JVC Announces New NZ / NP Series Projector Firmware

JVC has announced a new firmware for its latest-generation NZ and NP line of projectors including the NP5, NZ7, NZ8, NZ9 and equivalent models in other regions. The release date isn’t clear yet but likely to be sometime around October / November 2023.

The announced features include the following:

  • A new Frame Adapt algorithm JVC calls Frame Adapt Generation 2. Apparently the algorithm has been re-designed from the ground up to allow for less highlight clipping in all modes, not only when selecting the dimmer tone maps.
  • The new firmware will allow for the adjustment of laser power in 100-step increments as opposed to the current 3 (low / medium / high)
  • Settings can be backed up to a USB key and then re-loaded.

The new firmware is certainly welcome and it is good to see JVC improving its DTM algorithm. However, I do hope this new DTM will allow us to adjust the base gamma it is using for the DTM, but it is unlikely.

Implementing 100 power level adjustment for the laser will allow users to dial in the brightness and power use / fan noise / heat trade-off more precisely. In particular, they might be able to get more brightness out of their unit without having to switch it into max laser power and having to put up with the much higher fan noise.

Implementing such a feature has likely required substantial AutoCal changes under the hood so we anxiously await the announcement and hopefully a bug-free release. Definitely keep your AutoCal backups handy here.

The USB backup feature might be needed for the upgrade itself as it’s possible that settings would be wiped. Although, that’s not the norm with JVC firmware updates.

Missing Features

We were just discussing possible firmware features a few days ago here at Simple Home Cinema.

While I understand why these features made the cut, they are a bit of a short list. Ultimately, JVC’s DTM is industry-leading amongst projector manufacturers. So while improvements there are very welcome, there are areas that would need more work such as:

  • A new MPC or sharpening algorithm. The inclusion of contrast-adaptive sharpening akin to Darbee or Clear Black but at 4K or 8K would be very welcome. Sony and Epson are both ahead in this area with Reality Creation and Epson’s Super Resolution. JVC’s MPC is – dare I say – rather dated and low-tech in comparison. It NEEDs an update on these units before they are sent out to greener pastures.
  • Automatic aspect ratio detection and switching. I for one hate messing with the remote and this is something external video processors such as the Lumagen and MadVR have. It would be nice to see it here. If it is implemented, then the user should be able to select which aspect ratios are switched using physical lens changes versus only digital manipulation even without an anamorphic lens in place. Such configuration needs to be in “aspect ratio modes” as treatment for regular TV watching versus watching an IMAX movie might be very different.
  • For heaven’s sake, give us control over the base gamma that DTM is based on.

I didn’t mention Dolby Vision because that is achievable using an HDFURY device so not really super pressing, but understand it’s on the wish list of a lot of people. Ultimately, if it comes with the same limitations as the HDR10+ implementation then I think it’s a waste of time.

The most pressing issue is a better upscaling and sharpening algorithm. I really hope JVC can get around to fixing it as the competition has ran away a few generations ago now.

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