JVC DLA-RS60 - Review Summary
A summary of the JVC DLA-RS60 projector's pros and cons and capabilities. All images on this page are RS35 or RS25, not the reviewed DLA-RS60 projector. We will replace them when a 2nd RS60 arrives.
3-24-2011 - Art Feierman
JVC DLA-RS60 Projector - The Bottom Line
Most of this summary is straightforward. As long as the discussion sticks to 2D, what we have here, in the form of JVC's DLA-RS60 projector, is, without a doubt one of the finest projectors available for less than the price of the most basic 3 chip DLP 1080p home theater projectors. Calibrated its 451 lumens of brightness is lower, at 451, than previous JVC's but is still more than enough for a 100 or 110" diagonal 16:9 screen.
The RS60 is a classy projector, from looks to performance. It features motorized lens - focus, zoom, and lens shift, offers excellent placement flextibiliy, a pretty typical selection of inputs, and is reasonably quiet. The three year warranty is longer than many projectors near its price, but many others also have three year warranties. We consider three years to be very good. JVC's also built up a very good rep for supporting some of the pickiest home theater enthusiasts on the planet, since their projectors are favorites among the "hard core".
Overall picture quality is excellent. The great skin tones and overall color accuracy post calibration, look natural. Unmatched black level performance (at any price), enhances all scenes, but gives the JVC DLA-RS60 a dramatic advantage on really dark scenes, even against excellent competition, like the Sony VPL-VW90ES. End of conversation, all that combined earns the JVC DLA-RS60 a Hot Product Award. Brightness and 3D performance need work, but this is one superior 2D projector.
Below, Sean Connery in Hunt for Red October, projector: DLA-RS25
JVC DLA-RS60 Brightness
The issue of brightness (compared to claim) is an issue in its own right. Still the brightness is what it is, we have only our measurements plus those from several owners to confirm the low numbers. The closest competitors to the JVC DLA-RS60 are the Sony VPL-VW90ES and JVC's own DLA-RS50 (the identical twin with the "bad genes", as the RS60s get the best of the components).
Calibrated, the JVC RS60's 451 measured lumens of brightness is lower than previous JVC's but is still more than enough for a great looking 100 or 110" diagonal 16:9 screen. The basic THX mode, also excellent, will deliver just over 500 lumens (mid point on the zoom, about 550 at full wide angle).
While 451 lumens is still reasonable, it is strange, that this projector which claims 1300 lumens at 8500K, can do only about 1/3 the rated lumens at D65. My own RS20, two generations older, measured about 750 lumens, when new, and calibrated.
So be it! Having enough brightness is important, so a less bright projector limits potential screen size, or might require a higher gain screen to get sufficient brightness. Still as long as this JVC is bright enough for your setup, and tastes, 450 - 500 lumens will work for a whole lot of folks for some seriously fine movie viewing.
At that's 2D!
3D Brightness of the DLA-RS60 projector
I am not saying that the 3D image of the JVC DLA-RS60 is too dim to watch in 3D. What I am, however, trying to point out, is that when you do watch it it will seem dim. If you've compensated greatly with screen gain, or have the smallest of screens (under 80" diagonal) you can get something resembling good moderate brightness.
Even then, however, when ever you peek out from under those active 3D glasses, and see the screen without the loss of roughly 75% of the brightness, you will be immediately reminded about how lacking the 3D image is, in terms of real brightness, and how much better you would enjoy it if it was 2x, 3x, or 4x brighter. And that's the point, I think almost everyone will be unsatisfied, in that they certainly would be if 2D was that bright.
For 3D viewing, we used the brightest mode we could find (we had not discovered the color profile off option with it's very iffy color). Even when I reduced the image size on the 1.4 gain white surfaced Carada screen, to sizes between 80 and 90 inches diagonal, I was never happy with the brightness. In a couple of weeks, however I will have my first real high power screen, Da-lite's with it's 2.5 gain screen. Perhaps the RS60 or an RS50 will arrive about then, one can only hope, as I'd like to see first hand the trade-offs.
3D on this projector, calls for decisions. With a pretty typical white, or high contrast gray surface screen, and a medium to large image size, the projector will be drastically dimmer than what you are used to, and what you consider to be normal, reasonable brightness. In such a case, think of it as a 2D projector with a cool 3D exhibition mode, something to show off to friends, to occasionally watch, but deep down, your next projector, you swear, will be much brighter for 3D.
The very bottom line
A sensational 2D projector, even with the lower lumen counts, this projector is about as good as it gets overall. As a 3D projector, it's, at best, a placeholder, something that can get you by until 3D is really ready for primetime, in terms of lots more content and better performance.
The Last question: Is JVC's RS60 projector worth $12,000?
From the standpoint of those who don't consider $12K a lot of money, absolutely. I say that the JVC can be justified (almost) at $12,000, just on the basis of 2D.
For those tighter on budget, one alternative for those that care not at all about 3D, hunting for last year's RS35, which was $2,000 less, might be a great idea.. If they are still available, they may even be selling for less still, as older JVC projectors.
If 3D is something you must play with today, and you want that combined with great picture quality, there are few choices right now. The RS60 and the non-hand picked RS50 will give you 3D, but as described. If that's fine by you, go for it. You'll have to sort through several alternatives, notably the less expensive JVC and the Sony. Then there are more and less expensive alternatives in the more expensive and far brighter LG, and the lower cost but still very respectable Sharp XV-Z17000.
Finally, if JVC comes up with some sort of fix, so the RS60 can actually deliver a good picture around 1000 lumens or more, then 3D viewing, although far from bright, will be almost twice as bright, and a guaranteed better viewing experience.
JVC DLA-RS60 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Image below is from the DLA-RS25 - source: Fellowship of the Ring, on Blu-ray
JVC DLA-RS60 Projector: ProsExcellent Color - even right out of the box (THX mode)
- Unmatched black level performance
- Natural skin tones really do look great
- Sharp, with an exceptionally clear looking image
- 3D capable, including basic 2D to 3D conversion
- 3D glasses a bit more comfortable than most active ones so far
- Offers CFI - smooth motion
- Very good menu layout
- Phyically good looking, impressive projector
- Very good remote control
- Better than average lamp life (3000 hours at full power)
- Use of external emitter for 3D can be helpful in difficult installations
- Excellent warranty (3 years...)
JVC DLA-RS60 Projector: Cons
- 3D viewing is dim, very dim unless screen size is very small
- Projector brightness measures nowhere near JVC's claims, in any mode viable for 2D viewing
- Brightest mode is below average in brightness
- One of the larger projectors around
- Uses external emitter for 3D - internal is simpler
JVC DLA-RS60 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Dark shadow detail performance
- Average audible noise, extremely quiet in low power, moderate at full, but low pitched
Final thoughts: As a JVC RS20 owner, I appreciate the overall quality of the new RS60 projector, but I am disappointed. When I received the RS60 I had higher expectations. I was seriously hoping the 1300 lumens would do at least an adequate job with 3D, on a medium sized screen, say 100 inch diagonal. Even if the DLA-RS60 did produce close to the 1300 lumens I was skeptical going in. I really think serious 3D projectors are going to have to offer up, ideally 2400 lumens or more. When JVC sends in an RS40 which so far are reported to be significantly brighter, I may give that serious consideration.
Above, from Spiderman (Blu-ray disc)
My budget just doesn't allow for a pricey, great 2D projector that can't do a bright enough 3D image to keep me happy for a couple of years. I can say that if JVC can find those missing lumens, I will have to reconsider, but most likely, I'll wait another generation.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING: DLA-RS60