Posted on April 14, 2014 Art Feierman
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.
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,
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,
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
Apologies for the late reply… I completely agree with you and I think I am Just tired of the HD250 as It’s run over 1800 hours and the picture has become quite dim/dull…
I think I will change my projector Now and definitely going for the X500 and Maybe in a couple of years or Maybe 3 update to the latest… with the speed Technology grows… am sure I’ll be contemplating for the latest technology to again come down in price… definitely can’t afford the Sony 4K at this moment… So will upgrade again after a couple of years when JVC comes with a pocket friendly state of the art projector.
Thanks for the great insight,
I am in the process of selecting hardware for my basement home theater system. I originally was looking at the new Samsung 78″ Curve UHD 4K TV; however, was turned off by the current price and its meager 120Hz refresh rate (plus talks of 8k equals a horrible purchase). My floor to ceiling is 92.5″ and the sitting area width is 160″ holding two rows of four reclining seats (Octane XL700s). I decided to go projection at the suggestion of a family member who is in the home theater business and the fear a TV would not give the movie theater feeling whatsoever.
This will be my first go at a projection system so I am trying to conduct as much research as possible. With that I have been looking hard at this JVC DLA-RS4910U.
My questions: #1: Is there an alternative projector, around this price range (or less), with this projection quality, contrast ratio, etc, available in LED?
#2 The room will be dark, should I be concerned about 1300 lumens at 2.35:1?
My screen will be (106″ or 113″) Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge, wall mount.
To directly answer your questions. 1: No! To get a good solid state light source you would have to go after the new Epson LS9600e (which will start shipping around $6499 it’s believed, sometime in the next week or three.) Or the more expensive LS10000 which has pixel shifting like the JVC. The Epson’s use a dual laser light source, but cost more, can’t match the contrast/black level performance altough they do extremely well in that area. JVC, though is the king of native contrast. The black levels of the RS4910, etc. are darker than any other projectors (other than CRTs) except the more expensive JVCs.
2. 1300 lumens – no, that should be fine as long as you don’t go high gain screen which wouldn’t make sense in a dedicated theater under any “normal” circumstances. And remember, there’s always “eco mode” and the projector’s lamp will dim over time. No problem!
3. Screen – Excellent screen – since you have a dedicated theater you really don’t need the light handling properties of the Black Diamond, unless you like to put on the lights/open the windows, for sports and TV. If you do that, great.
You’ll have one fine system! -art
Im very close of buying this projector….I would like to see some comparisons of Sony VPL-VW95ES vs JVC X500.The vw95es is kinda holy grail to me,so im really wondering how they perform side by side in terms of pq….but probably the winner is jvc x500,Hope you can soon edit the review with complete details..pros/cons..
Hi, not sure how to guide you. The VW95Es is rather old, almost two years older than the X500. It lacks the reality creation detail enhancement that the newer Sonys have. And while the tech is different, Sony’s reality creation produces similar results to the pixel shifting that the X500R, and Epson LS10000 have. The Sony’s black levels are excellent, but the X500R is probably better. Brightness info is in the reviews. Bottom line, both are really fine projectors. I tend to lean toward the X500 myself, but if Sony replaced the 95ES with one with some of the features found on the other newer Sonys (4K and 1080p) I would likely favor the Sony. -art
Iv read on cine4home where they test JVC X500 that there is a big chance that it can have dead pixels,not so on X700.That makes me worried….
Hi, I haven’t heard that, but my understanding is that the pixels won’t fail, rather either they are working or not when you get it. So if you get one with all good pixels, they will stay that way. (Same for LCD projectors.) Perhaps they were indicating that the QC is better on the more expensive ones. You could check the AVSforum.com. Lot’s of JVC owners are active there, so if there is a problem I’m pretty sure they would have discussed it. -art
I have been trying to locate this information online, but have not been successful. Is this projector limited to an 8 bit color depth or can it do 10 bit as well?
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