JVC DLA-RS45 and DLA-X30 Physical Tour
01/17/2012 - Art Feierman
JVC DLA-RS45 Physical Appearance
This DLA-RS45 projector, and its identical twin, the DLA-X30 projector, is the second generation in this larger box. The projector is definitely a size larger than my own JVC RS20, and almost all other under $10,000 projectors.
Everything is motorized, which means zoom, lens shift and focus. The 2:1 zoom lens is center mounted, and recessed, The otherwise shiny black piano finish of the projector is only interrupted by the gold trim ring around the lens, gold lettering, etc. Elegant looking, though large compared to most projectors that pass through here.
The JVC DLA-RS45's indicator lights are on the top front to the left of the lens (if you are facing the projector). In addition to the lens, the front also houses the front Infra-red sensor for the remote control. (There's a second one in the back.)
Four screw thread adjustable feet are located on the bottom of both the RS45 and X30 projectors.
This year, the input panel is on the back, not the left side (when looking from the back). Personally, I find back panels a "safer" place to put all the cabling, but in my last place, the side cabling worked great with the JVC (people entered from the other side of the room, seeing the side of the projector without the cables). In other words, which is best depends really, on your room.
There is, of course, a control panel on the projector. Instead of on top, where a majority of projectors have their control panels, JVC has placed the control panel for the DLA-RS45 (and the other new RS and X series projectors) in the center of the back panel of the projector. That's right next to the inputs and other connectors. For most, that's just fine. If you are shelf mounting, however, with minimum rear space on your shelf, getting to the control panel will be essentially impossible, so don't misplace the JVC RS45's remote control.
The RS45 and X30's control panel are located on the back of the projector, in the center, just to the right of the inputs and connections area.
At the top, is the Power button, with the usual press once for On, press twice for Off. Note: The JVC also has a hard power switch by the power cord.
The Input - source selection is next, followed by the OK, the Enter key.
Then comes the four arrow buttons in a diamond shaped arrangement. It would have been nice to have the OK button in the center, instead of above.
Lastly, side by side, are the Menu, and (menu) Back buttons. Pretty standard stuff. Of course, we all primarily rely on the remote control, and probably only use the control panel during initial setup, if at all. Especially buried on the back.
JVC DLA-RS45 and DLA-X30 Projector Input/Output
All of the JVC projector's connectors are located on the back left side. The top row starts with a pair of HDMI 1.4a connectors. There's also a LAN connector, and an RS-232 serial port for possible updates and other uses.
Next up, are three RCA connectors for the component video input. There are no composite or S-Video inputs. The rear IR sensor for the remote, is to the right of the component video (and hard to see in the image above.)
The bottom row has the sync port (a DIN connector) for the external 3D sync device. Finally, there is a 12 volt screen trigger for controlling a motorized screen or masking system, and a hard wire for the remote control should the projector be where it can't "see" the IR signal from the remote (usually a rear screen setup).
Probably far more disconcerting to buyers than the lack of those "lower quality" composite and S-video input connectors, is the lack of an analog computer input. JVC has never put a standard PC interface on this series of projectors - going all the way back to the RS1. Only the higher end models (starting at over twice the price) have a computer input.
A few years ago, that would have driven many of us crazy. It's less of a challenge today. I can feed an HDMI signal MacBook right in through one of the HDMI ports. Unfortunately many PC desktop and laptop owners don't have an HDMI port. There are work arounds, of course, but they will cost some money, and are generally a nuisance. Especially with the lack of an HD15 (analog computer) input, it would have been nice to have a 3rd HDMI connector.
JVC DLA-RS45 and X30 Menus
JVC sticks with their rather very well laid out menu structure. I've owned one JVC or another for the last 4+ years, and I have no complaints of note about the menus.
Besides the usual Brightness, Contrast, Color Saturation, etc., the Picture menu has a Gamma sub menu, and and Advanced sub-menu.
This menu is the Color Temp menu for doing the basic grayscale adjustments. The DLA-RS45, lacks a full CMS - color management system. (The more expensive JVC's, as well as all of the direct competition do offer a full CMS.)
Not only can you adjust the gamma of white, but also you can do each primary color separately. Further, the JVC RS45 comes with Normal, and 4 additional gamma presets, plus it allows you to save three of your own custom settings. Note also, that when doing so, you can adjust each IRE point separately.
I also like the grayscale provided on the screen (lower right), which gives you a good idea if you are crushing blacks or whites too much, or expanding them the way you want. A great Gamma control.
Moving to the second main menu - the Input Signal, you'll find options for the HDMI 1.4 input ports, the ability of picture shifting (Picture positioning - digitally move the image up or down, which is useful for some with cinemascope movies on 16:9 screens, in case you want all the letterboxing to be at the top, and the movie, flush with the bottom of your screen).
The RS45 offers Masking, which I favor over overscan, as it maintains 1:1 pixel mapping, if you have to eliminate fringe noise around the edge of your signal (not uncommon with TV).
