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JVC DLA-HD250 1080p Home Theater Video Projector Review

JVC DLA-HD250 Video Projector Review

JVC DLA-HD250 Review by Mike English

Verdict:  DEFINITE BUY!!! JVC has nailed it. This is a perfectly executed home theater projector from a company who does it better than almost any other manufacturer. From any other company this would be the cornerstone projector. JVC considers the DLA-HD250 their entry level unit. Colors are exceptionally well rendered. Black levels are jaw dropping. Skin tones are incredibly realistic. There is nothing this projector doesn’t do well. If you’re looking for a marquee home theater projector at a mid-market price, stop whatever you’re doing and demo this projector. The DLA-HD250 lacks some of the higher end features of the DLA-HD550, but at around half the price who’s complaining?

JVC DLAHD250 Video Projector By the Numbers:

JVC DLA-HD250 -  1920x1080P, 1000 ANSI Lumens, 25,000:1 Advertised Contrast Ratio, 3 x 2cm D-ILA, Power Focus and Lens Shift, Power 2.00:1 Zoom, 19.0 dB Low Lamp Mode, RS-232 Port



Silky flat black non-reflective finish

Noisy shutter door during power on and power down

Phenomenal color quality

Large chassis, like comparable Panasonic or Epson projectors

Inky dark blacks


Exceptional shadow detail


Skin tones are natural and lifelike


Attractive, easy to navigate menu system


Packed with useful features


Well laid out backlit remote


Dirt cheap for this kind of image quality


Power zoom, focus and lens shift


Easy to install and set up


Incredible true contrast ratio


Looks bright for 1000 ANSI


Exceptional out of box performance


Incredibly accurate lens system


JVC DLA-HD250 1080p Projector Overview

The DLA-HD250 is actually JVC’s first serious foray into the “entry level” segment of the home theater marketplace. For years JVC has been the dominant player in high end systems with their implementation of L-COS technology, D-ILA.  D-ILA is a third imaging technology that is kind of a combination of DLP and 3LCD. In D-ILA the liquid crystal is applied directly to the mirrored surface of the chip, blocking or allowing light to pass. The impediment to widespread adoption of D-ILA has always been the low chip yields compared to DLP and LCD, so it’s remained in the realm of high end home theater pieces, until now.

JVC DLA-HD250 Projector Overview
“Curse of the Golden Flower”

JVC appears to have taken a long sober look at a strong market segment, and executed flawlessly. They’ve literally written their own playbook rather than copying a page from another manufacturer, and released one of the strongest sub $3000 home theater projectors to ever hit the market. Granted, the strongest single element of the DLA-HD250 is it’s imaging technology, D-ILA, but it’s also the electronics, the optics, the other good, if not great things JVC has implemented with this projector that make the DLA-HD250 special. Everything about this projector is well engineered, so well engineered I expect that sales of the DLA-HD550 will suffer. It’s not that the DLA-HD250 is better. It isn’t. It’s just that it’s almost as good at half the price. It’s the “almost” that’s so significant here – the DLA-HD550 is good. Very good. Keep checking in – I’m preparing a full on shoot out between the DLA-HD250 and the DLA-HD550. Keep your eyes on projector.com for that.

I have to admit I was prepared to be impressed by the DLA-HD250. I’m well acquainted with JVC, but given the price point of this unit I wasn’t sure which way this would go. D-ILA is a great technology, but there’s more to a great projector than the engine. The DLA-HD250 met all my concerns head on. Color is rich and detailed, and almost jumps out at you. Contrast is exceptional – black levels are as good or better than any projector I’ve tested in this category. There’s a realism to the picture that’s difficult to express. This is truly a projector you have to see to believe.

JVC DLA-HD250 Video Projector Set Up

JVC DLAHD250 Setup
Just plain sexy.

The first thing you’ll notice upon opening the box is the finish. The DLA-HD250 is matte black. The case design is simple, attractive, and best of all, is resistant to fingerprints. The elegant simplicity is a result of all lens control being automated. Adjustments are done using the remote, allowing the face of the projector to remain un-obscured.

Connectivity is good, pretty much what you’d expect. I’ve said it before but you should be doing your switching via a good home theater receiver or processor, and not in the projector. The bolts for locking down the HDMI is a nice touch. The inputs are on the left side of the projector, right if it’s ceiling mounted, along the mid section of the chassis.

JVC DLA-HD250 Inputs

Throw and offset capabilities are similar to the Panasonic PT-AE4000U, making the DLA-HD250 ridiculously easy to set up and install.

But turning it on, you know you’re seeing something special.

JVC DLA-HD250 hrow and Offset
“BBC’s Planet Earth”

The menu system looks to be very similar to the DLA-HD550, which is a definite plus. Controls are logically placed and easy to access – there’s no menu dancing to fine tune white balance for instance. The remote itself is plain, long and narrow, with a lot of buttons. I found myself using the menu interface rather than the shortcuts on the remote, given that the menu was so easily accessed and laid out.

