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JVC’s recent projector releases have been revolutionary, from the first native 4K models to the addition of brighter laser light sources with an average lifespan of 20,000 hours. So, when the NZ800 and NZ900 beamers were announced, the initial response was one of disappointment - with these newer models appearing surprisingly similar to their award-winning predecessors.

However, take a look under the hood and you quickly realise JVC has made more changes than is immediately apparent. First among these is a third-generation native 4K D-ILA chipset that’s more efficient - it allows for brighter images, deeper blacks, and improved uniformity. As a result, the NZ800 has a claimed brightness of 2700 lumens and native contrast ratio of up to 100,000:1.

These new projectors also include second-generation 8K/e-shiftX, which uses a physical device to shift each pixel by half a pixel in four directions (up, down, left and right) - this allows projection of a full 8K (8192x4320) image. This updated version features more sophisticated 8K upscaling, designed to improve sharpness and detail across a wide range of content.

JVC has added a new ‘Deep Black’ function that employs a revised algorithm to further enhance black levels without crushing shadows, thus expanding the dynamic range and delivering images with improved contrast. In addition, the dynamic laser control adds a new ‘Balanced’ setting for even punchier pictures - without introducing the annoying brightness fluctuations of earlier models.

The new projectors can read Display Mastering Luminance (DML) metadata that tells the tone-mapping the peak brightness of the display on which the content was originally mastered. This is useful because the more data the tone-mapping has to work with, the better the results. JVC has also added a ‘Vivid’ mode for watching SDR sports or gaming in a room with some ambient light.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual - both new models use the same BLU-Escent laser light source as before, along with identical high quality all-glass lenses (65mm for the NZ800 and 100mm for the NZ900) which have a special coating on the inside of the lens barrel to suppress any reflected light. Overall contrast performance is improved even further as a result.

JVC’s tone mapping is state-of-the-art, with the latest proprietary Gen3 Frame Adapt HDR dynamically analysing HDR10 content on a frame-by-frame basis to optimise the image, while 18-bit gamma processing results in smoother and finer gradation. Finally, the inclusion of ‘Theatre Optimiser’ enhances the tone-mapping by allowing for the size, shape and gain of your screen.

The updated D-ILA range retains the entry-level DLA-NP5 lamp-based 4K projector at £6495, along with the DLA-NZ7 laser-powered beamer at a recently reduced price of £8995. This DLA-NZ800 will set you back £15,999, which is the same as the superb DLA-NZ8 that preceded it, while the range-topping DLA-NZ900 is a grand more than the DLA-NZ9 it replaces at £25,999.

Picture Quality

Since I currently own an NZ8 as my reference projector, I can directly compare it with the new NZ800. I am immediately impressed by the screen uniformity and the absence of any bright corners, while black levels look incredible. I measure the contrast at between 80,000 and 100,000:1, just as JVC claims, which ensures this impressive projector remains class-leading.

The NZ800 continues JVC’s tradition of delivering remarkably cinematic big-screen imagery, and this isn’t just because of the brand’s peerless black levels. The new native 4K D-ILA chipset and 65mm all-glass lens also combine to produce images that are wonderfully clear and detailed. The extra brightness also plays its part, producing 3D and HDR pictures that really pop off the screen.

The colour accuracy is also exceptional, with a beautifully natural reproduction that hits all the industry standards right out of the box. I measure the wide colour gamut coverage at 100% of DCI-P3 (which is excellent), but to achieve this JVC uses a colour filter that reduces the brightness by about 20 percent – so those extra lumens with minimal additional fan noise also come in handy.

This projector is equally impressive when it comes to motion-handling, with buttery-smooth images that are free of blurring and unwanted artefacts. The processing is also superb, taking lower-resolution content and upscaling it to the 4K panel, while the 8K/e-shiftX device is a revelation in its ability to shift pixels to create images with the perceived resolution and fine detail of 8K.

This projector is a top-drawer performer with SDR (standard dynamic range) content, but when it comes to HDR (high dynamic range) the JVC is in a class of its own. Aside from having the necessary latitude from deep blacks to bright highlights, the cutting-edge tone-mapping analyses the HDR content in real time, rendering it accurately to match the increased luminance and wider colours.

Here the combination of the ‘Deep Black’ feature, the ‘Balanced’ laser dimming setting, and the ability to read additional metadata from the HDR source produces images that are often breathtaking. The NZ800’s ability to render inky blacks while still teasing out all the fine details in the shadows is a revelation, outperforming the NZ8… and making me consider a costly upgrade!

