JVC DLA-RS4910, DLA-RS49, DLA-X500R Projector Review

JVC DLA-RS4910 and the RS49 and X500R – are superb home theater projectors with excellent black levels, that are 3D capable and accept 4K source material!  They are all the same projector performance wise.

This year we were unable to obtain a review unit directly from JVC in a timely basis, so we reached out to one of JVC’s best known dealers – AVS, aka AV Science (click to visit).  Some of you know them as the creator’s of the AVSforum.com (although they are now separately owned companies).   I want to express my thanks to them for the loan.  Unfortunately I had relatively limited time with the RS4910 projector, and Mike our calibrator was out of town until just 3 days before I had to return it.  As a result, I didn’t get to play with 3D, and didn’t get much time to figure out some of the advanced features.  That’s OK, I was still dazzled.

I am traveling to Japan this week, so more content will be added when I return – art

JVC DLA-RS49 and RS4910 Overview

Choose the JVC DLA-RS4910 or the virtually identical DLA-RS49, and you’ll be selecting an excellent home theater projector.  Your first question should be, what’s the difference between these two projectors?

They are sold through two different channels by JVC’s Pro group.  Hardware wise they are virtually identical.  The JVC DLA-RS4910 though has two advantages, and a slightly higher price.  The RS4910 projector retails for $5199 (in the US), while the RS49 is $4999, the same price as the X500R (which is identical except for trim, from the Consumer division).

For your extra dollars you receive, first and foremost, a third year of parts and labor warranty.  That alone should justify the extra price.  The other difference is ISF certified. That basically means that there are two extra savable modes, password protected for a ISF calibrator to use and lock in best settings for “day” and “night.”   The JVC’s already have other user modes, so that’s not a significant difference to most owners.  If you are working with a local dealer that may determine which version you end up with.

 

Ultimately there should be ZERO difference in performance.

Going forward I’ll mostly refer to the projector as the JVC DLA-RS4910, rather than the DLA-RS49, because the RS4910 was the one that I got to review.  But again, these two, and the Consumer DLA-X500R will perform identically.  In the US, the models are often referred to as the RS4910U, and the RS49U.

The RS4910 uses LCoS technology – 3 panels.  JVC calls their proprietary LCoS: D-iLA.

As noted above, the projector claims 1300 lumens.  In the past we’ve criticized some JVC’s for measuring far below their claim.  Not this time.  In the brightest mode (Animation – not your first choice), the RS4910 actually beat claim slightly, but even after the projector was calibrated, it was still over 1200 lumens!  Sweet!

JVC has dropped a dynamic iris into the RS4910 and its twins.  JVC calls it “Intelligent Lens Aperture”, but once you get past the trademark, it’s still a dynamic iris.

More important than having fancy names for each feature is what those features bring to the party.  JVC is already known and has been for years, for the best native contrast around.  In this case, the claim is 60,000:1.   With JVC’s dynamic iris engaged, they rate their contrast as 600,000:1.  Their top of the line projectors at $11,999 claim double that.  (A doubling of contrast – all else being equal, is only a slight improvement, keep that in mind, and also that there’s no standard for how to measure contrast with a dynamic iris.  For that reason we rate projectors’ black level performance subjectively – by watching lots of content.  On some scenes, one projector may be better than another, but on a different scene the other may be better.

So what else do the RS49 and RS4910 have going for them?  A zoom lens with lots of range.  Lens Memory for working with Cinemascope wide screens (such as 2.35:1 or 2.4:1, instead of HDTV’s 16:9, which is 1.78:1).  And of course 4K Eshift3, the latest version of JVC’s detail enhancement solution.  Let’s get this out of the way now.  This is not a true 4K projector.  Pixel size is the same as any 1080p projector – which is related to the true resolution of 1920×1080.   But JVC shifts the optical system to fire each pixel a second time, about 1/3 of a pixel off.   That still means the pixels are large.  Thus the projector cannot match a true 4K projector, when 4K content is involved.  There’s a real difference.  But, with the least expensive true 4K projector in the US having a list price of $14,999 – virtually 3x the price, all’s fair.  I fed true 4K content to both this JVC and Sony’s $15K VW600ES (VW500ES in the EU…   You will be able to see the difference in sharpness and detail between true 4K and Eshift3 “4K”.

New for this year, these JVC projectors can accept 4K content.  Last year I wouldn’t even have been able to input the 4K material I have here on a server into the older RS4810, and the variations of it.

JVC DLA-RS4910U Highlights

  • New D-iLA panels this year (LCoS) equating to:
  • Excellent contrast for excellent black level performance
  • 1300 lumens bright – enough for larger screens up to 150 inch diagonal
  • Impressive placement flexibility – 2:1 zoom plus lens shift
  • Lens Memory for use with “wide screens”
  • Full Color Management system for calibration
  • Better color “right out of the box” this year
  • Native 1080p resolution
  • “4K” Eshift 3 dynamic detail and sharpness
  • Eshift3  works with 1080p 3D, and with 4K 2D sources (Eshift2, could not)
  • Digital panel convergence
  • 3 year warranty (more than RS49 and X500R)
  • Able to input 4K content
  • 3D Capable – just add 3D glasses/emitter (and content)
  • ISF Certified
  • Much stronger value proposition than predecessor

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News And Comments

  • Gaurav

    Hi Art,

    My projector vendor is of the opinion that the jvc hd250 has a good enough picture and better skin tones than the new x500… I bought that projector based on your reviews… after 1700 hours the lamps gone a little dim… was planning on upgrading again based on your review of the X500… would like your opinion on the same… should I just buy another lamp or maybe a higher gain screen… or should I upgrade,

    Thanks,

    Gaurav.
    My projector vendor is of the opinion that the jvc hd250 has a good enough picture and better skin tones than the new x500… I bought that projector based on your reviews… after 1700 hours the lamps gone a little dim… was planning on upgrading again based on your review of the X500… would like your opinion on the same… should I just buy another lamp or maybe a higher gain screen… or should I upgrade,

    Thanks,

    Gaurav.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Greetings Gaurav,

      That’s interesting. I would certainly think that the 4910/4900/X500r would produce better color. The HD250 did not have a full set of controls for calibrating it, thus harder to get a really accurate picture. That said, the HD250 really is a fine projector.

      The other area is black level performance. There’s no contest there. I do believe that the combination of improved contrast plus the addition of a good dynamic iris puts these JVC’s in the same class as last year’s top of the line JVCs.

      So, I would inherently disagree with your vendor, but, the question is always “how much is enough”. It comes down to what you want – a better picture, or even just “tired” of the projector you have had, and ready to try something new/better.

      My own reservation would be this: You have a solid projector, and it’s 1080p. While I find JVC’s e-shift3 to be a nice dynamic enhancement feature, I don’t buy into their “4K” story. And 4K is something we all can really appreciate. After all, we’re the folks with the large screens, not the LCDTV crowd, we’re the ones that can really see the difference between 1080p and true 4K, Ultra HD, or whatever you want to call it.

      So, you could consider sitting back 1 to two years until true 4K projectors are down around the price of the X500R.

      Your call! -art