Are JVC Black levels really the best in the industry? How does 4K e-shift5 really compare to native 4K? These and other image quality questions will be addressed in this comparison. Both of these projectors are relatively new – they were introduced at the annual CEDIA convention in September of 2017. Both projectors represent very refined electronics, performance, and feature sets. Both have lens memory for 2.35:1 capability, 3D HD capability, fast motion compensation, and low latency modes for gamers. In this comparison we will focus on the image quality differences. We will also introduce the Quantified Theo Charts, which will allow a relative comparison to all projectors we test and compare in the future. We have established 3 new tests for black level comparisons and 2 for HDR performance and light output comparisons.
TVS Pro is neither paid by, nor compensated in any way, by any manufacturer or sponsor to do these tests and comparisons. Unlike some online product reviews, we are not influenced by, nor do we currently accept paid advertisements from, any manufacturer or distributor. Our purpose in doing these comparisons is to provide our customers and own sales team with knowledge and information, along with visual, real world, side-by-side comparisons to make informed decisions. We learned many years ago in the professional simulator and government applications that you cannot, or should not, make product decisions based on manufacturer’s specifications or isolated technical reviews when only a single projector is tested and not compared to the competition. We have also learned that price is a relative guideline to the actual performance and there are many exceptions to, “you get what you pay for,” when it comes to new technology and new innovation products.
Two Mid Range High Performance 4K UHD Projectors
Both of these projectors represent a sweet spot in the price vs. performance range of each manufacturer’s projector line up. By that, we are referring to the fact that if you go below this price range you will give up a significant level of performance, and if you go to the next higher level, the price curve gets extremely steep. You will get a slightly higher level of performance, but the cost for that higher performance is significant. Either of these projectors, when properly set up and optimized for a given screen and room environment, can give a very satisfying level of image quality and entertainment enjoyment. Price-wise, this is not quite a fair comparison as the Sony is about a $2,000 more expensive projector, but we were interested mainly in two things: could the JVC really deliver better blacks than the more expensive Sony, and what visual differences would there be in the native 4K and the new 4K e-shift5 technology. For example, could the difference be detected at a typical 4K viewing distance of 1.5 times the screen height, and what are the real differences even close up at the screen?
Sony VPL-VW385ES vs JVC DLA-X790R
Here’s a quick comparison of their major specs:
|Image Type:||3 LCD (SXRD Reflective)||LCoS|
|Native Resolution:||True 4K (4096 x 2160)||4K UHD (3840 x 2160) via e-shift5 technology|
|Dimensions:||19.5″ x 7.6875″ x 18.25″||17.91″ x 7.04″ x 18.58″|
|Weight:||31 lbs.||34.49 lbs.|
Since both of these projectors have very complete calibration capability, and come out of the box with several picture mode settings that are really adequate for most HD sources, we only did a minor calibration with respect to white point, CMS, black levels, and contrast. With more time, both projectors can achieve 100% of the HD color standard of REC709. Any color differences shown in these photos of HD images are the result of slight variations in final calibration, or camera capture, and should not be considered for any key differences between these projectors.
Since they both had full REC709 covered, we turned to the REC2020 color gamut. One of the most exciting things about 4K is not just the resolution, but the additional colors that are now available to the display. Professional cinema cameras can capture the full REC2020 color space, but the limitation has been the displays so most post production and editing only include REC2020 or the DCI P3 – hich is about 80% of REC2020. With the introduction of 4K HDR to the marketplace, it is now possible to have a source with the full REC2020 color gamut; displaying, however, is still a work in progress. Each person’s color perception is slightly different, but for me it is the reds, yellows, and greens I am able to see the most difference in. In this case, JVC had a slight advantage in the deep reds and Sony had the slight advantage in deeper greens and yellows. Here are the results:
Color Gamut Readings
|REC709||DCI P3 Wide Color||HDR REC2020|
Although there are some minor differences in their maximum color gamut capability, I would not choose one over the other when it comes down to color reproduction, calibration capability, or percentage of REC2020 color.