With televisions, the transition from HD to 4K has already largely been completed; HDTVs have not been produced in the larger sizes for years. You can only find HDTVs in the store if you are looking for a small TV. Fans of the big screen have had to wait a little longer, because although 4k projectors have been made for years, good 4k home cinema projectors are generally still very expensive. JVC is now changing that a little bit by introducing a new entry-level model, the LX-NZ3, and we were able to take a look at it at the IFA.
The main selling point of the JVC LX-NZ3 is the use of lasers as the light source, rather than a lamp. The BLU-Escent light source is guaranteed to last 20,000 hours according to JVC. After that period, the light source is still usable, but the brightness has then decreased by fifty percent. The lifespan is therefore much longer than conventional projection lamps that only last a few thousand hours.
Until now, JVC’s home theater projectors have all used lcos technology, which had been given the marketing name d-ila, but because this technology requires complex, and therefore expensive, optics, JVC has opted for dlp technology from Texas Instruments for the new entry-level model. . This allowed the LX-NZ3 to be more compact than the d-ila models. With 405x341x146mm and a weight of 6.3kg it is still not a very small projector, but compared to the other JVC models it is.
The 4k DLP chip used has a diameter of 0.47″ or 12mm. Because there is only one DLP chip in the projector, the primary colors, red, green and blue, must be projected sequentially, i.e. one after the other. normally produces visible rainbow artifacts in the picture when your eyes move across the screen, but JVC manages to significantly reduce this problem by greatly increasing the frequency with which the colors alternate. say, but I could hardly perceive the rainbow effect. Not everyone can perceive the rainbows equally well, but I am sensitive to it and hardly bothered by it. We did experience the image as a bit less calm than that of lcos or dlps with three chips.
With a light output of no less than three thousand lumens, the LX-NZ3 is also suitable for use during the day. Of course this is at the expense of the contrast in the image, but it can still be useful that there is still something to see on the screen in daylight. Of course, the projector really comes into its own in a darkened room and the high light output can be used for a beautiful HDR display. This is possible in the hdr10 and hybrid log-gamma formats. The formats with dynamic metadata are therefore unfortunately not supported.
However, the picture can be adjusted frame by frame according to the content by a function that JVC calls ‘HDR Auto Tone Mapping’. In our opinion, this is a very useful feature on a projector, because the brightness levels in HDR signals are based on absolute values. The brightest values can sometimes not be achieved and so the image must sometimes be made a little lighter or darker in order not to lose detail in the image. The projector’s automatic tone mapping worked very well during the demo; it certainly didn’t look like anything had changed in the image, but in both dark and light scenes, detailing remained visible in the highlights and shadows.
The LX-NZ3’s native contrast isn’t specified by JVC, but it’s generally less good with DLPs than with lcos projectors. Because the laser light source can be modulated super fast, the black display, with a completely black screen, is perfect. With a fade to black , it became perfectly dark in the viewing room. JVC therefore provides an infinitely large dynamic contrast.
The LX-NZ3 is equipped with a 1.6x zoom lens with lens shift so that the projector does not have to be positioned or hung perfectly in front of the center of the screen. Vertically there is sixty percent leeway, and horizontally twenty-three. The lens is not motorized, as with the more expensive JVCs, but of course there is also a lower price. Due to the high light output, it is also possible to project on somewhat larger screens; a screen diagonal of 200 inches is therefore still doable. The LX-NZ3 is available from November in a black or white housing and has been given a suggested retail price of 3500 euros. We can call that a price breakthrough for a 4k hdr projector with laser light source, although it is of course still a lot of money.