Posted on August 20, 2018 By Art Feierman
The JVC DLA-RS440U is a home theater projector that I’ve long been waiting to review. This is its second year, but the RS440, I am told received some real improvements to some areas of image processing. Sometimes a manufacturer will do that, and keep the same model number, in other cases, they might launch as a new improved similar projector. No matter, we only care how well it performs, and whether we can help you determine if the RS440 from JVC is he right home theater projector for you and your setup.
The very basics first: 1800 lumens, 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens with lots of lens shift, and Lens Memory for working with wide (Cinemascope shaped) screens, 4K content capable including HDR, it is a pixel shifter using 1920×1080 panels x 2, and comes with a three year warranty. Since it only pixel shifts one time, not 3 times like the low end 4K UHD DLP projectors, it’s technically not 4K UHD, but it is at least as 4K capable as any of those 4K UHDs, and better at many things, even if not quite as sharp/detailed (slight differences) on 4K content.
RS440 serves up very well balanced color on this Casino Royale frame, from 1080p Blu-ray.
Stunning image from Journey To Space - The JVC made this 4K scene look exceptional up on the big screen.
This Victoria Secret model image shows some very good looking skin tones. This is JVC's User 3 mode, which we did not calibrate!
DirecTv's Game Mix. You can see plenty of detail in both games, and read all but the tiniest text within those games. Very nicely sharp on 1080 content.
Looks very good, lots of dynamic colors. Not as much pop as some projectors on this HDTV image, but looks just fine.
I’ll take a minute to describe the RS440U relative to the whole JVC line-up. First, until a few months ago, all the JVC home theater projectors used JVC’s patented LCoS panel design (DiLA), one that delivers deeper blacks than any other projector brand. Recently JVC launched their first DLP projector (lower cost). I am hoping to review it, and hoping to be surprised. So far, though, I’ve yet to see a 4K UHD projector (well only one) with respectable black levels, and that one isn’t even close to this RS440 in that regard. If that new JVC DLP impresses, great, but for now, JVC’s rep is all about their LCoS panels, and resulting outstanding black level performance.
In fact, the RS440 is JVC’s entry level DiLA projector. JVC offers a step up model for $6999 – the RS540U with even better blacks, but otherwise very similar, and a $10,000 model – the RS640U, same as the RS540, but for superior quality control – best lenses, etc. Finally JVC offers a true 4K projector, the RS4500K, but we’re talking $35,000 give or take.
On the trivial side, and in a non-intentional effort to confuse us consumers, JVC runs two divisions, selling essentially the same projectors under different model numbers. There’s the Pro and Consumer, with the DLA-RS440 is from the Pro group, while the essentially identical DLA-X590 is sold through the JVC Consumer group. Differences: Minor cosmetics, and different model numbers. If you decide one of these two are for you, best bet is to buy from the best authorized dealer you can find, rather than worry about which division’s projector they are selling.
The RS440U is pure home theater projector. I say that, as compared to projectors which are more home entertainment. Oh the RS440 is reasonably bright, so it can tackle some ambient light. It produces vey good color at brightness levels that most of the 4K UHD “home entertainment” projectors can barely achieve even with not near as good a picture.
That’s fair, of course, as this is no sub-$2000 4K UHD DLP projector. It is definitely more serious home theater than those. It is a $3999 list price projector, sold only through authorized JVC dealers. Of the 4K UHDs, for around this price you get a laser light engine, instead of a lamp, but still not the performance in picture quality, as we will discuss.
Time to get into the key juicy details of the JVC DLA-RS440 and DLA-X590.
The next two pages cover the many special features found on these twin projectors, including those related to 4K content handling, HDR and expanded color space.
Then a pair of pages covering the hardware, from front to back. The second of those pages, also covers the remote control and the menus.
Then its time to get into picture quality, followed by performance, calibration information, and a nice, in-depth summary. For those in a hurry, you might want to scan many pages but I recommend at least give the Picture Quality pages good look.
And definitely you’ll want to go through the whole summary, because it also gets into a lot of discussion about the “competition” from much lower cost entry level 4K UHD projectors to more expensive competitors, like Sony with their true, native 4K projectors.
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