Home Theater Projector Review: JVC DLA-RS2 LCD Projector: Summary, Pros, Cons
The JVC DLA-RS2 is the best of the 1080p projectors I've reviewed, and that covers most of the sub-$10,000 projectors out there. I think that should qualify it for our Hot Product Award.
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The list of strengths of the RS2 is formidable, and there are few limitations. The price is high, but in my opinion if you are one who plans to really appreciate a really high level of viewing experience, and it's within your budget, then the money is well spent.
One really nice thing about the RS2 is that it has tremendous placement flexibility, comparable to any of the LCD projectors and more flexible than any of the DLP projectors. So, the good news is, if you want one, it will most likely work in your room. Most who would prefer to shelf mount in the rear of their rooms will have that option.
What the JVC DLA-RS2 is all about, though, is picture quality. Unlike most of the projectors it competes against, the JVC review unit is almost dead on out of the box. The end result is excellent skin tones, and a great overall picture, with depth and richness.
When it comes to the competition, the RS2 has few direct competitors. The closest is probably the Sony VW60. The Sony is, in a sense, a poor man's RS2. I say that, because although the Sony can't match the JVC's black levels or shadow detail, it is about the next best thing in terms of black level performance, even though there is a real difference between the two. And, it comes extremely close in shadow detail. The JVC also beats the Sony in other ways, most notably it is slightly brighter in best mode. The Sony is at home with screens around 110" and smaller, (and with the right room, a size or two larger), while the RS2 is comfortable on screens up to my 128" Firehawk. Both are film-like. Both are LCoS so they share many traits.
Click on the image below for a larger version. Sony VW60 (left) vs. RS2 (right):
Another serious competitor is Optoma's HD81-LV, the brightest of the home theater projectors (excluding the 3 chip DLP projectors). It is far brighter than even the JVC, producing about twice as many lumens in best mode. While the JVC is excellent out of the box, the Optoma needs tuning. The Optoma is particularly good at producing an image that is rich looking, and especially on dark scenes produces a picture with a lot of depth. In that regard, I'd give it a slight edge over the RS2. The JVC, however is the more film-like. The Optoma is less transparent, in that its image seems a little hard by comparison. Unfortunately for Optoma it is about the most limited projector, in terms of placement flexibility, with only a 1.2:1 zoom lens, and no lens shift. It also possesses a large offset, so for larger screens you also need taller ceilings. The JVC wins hands down in that area. The Optoma HD81-LV is less of a direct competitor, than an alternative for those needing maximum brightness.
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Perhaps the biggest threat to RS2 sales, however, is the RS1. So far JVC is keeping the RS1 in the lineup, and right now the price spread at MSRP is $2500. The RS1 is only $5495 in the US, vs $7995 for the RS2. While the RS2 may have the advantage in black levels, the RS1 is the brighter of the two models.
Overall, the quality of all of the 1080p projectors is really very good, even the most entry level. The JVC RS2, however is a significant step up.
You get the idea. Let's consider the strengths and weaknesses.
JVC DLA-RS2 projector, Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
JVC DLA-RS2 Projector: Pros
- Excellent picture quality, right out of the box
- Best black level performance yet
- Brighter than average projector in its best picture mode
- Extremely good shadow detail
- Excellent overall placement flexibility thanks to:
- Wide range on zoom lens (2:1)
- Vertical lens shift with more range than most, and horizontal shift as well
- Focus and zoom are powered
- 2 HDMI inputs, HDMI 1.3
- Supports 1080p 24fps
- Support (proper aspect ratio) 3rd party anamorphic lens for CinemaScope (no letterbox)
- 3 user savable settings
- Good menu layout
- Good remote control
- Lamp can be replaced without unmounting from a ceiling mount
JVC DLA-RS2 Projector: Cons
- No analog computer input
- Slight crush of darkest shadow details
- Physically large
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JVC DLA-RS2 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Lamp life (2000 hours)
- Warranty (2 years parts and labor)
- On projector control panel
- Brightness in brightest picture mode
- Audible noise levels
JVC DLA-RS2 Summary: The Bottom Line
Based on my owning the RS1 for 7 months as of this writing and considering the improvements in the RS2, I will simply say that the RS2 is a keeper. For all but a few of the hardcore perfectionists and really rich folks, who just want the best and don't mind plunking down $50,000 for a projector, the JVC DLA-RS2 should be your last projector. Or, at least until the next breakthrough comes along - like 3-D, or perhaps super-duper quintuple resolution Ultra Special HDTV standards make all this obsolete!