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JVC DLA-RS400U / DLA-X550R Projector Review - Performance 2

Posted on April 30, 2016 by Art Feierman

RS400U Sharpness and Detail

Viewing 1080p and 1080i content, the RS400U provides plenty of perceived detail and sharpness.  Hard to miss with the use of pixel shifting, and detail enhancement software.  The first four images above are 4K from The Martian.  The first and second images are the same frame.  I optically zoomed in with my camera for the second one.  Be sure to enlarge - the clarity is impressive.The fifth image which looks like the fourth is of the Sony VPL-VW665ES.  As you can see, while pixel shifting on a 1080p projector can accomplish a lot, especially with 1080 content, the true 4K Sony clearly offers a superior image when it comes to 4K content.  The screen image of a control room screen is already zoomed in.  And I took these images at higher resolution, and present them here at 2000 pixels wide (instead of our usual 1000) so you can get a close look at the significant differences between the two.   Well, all's fair, since the most expensive of JVC's 3 pixel shifting 1080p projectors has the same list price as the least expensive Sony 4K.

The rest of the images are 1080p. The last two are the same frame, but one has eShift4 turned off and the other has it on.

I used the usual panel alignment control when I received the RS400U.  The controls are typical and easy to accomplish.  You can never get rid of all the color fringing, and let's face it, there are no perfectly aligned 3 panel projectors, but the fringing is drastically reduced.

Bottom Line:  This JVC produces a very smooth and seemingly detailed image on 1080p content. On 4K content, the pixel shifting also provides benefit, but with each pixel 4X the size of a true 1080p pixel, there's only so much you can accomplish with pixel overlapping.  The Epson laser projectors with pixel shifting tend to appear a bit sharper, but also harder looking than the JVCs.  I slightly favor that, since the goal is achieving something approaching true 4K, but some will prefer the softer JVC look.

Anyway you slice it, the RS400U produces a 1080p image that comes across as very sharp, and on 4K content, it's a good step in the right direction, but it's still no match for a true 4K PJ!

RS400U Image Noise

No real issues here.  JVC's processing is very good, motion artifacts are not a problem, and the JVC seems better than the Sony competition on slow pans/motion artifacts.

Relating to the overall image, but not truly noise, is a JVC tendency that is oft reported.  JVC projectors tend to (surprise!) be brighter in the corners.  You won't spot this on an normal scene but on a black frame, or a very dark scene you may well notice.  Over the years this has been reported as an issue, although I've never seen a JVC where the problem was as severe as some reports on the forums.  Apparently it can be bad enough that some have returned/bought another JVC.

The RS400U I had here briefly did exhibit some corner brightness, not enough for me to consider it a real problem.  Interestingly, relating to screen geometry and screens with gain, the corner brightness can in some cases seem to partially offset the slight roll-0ff of brightness in the corners that you get with a good 1.3 or 1.4 gain screen.  See, nothing is totally simple.  I certainly won't warn anyone off from buying a JVC over this issue, but should you get a JVC and corner brightness seems to be a problem for you, just know that this has been documented, so discuss with your dealer.

3D:  Previously mentioned, we didn't test 3D, lacking the emitter, and having not enough time to get one.  But Ron has spent significant time with the 3D on his new RS600U and reports it greatly improved and almost completely crosstalk free.  That's a huge improvement for JVC which many of us reviewers have picked on repeatedly for previously serving up some relatively low quality 3D around, on previous generations!

Bottom line:  Image noise no issues, unless you get one with excessive corner brightness.  3D (per Mike) should now be excellent.

RS400U Audible Noise

It's so nice these days to get to review a relatively quiet projector.  JVC and Sony these days have kept their projectors nicely quiet, and the RS400U is no exception. It claims a whisper quiet 21 db in low lamp mode.  No published spec for full lamp power but its still reasonably quiet.  We don't measure, but I'd put full power around 27-29 db.  For perspective, the Epson 5030UB, just over $2000 and our longtime favorite value proposition projector for those serious about home theater, is more like 32-33 db at full power, so the JVC is rather noticeably quieter.  (Either are fine in low lamp).

Bottom line:  If you are really noise adverse, you still won't have an issue with the RS400U in low lamp mode. At full power, the noise adverse should still be pretty happy, knowing that few other competitors are as quiet.

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