JVC RS2 Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance
There's lots to cover in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.
JVC DLA-RS2 Menus
JVC DLA-RS2 User Memory Settings
DLA-RS2 Remote Control
Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
SDE and Rainbow Effect
JVC DLA-RS2 Projector Brightness
JVC DLA-RS2 Light Leakage
JVC DLA-RS2 Audible Noise Levels
DLA-RS2 Projector Screen Recommendations
Misc. Performance Items
JVC DLA-RS2 Menus
JVC RS2 User Memory Settings
The JVC offers three User memory settings, found below the three primary image profiles (Cinema, Natural, and Dynamic). In addition there are two savable Memory settings for Color Temperature, which can be incorporated into the user savable memory settings.
JVC DLA-RS2 Projector - Remote Control
Nothing like a really good remote control, and the JVC RS2's remote is very good. Identical to the remote that came with the RS1, the RS2's remote control is 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.
Things I consider very important in a remote, include a layout that is 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.
From 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 - HDMI 1 and 2, and Component video.
Next comes 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 row below that has the three 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.
Adjusting the JVC DLA-RS2's zoom and focus
Since JVC chose to use the same remote control for the RS2 as the RS1, the addition of power zoom and focus on the RS2, meant that there is no button on the remote that could be defined for those functions. Instead, press the Test button, select the green grid test pattern, and then hold down the left arrow key, and a FOCUS box will appear in the middle of the screen. (It only works with that test pattern, not the others. The up and down arrow keys let you focus. To adjust the zoom lens, then press the Enter button, which will toggle you back and forth between focus and zoom. Hitting the Exit button takes you back to normal viewing.
Review continues below this advertisement.
JVC DLA-RS2 Lens Throw and Lens Shift
The motorized zoom lens on the RS2 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" 16:9 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 greater than most, 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 RS2 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
Just about as good as things get. 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, and therefore there is no color wheel, so, the Rainbow Effect is 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 including the JVC RS-2, 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.
JVC DLA-RS2 Projector Brightness
Officially the RS2 is not as bright as the older RS1. The RS1 claimed 700 lumens (we measured 763 lumens in best mode and upper 800's in brightest).
The DLA-RS2 is not as bright as the RS1, but it's higher contrast seems to make up for that a bit. JVC rates the DLA-RS2 at 600 lumens (at D65).
In Cinema mode, lamp on full power, the RS2 measured (with the zoom lens in the middle of its range) 537 lumens. In Low power, the output dropped 17% to 448 lumens, still brighter than most 1080p projectors at full power, in their best (and dimmest) modes.
I was surprised by the 537 lumens, I expected more. This unit looks to be a full production projector (pre-production units often aren't quite as bright). The other difference might be that the RS1 when reviewed was brand new out of the box. This one had over 60 hours on it when I did my measurements, and as many say, the lamps loose brightness and shift color over their life, and more than just a little in the first 100 hours. It's purely conjecture, but had that RS1 had 60 hours on it, it might have measured 20 or 40 lumens less, but I'm just guessing.
The important thing is the projector still had no problem with my 128" diagonal Firehawk G3. I think it will do ok with my screen thoughout its lamp life, but don't really think a larger screen will work unless you are fully darkened, dark walls/ceiling, for movie watching. And it is brighter than my RS1 is now (with over 1000 hours on the lamp). The point of this is, when I make screen size recommendations I consider that a projector won't be as bright as the lamp ages. Thus, if I say fine for 110" screens, I mean that the projector should still do a good job on a screen that size even as the lamp reaches the end of its life.
I digresss. Let's get back to the measurements.
In Natural mode the projectors brightness pretty much is unchanged, at 541 lumens. The difference is well within the measurement error range.
Dynamic gets a bit more boost, but, like with the RS1, not a whole lot. The RS2 measured only 54 lumens more - 591 lumens. All in all, the JVC RS2 has less lumens, and less punch than the RS1. The overall color balance of Dynamic is very good, much better than most equivalent modes on other projectors. That means you can probably squeeze out an extra 100 lumens without much trouble, by pushing up green and also blue, and sacrificing the black performance.
My impression, though, is that the higher contrast partially makes up for that. As a result, the RS2 stil seems to be a very bright projector. One thing of note, however, is competitive in nature. Last year the JVC RS1 was rather dramatically brighter than Sony's VW50. With the slight increase in brightness in the VW60, and the drop with the RS2, the new Sony is approaching the brightness of the RS2 in best modes, and is actually brighter in brightest mode. That should affect many people's thinking when choosing between the two. Last year, brightness would have been a big deciding factore favoring the JVC. This time around, the Sony's lower price might gather more attention.
RS2 Projector - Light Leakage
The RS2 leaks light out through the lens. In an almost pitch black room you can see a fair amount of light around the screen if there is no image. In reality, though, under normal viewing, you rarely will notice it, even with lighter colored walls. With a dark wall around the screen, you can forget about it all together. Bottom line - not a problem.
