JVC DLA-RS20 Projector Review

THX Certification

The JVC DLA-RS20 sports THX certification (a program they launched just over a year ago when they certified their first projectors, a couple of Runco projectors costing at least six times the price of the JVC RS20). The certification indicates that this projector meets their recently defined standard for accurate reproduction. More important than the certification though is the pre-calibrated THX mode, in addition to the others such as Cinema 1 and 2, Stage, Dynamic, etc.

Without a doubt the THX mode offers the best picture and color performance than any of the other presets. That isn’t to say that it’s perfect. I found that a well calibrated projector can produce what I feel is a more satisfying picture. THX mode has good skin tones and overall color, but I found the picture to be just a bit flat, that is, a bit lackluster. Also the black levels aren’t quite as good as in some other modes. THX is the best place for you to start, but a good calibrator, one familiar with this projector, can provide a more enjoyable, impressive, viewing experience.

Color Management System (CMS)

JVC provides a primary and secondary color management system on the JVC DLA-RS20 and the HD750. The lower cost RS10 and HD350 do not have the CMS system.

The CMS comes in very handy. The JVC RS20, for a projector of its caliber, doesn’t do great out of the box, and the usual basic grayscale balance doesn’t get the projector to the performance it is capable of. On the forums, some issues have been reported with some of the characteristics of how the CMS works, but users (the ones who are really into tweaking their projectors), have come up with some great settings. I’ll get into this on the Calibration page. The bottom line, however, is that with a good calibration, including using the CMS, the results are really superb.

Some really spectacular imagery on this disc, for those with an interest in astronomy.

Motorized Lens System

While a number of projectors have motorized focus and zoom, the JVC also has motorized veritical and horizontal lens shift. The reason for pointing this out is that it allows one capabiliity some of you might take advantage of. Let’s say you are putting on a typical Cinemascope movie – 2.35:1 aspect ratio – you’ll have the usual letterboxing at the top and bottom. You can take advantage of the motorized lens shift to drop the active part of the image (the movie) down so that the bottom of the picture is even with the bottom of your screen. If you have dark walls you won’t see the dim lower letterbox on your walls. You’ll still have one at the top, plus some empty screen up there as well, but dropping the movie down will probably place it better for viewing. In most rooms you won’t be looking up as much. The combination also means you can use the JVC with a 2.35:1 screen (if you have the right distance range for your screen), and zoom out when you want to watch standard HDTV or 16:9 movie content, as well as 4:3. Panasonic pitches this feature heavily on the PT-AE3000. The difference is that Panasonic lets you save the lens positioning, so you can switch back and forth with a single button. With the JVC, you’ll be zooming in and out each time you switch from the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, to the others. For those watching mostly movies, this is viable, as it would only take maybe 15 seconds to do the adjustment from the remote.

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