Projectors

JVC X55 Three-Chip D-ILA Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions about the JVC X55 Projector

Living with the X55 for a few weeks, I come off overall highly impressed with the unit. If you value contrast above everything else, and the ISF finds it to be the single mode important element of an image, then the JVC is untouchable. It also has a default mode that is very, very accurate and can be made almost perfect with calibration. The lens memory and setup options make it a very flexible projector to install, and from a usability standpoint it is top-notch. The real proof is how often I just got lost watching the thing and marveling at the images that it can produce on my screen.

Despite all of this good, it also has a couple of issues that make it a projector I can't universally recommend. After calibration on my 96", 1.3 gain screen, I got just 18 fL of light on the screen. This is slightly over the correct amount, but projector bulbs age, and with only 18 fL at the start it gives me nowhere to go from there. It also makes it so that if I use Lens Memory to fill the 2.40 screen, I'm dropping well below that 18 fL level. Couple this with the fact that the high lamp mode is very loud to use, and I have trouble recommending it with very large screen unless you are running a high-power (2.0+ gain) material.

This might also be a sample issue, as another person I know with an X55 had the opposite color balance issue I did, and managed to get over 25% more light output than I did. I'm still not sure that gives me enough headroom for my 2.40 screen long term, but it is better than what I found. 3D isn't a strong suit for the JVC, but really to get great 3D you are best served with a DLP projector, and the JVC is decent for a non-DLP model.

From a straight 2D perspective, if you have a screen size that works well with the JVC, I'm not sure what projectors out there can produce a better image. Shadow detail and black levels simply don't get better, and for $5,000 the projector is really packed with features. When you go out to pick one up, make sure to stop and get some black paint for the walls and electrical tape to cover up your component LEDs, as you won't want anything to distract you from how amazing the JVC X55 can look in an ideal environment. Once your friends see the image on screen, they'll forget all about the total black décor.