JVC DLA-RS1 1080p Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance
User Memory Settings
Lens Throw and Lens Shift
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Audible Noise Levels
Lamp Life and Replacement
Projector Screen Recommendations
JVC DLA-RS1 Menus
The JVC RS1's menus are, well, typical. They are easy to navigate, easy to read, and only have a quirk or two in terms of layout.
Upon hitting the Menu button on the remote or on the RS1's control panel you get a fairly large menu. The six primary menus are listed across the top, and the Image menu (first) appears. Arrow keys, and the Enter and exit buttons control navigation.
I said some quirks - the one that comes to mind is that the Image menu lacks the selection of the primary presets. It does offer all the other related controls. The first sub-menu provides the usual Contrast, Brightness, Color (saturation) Tint (when available (NTSC), Sharpness and Dynamic Noise Reduction. (As a side note, the JVC's noise levels are very good. I never found the need to engage the DNR. Other Sub-menus include Color Temp, which as three defined settings - Low, Middle, and High. We found, as mentioned before, Low to be too low - too warm, for movies, below the 6500K desired, however Middle was almost dead on the money.
There are too User settings - 1 and 2. Unfortunately, they both default to the High settings. It would have been nice if one started with the Medium settings, but for those of you adjusting the projector, it really isn't a big deal.
The Gamma sub-menu provides Normal, plus A, B, and C. I found A to be generally the most pleasing overall. B is only slightly different, and C provides much brighter mid-tones, more suitable, in my opinion for TV/sports, than movies. There is no user programmable gamma curves, like on a few projectors including the Epson's.
The Offset control again provides separate Red Green and Blue control of the image, and seems to work over the entire range of darkest to brightest.
Lastly, on the Image menu is the Pixel Adjust sub-menu, which allows you to correct for misalignment of the three LCOS panels.
In the unit I received, the red content was approximately 1 pixel to the right and below the Green and Blue (which were in almost perfect alignment). Adjusting using these controls was easy, and I ended up with just a tiny amount of mis-alignment - about 1/4 pixel both vertically and horizontally, between the Red and Blue.
From a practical standpoint, standing more than 3 feet from my 128" screen, I could no longer see any color separation - the final alignment looked perfect.
Moving to the next main menu - labeled Setup, you will find the missing Preset choices, that most manufacturers put on the Image Menus. Shown here, there are three defined Presets - Cinema, Natural, and Dynamic.
Of particular note, is the Mask menu, which is interesting. Most projectors offer the user control of overscan. This allows you to expand the overall image slightly (cropping off the edges) to get rid of unwanted noise around the edge of the image, that is often found with standard definition TV sources. Not so the JVC RS1.
The drawback to the normal method of enlarging the image, is that it requires rescaling the image, and that adds a bit of softness, but fills the screen without those unwanted noisy edges. The RS1, instead, simply crops the image by 2.5 or 5%, maintaining the pixel to pixel mapping of 1080 signals, for no degradation, but instead you get a slightly smaller image, so you don't fill the screen. It's an interesting way of doing it. Those after maximum sharpness will apprecate it, while others will prefer to sacrifice a small amount of sharpness, to continue to fill the screen. Either way, I don't see it as a significant issue. And the good news - the highest quality images, wouldn't need overscan adjustment or masking anyway.
Not much on the Video menu, so I'll skip showing you that, it has an Auto feature, or manual selection of some of the non-standard "pull-downs".
The Installation menu allows you to position the menus where you prefer them, and other menu display options, plus the usual adjustments for rear/front, ceiling/table positioning. Also found here is the high altitude fan setting for those high above sea level.
The last menu shown here is the Function menu which, of greatest note, has the fan power choices of Normal and High (a 15% difference).
Also, there is access to the test patterns, and menu language. The JVC also offers a Sleep Timer to power down the projector if there is no source.
Again, menus are generally well organized, large enough to easily read, and my only objections, are that I would prefer to see the Presets on the Image Menu, and also the Lamp Power (although Lamp power is rarely found on projector's image menus.
