JVC DLA-X3 3D review

JVC's affordable 3D lightbox ushers in a new era for D-ILA home projectors

A D-ILA projector delivers deep blacks and peak whites without the need for a mechanical iris

TechRadar Verdict


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    Gorgeous 2D performance

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    Excellent fine detail

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    Versatile picture controls

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    Low operational noise

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    Good motion resolution


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    No THX preset

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JVC has built a towering fan base around its D-ILA projectors. They've earned a reputation for industry-leading black levels and image clarity, yet crucially are not the most expensive in the market.

Now the brand has upped the ante by making its entire 2011 range 3D-compatible. The buzz about these three models has been so great, JVC sold out its entire first shipment almost immediately after they were announced.

Perhaps this is because JVC's proprietary D-ILA technology offers several benefits over LCD and DLP. The extraordinary contrast they offer is native and not dynamic. This means that a D-ILA projector does not require an automatic iris to manage light output; there's a uniformity of deep blacks and peak whites in every frame, with no mechanical iris hunting from scene to scene.

The DLA-X3 reviewed here is the cheapest model in the group, yet it claims an impressive 50,000:1 native contrast ratio. Naturally it also helps that the unit is attractive.

The centre-mounted lens and symmetrical air vents give it a neat, balanced look. All the input terminals are at the rear, allowing for straightforward installation and cable runs. These air vents (protected by what looks like chicken wire) are larger than we've seen before, principally because the new 220W Short-Arc High Efficiency UHP mercury lamp runs hotter than previous bulbs.

One reason why the projector throws out more light, around 1,300 ANSI lumens, is so that it can compensate for the filtering effect of 3D spex. JVC quotes a lamp life of around 3,000 hours in Normal mode.

The DLA-X3 should fit most home cinema spaces; it's able to throw an image up to 200-inches across within a projection distance range of 3.01m to 6.08m.

Steve May
Home entertainment AV specialist

Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.