The 3D settings are also located on this menu. This includes a choice of Off/On, 2D to 3D conversion, and a control for reducing crosstalk (ghosting), which I never spent enough time with to get the hang of, but it doesn't seem to do a whole lot in terms of improving existing ghosting.
The Lens Control menu is extensive. You've got the ability to control motorized focus, zoom, and lens shift. There's a black and green lined test pattern that comes up when adjusting.
Since the JVC DLA-RS45 has Lens Memory, a feature I really like, there are several controls specific to Lens Memory. Ultimately, Lens Memory, as mentioned elsewhere in the review, lets you, once properly set up, own a 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 Cinemascope screen, which you can fill, or touch a button and reduce the overall size to project a 16:9 image with letterboxing on the sides, but no part of the usable image overshooting the top or bottom of the screen.
The Pixel Adjust menu allows the JVC to digitally shift the red, green, or blue, data by one pixel up/down/left/right. This means that if a JVC projector has any pixel misalignment greater than 1/2 pixel diameter (it can be corrected to less than that).
The Display Setup menu is pretty boring compared to the others, and mostly very obvious features that I won't need to cover!
As is pretty much standard on home theater projectors, lastly is an Information menu, (not shown here), which displays items such as resolution, which port is being used...
JVC DLA-RS45 Remote Control
I love the feel (and operation) of the JVC remote control for the DLA-RS45 - and DLA-X30.
This one is a bit different than the remote from my own RS20, a remote design they had used for years. This one has a nicer case feel to grip, a "perfect" backlight, (when it comes to not being too dim, or too bright), good range, and a well thought out layout.
Two power buttons near the top. On on the right, and Off to the left.
Then come two rows of buttons, the first row of three, offers the primary inputs, your HDMI 1 and 2, and a Component video.
Next row - two small round buttons, one is a Hide feature, the other is the backlight button.
Then comes the arrow keys and navigation in a round configuration, with a center OK (Enter) button. Below the ring, are Menu and Back, two more small round buttons.
Further down, are nine more buttons in 3 rows, each sporting a different Picture preset like THX, User, or Cinema.
That leaves only the last four buttons at the bottom of the JVC DLA-RS45, and, from left to right, they provide direct access to controls for:
Gamma, Color Temperature, Color Profiles, and Picture Adjust which toggles you through all the usual controls like brightness, contrast, sharpness...
Despite the claim of only 7 meters (about 22 feet) max range, we found the RS45 remote to do much better, even beating a 30 foot total range, including a bounce off of my Studiotek 130 screen. Nice!
Remotes don't get much nicer than this. Looks good, feels good in your hand, balances well... Love it!
DLA-RS45 Lens Throw
The JVC RS45's 2:1 aspect ratio zoom lens provides plenty of placement flexibility to either ceiling or shelf mount. To fill a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 9 feet, 11 inches, or as far back as 20 feet, 1 inches. Using these measurements for 100 inches, you can figure out the range for any other screen size. These are the same as with last year's JVC projectors.
DLA-RS45 Lens Shift
The RS45 has lots of lens shift too, and it's motorized. For that same 100 inch screen, the projector can be placed anywhere between 15 inches above the top of your screen surface, to 15 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. Those are approximates, JVC doesn't have exact numbers in its manual, but likely it's 14 inches and change above and below.
There are some projectors with a bit more lens shift, but that's pretty good flexibility. The horizontal lens shift allows a maximum of about 30 inches to the left or right of the center point.
Remember, that the two "work together". The more vertical you use, the less horizontal is available, and vice versa. If you have maximum vertical, there is no horizontal lens shift, and so on.
JVC offers an anamorphic lens and motorized sled for the JVC DLA-RS45. JVC recommends a Panamorph lens, and sled.
A motorized sled is optional as there is a second anamorphic mode designed to let you watch 16:9 and 4:3, with the anamorphic lens set permanently in front of the lens. This saves on the expense of the motorized sled.
Note, still another way to enjoy the benefits of a widescreen for movies, is with a lens memory feature. With this feature, you can own a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 screen, and at a touch of a button, fill the screen with your movie, then, one more touch later, and the projector zooms in, and reshifts to fill the vertical of the screen with your 16:9 content, with the letterbox to the left and right. Three ways to choose, but with lens memory, no expensive extra accessories. (However, using an anamorphic lens does provide higher actual resolution).
Of particular note, the JVC supports use of an anamorphic lens in 3D mode. That's a nice touch that most others have skipped. It's not a really big advantage as it won't come in handy very often. Seems very few 3D movies or other content come in 2.35:1 (or one of the other Cinemascope aspect ratios). Of my collection of perhaps 35 3D titles, I think only Monster House, and one other is widescreen, the rest, all 16:9. Well, in case the movie Hugo comes out in 3D Cinemascope shape, that alone will be great for those using an anamorphic lens.