Runner-Up – Best in Class ($3500+): JVC DLA-RS49/RS4910/X500R

The JVC DLA-RS49/RS4910/X500R: Why They Won

We had the RS4910 version here.  From a performance standpoint the three projectors are identical.  The RS4910 goes though one distribution channel through the AVID distributor, the RS49 another channel, and the X500R still another.  The RS4910 costs more than the others, but for that you are getting a longer warranty, not better performance.

In reviewing the RS4910 I was really surprised.  I’m used to the top of the line JVC’s such as the X700R and X900R (essentially the same, but for quality control of the components, and a hefty price difference), being the king of black level performance, with the lower end models a definite step down.  This year though, JVC upgraded the LCoS panels in their new models and added a dynamic iris!   Those two improvements allow the RS4910 to produce outstanding black level performance, perhaps exceeding last year’s top of the line projector (at $11,999).  In fairness those top of the lines last year did not have a dynamic iris, they did it natively.

Still, JVC now has a pretty smooth iris action and the resulting black level performance of the RS4910 is so good that I have to wonder if their more expensive projectors can be worth the extra since in theory, it’s better black levels that you are paying thousands of dollars more for.

On the other hand, JVC’s 4K e-shift3, while an interesting detail enhancement solution, still doesn’t meet my definition of 4K  The LCoS panels still have 1080p sized pixels.

Other detail enhancement solutions from other manufacturers do things differently, but they all have something in common, which is they still can’t produce the super fine results of a true 4K projector.  Of course since there still isn’t a price competitive 4K projector, this JVC proves to be an excellent choice for those who can’t afford to spring for one of Sony’s true 4K projectors.

I really liked the JVC RS4910.  If I was looking to spend between $5K and $8K for a dedicated home theater projector, it would be my choice.

If you are considering one of these, the only critical question you have to ask yourself, is this:   Should I spend the money now, or a) keep what I have, or b) buy a less expensive projector now, so that I can afford a true 4K projector a year or more sooner.  Certainly we will have true 4K projectors down in the $5K price range in 3 years time, and I’m thinking really two years is possible.

On the other hand, if you just don’t care about true 4K (that would be too bad), or are comfortable that you’ll get a true 4K projector as soon as prices come down to this price range, then I’d say “go for it.”

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