JVC DLA-HD250 Remote Control

The remote was a pleasure to use. It feels a little light, but I suppose corners had to be cut somewhere. The remote transmitter and receiver system was incredibly sensitive. I found the projector over-responding to button pushes initially, before I realized that unlike other projectors I’ve played with, I didn’t have to mash the buttons to make a change.

Lens adjustments were quick and precise. JVC has included patterns specific to the function – Focus for instance, offers a grid pattern with a lot of sharp edges. Advancing to the next function, Zoom, for instance, was simply a matter of a button push. The Zoom pattern showed a 1080P safe-edge pattern similar to our Sencore pattern generator, for perfect geometry. The power lens functions didn’t feel tacked on, like an afterthought. Rather they seemed fully integrated into the design and intent of the projector. The glossy “racing stripe on the top of the projector isn’t just decorative – it’s functional too. I used it to aim the projector at the screen.

For test material I opted for “Curse of the Golden Flower”, “The Fifth Element”, and “BBC’s Planet Earth”, all on 1080P HD Blu-Ray. Playback was done by a Panasonic DMP-BD350. For a screen I used a Draper 119” Premier tensioned electric with their High Def Grey screen surface. The DLA-HD250 was positioned mid throw on a table top

JVC DLAHD250 Video Projector First Impressions

Having fully calibrated the DLA-HD550 I knew how good JVC D-ILA can be. But at half the price? What could I expect with the DLA-HD250?

JVC DLA-HD250 Video Projector Details
“Curse of the Golden Flower” detail

Wow. Just, wow. The DLA-HD250 impressed and then some. The fight scene at the top of “Golden Flower” quickly separates the contenders from pretenders. The great golden armor worn by the Emperor can either look too yellow, or the skin tones can look sallow and unnatural. The DLA-HD250 renders the scene beautifully, with the Emperor’s golden armor leaping off the screen. His skin tone looks natural, while the exceptional contrast and shadow detail display every nuance of the inn where the duel takes place.

JVC DLAHD250 Projector Picture Quality
“Curse of the Golden Flower” detail

Similarly, “From Pole to Pole” looks exquisite. Details were evident that I missed on other, lesser units. Sunrise on the North Pole, where the mother polar bear wakes from hibernation and plays in the arctic snow with her cubs, literally bathes the spare, winter landscape with a warm tone completely lost with other units. Mount Fuji, likewise, shows a depth of color simply beyond the capability of similar projectors to show. The greens, purples, yellows, and oranges of a flowering Japan appear startlingly lifelike, perfectly modeled.

The real strength of the DLA-HD250 is that it will easily show to its best advantage even challenging material. I can’t emphasize this point enough. It breezed through my repertoire of difficult content easily, made even more impressive when you consider the entry level price tag.

JVC DLAHD250 1080p Projector
“The Fifth Element” Diva

JVC DLA-HD250 Projector Calibration

A full calibration can be a time consuming process. On a poor projector it can be like using a bad tool to fix itself. It can be frustrating. It’s also a window into the brain of the projector, an intimate look into the electronics. You can see first hand how the projector sees the signal it’s receiving, and see it’s strengths certainly, but the weaknesses are even more apparent. The DLA-HD250 was phenomenally accurate right out of the box, much like its bigger brother, the DLA-HD550. White balance was accurate within a decimal point across the entire brightness range, Post calibration, as expected, tunes improved grey scale performance to within a percentage point or two shy of perfect. This level of accuracy was completely surprising to me in a projector in this price range. This kind of performance shows a commitment by JVC to not only make an inexpensive D-ILA projector, but to make a very, very good one at the same time.

JVC DLA-HD250 Projector Calibration

The supplied test patterns, and there are a few of them, are actually quite useful. By no means are they required, but it’s nice to see JVC takes the needs and wants of the enthusiast into account.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet -

Contrast:  10
Brightness:  -6
Color:  2
Tint: 0
Color Temp:  6500 K (averages out, pre calibration, to an incredibly accurate 6380K! Post calibration is even better.)
Gamma 2.4

These aren’t the full calibration settings, but these numbers will get you very close. The reality is that even before calibration, the DLA-HD250 will impress you.

The JVC DLA-HD250 1080p Video Projector Bottom Line

JVC’s DLA-HD250 has no weaknesses. It’s a projector that’s taken JVC years to deliver. Their engineers have had to overcome significant technical hurdles to deliver a D-ILA projector at a reasonable price. The time taken has not been wasted. The DLA-HD250 is a tour de force, a major player in the projector market demonstrating the commitment to engineering and artistry that made their reputation in the first place. I think JVC had a lot of fun making and delivering this projector, and it shows. This is simply a great projector, not over complicated, not over hyped, it simply does what every good projector should do – act as a window into the mind of the film maker. In short, it accomplishes what the DLA-HD550 does. At about half the cost.

JVC DLAHD250 Video Projector
Basic black.

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