Reviews

True 4K Native Projector – Excellent JVC DLA-N5

JVC DLA-N5 is something home theater fans have been dreaming of for years. That is, a reasonably affordable projector that combines JVC’s excellent, contrast-rich D-ILA technology with a true (instead of pseudo) 4K resolution.

JVC DLA-N5 Design – Large and Heavy
As usual in JVC D-ILA projectors, the DLA-N5 is a bit monstrous. Its footprint is very large and is also much larger than most rivals.JVC DLA-N5 D-ILA projector

However, it carries its volume quite neatly. All its corners and edges are decorated with taste. The ventilation holes on either side of the huge centrally mounted lens housing are perfectly integrated. And the strip in the middle of the top edge breaks what might otherwise have been a rather sad stretch of sturdy plastic.
The main attraction of JVC home theater projectors has long been its D-ILA optics. The combination of D-ILA chips and a so-called wire grid optical engine that prevents unwanted light from entering the optical array has provided state-of-the-art black levels for years.JVC DLA-N5 D-ILA projectorIn the case of DLA-N5, the D-ILA agreement offers a native contrast ratio of 40,000:1. All competing projection technologies to date should use dynamic irises or lamps to obtain the alleged contrast ratios of this magnitude. But the N5 calculates that you can do this without using the automated light output settings that can distract you. Even if you choose to use the dynamic contrast features of the N5, its claimed contrast ratio jumps to a phenomenal 400,000:1.
Luckily, JVC’s latest range offers fans the true 4K support they’ve wanted. All three D-ILA optical chips (one for red, green and blue) carry 4096 x 2160 pixels.JVC DLA-N5 D-ILA projectorThis 4K resolution is actually slightly higher than the 3840-2160 resolution found on 4K TVs and used from virtually all 4K sources. However, the projector will still play 4K content in a native pixel in pixels instead of scaling images to the marginally higher number of lines.

Gamers will be happy to hear that the JVC DLA-N5 has a low latency mode. This reduces the time it takes to produce N5 pictures to 24 ms.

Finally, 3D fans will be happy to know that the N5 supports 3D via an RF wireless transmission system. Just train with JVC’s PK-AG3 3D glasses and the SYNCHRO PK-EM2 3D emitter.

Being able to maintain higher brightness levels for HDR helps the N5 produce brighter but also natural HDR colors. The quality of JVC’s D-ILA color management system, which the brand has been refining for over a decade, ensures that this new vitality never seems out of control, or that subtle tones are lost or exaggerated. On the contrary, the way the colors appear on the N5 makes you feel like JVC’s D-ILA color management has been waiting for the HDR tone mapping system to catch up.

The new native 4K resolution also plays its part in the JVC DLA-N5’s EXCELLENT color performance. With four times the pixel density to play with, you essentially get four times as much refinement in color and skin blends.
The movement, on the other hand, seems clean and credible on the N5 without the help of JVC’s motion processing functions.

No wonder it takes care of HDR’s challenges, the JVC DLA-N5 looks great with SDR as well. The only driver I would like to add is that its magnification of the sub-4K image is right to middling. The improvement in detail is pretty good, but the processing doesn’t seem as skilled in blocking the source noise as the best options found on the best TVs. If your source computer has its own built-in 4K scaling, try giving it a vortex to see if it delivers better results than the N5 climber.
The only other bad thing that comes to mind is that the N5 works much stronger in HDR mode than the SDR mode. The extra cooling fan racket, however, is so soft that you quickly learn to ignore it. Until you have to sit too close anyway.JVC DLA-N5 D-ILA projectorThe way it combines the striking contrast of the JVC projector with the native 4K resolution and the excellent HDR tone mapping makes everything less irresistible.Photo:JVC

If you can’t afford the sale price of the JVC DLA-N5(£6,495), Sony’s VPL-VW270ES can be held for around £4,999. However, this does not give you such an impressive contrast. If you’re looking for a more ‘lifestyle’ projector option, LG’s ULTRA-short HU85LS laser model curls up against your wall and adapts very well to the bright and dark room conditions.

Native Aspect Ratio 16:9
Projector Type D-ILA
Brightness (Lumen) 1800
Contrast Ratio 40000:1 (native), 400,000:1 (dynamic)
Full HD 1080p Yes (actually 4k)
3D Ready Yes (no glasses included)
Max Diagonal Image Size (Inch) 200
Lamp Type NSH