The HD1 is among the first of a new batch of affordable home cinema projectors that offers support for the 'Full HD' 1080p picture resolution. But that's not all that's special about this projector. It also boasts technology that allows it to deliver extremely deep blacks and lots of contrast in pictures -- both of which are holy grails of the projector world.
Priced at around £4,500 the HD1 certainly isn't cheap, but it boasts a specification that would have cost you three times as much just a year ago, so in some ways it's great value for money.
Measuring 172mm by 455mm by 418mm, the HD1 is about twice the size of the average DLP or LCD machine and, as you would expect, it's quite heavy, too. JVC has done its best to camouflage this bulky frame with a slick looking piano-black finish and a luxurious silver stripe down the centre, however the size of the projector will still be an issue for many as it won't, for example, fit on an average book shelf. In fact, we'd say the only sensible option would be to have it professionally mounted on the ceiling, which you're going to have to budget a bit extra for.
Nevertheless, the large size does mean that JVC has been able to kit it out with a decent range of connectors on the rear. You get composite and S-Video inputs for hooking up standard-definition kit, plus a single component port and twin HDMI sockets for use with high-definition kit.
And while many projectors come with pretty pathetic remotes, it's obvious that JVC has spent time on this one. It's long and slender, yet it also has large buttons that are arranged sensibly. We also loved the built-in light sensor that automatically illuminates the buttons when it detects that the room has darkened.
Setting up the projector is relatively easy, especially as JVC has kitted it out with both horizontal and vertical lens shift. Using these controls you can move the projected picture from side to side or up and down without having to physically move the projector.
The HD1 allows you to shift the picture vertically by 80 per cent of the projected image and horizontally by 34 per cent. It's not as flexible as the lens shift on, say, Panasonic's 1080p PT-AE1000, but it's still very useful and lets you project a straight image even when the machine is significantly off-centre from the screen. Also, the short throw lens has a 2x zoom so you don't need a massively large room to be able to throw really big images.
Once you've got it projecting straight pictures you may want to jump in to the menus to tweak the picture settings. Luckily the menus are well laid-out and easy to navigate using the remote control. There are plenty of advanced settings like colour gamma controls to allow tweakers to adjust the projector to perfection, but the menus are also structured so as not to be too daunting for novices.