JVC DLA-RS1 User Memory Settings
The RS1 has 3 user programmable settings - User 1 through 3. This menu allows you to save all your current settings into either one of them, or clear them to start over. In addition, this screen has the Reset for the three primary presets - Cinema, Natural, and Dynamic, which will set all options and settings back to factory default.
JVC DLA-RS1 Remote Control
Nothing like a really good remote control, and the JVC RS1's remote is very good. Long and thin, and very light (I wouldn't mind a little more weight), it should be easy to handle by large hands and small alike.
One thing I consider very important, is for a remote to be easily workable with one hand, and the JVC remote does that just fine. Another key issue is backlight brightness, and the JVC's backlight is nice and bright. Speaking of backlights, the button to engage the backlight is in the lower right corner, very easy to access. By comparison, many (including the Sony VW50) put it in the top left, much harder to get to.
Let's start at the top: On the left is a very small Off button (press twice for off) and opposite it a larger On button.
After a nice space, come the six source buttons in two rows of three, with the "hi-res" buttons on the first row - HDMI1, 2, and Component video.
Next, changing from bar buttons to round ones come three large buttons for the primary presets - Cinema, Natural, and Dynamic. The change in shape makes those easy to NOT confuse with the source buttons.
The next row of three has the User savable settings buttons, and then the next two rows have (left) color saturation +, and - (the minus is below the + button. In the center, the + and - for Sharpness, and on the right, a Gamma and below it, Color Temp button.
OK, next left is a rocker bar for Contrast + and -, and right, the same for brightness. In between these two large rockers, is a small Info button (on top) and the image mute (labeled HIDE), button.
That takes us to the usual navigation area, with the Menu button on the left, Exit, which moves you back up a menu level on the right, and the four arrow keys in the usual diamond configuration, with a large Enter button in the center.
That's it, except for the Test button on the bottom left, and the previously mentioned backlight button on the right. The Test button toggles you through a number of built in test patterns, including full color bars, gray scale, and separate Red, Green and Blue gradation screens.
JVC DLA-RS1 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The manual zoom lens on the RS1 is quoted as having a 2:1 ratio. The actual lens throw chart in the manual indicates that the ratio is actually just slightly more than that. Officially, here are the numbers for a 16:9 100" diagonal screen. Based on this info, you should be able to calculate the placement range for any sized screen.
For the 100" diagonal screen, the lens can be as close as 9 feet 10 inches, or as far back as 19 feet 11 inches.
The amount of lens shift is very generous, quoted as being 80% vertical and 34% horizontal. As with almost all projectors with lens shift, the two affect each other. If you use most of 80% vertical, you are limit, the amount of horizontal shift, and vice versa.
What does 80% mean? The center point would be having the lens at the same height as the center of the screen. The adjustment would allow you to move the image or down the same amount. Let's assume that 100" diagonal screen. It would be approximately 49.3" high - but I'll round to 50" for simplicity. 80% of 50 inches would be 40 inches. The center point is at 25 inches, so up 40 inches would have the lens 15 inches above the top of the 100" screen, or as low as 15 inches below the bottom. That 100" screen would be 87 inches wide, so 34% of that would be about 27 inches either side of dead center, as the furthest off center - if you are not using the vertical lens shift at all. The manual has a chart to show you how they affect each other.
JVC DLA-RS1 SDE and Rainbow Effect
Perfect - or almost. There is no rainbow effect - which is caused by the spinning color wheel in single chip DLP projectors. The JVC is a three chip LCOS, so it's not even a relevant issue.
SDE, or screen door effect, is the patterning caused by the fixed pixels of the projector, creating a pattern with the data being viewed. This has long been described as like viewing through a screen door. The larger the pixel size, the more likely. First, as a 1080 resolution home theater projector, the pixel size is very small, but more importantly LCOS projectors like the JVC RS-1 start with the least visible pixel structures of the three major types LCD, DLP and LCOS. As a result, the pixel structure is completely invisible at even the closest acceptable seating distance, and screen door effect is non-existant.
