JVC DILA NZ8 / NZ9 Projectors: Recommended Settings

Step 1 – Autocal

All the settings on this page only work adequately after an autocal. You have just bought the equivalent of a Ferrari, so take the time to calibrate it.

This is especially true for gamma, as it will shift a lot over the course of the first 500hrs. A shifting gamma will reduce image accuracy and the perception of contrast, making the image look flat.

The following are guidelines for time-intervals for running gamma and colour Autocal for consumer user:

  • Gamma:
    • Re-calibrate gamma every 150hrs until 500hrs and then every 300hrs after that.
  • Colour:
    • Re-calibrate colour during initial setup then every 300 – 600hrs dependent on how sensitive you are to colour shifts.

For the average user, the above will mean running gamma every 6 months and colour every 12 months after the initial 500hrs of run-in.

For a detailed description on how to run Autocal, see the JVC AutoCal guide or visit the usual A/V forums. For a guide on performing manual touch-ups see the Display Calibration Guide.

Detail versus Sharpness

Before we talk about settings, I would like to talk about the difference between detail and sharpness. 

DLP projectors can appear incredibly sharp because our visual system perceive the very clear delineation of pixels as sharpness. So even a 1080p DLP projector can appear sharper at times than a native 4K 3-chip projector, especially if there are panel alignment issues with the 3-chip projector.

Also, an image can appear sharp when using sharpening and edge enhancement. However, this sharpness can be at the detriment of fine detail. Even though certain elements of the picture are accentuated and are easier to see, the sharpening can actually kill fine detail because generally multiple pixels are used to make the detail clearer.

JVC projectors use 3-chip LCOS designs with very high on/off contrast. To achieve higher and higher contrast, JVC needs to decrease the inter-pixel gap between the pixels to stop the light bouncing off the grid in-between the pixels polluting the light path. This along with the much higher resolution of 4K means that pixel delineation is increasingly more difficult to achieve.

JVC could go the Sony route, which is to target a more balanced design, at the impact of on/off contrast, but then they would lose this as the differentiating factor for their projectors. Sony is likely to have chosen against reducing the inter-pixel gap further for the above mentioned reasons, and instead prioritised ANSI contrast and sharpness.

So ultimately, JVC’s design will appear less sharp than the same design with a higher inter-pixel gap – such as Sony’s. To make up for this, JVC has added eShiftX to the higher-end NZ8 and NZ9 models, quadrupling the pixel density compared to 4K. This allows for image processing at much smaller units of processing, especially as the DILA panels can now address 16x more pixels than a 1080p projector. This means that every pixel from our previous 1080p panels is now made up of 16 individually addressable pixels without any inter-pixel gap. This is actually insane!

This allows DILA to practically emulate the look of optical media approaching the pixel density (or more accurately fine detail) of film positives projected at a theatre. (Note that I didn’t say the detail of film negatives. Negatives can have much higher resolution than the third-generation optical prints that are used to show movies in a theatre and can surpass the fine detail achievable with 16K, let alone 8K.)

Setup – Panel Alignment

To balance sharpness and fine detail, the JVC NZ8 and NZ9 are the first projectors where I recommend fractional (fine) and zone panel alignment if the unit needs this – as long as you use eShiftX. 

While on projectors with 1080p panels, fractional (or fine) panel alignment would visibly cut into the chroma channels on patterns – which would also impact content to a degree, there is no major downside with this at 8K due to having 16x the pixel density of 1080p. 

We need to remember that even UHD Blu Ray only has quarter chroma resolution. This means that while brightness (called luma) information is stored at full 4K, the colour (or chroma) information is stored at quarter resolution – so at only 1080p. This then gets upscaled by your player or your display at playback time. 

Due to the above, we have a LOT of extra headroom to play with and align the panels – or the 3 chroma channels if you will. Even after running test patterns, I can’t see obvious chroma resolution loss even with fractional zone panel alignment. Objectively, there is a very slight loss, but it is so small that it can only be seen when pixel-peeping with your face right against the screen. On the other hand, misaligned panels and colour fringing – if bad enough – can be detected from your seating distance, so properly aligning the panels can aid in the projected image appearing sharper, without sacrificing fine detail.

