JVC DLA-RS15 Projector Review

DLA-RS15 Projector Highlights

  • Very good color out of the box
  • Lacks the sophisticated color management systems of the more expensive JVC’s but that doesn’t stop the RS15 from extemely good skin tones and very watchable overall color performance.
  • Brightness in best mode: very good – over 650 lumens, but below average brightness of 750 lumens when you need all you’ve got to fight ambient light
  • Excellent black level performance
  • Creative frame interpolation
  • 2:1 zoom lens for plenty of placement flexibility, and a goodly amount of adjustable vertical and horizontal lens shift, as well
  • Good image sharpness
  • In the $5000 range, the RS15 is going to be extremely hard to beat.

While not drastically better than the best $2000 – $3500 projectors, those craving top performance won’t have a problem rationalizing the $5500 retail price of the DLA-RS15, for the better blacks, and much more.

JVC DLA-RS15 Projector Overview

The DLA-RS15 home theater projector replaces last year’s DLA-RS10, a projector we considered one of the best, last year. The RS15 is an LCoS projector, as are a number of $2500 to $10,000 home theater projectors. Pricewise the DLA-RS15 fits about in the middle of the pack, with a list price of $5499. It sports a good feature set, respectable brightness and picture quality that appeals to the enthusiast. The JVC DLA-RS15 is a larger projector, but hardly huge. It sports a 2:1 zoom lens, and is fully motorized for zoom, focus and lens shift. It’s black shiny piano finish with modest gold trim looks clean, and impressive. Inputs are along one side, instead of the back, a trait that JVC happens to share wth Sony LCoS projectors.

JVC is legendary for their black level performance, and despite being the entry level of JVC home theater projectors, it’s black levels are still one of the best out there, as we will discuss in depth.

This year CFI has been added as a feature, but otherwise, the JVC DLA-RS15 and it’s almost identical sibling, the DLA-HD550, are essentially the same as last year’s projectors but for minor improvements in performance.

The RS15 is sold by the JVC Pro group and the HD550 by the Consumer group – through different dealer channels. The projectors are virtually identical with the HD550 having silver trim instead of gold, and for some reason claiming a very slightly lower contrast spec.

Unlike the more expensive JVC projectors like the RS25 and RS35, and their consumer division equals, the HD950 and HD990, the JVC DLA-RS15 projector is not THX certified. That too shall be touched on, later. Keep in mind there are, as of the time of this writing, probably no more than 3 or 4 under $6000 projectors that do have THX certification.

This JVC home theater projector has very good color performance, but lacking the more sophisticated controls found on other JVC’s and many other projectors, it can’t be as finely honed as those with full CMS support. None-the-less the JVC puts up some really good skin tones, which is the first thing to look for. If skin tones look right, then almost everything else has to.

This is a projector targeted at home theater enthusiasts, and anyone who just wants a particularly exceptional looking projector, and is shopping in the JVC’s budget range. Having owned it’s “grandfather” the original DLA-RS1, I can attest to the overall picture quality of the even better RS15.

Warning for those who are hard core enthusiasts, and do their own tweaking and calibrating, and normally can’t leave their projector alone without adjusting something for any reasonable time: The lack of a full CMS may take some of the fun out of your “hobby” if that’s going to bother you, look elsewhere. We can’t have you bored.

For those of you who only watch the content, and never “notice” the projector, only that everything looks great, the RS15 is right up your alley, it’s got the performance, without all the gadgets.

Once again, this is a projector review of a new 2009/10 projector that is truly evolutionary, not revolutionary. Still, with the addition of CFI and other improvements, it is a natural, if not drastically better, replacement for the RS10. Let’s get going.

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