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JVC continues march toward consumer 4K with e-Shift

JVC DLA RS65 4K projector
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sony may have looked like the lone home theater pioneer forging ahead with 4K when it introduced the VW1000ES on Wednesday at CEDIA, but it looks like it will have company on the bleeding edge. On Thursday morning, JVC announced that it too would introduce 4K resolution across its top four home theater projectors – but with a twist.

JVC is calling its 4K technology e-Shift, and rather than using a native 4K panel as Sony’s new projector will, it uses some electronic trickery to mimic the extra resolution. The projectors actually use JVC’s standard 1080p D-ILA chips, but electronically shift the image half a pixel to the side and half a pixel up — then back — at 120Hz, effectively quadrupling the number of visible pixels to 4K resolution, or 3840 x 2160.

Unlike Sony’s consumer 4K projector, which will display actually display true 4K content, JVC’s e-Shift-equipped projectors will only upscale 1080p content. JVC claims its scaling algorithms primarily eliminate the aliasing and stair-stepping that’s sometimes evident when you scale 1080p to theater-screen sizes.

JVC 4k scaling demo
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Gimmicky as it all may sound, JVC’s demo actually managed to impress. While scaling up from 1080p obviously doesn’t actually add any picture detail, it does visibly reduce the subtle blockiness that becomes evident when you plaster a 1080p image across a monumental screen, smoothing hard edges and the pixilated edges of round shapes. And operating at 120Hz, there seemed to be no visible judder from the effect.

The e-Shift effect won’t work with 3D content, but JVC claims it has improved its 3D content with a few tweaks this year, too. The shutters on its LCD glasses are now able to stay open longer to improve brightness and reduce crosstalk, and its 3D-capable projectors now offer an improved 2D-to-3D conversion mode with technology trickled down from its $30,000 commercial converters.

The biggest selling point for JVC’s jury-rigged 4K solution might be the selling price: It’s appearing in four of the eight projectors JVC introduced this year, and all four are selling for the same prices as last year’s models. The DLA-X90R and DLA-RS65 will sell for $11,999, while the DLA-X70R and DLA-RS55 go for $7,999. They will appear in November.

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