The NZ800’s HDR performance is also stellar when it comes to highlights, making the most of the extra brightness and delivering them without blowing out details. HDR images clearly benefit from more nuanced and saturated colours and punchier dynamic range, while the HDR10+ support takes advantage of the extra information to ensure the tone-mapping is handled perfectly.

While 3D may be waning in popularity, there are still plenty of Blu-rays that support the format - and there’s definitely a superior sense of immersion with projection. The NZ800 displays bright three-dimensional pictures that have depth and are free of ghosting - but remember you’ll need a 3D Blu-ray player, and you’ll have to buy the optional RF transmitter and active shutter glasses.

Living with

The NZ800 looks identical to the earlier NZ8, which means it’s a bit of a beast. This projector is designed for permanent installation and dedicated home cinema builds, and if you’re thinking of ceiling-mounting, bear in mind it weighs in at a back-breaking 23kg. At least the minimalist styling and matt black finish mean this no-nonsense beamer won’t draw attention to itself in a dark room.

There are air intake vents at the front – on either side of the lens – with exhaust ports at the rear. Here you’ll also find the connections, and some basic controls if you misplace the remote. The latter is almost the same as before, but enjoys a couple of minor tweaks with a more luminescent light button and small bumps to make it easier identifying the ‘on/off’ and ‘enter’ buttons in the dark.

The fan noise is comparable to the NZ8, which means it remains pleasingly quiet in operation, especially when the laser power setting is low. JVC has now improved this feature, and while the sliding scale still goes from 1 to 100 it’s now more granular, which means you can gradually boost the brightness without a sudden increase in fan noise, thus making this feature more useful.

While I really like the effect that 8K/e-shiftX has on perceived image sharpness and resolution, I turn it off on my NZ8 because the physical device that actually shifts the pixels makes a high-pitched noise that I can clearly hear. So, I am delighted to discover the NZ800’s e-shift device is almost silent in operation, which is the kind of improvement that can push me towards upgrading.

Considering the inherent sophistication of the NZ800, it remains relatively easy to set up and use, with an intuitive menu system, the aforementioned backlit remote, and generous motorised lens controls. There are even ten memory settings for different aspect ratios if you’re using a 2.35:1 screen - this feature proves accurate in operation by returning to the correct geometry.

The menus are basically the same, and there’s a ‘Filmmaker Mode’ for decent out-of-the-box accuracy. Although at this price it should really get professionally calibrated - the NZ800 includes a full set of ISF-certified controls for this purpose. To get the best out of this projector you should also make the room as dark as possible, and invest in a dedicated screen.

Finally, the two HDMI 2.1 inputs both support full 48Gbps bandwidth, which means they can handle HDR (HDR10, HLG and HDR10+) along with resolutions and refresh rates up to 8K/60p and 4K/120p. While native 8K content remains hard to find, the latter support allows you to enjoy high-frame-rate gaming with next-gen consoles and PCs at a low latency input lag of only 36ms.


At first glance, the JVC DLA-NZ800 doesn’t appear all that different from its illustrious predecessor - but in terms of actual performance the new third-generation 4K D-ILA chipset delivers improved efficiency that results in brighter images with deeper blacks, while the upgraded 8K/e-shiftX processing ensures that even lower resolution content looks sharper and more detailed.

Future-proofing doesn’t just extend to projecting in 8K. The NZ800 also uses a long-lasting laser light source, supports 4K/120Hz and HDR10+, and it includes JVC’s proprietary dynamic tone-mapping for peerless HDR. While it’s certainly not cheap, you won’t find a more capable, feature-packed or cinematic high-end projector at this (or any other) price point.

Viewing Notes

The Crow 4K Blu-ray

This action-packed flick about a vengeful rock star remains an enjoyably violent tale. It largely takes place at night, so the stylish photography is a perfect demonstration of the NZ800’s black levels and HDR tone-mapping, while its new chipset brings out the detail in the native 4K image.

Alita: Battle Angel 4K and 3D Blu-ray

The 4K release of this enjoyable sci-fi romp includes a 3D disc, allowing you to not only demo the NZ800’s ability to render detailed and colourful HDR10+ images, but also its ability to handle 3D with brightness, depth and no crosstalk – although you will need to buy the emitter and glasses.

Dune Part Two 4K Blu-ray

This sequel is a visual feast, from the vast desert landscapes of Arrakis to the lush vistas of the Imperial capital and the brutal home world of the Harkonnen, where the black sun bleaches out all the colour. These are all great tests of the NZ800’s ability to retain detail in the HDR highlights.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

JVC’s third-generation D-ILA 4K chipset takes the brand’s class-leading contrast performance to another level, and once you add in a long-lasting laser light source, extensive features and cutting-edge HDR tone-mapping, you’ve got an exceptional high-end projector that’s hard to beat.

Video review

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