JVC Launches e-ShiftX Line of 8K Home Cinema Projectors
Deep-dive into the technology under the hood.by Chris Chinnock
While JVC uses native 8K resolution D-ILA microdisplays in a simulation projector, the newly announced consumer-oriented ones don’t use these. Instead, they use a set of 4K native resolution microdisplays with a pixel-shifting element. The 8K/e-ShiftX technology in two of the three new projectors is an upgrade to the previous e-Shift technology. It improves the image by increasing the image shifting from two positions per frame to four.
To do this, the trio of 0.69” DCI-4K panels (4096 x 2160) need to run at 240 Hz to create a DCI-8K image (8192 x 4320) at 60 fps. Each shift up, down, left and right, moves the on-screen image a ½ pixel distance. Creating 8K pixels on the screen in this way for every frame requires the four sub-frames to be interleaved. When overlaid, the eye and brain will fuse these sub-frames into a single stable image since this happens rapidly.
JVC employs an “e-ShiftX filter” that mechanically moves and shifts the 4 images at 240 Hz. It is a glass substrate between the optical block and the primary lens designed to bend the light as it moves.
In the new line of projectors each has two 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 interfaces (with HDCP 2.3) that can support 8K inputs at 60 fps or 4K inputs at 120 fps. The 8K content would not need any scaling and minimal processing for the e-ShiftX drivers.
4K/120p content is displayed natively, but lower resolution content is not. Scaling and processing are needed for 4K/60p and lower resolution content to create the four interleaved sub-frames. This is all handled internally by the projector, but the user has the option to turn the e-ShiftX capability on or off (it is on by default). JVC told us that even scaling SD and HD content looks great on the projector.
e-shifting technology is not new and has been used in D-ILA, 3LCD and DLP projectors for years. Many DLP implementations for example, also use a four-shift technique to create a 4K image from lower resolution panels. Delta / Digital Projection also offers an 8K e-shifted DLP projector for around $25K.
JVC is announcing three new 8K e-ShiftX projectors for prices from $10K to $25K. All three use the brand’s BLU-Escent laser light source which is a laser-phosphor solution they have employed for many years.
Specifically, the high-end DLA-RS4100 (for custom install market or DLA-NZ9 for other channels) features a native contrast ratio of 100,000:1 (not dynamic contrast), 3000 lumens of brightness, 100mm high-quality lens and a 100% DCI-P3 cinema filter. It will be available in October for $25K.
The stepdown DLA-RS3100 (DLA-NZ8) offers a native contrast ratio of 80,000:1, 2500 lumens, a 65mm projection lens and a 100% DCI-P3 filter. It will be available in October for $15K.
The entry-level DLA-RS2100 (DLA-NZ7) uses the older two-shift technology with a native contrast of 40,000:1, 2200 lumens, 65mm projection lens and wide color gamut filter (93% of DCI-P3). It will be available at the same time for $10K.
Other key features that apply to all three of JVC’s new projectors include 3D playback (Frame Packing, Side-by-Side (Half), and Top & Bottom); new support for the HDR10+ dynamic HDR system; and JVC’s Frame Adapt HDR and Theater Optimizer.
Frame Adapt HDR is JVC’s dynamic tone mapping system for optimizing HDR 10 images frame by frame or scene by scene to each projector’s specific imaging capabilities. Theatre Optimizer takes this one step further by delivering tone mapping that also takes into account the installation environment.
Tone mapping for a projector is a tricky thing, as any algorithm needs to know the peak luminance range the on-screen image is creating. The screen size and projector lumens determine the on-screen luminance level. As a result, the user inputs the screen size when Frame Adapt and Theater Optimizer modes are enabled. This allows the JVC algorithm to compute the metadata needed to create dynamic tone mapping for HDR10 content. Interestingly, this capability extends to HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content such that this dynamic metadata is ignored and generated by JVC. JVC says that the result looks similar to HDR10+ content where the dynamic metadata is pre-computed and delivered with the signal. The projector can’t read Dolby Vision metadata directly, however.
JVC also claims to have improved its Clear Motion Drive blur reduction processing by boosting the accuracy of the motion compensation at object boundaries and optimizing the drive of the D-ILA device, based on the movement of the image. Note that all the new models are ISF certified.