The following are your options for panel alignment from best to worst. But in the case of the NZ8 and NZ9, the worst case is still miles ahead of any other projector:

  1. Align panels at full pixel increments across the full panel (8 tick increments on Fine Panel alignment, as 8 ticks correspond to 1 full pixel)
  2. Align panels at 1/2 pixel increments across the full panel (4 tick increments on Fine Panel alignment)
  3. Align panels using Zone convergence – this is required where the colour channels are misaligned by different amounts on different parts of the panel. It is likely to the the case if you used any horizontal and / or vertical lens shift, especially at the extremes.
    1. 3A. If you can, try and group the zones so that you can align them with 1/2 pixel increments (4 ticks) in larger areas. This will minimise the JVC interpolating between zones and restrict the use of fractional pixel alignment to a smaller area of the screen. Especially important to pay attention to this in the middle of the screen. Some small amount of colour fringing might still remain but this should only visible when right up against the screen.
    2. 3B. If you are very concerned about having the screen 100% aligned in all zones, you can use fractional alignment without the strategy outlined in 3A. However, you will sacrifice the most fine detail in the colour channels this way and there will be pixel blending to varying degrees across the whole screen.

I have personally applied strategy 3A on my NZ8, and it has balanced the appearance of sharpness and fine detail to a point that I am very happy with.

Panel Alignment – Potential Chroma Loss

I wanted to provide a bit more of a theoretical background to chroma resolution and chroma loss when correcting for panel alignment in 8K.

Since we have 4 pixels across and 4 pixels vertically for every 1080p pixel, and each pixel can be shifted by 8 ticks in Fine Panel alignment…

  1. As long as we only use adjustment in 4 tick increments, we should be able to resolve 4K chroma. Full 4K chroma only appears for games consoles or PC output.
  2. As long as we only use adjustment in 2 tick increments, we should be able to resolve 1080p chroma cleanly, which is relevant for 4K video content.

Of course, it is theoretically best to resolve 4K chroma, but for moving video content, that information will be interpolated or upscaled. It will become relevant for 8K content, however, which will have full 4K chroma. However, we could argue that at such high pixel density, there will be diminishing returns in trying to fully resolve it. But from an objective perspective, for JVC’s current 8K projectors, eShiftX is most useful in getting a sharper 4K image, as opposed to displaying all that 8K can do, unless you have a golden sample with perfect panel alignment.

I hope the above discussion sheds a bit more light as to why chroma loss is not nearly as noticeable with these new units.

I have not tested an NZ7 unit, but it has half the pixel density compared to NZ8 / NZ9. So it is probably a good idea to stick to 4 tick adjustments in Fine Panel alignment as much as possible.

Setup – eShift and MPC Settings

So because of all the above, I would recommend having eShiftX on. It will help with resolving fine detail, especially if you have used fine panel alignment. 

However, there is a difference between the eShiftX modes as follows:

  1. Standard uses 1080p as the basis for image processing including scaling and sharpening
  2. High Resolution 1 uses 4K as the basis
  3. High Resolution 2 uses 8K as the basis

Note the following:

  • With eShiftX OFF, I would recommend High Res 1 with up to 5 on the MPC Enhance setting. Motion resolution is excellent.
  • When eShiftX is ON, motion resolution drops with High Res 1 mode active, and only recovers when switching into High Res 2.
  • eShiftX on + High Res 2 has the best motion resolution and resolves the most fine detail. However, this mode will only look very sharp if you have aligned the panels correctly across the whole screen, so use zone convergence if necessary. 

An additional issue with High Res 2 is that MPC Enhance is less effective. But this means you can turn it up all the way to 10. This will give you the most fine detail while staying sharp. If this is not sharp enough for your tastes, use sharpening in your video processor or player, as opposed to switching back into High Res 1.

Setting Black Level

As I said in my previous NZ8 article, the black level on these units is set correctly from factory. However, JVC has opted to raise near-black detail compared to the X series – at least on the NZ8. This helps with shadow detail but it also elevates the black floor with a lot of content that wasn’t mastered with absolute black as the black floor.

So ultimately, you’ll have to decide: do you want to see into every nook and cranny of dark scenes or is the black floor staying black, and laser dimming being more effective more important. 

Dependent on the above, configure the Brightness control between 0 and -2 for both SDR and HDR modes.

Laser Dimming

JVC calls laser dimming Dynamic Laser Control.

For reference viewing, you can only use LD Mode 1 or LD Mode 3. 

LD Mode 1 will gradually dim the laser based on Average Picture Level (APL). It is very effective if you value black floor above all else, and is suitable for dark content.

LD Mode 3 will track the brightest pixel on the screen and adjust brightness accordingly. It is appropriate if you value brightness and contrast above all else while still want the laser to dim for very dark scenes and black frames. 

My reference viewing modes will use either of the above two LD modes. 