As I stated, the pixel structure is invisible at normal distances. Here is a closeup of the "usual" cable guide. the thumbnail shows the entire guide, and clicking on it gives you a large image of an extremely small area in the bottom center. Click on the second thumbnail for a similar enlarged image of the BenQ W10000 - a typical DLP 1080p when it comes to pixel structure.
In reality, none of the 1080p LCOS or DLP projectors have an issue with visible pixel structure at any reasonable seating distance. This is an issue only for typical 1080p LCD projectors as well as all 720p and lower resolution projectors.
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JVC DLA-RS1 Light Leakage
The RS1 has no light leakage issues. When you consider how superior this projector is in black levels, any light leaking through the lens, would be dramatic. I do notice slightly brighter areas in the upper left and lower right, but these may just be the normal amount of uneveness of illumination that all projectors suffer. There is also no noticeable light leaking out of the exhaust vents, etc.
Bottom line - no issue here!
JVC DLA-RS1 Audible Noise Levels
The JVC is not perfect (surprise). In Normal lamp mode (it's quiet mode), JVC rates the projector at 25db, which is extremely quiet, which is confirmed by working with it. When I switch to High fan mode, however it does get noisier. It's still not as noisy as the DLP projectors, nor as quiet as the LCD powered Panasonic and it's virtually silent competition, the Mitsubishi HC5000. I would put the noise level around 30 - 32 db in full power. The good news is that it is a particularly low pitched sound. Total quiet fanatics might have an issue, but after 3 dozen hours of viewing - almost all in high power, I never found it to be intrusive, only really noticing it softly when on pause. Even durning quiet scenes, I just never noticed unless listening for it.
The bad news is for you "high altitude" folks. If are in Denver or other "high altitude" locations, the High Altitude setting adds significantly more noise. If you have the lamp set for Normal (low power), and engage High Altitude, the noise level increases, I believe to the same levels as High power mode, with High Altitude turned off.
The real problem occurs combining High Altitude with High Power on the lamp. At this point, the JVC gets rather noisy, and the pitch of the sound rises as well. I don't measure sound, but we are probably looking at 33db or a little more. If there's a bright spot, much of the noise seems to come out the exhaust port on the front, so if you have the projector celing mounted close to the screen, you'll find yourself behind the projector in a slightly quieter place.
If there's a bright spot for you high altitude people, it's that High Power on the lamp is only about 15% brighter than Normal. Since the RS1 is one of the brightest projectors projectors around in "best" mode, most of you will just not bother with the lamp on High.
JVC DLA-RS1 Projector Brightness
There's good, and there's not so good news here!
The really, really good news is that the projector is extremely bright for a home theater projector in "Best" mode.
Cinema mode (with Color Temp at Middle), even on Normal (low) lamp power, cranked out a very impressive 654 lumens. Kicking the lamp into high power, increased lumen output to a very bright 773 lumens. These numbers are after the minor ajustments for grayscale balance, and should not have affected the brightness by more than a dozen lumens.
The not so good news, is that the projector does not have a lot of extra lumens in its brightest - Dynamic mode, where even in full power, It mustered up only 887 lumens. I must comment that the image quality in Dynamic, however is far better than most projectors in their equivalent brightest modes. I'm sure with tweaking, and sacrificing some color accuracy and image quality, I could probably find an extra 100 lumens, but there seemed no way to get the output up to the 1000+ lumens typical of the DLP 1080p projectors.
Natural mode, produced 768 lumens in High power lamp mode.
The point here, is that the DLA-RS1 has more than its fair share of lumens for movie watching, providing a rather brilliant image compared to the Sony Pearl, or the LCD entries. Not even the Optoma HD81 can match its "best mode brightness", although the Optoma and BenQ can muster up more lumens with the sacrafice of image quality.
