AT THE LAST CEDIA Expo in September 2019, JVC announced a firmware update for its native 4K D-ILA projectors that delivered true frame adaptive HDR tone mapping to the lineup. For CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020, the company’s key announcement was an improved version of that Frame Adapt HDR feature called Theater Optimizer. The firmware also includes a few other tweaks and new features and was made available as a free firmware update in November 2020 for the following models: DLA-NX5, DLA-NX7, DLA-NX9, DLA-RS1000, DLA-RS2000, and DLA-RS3000.
I did an in-depth review of JVC’s Frame Adapt HDR feature in the February/March 2020 issue of Sound & Vision. This latest update not only refines the HDR tone mapping on the company’s projector line but adds interface improvements to increase ease of use and customization. JVC sent me an RS3000/NX9 projector loaded with a test version of the upcoming firmware so that I could compare it directly to my own reference RS3000 running the previous firmware. According to the company, this beta firmware is likely to be identical to the official release that will be offered in November.
A MENU REFRESH
Before we get to the meat of the firmware update—Frame Adapt HDR and Theater Optimizer— I’ll first discuss some of the interface improvements it brings. The first thing I noticed when using the projector with the new firmware was a revision to the main picture setup menu, which now has a completely revamped Settings layout. The top selection, Contents Type, is where the user can select between Auto, SDR, HDR10, or HLG options. These settings correspond to another update in the Input menu where the earlier HDR Setting menu has been replaced with a new selection called Auto Picture Mode Select. Previously, there were only selections to predefine picture modes for HDR and HLG input signals, but JVC has now added options for SDR (2D) and SDR (3D).
Previously, when a JVC projector was fed an HDR signal it would automatically select the picture mode defined in the HDR Setting menu. The problem there was, when an SDR signal was input, the projector would default to the last manually selected picture mode, which could be an HDR mode. Adding predefined modes for SDR ensures that the projector will default to the correct picture mode for both SDR and HDR inputs when the Contents Type selection is set to Auto.
The main Picture menu also has a new option called More Settings where you’ll find the bulk of the projector’s normal picture options including lamp power and aperture settings, along with standard picture options such as contrast, brightness, color, and tint. With JVC’s previous firmware, these were spread out between the main and advanced picture pages.
JVC has also made changes to its projector color profiles. For example, the previous HDR color profile—one designed for wider BT.2020 gamut coverage but with no color filter to preserve light output—has been renamed as BT.2020 (Normal), while the BT.2020 color profile that engages the color filter is now labeled as BT.2020 (Wide). And there’s also a new Auto color mode that allows the projector to automatically determine which mode you should be using based on the colorimetry of the input signal.
For me, JVC’s biggest color profile improvement is the new Off options. These let you completely bypass the projector’s built-in color management for native color output with either no color filter (Off Normal) or a color filter in the light path (Off Wide). The new Off profiles are a great tool for performing calibration with an outboard video processor since they let you work with the widest color space available without the limitations that may be imposed by JVC’s own factory calibration. As a professional video calibrator, I can now get an even more precise colorimetry for any input source.
HDR OPTIMIZATION, OPTIMIZED
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