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JVC delivers HD-ILA HDTV resolution

Posted: 17 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:large TV display? HD-ILA HDTVs? image light amplifier? universal remote?

JVC was one of the first companies to announce a true next generation large TV display for the upscale consumer with its D'Ahlia rear projection MicroDisplay TV back in 2001. Since then, the company has been on an odyssey to produce high-quality MicroDisplay rear projection HDTVs.

JVC is the only rear projection TV company to feature Direct-Drive Image Light Amplifier (D-ILA) technology. D-ILA is a version of Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS)-type device that uses a three-chip process (one for red, one for blue, one for green) offering full 1,920x1,080 (1,080p) resolution and has superior features such as high contrast ratio, high efficiency, smooth image and high reliability under intense illumination light. Overall, the technology offers excellent displayed images packaged in a somewhat smaller and lighter cabinet.

HD-ILA Technology
Instead of using conventional CRTs that were found on virtually all rear projection TVs just a few years ago, D-ILA technology is placed on a small silicon chip, which measures only 1.22-inches. The D-ILA Hologram Device is capable of producing high-resolution HDTV images of more than 1,920 x 1,080pixels. Overall, these D-ILA devices have the capability of displaying over 3,000 lines of resolution with images in excess of 2,000 x 1,340pixels and a high contrast ratio of up to 10,000:1. They also have the capability of producing a brightness level of up to a whooping 12,000 lumens.

The core of HD-61FN97's D-ILA projector is a tiny reflective 0.9-inch CMOS chip that directly addresses a miniature Image Light Amplifier (ILA). Accordingly, the projector separates the signal from the source into red, green and blue picture components and passes them through a thin film layer onto a reflective single LCD panel. Since it's a reflective (rather than transmissive like LCD) technology, the light bounces-off a mirror-like layer underneath the pixels. Since the light does not have to pass through a pixel-driving transistor, it is able to achieve a higher aperture ratio (claimed to be 93 percent by JVC). Reportedly, standard LCD panels only pass about 40-60 percent of light because LCDs work by sending the light through the liquid crystal layer. Each resulting image is then converted photo electronically and illuminated by a high-density arc lamp.

Because D-ILA is very bright, it does not require dimming the lights in the room (like all front projectors) to obtain better-contrasted images. Unlike the standard 3-beam CRT projectors as well, D-ILA delivers clearly defined images from corner-to-corner without having to converge and focus the image. In addition, the D-ILA Hologram devices uses vertically-orientated liquid crystals for better blockage of light when a pixel is turned "off", thus producing a more solid black and a higher contrasted image overall. And, by filtering approximately 1.32 million pixels and almost 4 million dots onto it's ultra compact 1.22-inch device, which is six times the pixel density of a conventional LCD, higher resolution images are obtained.

Features and specifications
The $2,899 JVC HD-61FN97 is a 61-inch widescreen (16:9) rear projection HDTV. It features a true 1,080p Full HD Widescreen D-ILA (Direct drive Image Light Amplifier) Device. JVC's exclusive three color D-ILA chip technology (1,920 x 1,080) with over 2 million pixels per chip provides Full HD images that are brilliant with high contrast and provides a flicker-free image.

This set includes an integrated ATSC/NTSC /QAM tuners and is Digital CableCARD-ready. A built-in ATSC tuner allows you to receive over-the-air digital terrestrial broadcasts. A clear QAM tuner allows you to receive unscrambled digital cable signals. The CableCARD slot eliminates the need for an STB to descramble local cable programming (depending upon cable operator availability).

Figure 1: The JVC HD-61FN97 is a 61-inch widescreen (16:9) rear projection HDTV. It features a true 1,080p Full HD Widescreen D-ILA

Key video features include 5th Generation DIST (Digital Imaging Scaling Technology) with GENESSA 1,080p picture processing, which is JVC's proprietary video processing that detects and seamlessly upscales any video source to display at 1,080p. GENESSA provides 32bit "turbo" powered picture processing for faster and more efficient sampling to reduce jagged edges and increase the resolution of all sources. Another key video feature is the Advanced Optical Iris. According to JVC, this new iris insures that light output and contrast ratio are optimal for each video status setting with a contrast ratio of more than 10,000:1.

The set also includes a 5 Point Color Management System (CMS). CMS compensates for color range limitations and ensures colors are reproduced with dimension and vivid detail " colors are true and never tainted by surrounding or similar. The HD Range Digital Super Detail Circuitry (DSD) keeps the picture completely focused for both still and highly active images. As well, the Natural Cinema mode employs 3-2 Pull Down technology to drastically reduce the jagged edges that normally occur when film is converted to video. Lastly, the HD-61FN97 utilizes an 110W Super High-Pressure Mercury lamp, which is user-replaceable.

