JVC DLA-RS2 1080p Home Theater Projector Review: Overview and Physical Attributes
12/26/07 - Art Feierman
So similar to the JVC RS1, the JVC DLA-RS2 and its twin (with slightly different cosmetics - the HD100), looks to be the sub-$10,000 home theater projector to beat. Improving on the older version's best in class black level and contrast, the RS2 looks to solidify JVC's leadership in home theater projector performance.
The JVC uses 3 LCoS panels (a hybrid liquid crystal design). JVC calls it D-iLA. For reference, Sony's VW60 is also LCoS (they call theirs SXRD).
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- Outstanding picture quality
- Best black levels and shadow detail of any of the projectors anywhere near its price (and possibly at any price)
- $7995 MSRP, and worth it
- Power zoom and focus, and a 2:1 zoom ratio
- Manual vertical and horizontal lens shift
- Excellent color performance, right out of the box
- 2 HDMI 1.3 inputs, but no analog computer input
- Brighter than most, in highest quality "best" cinema mode
I liked the RS1 enough to buy one for my home theater. Now I'm seriously considering replacing it in the next month or two, with the RS2. Believe me I can live with the RS1, but the RS2 is a bit better, and as a reviewer, I think it important that I have the best current model my budget will allow. This gives me a "reference" projector that's always here, to compare the competition against.
New for the RS2 and HD100, are power zoom and focus, increased contrast, HDMI 1.3 support, and a higher price. JVC has also lowered the list price of the RS1 and HD1 to $5495, while setting the RS2 and HD100 at $7995. Whether JVC will shortly be phasing out the RS1 and HD100, and then lower the price of the RS2 and HD100, I have no idea. However, the older models have only been shipping in quantity since late April 2007, only 7 months ago. My guess then, is that the RS1 and HD100 may well be around at least until April or May. Or JVC may want to have two projectors in the lineup, and keep the older ones around for a long time. We shall see.
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JVC DLA-RS2 Home Cinema Projector: Basic Specs
Technology: 3 panel D-iLA (LCoS)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 600 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 2:1
Lens shift: manual - both vertical and horizontal, with excellent range
Lamp life: 2000 hours at low power, 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: 25.5 lbs. (11.4 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor standard
Click here for more complete JVC DLA-RS2 Specs specifications and brochure.
JVC DLA-RS2 Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour
The DLA-RS2 is one of the largest of the under $10,000 projectors, a little larger than the Sony VW50 and VW60, and the BenQ W10000. The RS2 has a reflective black "piano" finish, as did the RS1. Overall the JVC, although a "box" has clean lines and would be described as "striking" rather than "pretty" (like the InFocus IN76, or Planar 7060). I like the choice of a black finish. I expect most people buying this projector will have a dedicated room, and probably a fairly dark ceiling or walls, for the projector to blend in nicely. Physically, about the only visible difference between the RS2 and RS1, is that the DLA-RS2 has gold trim around the lens instead of silver, as is on the older RS1. You will also notice the lack of a physical way to adjust focus and zoom, as one of the new features of the DLA-RS2 (and its twin, the DLA-HD100), is power zoom and focus, instead of manual.
Facing the RS2, you see a center mounted, recessed zoom lens, and a small infra-red sensor just to its right. On the far left is the exhaust port, and on the far right, the intake. The exhaust port blows hot air out at an angle away from the lens.
The lens is motorized. Having motorized focus is a real plus, as with it, you can stand right next to the screen while focusing, to be sure of the absolute sharpest focus. To fill a 100" diagonal (16:9) screen, the front of the JVC projector can be as close as 9 feet 10 inches or as far back as 19 feet 11 inches. That's slightly more than the actual 2:1 ratio claimed.
Of significant importance, and essentially invisible, because they are recessed into the bottom just below the lens, are two small rotating rings. The one on the right is a manual control for the vertical lens shift, and the one on the left, controls the horizontal lens shift.
On the bottom front of the projector are two screw thread adjustable feet. (Two more at the back bottom).
On the top of the JVC RS2 is a vertical band about two inches wide from front to back center. Within this is the control panel, consisting of small buttons and bars, as seen in this image.
From front to back, there are three indicator lights: Warning, Lamp, and Standby/On.
Immediately after those, is the power button (bar). Once to turn on, twice to power down.
The Input button is next for source selection, followed by a video mute button that blanks the screen (labeled HIDE). Next come two buttons side by side, Menu on the left, Exit on the right, followed by the traditional 4 arrow key layout, with a centered Enter button. And that's the control panel!
Moving to the back of the JVC RS2 projector, and its control panel.
I would say that the RS2 is pretty basic, in terms of inputs and outputs.
There are two HDMI inputs (both 1.3 HDMI, up from 1.2 HDMI on the RS1), one component video input (3 RCA jacks), and the usual S-video and composite video inputs. In addition, there is an RS-232 port for command and control from a computer, and the rear infra-red sensor.
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The inputs are located in a small area on the left rear. Spacing is tight. For example I tried to hook up one HDMI input with an HDMI cable, and the second HDMI input with a cable with DVI connector, and adapter to HDMI on the other. The wider DVI made having both in at the same time impossible. Even the spacing between the three RCA jacks for the component cable is tight. Other than the DVI/adapter, next to the HDMI, everything else fit, even if tight. There is also a screw removable door next to HDMI2, possibly for an upgrade?
I would have liked to see a 3rd HDMI input, and maybe even a 2nd component video input. Most projectors in this price range have 2 HDMI's (only the Optoma HD81 has 3 (the BenQ has one...). Some have a second component video input.
What the JVC DLA-RS2 seriously lacks, however, is a standard analog PC input. That's my same complaint as with the RS1 (and HD1, its twin). I do like to project from my laptop, and almost all home theater projectors support an analog computer input. To feed a computer input to the RS2, will require a bit of expense, to convert the analog PC signal to HDMI, if your computer lacks HDMI. Fortunately for me, I have a MacBook Pro laptop, with HDMI out (actually DVI), and it works flawlessly with the JVC DLA-RS2
Directly below the input panel area is the recessed power receptacle.
If you are looking at the projector from the back, there is a user cleanable filter that slides out from the right side bottom. The manual says "clean regularly" but gives no specific number of hours. For heavy users, probably once a month is a good idea, although few people clean their filters as often as they should. The lamp door for replacing the lamp is also on that side. Myself, having the older RS1 now for 7 months, have only cleaned the filter twice, with no visible side effects, and my lamp has just reached 1000 hours of use. (I'm planning a 3rd cleaning in the next week or so.) The cleaner the filter, the cooler the projector will run, and that should translate into slightly more lamp life.
Most projectors recommend some clearance numbers for good ventilation. Of note, the JVC RS2 (and HD100) recommend 8 inches behind the projector if you are shelf mounting.