RS2 Audible Noise Levels
The JVC is rather average. In low power mode it is very quiet, and in high power lamp mode, it is a bit noisy, although not as noisy as the typical DLP projector, nor for that matter one or two LCD models such as the Epson Home Cinema 1080. On the other hand, many LCD projectors - notably the Mitsubishi's and the Panasonic, are almost silent by comparison. The noise levels are the same as the RS1, and I've been living happily with the RS1 running at high lamp power for quite some time. (In my room, the RS1 is mounted about 11 feet up, on the rear wall, about 8 feet behind me - so not very close). I should note that the RS2 also has a high altitude mode, where the fan runs faster (and louder). This is typical of almost all home theater projectors, but with JVC recommending using it over 3000 feet elevation, that's lower than most, which tend to spec between 4000 and 5000 feet.
Review continues below this advertisement.
RS2 Projector Screen Recommendations
No queston about it. The JVC RS2 pairs beautifully with my Firehawk G3. With my still off white walls, and some ambient light the RS2 handles my afternoon football games reasonably well, too. If you've got the right room - dark walls and ceilings, and all lighting is well controlled, though, the black levels are such that you really don't need a gray surface screen. On my 106" Carada Brilliant White, the image was eye-popping, although even the RS2's extremely dark blacks are noticeably less black, due to the smaller screen and the white surface. I think a 110" - 125" diagonal screen like the Carada, or the Stewart Studiotek 130 in the right room, has got to make for a spectacular combination.
In other words match the screen to the room. The projector is excellent enough to do great on either type, high contrast gray, or white surface. I wouldn't use a plus gain white like those two, under 100" size though. At 100 to 110 inches, if you feel it too bright, drop the lamp into low.
RS2 Projector Measurements and Calibration
OK, here goes.
Naturally I'll start with Cinema mode. The following measurements are with the Color Temperature set to Low.
With lamp at full power:
White (100 IRE): 6488K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6444K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6397K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6379K
That's about as good as it gets, out of the box. A very tight projector, with only only 109K difference between the warmest and coolest settings.
The JVC's output is slightly cooler (about 200K - 250K higher) when the lamp is in low power mode.
As a side note, I normally leave a projector on, for about 30 minutes before beginning measurements, as I did when I first measured the RS2. A couple days later, I was rechecking some numbers, and was surprised to find that the same setup that generated, the 100IRE numbers above, measured about 300K higher, the second time around. Then I realized that I started the new measurement after the projector was only on about 5 minutes. Sure enough, I left the projector alone for a while, and came back, maybe 25 minutes later, and the numbers were again very close to the first measurements. The moral of the story? The color temperature of this projector (and no doubt every other one), changes a small, but significant amount over the first 30 minutes. (It likely continues to change, but only slightly). To verify that, I remeasured again, after about another 15 minutes, and the color temperature only shifted by about 20-30K.
I did setup Memory 1, to raise the color temperature very slightly. To accomplish that I put in the following color settings: Red -6, Green -29, and Blue -37
The end result proved to be a truly excellent set of numbers, and corresponding color accuracy for movie watching:
White (100 IRE): 6530K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6554K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6609K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6444K
Green was virtually dead on at all IREs.
Please note, with the settings above, the projector dropped down about 20 lumens, compared to the low color temp setting, but other variations could just as easily boost lumens slightly.
The Natural setting (Medium Color Temp)
White (100 IRE): 7139K
Light gray (80 IRE): 7174K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 7139K
Low gray (30 IRE): 7117K
Green was just a tiny bit high with this combination, although highest at 30IRE, but barely above ideal at white (100IRE).
Those numbers are a bit warm (low) for TV viewing, so I tried again, with Color Temp set to High:
White (100 IRE): 7921K
Light gray (80 IRE): 8007K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 8043K
Low gray (30 IRE): 7966K
That made for better HDTV viewing than the Medium color temperature setting.
In Dynamic Mode I only recorded the color temperature for white. Here are the measurements for Low, Medium and High Color Temp settings:
White, Low: 6373K
White, Medium: 6878K
White, High: 7727K
Green, not surprising was even higher than Natural mode, but not overly heavy.
You'll note those are fairly consistant with the different color temperature modes, (High, Medium, and Low)and less affected by the Image Profile (Cinema, Natural, Dynamic).
Enough. The point here is that the out of the box color balance of the Cinema mode, with Color Temperature at Medium is excellent, but can be improved slightly!
RS2 Image Noise
I ran the 1080p HQV disc, and found that overall, the RS2 performed excellently. it uses Gennum processing - one of the most highly respected brands of image processing solutions, also used by Marantz, and in some higher end Optoma's. No noteworthy issues detected. Background noise levels are very good, jaggies are not an issue at all, and regular motion artifacts were not a problem.
I have, however read about occasional complaint (on the forums) about motion blur on high speed movement on the RS1, and that would carry through to the RS2 as well, I believe. Now I can easily spot 3:2 pull-down, so its not that. When viewing content originating as 1080p 24fps, where 3:2 pull-down is not needed, if there was motion blur, I couldn't see it. This may be something like rainbow effect, where some are more sensitive than others. Of the emails I've received from owners, none have mentioned it, but... if like rainbow effect, it may only affect a very tiny portion of the population.
Theoretically, motion blur would come from the relatively slow speed at which the LCoS panels (or LCD panels) work at, compared to DLP. (Motion blur is also occasionally reported on LCD home theater projectors.) I wonder, however, if some of the reports are people seeing 3:2 pull-down. I'll keep looking for motion blur, and I'll let you know if/when I find some.
JVC RS2 - Other Features, Benefits and Issues