All I/O terminals are gold plated. Input terminals include dual 1,080p HDMI w/HDCP digital video inputs, an RS-232C, a DCR CableCARD slot, dual IEEE1394 FireWire Ports, a PC Input as Input 3 (D-Sub 15 Pin), a Smart Video Input, 2 Auto Sensing Component Video Inputs, 2 S-Video Inputs, 4 AV Inputs and a center channel input. Output terminals include an optical digital audio output and a variable/fixed audio output. All jacks are gold plated jacks for better conductivity and high level connections for all devices. Lastly, an RS-232C input for remote custom-installed home systems.

Housed in dark gray/black cabinet featuring silver trim around the screen, the HD-61FN97 gives the appearance of flat-panel TV from the front. And with a reduced depth of 19-inches, this set can be placed into a cabinet or placed onto its optional two-shelf matching base (RK-CEXM7 priced at $499) that is big enough to store all of your gear including a center channel speaker. A 55-button illuminated universal remote is also included.

The JVC HD-61FN97 allows for easy toggling between NTSC and ATSC signals (via the D/A button on the remote) handling all HD signals quite well from broadcast to cable to satellite and beyond. Displayed images were clean, smooth and quite natural looking with excellent contrast and brightness levels. Consistently, colors were very vibrant and like from all signal sources (off-air, cable, satellite, HD DVD player and Blu-ray Disc player). All HD signals viewed from the HD-61FN97 were very realistic.

Since my DishNetwork ViP 622 satellite box also has an ATSC tuner included, I was able to toggle back and forth between cable HD, satellite HD and over-the-air HD signals quickly. So, I was also able to easily compare ATSC vs. QAM vs. satellite signals. Personally, I thought that the ASTC signals looked slightly cleaner and robust from my roof antenna than they did from either cable HD or satellite HD signals. That said, however, both cable and satellite provided me with all of my local channels in HD. So, it's a tradeoff. In each case, however, the JVC HD-61FN97 produced sparkling HD signals.

Input terminals include dual 1,080p HDMI w/HDCP digital video inputs and dual FireWire ports.
(Click to view image.)

While noise and digital artifacts are somewhat visible in SD even on satellite, it's non-existent in HD. And, as you toggle back and forth, it really becomes apparent. In HD, the images truly come to life, as they appear somewhat flat in SD. Think of it as comparing images that are 2D to those that are 3D. In HD, the images "pop" right off the screen.

Of course, in the evaluation of any next-generation TV, you need to attach an HD DVD player and/or a Blu-ray Disc player to obtain the possible visual images from a video source component. For this evaluation, I used the Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player and the LG Super MultiBlue BH100 player that playback both Blu-ray and HD DVDs. Although, in this instance, it was used strictly for Blu-ray movies. HDMI connections were used for all with the Monster M1000HD HDMI cabling. All types of program material from animation to action special effects-laden films including standard DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray were employed.

As well, I put on the new Silicon Optix's HQV Benchmark test discs for Blu-ray and HD DVD, which adds various tests including those for "jaggies." Essentially, "jaggies" are produced if a display cannot properly lock onto an image and the image blurs slightly. Good examples are how the viewing stands look as a speeding race car drives by or the American flag blows in the breeze. I am happy to report that the JVC HD-61FN97 performed much better than average here also.

The verdict
JVC is one of the few companies that continue to produce MicroDisplay rear projection TVs. Personally, I am a fan of these rear pro models and they offer a terrific value for the money. For the TV and movie fan that wants the "big picture" for TV and movies, the JVC HD-61FN97 is an excellent choice. If you were in the market for a 61-inches 1,080p flat-panel TV (either LCD or plasma), it would cost more than twice the price of this set. So, I ask why go the flat-panel route? And, if you're not hanging anything on the wall, it really doesn't matter. Put this set on a base (with storage for all you're gear) and it looks like a flat-panel from the front anyway. Also, MicroDisplay images look good in a well-lit room.

The displayed HD images from satellite (EchoStar), cable and over-the-air broadcasts (via antenna) appeared quite natural and life-like. Contrast and brightness were quite good.

Is this set perfect? No. It's a little bigger than most rear projection MicroDisplays today. As well, it does not include HDMI 1.3a, but only a handful of 2007 TV models do anyway, but it won't detract from your overall viewing experience (as cable TV, satellite TV and many next-generation optical disc players don't yet include HDMI v.1.3a).

- Dennis Barker
Digital TV Designline

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