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JVC DLA-HD 350
The JVC DLA-HD 350 is a Full HD, D-ILA projector released in late 2008. JVC currently lists the device at 3,800 GBP, but offers begin at around 2,400 GBP online.
Florian Friedrich, tested on December 11, 2009
Lens-shift and 2x zoom offer versatile positioning.
Bright picture with high native contrast.
Excellent video processing.
Colors aren’t perfectly neutral.
Awkward operation in places.
The HD 350 from JVC not only costs less than its HD 100 predecessor; it’s also way better! Combining powerful light-output and enormous contrast, the HD 350 is a hard act to follow — it can even produce top-quality pictures on XXL screens. Very impressive indeed!
Most important connections:
The HD 350’s slender construction makes it look more compact than the HD 100, but the newer model offers the same versatile optics as its predecessor — motorized image-offset of up to 80 percent vertically or 34 percent left or right, remote-control focus, and a 2x zoom (also remote-control). There’s even an electrically controlled lens cover to protect the optics while the projector isn’t being used.
It’s (almost!) got everything — the only major signal you can’t feed the HD 350 is VGA.
The two HDMI inputs are compatible with “Deep Color”, and are the only way to connect PC signals to the projector — there’s sadly no VGA connection. For analog signals, there’s an S-Video input, as well as YUV and composite inputs, which can also team up to accept signals in Scart-RGB format, as indicated by the second set of labels below the sockets (see picture). The RS-232 connection on the far right allows users to control the majority of the projector’s functions remotely using a PC.
The slender remote control has a clear layout, but lacks a direct-access button for input selection. Still, it allows convenient remote adjustment of the optics and the 2D lens-shift — very user-friendly.
The attractive on-screen menu allows you to set picture settings separately for each input. But this only works in modes such as “User 1, 2, 3” or “Natural”, since the JVC saves the settings in relation to the picture mode, and not to the input itself.
Color and Light
Gamma adjustment on the JVC HD 350 — we recommend quite a dark setting.
The fantastic contrast means that the factory-setup gamma value, 2.2, is perhaps a little too bright. Thankfully, therefore, the projector offers separate gamma adjustments for each primary color. As you can see in the image below, the user can also choose the gamma value directly from values ranging from 1.8 to 2.6 — we chose 2.4 (see “Ideal settings”).
Even in the lower-power “Normal” lamp mode, the HD 350 surpasses the brightness of its HD 100 predecessor. If you set the lamp to “High”, you get a whopping 874 lumens. The full-power output is therefore sufficient for a three-meter-wide screen; the quieter and more economical mode will still happily support 2.5 meters. The JVC’s aperture can be set to three different levels, and has a particularly strong effect on the brightness (the yellow line in the diagram below). Aperture adjustment does nothing to improve the ANSI contrast, measured using a checkerboard pattern of eight black and eight white boxes; in fact, this measurement falls slightly as the aperture closes (see pink line). Thanks to the aperture, the JVC produces darker blacks.
The On/Off contrast and brightness in relation to the aperture setting, measured using a fully white box covering a one-percent-sized area in the middle of a black screen. ANSI contrast is also shown for comparison.
The aperture’s effects are only entirely positive with completely black test signals, whereby the On/Off contrast (blue on the graph), measured in the center of the screen, reaches 35,000:1 in level 3, and 24,500:1 in level 1. Our actual quoted contrast ratio for the device lies at 22,590:1 — this is a little lower because we measure it using nine measurement points, but it’s nevertheless sensationally high. The only device to beat it so far is Pioneer’s KRF-9000 FD, which is also based on JVC’s D-ILA technology and achieved a value of 23,190:1.
The CIE chart shows the JVC’s grayscales to be neutral, but its gamut to be too large.
The almost-perfect grayscale linearity deserves praise, as does the 6,300-Kelvin color temperature in the “Natural” mode. Color-wise, the HD 350 has an extended gamut; especially reds and greens fall some way from standard values. Although the colors are striking, therefore, they deviate from the filmmaker’s intended look. The user cannot completely remedy this problem, but it is possible to fine-tune the projector so that the deviation is barely noticeable in normal movie viewing.
Picture Quality of Standard Signals
With signals arriving via YUV, slight scaling artifacts are visible, but these disappear if you switch off the picture-cropping (overscan); for HDMI input signals, this problem simply never occurs. Regardless of whether you input 576i as an analog or digital signal, however, the outstanding de-interlacing — courtesy of the Renon VX video processor from HQV — provides sufficient sharpness and fine detail for a huge picture, and speedy film-mode detection combats flicker reliably. The JVC’s picture looks deep, even in gloomy scenes — as Russel Crowe sits by the fire at night in “Gladiator”, the flames blaze against the pitch-black background with more intensity than on the Mitsubishi HC 7000, for example. Despite the projector’s higher overall brightness, the black bars alongside 21:9-format movies remain almost completely invisible. The native contrast, measured using a small white area against a black background, reaches 9,600:1 — double that of the Mitsubishi.
HDTV Picture Quality
The trailer for “The Incredible Hulk” on the Blu-ray “Iron Man” looks dynamic and radiant, but ultimately too colorful. The blame for this goes partly to JVC and partly to the gaudy color-work in the trailer. The main film on the disc, which was mastered to the normal standards, looks far better, although superhero Tony Stark’s lips occasionally look too red and almost like they’ve been painted on. If you reduce the color saturation slightly, the too-intense reds and greens disappear, but secondary colors such as skin tones also lose some saturation. The JVC’s neutral grayscale reproduction, with ultra-pure whites, always looks natural.
Thanks to its hefty contrast ratio, the projector teases out fine variations in color, even in dark, shadowy areas of the picture — for example, in the dawn sequence at the beginning of “The Fox and the Girl”. White texts in the credits look intricate, exhibiting incredibly high contrast and no visible pixel raster. With Blu-ray movies, the JVC produces an attractive, highly cinematic picture. It also impresses with its 24p reproduction, to which it adds a visible increase in plasticity and depth. As the camera flies past landscapes, the picture even takes on a three-dimensional appearance. Although the JVC lacks motion-enhancement technologies, it still blurs images less than current LCD projectors do. Thanks to three-chip technology, there are no artifacts such as rainbow effects or repeated edges. De-interlacing of 1080i signals is also — you guessed it — flawless.
Picture Mode: User
Color Temp.: 6,500K
Lens Aperture: 3 (Bright)
Lamp Power: Normal
* These settings apply to realistic playback of HDTV/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations might necessitate slight adjustment.