The Art of Home Theater Projectors

CEDIA Projectors – New from JVC 3 in 3D and one 2D

Hmm, my next stop was JVC.  I had to hoof it to the Omni hotel next to (a 15 minute walk from the show floor), because they always set up in a real theater or a hotel ballroom each year).

OK, here’s the basics:  And yes, all 3D projectors we talk about, of course do 2D!

Remember the JVC DLA-RS15, RS25, and RS35?  Well, they are still current products but will be replaced shortly by the JVC DLA-RS40, DLA-RS50, and DLA-RS60 3D home theater projectors. (Yes, 2D too, of course.)

The new RS40, RS50, and RS60 sport a center mounted lens, but where they look different fromt he older ones, is when you fire them up, and put on some active 3D glasses (2 pair provided with each projector).

If you aren’t aware, JVC has a Pro, and a Consumer division. They sell, essentially identical projectors under different model numbers, through two different distribution models).  The RS (reference standard) are from the pro group, while the equivalent DLA-X3, DLA-X7, and DLA-X9).  In previous generations, there were only slight cosmetic differences between the two line-ups.

Cosmetic differences – who cares?  What did they look like when working?

OK – I’ll get back to the other stuff later.  Only one was up and doing 3D.  It looked really good.  I watched it for a good 10+ minutes.  Yeah, there are some artifacts, some crossover (not bad, but who wants any crossover at all), but, on the bright side, JVC still has a few months to go.  I’m told you will be able to get one in time to put under your Christmas tree, Hannukah bush, etc. come the holidays.  In other words – officially end of November.

As I said the 3D looked fairly good, but not quite ready for prime-time.  Trust me, miracles happen in a couple of months, when it comes to working with firmware issues, such as refining the 3D aspects.  My regular readers over the years, have seen some major reworks to correct some launch day flaws of a number of projectors.  Most seem to come up with a fix in less than 60 days, such as fixing a CFI (smooth motion), or dynamic iris action. In fact some of my favorite projectors, haven’t been at their best on first shipments.  Fortunately most manufacturers are really good on support.

When I say 3D looked good, I’m talking about the 3D itself.  The JVC otherwise, looked superb. With the similar if not punchier skin tones and black levels that cause me to use an RS20 in my main theater.

Because these new models are 3D, they need more lumens, JVC solves this with a new lamp, and a lumen Jump from 900 to 1300.  I hope that will be enough. Figure 3D is going to suck away at least 60 percent of your brightness.   In other words, 2000 lumens would have been better, but, this is going to be an issue for most 3D home theater projectors in the under $10K range.

JVC tells me that it will probably be  right before Thanksgiving or later before they can get me a projector to review… I can’t wait!

Pricing – wow:
JVC DLA-RS40:  $4495
JVC DLA-RS50:  $7995
JVC DLA-RS60:  $12,995

The key wow’s are for the RS40 – you get 3D, better contrast, and more lumens, and the glasses) for the same price as last year.  The RS50 plays out the same way.  The RS60, though, jumps $3000.  I’ll have to ask them why exactly.  It may be that the RS35 far outsold its expectations as a “RS25 built from the best of all the components”.  It may be other reasons.  From what I saw on the show floor so far, though, including the Sony (at $10K), JVC’s got the Sony straddled between the RS50 and RS60. We’ll have to see who “wins”.

JVC is now using black frame insertion (I’ll have to write something about the advantages…), for their 120hz smooth motion.

(The X3, X7, and X9 pricing should be the same as the three above – my contacts are all on the Pro side, so I never work with the X projectors.)

Let’s talk black level performance.  As always, I can’t make any really accurate statements, from viewing in these “strange and wondrous” caves of rooms, and blacked out ballroom partitions, but I can anticipate what to expect when they finally arrive for review.

Better blacks on the RS50 and RS60 (native contrast of 70,000:1 and 100,000:1 with no dynamic irises, or other dynamic features, in part come from the addition of a lamp aperture (16 step) in addition to the 16 step lens aperture.  The RS40 only has the lens aperture (manual iris), but increased the steps from 3 to 16.

Overall, the new JVC’s could prove to be downright awesome.  (to paraphrase Fifth Element): “Perfect – can’t wait to meet them.”   No, they won’t be perfect – I’ve already seen more expensive things at CEDIA that will blow the JVC’s away, at least in sheer horsepower (lumens) for handling 3D, but that’s a blog or two away yet.

