Projector Reviews

JVC DLA-RS1 1080p LCOS Home Theater Projector Review – Image Quality

Wow! Dazzling! Eye-popping image quality!

Ok, that pretty much covers Image Quality, what’s next?

OK, only kidding! Let’s get started. To begin with, I recently reviewed the other major LCOS powered 1080p projector, Sony’s Pearl, and was extremely impressed with its black levels in particular, and shadow detail. The Sony uses a dynamic iris to help out, so black levels are at their best are dark scenes without bright areas.

The JVC RS1, on the other hand, claims the same 15,000:1 contrast ratio (highest I have seen yet), as the Sony, yet, does not require a dynamic iris, so the high contrast is consistant regardless whether a scene has bright areas or not.

When it comes to black levels, the two projectors aren’t even close. The JVC produces “blacks” that are quite literally twice as black as the Sony, and that’s a dramatic, extremely visible difference, and that’s saying a lot. The blacker the blacks, of course, if all else is equal, the more shadow detail that is revealed as well, and that is true here.

The black levels and shadow detail are the exceptional strengths of the JVC RS1 projector, that ultimately set the RS1 apart from all the direct competition. Further down in this section we’ll explore the black levels and shadow detail handling with many images and commentary, however, I like to start the images in this section with conversation about the handling of flesh tones.

JVC RS1 projector: Flesh Tone Handling

As usual, most of the analysis here is from movie content. As such, the projector is set in Cinema mode. With the JVC, Cinema mode defaults to a Color Temperature defined as Low, which I would normally expect to be D65 – as close to 6500K as possible. Just quick viewing demonstrated that the Low setting, however, was too low. Changing the Color Temp setting to Medium, however did the trick with overall color temperature measurements in the 6600K range (that’s very, very close to the ideal 6500K in terms of accuracy).

With Cinema mode, Color Temp at Medium, and Gamma set for Auto1, the JVC produced excellent color balance, with very good flesh tones. Slight adjustment to the color (covered in the general performance section, reduced color temp even closer to 6500K, and those minor changes were in place for these images, although a shift of less than 150K is barely visible at all.

Quicktip: A note on the limitations of these images. They are here to support the commentary, not the other way around. A good digital camera still can’t capture the full dynamic range of the projected image. If a scene is exposed normally, significant shadow detail is lost, and often some highlight detail. Also, what I see when cropping the images, is slightly different then when those images are input into Dreamweaver (where I assemble the review), and look slightly different still when viewing on line in my browser. And, if I were to look at the same image on the three computers here, with their different displays, I again get variations, as you will on your computer monitor. Thus, the images are here to help, and should provide some guidance, by themselves, but are still secondary to the comments.

Overall, images posted online tend to be a bit more contrasty and saturated than appear on the projector screen, however I fear to “adjust” them, to avoid charges of tampering.

For comparison images (between two projectors), even there, there are limitations, for example, there is no good way to get the exposures identical in brightness, unless both measure the same. I do the best I can, but, overall, take the images with “a pound of salt.” A grain of salt, just won’t do it!