024 6:28 PM PST
Thank you for the in-depth review. Am going to wait another 3 years to see if JVC's next generation projectors will finally have dual lasers and drop the color filter. Am not interested in 8K, and the lumens output on this generation is not a large enough boost, especially if the color filter is used. Many buyers of rear projectors are now using at least 135" screens and 150" or more is becoming increasing popular, especially for those constructing a dedicated theater room. Thus even the NZ900 is not enough lumens for some buyers and there is almost no 8K content.

If in 3 years JVC still does not have dual lasers, I hope you will start doing more reviews of Christie which already has dual laser and full RGB rear projection, wide color gamut and high lumens. For the price of the NZ900 I would rather spend a bit more for a Christie to have those features and use it on a 150" or larger screen. Plus Christie has field replaceable laser assembly which to me is a big advantage over JVC for those who want to run a projector like a tv. Not sure it's as easy as swapping out a lamp but the idea that one can swap out the laser assembly and get back to 100% laser brightness means the added projector expense is worth it for truly long term ownership.

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