The really nice thing is that the RS1, with lamp power on High, easily handled my 128" diagonal Firehawk screen! Only the two DLP's mentioned so far, could also do that in their best mode.
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JVC DLA-RS1 Lamp Life and Replacement
JVC rates the lamp life at 2000 hours, whether in Normal or High mode. This isn't really surprising to have one rating for both modes, for the RS1 only reduces brightness by 15% (most projectors drop it 20 - 25%) in its low power mode (Normal).
JVC DLA-RS1 Projector Screen Recommendations
Well you could buy a Firehawk screen. Certainly the Firehawk paired beautifully with the JVC RS1. Truth is, however, it is likely to be a room generated decision. The black levels are so low compared to anything else, that you certainly don't need the High Contrast gray properties of the Firehawk and similar screens to lower black levels.
For most people, therefore I would recommend a white surface screen, with a little gain - 1.1 to 1.4, to maintain a wide viewing angle, and provide a very slight boost to brightness.
My testing room's 106" Carada with Brilliant White surface paired with the JVC looked phenonmenal, and would be an excellent choice, whether larger or smaller.
Going top of the line, Stewart's Studiotek 130 (considered by many to be the industry standard), has a 1.3 gain, and is overall similar to my Carada. The Studiotek may well be the ultimate screen for the JVC, for theaters and rooms with dark walls, and no ambient light issues, in particular, but more than suitable for most rooms. The high contrast gray surfaces instead, like my Firehawk, Da-lite's Da-Mat, or Elite's HC gray, should be considered if you have side ambient light issues.
Io love the JVC on my Firehawk however! Stunning doesn't even begin to desribe it on dynamic images with lots of dark areas, as are common in Space Cowboys, X-men: The Last Stand, Phantom of the Opera and so on.
JVC DLA-RS1 Measurements and Calibration
As noted earlier, the JVC needs almost no adjusting. To maximize performance on movies, combining the Cinema preset, with a Color Temp setting of Middle, and you are pretty much set, with the color temperature only slightly above the ideal 6500K. However, doing a grayscale balance, fine tunes the projector even more. Here are the numbers:
Cinema - Middle, fan on High: Default
Brightness: 761 lumens
100IRE (white): 6689K
Note that all measurements were within 70K of each other - and I'm pretty sure that's the closest grouping I've ever seen, before adjustments.
To reduce the color temperature slightly, I simply adjusted the Blue offset to -6, not touching Red or Green. That yielded:
That's extremely close to perfect. Based on the amount of shift the -6 Blue resulted in, I ended up setting the Blue offset to -7 instead of the -6 for the rest of my viewing, although I didn't bother to remeasure (that change should drop each by about another 20K).
Contrast and Brightness on my test unit were essentially dead on, I made no changes.
The only other change I made was to Color (saturation), which I changed from default of -5 to -7, a very, very slight amount. Of note, preferred saturation will likely vary slightly depending on the properties of the screen, whether your walls are light or dark, etc.
Natural Mode produced a grayscale measurement of 6406K with default settings and lamp on High Power.
Dynamic mode measured 7671K with default settings and lamp on High Power. That cooler color temp is more suitable for TV/HDTV and sports in general, than either Cinema or Natural settings.
JVC DLA-RS1 Image Noise
The RS1 relies on Gennum processing, and Gennum has been highly regarded for several years. Gennum is probably best known for handling the processing in the Marantz projectors, but can also be found in other projectors. That includes the outboard processor box for the competing Optoma HD81.
Noise levels were from acceptable to very good across the board. I ran the new HQV 1080p test disk and the JVC performed very well, with no issues worth reporting. Upon close inspection of large stationary bright images, you can make out a little noise, but that is typical, and not likely to ever be noticed unless you are looking for it.
The JVC has DNR (dynamic noise control) on the main image menu, but I never felt the need to use it.
Time to move on, next is the warranty page (the only pages in my reviews that take seconds to read, not minutes, and following that, the Summary page.