To create more contrast with LD Mode 3, close down the manual Iris by a few steps. For example, if you use LD Mode 1 with fully open Iris, use LD Mode 3 with Iris at -3. This will create more native contrast to a point that the black floor will look much closer to LD Mode 1.

LD Mode 2 is very aggressive and uses gamma manipulation and highlight compression to achieve both a lower black floor and higher brightness. So this will be used in my high contrast viewing modes. 

When wanting to emulate the look of optical print, such as when watching movies shot on IMAX or 70mm, it’s best to use a reference viewing mode. These are movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dunkirk and so on. Especially with MPC in High Res Mode 2 to reveal all the fine detail optical media is capable of without that over-sharpened digital look, and loss of fine detail.

When watching more modern movies that benefit from higher contrast, as they were made for high-contrast displays, you can use a High Contrast viewing mode. These could be animated movies or movies shot digitally but not emulating the look of celluloid media. These modes will prioritise higher sharpness and edge enhancement while sacrificing some fine detail and motion resolution. However, if you get on with the reference viewing modes, you can watch such content using those too.

HDR Tone Mapping Configuration

I find the 5 levels of tone mapping a bit inadequate with 2.0 / 2.1 firmware as there is crushing of highlights above 0 including with Auto Wide. For this reason, I opted to use the Theatre Optimiser to create intermediate levels between those 5, to double the number of selections – and make Auto Wide more usable.

To do this, go into Theatre Optimiser and configure it as follows:

  • Screen Size: 130”
  • Screen Gain: 2.5

On the NZ8, this will create intermediate steps between the current set by turning on theatre optimiser. It will also make Auto Wide clip less. Use the Screen Gain to dial it in a bit more accurately for your unit. Since the NZ9 has a brighter laser source, the above settings might need more tweaking.

Viewing Modes

The below are my recommended viewing modes to be set up on these units. Try them out to see how they work on your unit.


High Contrast Mode

  • Picture Mode: User 1 (Rename to SDR High Contrast)
  • Laser Power: Medium or High with lower manual iris position
  • Dynamic Laser Control: Mode 2
  • Manual Iris Position: at least -3, but as low towards -8 as possible. ANSI and on/off contrast is best balanced between -8 and -6.
  • Brightness: -2 
  • Gamma: 2.4 or 2.3
  • Gamma Dark Level: 0 to -2 dependent on preference for contrast versus dark detail
  • CMS: Auto
  • eShiftX: ON
  • MPC Mode: High Res 1
  • MPC Enhance: 5
  • All other MPC: 0

Reference Mode

  • Picture Mode: User 2 (rename to SDR Reference)
  • Laser Power: Medium or High
  • Dynamic Laser Control: Mode 1 or Mode 3
  • Manual Iris Position: -8 to -6
  • Brightness: -2 recommended but adjust between 0 and -2
  • Gamma: 2.4 (or 2.3 for non-dedicated room)
  • Gamma Dark Level: 0
  • CMS: Auto
  • eShiftX: ON
  • MPC Mode: High Res 2
  • MPC Enhance: 10
  • All other MPC: 0


High Contrast Mode

  • Picture Mode: Frame Adapt HDR 1 (Rename to HDR High Contrast)
  • Laser Power: High
  • Dynamic Laser Control: Mode 2
  • Manual Iris Position: -3
  • Brightness: -2
  • Gamma: N/A
  • Gamma Dark Level: N/A
  • CMS: Normal (BT2020)
  • eShiftX: ON
  • MPC Mode: High Res 1 for more sharpness, High Res 2 for more detail
  • MPC Enhance: 10
  • All other MPC: 0
  • HDR Tone Map: Auto (Wide)

Reference Mode

  • Picture Mode: Frame Adapt HDR 2 (Rename to HDR Reference)
  • Laser Power: High
  • Dynamic Laser Control: Mode 1 or Mode 3
  • Manual Iris Position: 0 or -3
  • Brightness: -2
  • Gamma: N/A
  • Gamma Dark Level: N/A
  • CMS: Wide (BT2020)
  • eShiftX: ON
  • MPC Mode: High Res 2
  • MPC Enhance: 10
  • All other MPC: 0
  • HDR Tone Map: Auto (Wide)


  • Picture Mode: User 3 (Rename to 3D)
  • Laser Power: High
  • Dynamic Laser Control: Mode 3
  • Manual Iris Position: 0
  • Brightness: 0
  • Gamma: 2.3 (to gain more brightness)
  • Gamma Dark Level: 0 or -2 to preference for shadow detail
  • CMS: Auto
  • eShiftX: ON
  • MPC Mode: High Res 1
  • MPC Enhance: 5
  • All other MPC: 0

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