JVC wasn’t done with just three, they also showed a lower cost 2D projector at – what?  $2995.  It wasn’t well set up, it was in an outer area that was modestly lit (not quite moderately lit?).

Called the JVC HD250Pro (who thinks up these names):  if these manufacturers would use names like:  Fireball, or Nova, or Revelation… first, I could put out more reviews (I hate having to type all those long number/capital letter combinations, it slows me down), and second, we’d all be happier.  (thanks to a blog commenter, to make that point about the cockamamie numbers and letters).

Back to the JVC HD250 Pro (I really hope they don’t throw the DLA in front of that as well):  It claims 1000 lumens and a 25,000:1 contrast ratio.  It is a 2D only folks, but it means that JVC has decided to play in the higher volume under $3000 market segment.  That means they are looking for some real volume (we’ll see if they modify their sales channel for this projector – not likely – yet, at any rate).

And it means they have followed Sony down to that price point who arrived last year, with their VW40 projector at $2795 I believe.   Interesting…

The setup there was terrible for judging their “entry level” model, but, from a spec standpoint, it’s roughly last year’s RS15 in performance, but for an extra claimed 100 lumens, and contrast just a little below last year’s $5495 RS15.  The HD250 PRO claims 25,000:1 native contrast, vs. the older RS15′s 32,000:1 (a relatively insignificant change).

OK, they are about to throw me out of the hotel, and I have to still walk the show, and have meetings with some of the big guys from europe.  projectiondesign, and Digital Projection.

Next blog (written on the plane) will go into the Sony, Runco, SIM2 visits, then another for Optoma, Vivitek…

OK people, later! -art

News And Comments

  • mike

    Should I wait for another yr or 2 for 3D or is it ready for Prime time? I haven’t seen you mention Panasonic yet…are they coming out with any new projectors?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Mike,

      No, nothing new at all, from Panasonic. I couldn’t even get them to indicate if they would have something to announce at CES in January. The PT-AE4000 looks to have another year of life. The venerable PT-AX200U – their feature laden, and very bright 720p projector, however, is now end of life, and has no replacement. That makes Panasonic a one home theater projector company (and an old one at that.) I’d love to see them get back into the fray, but got no indication. Remember, the home theater projector market is rather small (less than 10% of the total projector market). That’s why many of the big electronics names don’t play – Toshiba, Canon, Dell, Casio, to name a few – offer extensive business / education projectors but nothing for the the home.

  • Brandon

    Just from viewing the RS40 at Cedia, which previous JVC model would you compare to it?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Brandon,
      The closest would be the RS15, same price point. Of course the RS15 isn’t 3D capable, and lacks the extra brightness of the newer projectors, but expect similar black level performance, etc. The new projector that most closely resembles that RS15, though is the new HD250PRO, which will be approximately $2995, come in the same chasis as the RS15, and have similar specs (100 lumens brighter, and very slightly lower contrast). The RS50 lines up with the older RS25 (and my still older RS20), and finally the RS60 is the RS35 equivalent as the top of the line, and built with hand picked components. -art

  • Brandon

    So basically there is no projector under $4000 that can match the RS20 in movie watching? I was counting on the Epson 21000 or RS40 being able to match or out perform its picture quality.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Brandon: Well, that’s a pretty big leap of faith from what I’ve been writing so far.

      1. I don’t know about the 21000 vs. the JVC RS20, in terms of blacks. No, I doubt the 21000/31000 can really get as black as the JVC even on a really dark scene, but until one arrives, that’s speculation. I saw nothing in the 31000 they were showing to indicate that the Epson could best the JVC overall in blacks. Certainly, on scenes not really dark overall, the JVC should have the advantage in blacks, and, of course has no dynamic iris to create artifacts or affect the smoothness of the view.

      2. The RS40, though, should be superior or equal in all ways, compared to the RS20, and offers you 2D and 3D, and 1300 lumens, instead of a rated 900. and creative frame interpolation, but: True, it’s $4500, so not “under $4K”.
      All that said, the Epson’s should be brighter than my existing RS20 or the RS25, but rated actually slightly below the newly announced JVC RS40 (RS15 replacement, 1300 lumens, 3D…)

      3. There will be the new DLA250Pro for $3K. That is basically an RS15, with slightly lower contrast, so not up tot the RS20.

      4. I didn’t see the new Sony VWPRO1 in action. It does rely on a dynamic iris though, and even the previous VW85 couldn’t match the RS20 in blacks so the PRO isn’t likely to, as it’s replacing the HW15, which wasn’t a match for the RS15.

