JVC has released a full description of the free firmware update it announced last month to further advance the dynamic Frame Adapt tone-mapping feature in its top-line, native 4K lamp projectors.
As we reported, the update applies to all owners of the models DLA-RS1000, DLA-RS2000, and DLA-RS3000 professional series projectors and those of their consumer-line counterparts, the DLA-NX5, DLA-NX7, and DLA-NX9. Described in detail in our review of the Editor's Choice Award-winning RS2000/NX7 from last fall, the Frame Adapt feature dynamically adjusts the projector's tone-mapping on a scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame basis to deliver a seamless viewing experience that with most HDR content requires no manual adjustments to optimize the image. This is important because of the wide range of peak and average brightness found across all HDR titles. Critically, the JVC system proved in testing to provide extremely granualar tuning that took already excellent automatic HDR tone-mapping (based on program metadata) to another level of performance.
The new firmware, scheduled for release in mid-November of this year, is said to take the system up another notch by accounting for previously ignored environmental factors in the owner's home theater that affect the image brightness. The new scheme, which is dubbed Theater Optimizer, allows the installer or user to input the screen image size and gain and in the projector's menu, which is then cross-referenced to other data already found onboard, including the number of lamp hours used and the position of the zoom lens. The former allows the projector to account for the lamp's loss of brightness as it ages, while the latter allows the projector to calculate throw distance and account for the usual loss of brightness incurred when any degree of telephoto zoom is applied from the widest lens position.
This additional information then figures into the algorithm used to adjust the HDR brightness on a frame-by-frame basis, which is then applied using 18-bit level gamma processing to allow even finer gradations of dynamic range from the deep blacks through the brightest highlights. JVC's engineers have also verified that the new system is able to extract brighter peak highlights from these projectors than previously found with the prior firmware.
Although the Frame Adapt system in its current iteration accommodates most HDR titles well with its default automatic settings, JVC includes a manual HDR brightness setting in its menu to help accommodate outlier HDR movies or TV shows that are extremely bright or extremely dark. The new firmware will upgrade this from a three-step to a five-step control to allow for more granularity should any tuning still be required.
JVC announced some additional usability updates in this firmware push that are not directly related to the Frame Adapt feature. A new "Content Type" menu will allow the installer or user to customize and display only the usable Picture Mode designated for the signal type, whether it's HDR, HLG, SDR, or 3D. The projector can also be set to default to the appropriate color profile based on its recognition of the signal's color gamut. This should help prevent color and gamma distortion when an inappropriate Picture Mode or color profile is inadvertently selected.
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JVC has also updated the Picture Mode it includes for use with Panasonic's premium UHD Blu-ray players, and will upgrade some functions of its JVC Calibration software. This free, downloadable Windows program is used in conjunction with a recommended color meter to tune this series of projector. The update will notably allow some key adjustments to automatically carrry across to all picture modes, thus speeding calibration time.