JVC DLA-HX1E review

Can the JVC live up to its own hype?

TechRadar Verdict

This model is let down by inattention to detail


  • +

    LCD grid structure effectively banished

    Strong detail levels

    Deep blacks


  • -

    Intrusive noise from cooling system

    Light spill at back

    No HDMI

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The banner headlines in the JVC promotional literature tell the story clearly. The headline feature here is D-ILA technology 'for smooth, flicker free high resolution images', and in case you still don't get the message the explanation includes key phrases such as 'JVC's original 3- chip DILA technology produces rich, natural colours without the flicker or "rainbow effect" that plagues single panel projectors'.

You got it, D-ILA is another pretender to the DLP crown.

The DLA-HX1E is a three-chip LCD projector with an ambitious specification which includes WXGA LCD panels, 1,000 ANSI Lumens output and a contrast ratio of 800:1, neither of the last two figures exactly exceptional for a projector costing the best part of £4k. Proprietary scaling and deinterlacing is provided, and colour can be fine tuned to match.

The range of inputs appears wide, and includes DVI-D HDCP, but not HDMI. This is not necessarily a problem right now, with very few HDMI equipped sources currently in the market, and easy conversion is possible from one to the other using adaptor cables.

But in a high grade system there are some unique advantage to HDMI, including better handling of the available scaling options so that the display doesn't attempt to scale a signal that has already been scaled.

There are other differences too. HDMI handles interlace as well as progressive video, DVI is progressive only as it is primarily a computer interface. Other socketry allows an audio signal to be played through the projector and a trigger signal is available for screen control.

Noise pollution

There is one key reason for treating this player with some trepidation, namely noise. Audio noise that is. This is a projector that sounds like an only slightly house-trained vacuum cleaner. In the author's opinion, the racket it makes is simply unacceptable.

True it is not easy to silence fan-based cooling systems, but the computer industry is finally addressing the problem and some projector manufacturers are doing so too. To add insult to injury there is significant light spill from the back of the projector.

Visually too the DLA-HX1E is adequate rather than being a resounding success. The high resolution panels give a clean, clear picture and combined with the D-ILA technology the picture is free of any grid pattern or other obvious structure.

D-ILA is also said to perform well at the black end of the spectrum where LCDs are normally at their weakest, and the JVC does produce impressive dark blacks, but tonal differentiation at this end of the brightness curve is only moderate, and very fine shadow detail tends to become muddy or lost.

There is also higher than expected levels of picture churning - visible as video noise - in screen areas showing motion.

This is still an impressive looking projector on screen, a tad brighter than the numbers suggest, with punchy mid-band contrast and colour fidelity. But at this price the JVC is simply outclassed by a number of its obvious competitors.

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