      On the other hand, still other new products coming, but not shown at CEDIA so probably still months away – as always. -art

  • Frank

    Thanks for the report on the new JVC’s. I have owned an infocus in83 for the last 3 years based largely on your excellent review and advice. I absolutely love the lumens but the blacks leave some things to be desired. On top of that I’m itching for some 3D. Would going from in83 to rs40 or 50 be a worthwhile upgrade. Is the 3D ready for primetime or should I be sitting it out another year?
    Thanks again – your site is a trusted resource and highly enjoyable.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Yo Frank!

      I’d like to get one of the JVC’s in before I really can conjecture. I’m a 3D fan. I want it, though I want good 3D content. If a projector like the JVC really is polished at doing 3D, then it’s worth considering. At the rate the brands are snatching up movie releases, though, we’ll be lucky if there are 4 movies you can watch by Christmas… Panasonic has Avatar locked up, Samsung has Monsters vs Aliens, Sharp has Despicable Me, and so on…

      Point being, there won’t be a whole lot of content. the number of 3D movies for 2011 will be way up, but it’s going to be a long year for content. Perhaps we’ll get some relief with good 3D sports, but again, a year wouldn’t hurt. Let’s wait till December and figure out how good the JVC’s are. BTW with only 1300 lumens, they aren’t going to be big screen friendly in 3D… -a

  • Michael

    Hi Art,

    I second Frank in his comment about your site.
    You mentioned the RS40 being superior to the RS20. Would you say it beats the RS35, too (apart from the 3D capabilities)?


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Michael,
      Whoa, let’s back up. If I said that, I was primarily talking about brightness, or something else – or I was thinking RS40 and RS15. I anticipate the RS40 to be an improved, and brighter, and 3D update to the RS15, rather than the RS20 that I own. Also the RS40 (I think) offers CFI which the RS20 lacks… But, let’s see what they actually look like.

      As to the RS35, no, probably the only thing that can beat that (brightness notwithstanding) would be the RS60. I really was blown away by how much better the sharpness and depth of the RS35 I reviewed was, when compared to the RS25, or my own RS20. All those hand picked components really do make a difference.

      I’m thinking RS50 or RS60 for myself, but I want to see them first. I may just have to pass. My new theater will have 2D and 3D screens – final size to be determined this week, but Stewart now has a two screen system (I need to find out more) – one is fixed, the other motorized. I don’t even know if they have to be the same size. My current Firehawk is 128″ diagonal. I don’t see how 1300 lumens for 3D is going to make me happy when I want to watch some sports in 3D next fall. Since 1300 lumens becomes something more like 500-600 lumens when doing 3D… I may have to wait for a 2000 lumen pj. The LG CF3D that I’m writing up shortly, is more of a commercial 3D projector than home, but it claims 2300 lumens, and it can handle a pretty large screen doing 3D. -art

  • Michael

    Thanks for your opinion.
    With brightness being the big trade-off with 3D, dual screening seems to be a good idea. Does 3D play together with anamorphic lenses? I wonder if a slightly curved screen can help with the washout on the sides in 3D.
    However, I can’t wait for your in depth reviews of the new JVCs.


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Michael,

      I believe you are correct about dual screens, for now, at any rate. I’m likely to have a 3D screen behind a replacement for my Firehawk G3, in the new theater at the new house that we’re moving to next week. And I may have it smaller than the other screen. I’ll decide in the next day or three.

      3D an anamorphic – well if nothing else, it’s a relatively wider screen. I don’t see why there would be any specific issues, with doing anamorphic, but, as you point out, wheter there are some trade-offs… We shall see – someday – perhaps I’ll be able to pull in an anamorphic lens to work with one of those JVCs… -art ps. I can’t wait to get one of them in, either…

  • Drexler


    The new JVCs won’t be able to do anamorphic stretch in 3D mode. The reason being the video chip isn’t fast enough to handle the calculations for both 3D and horizontal stretching at the same time. It was confirmed by a JVC employee on AVSF.


    I very much enjoy your reviews. Keep up the good work! I expect the RS40 to best the RS20/25/35 in sharpness, brightness, frame interpolation and equal the RS20/25 in contrast. All according to people who’ve seen them at IFA/CEDIA. It will be interesting to see how it fares in color as well, now that it has a Rec.709 setting.

    Looking forward to reading your impressions!