Projector Reviews

JVC DLA-RS440U Review – A Serious, 4K Capable Home Theater Projector- Hardware 2

DLA-RS440/X590 Projector Review – Hardware page 2: Control Panel, Remote Control, Menus, Summary

Control Panel

The RS440U and X590U have identical control panels (JVC calls it the Operation Panel), just as you would expect.  Nothing fancy.  Let’s look from the top down:

Power (of course) is at the top. Press once to power up, press twice to power down.

control panel
The control panel is pretty standard, but located on the back.

Next down is the Input button for selecting a source.  Below it, is JVC’s OK button which most companies call Enter.   Unlike most control panels, it is located outside (and in this case, above) the navigation controls.  Most projectors put their Enter button, in the center of the four arrows.  No matter.

Naturally, the four arrows for navigating are set up in a round formation.  None of the arrow keys doubles as another function when you are not navigating the menu system.  (Many companies do double up, to provide more direct access from the control panel.)  Still, most people will only use the control panel for initial setup, then relying on the remote control or a home automation system for those types of functions.

The Menu button itself, to let you open and navigate the menus, is in the lower left, while the lower right has the Back button which takes you back up one level in the menus.  Escape is probably the more popular name out there, but I can think of at least two companies that also use Back, as a label.

That’s it for the control panel.  Easy enough.  It’s very functional, it simply doesn’t have as many buttons and features as some, but it has all the key buttons.

Remote Control

JVC’s remote control is a very good one.  I thought they made great remotes when I owned a couple of different JVCs (until about 8 years ago).  First of all they have a nice light colored backlight, it’s not too bright (as some annoyingly can be), nor too dim (even more common).  Rather, it’s just about right (if a touch on the dark side). Works just fine for me even when my theater is fully darkened. Buttons are well spaced, and key buttons are easy to locate and remember, even without the backlight.

The JVC remote is black finished, with light buttons that light up from behind, it is long, not very wide, and pretty thin.  It holds well in my average sized hands.

Let’s look at what the RS440U and X590U remote serves up to you in terms of layout and capabilities.

Top left:  Standby.  This turns the projector off.  Across on the right side, is the power On button.

After a space, there are two rows of three buttons.  The first row has two inputs – direct access to HDMI 1 and 2, and on the right, an Info button.

remote control

The row below, provides three savable memories for your favorite Lens Memory settings

Lens is next with three buttons.  The left one toggles you between motorized, focus, zoom, and lens shift. The second button lets you adjust the iris operation setting, and the third is labeled Anamo(rphic), and switches into Anamorphic mode which few will ever need.

Two small buttons are next.  On the left, Hide – blanks the screen, and on the right, is the backlight button (it glows very slightly in the dark).  

Then comes navigation, the four arrows in a round formation, with OK (Enter) in the center.  Below on the left is the Menu button to access the menu system, and opposite it, is the Back (escape) button to move you back up one level in the menus.

Picture modes are next – Separate buttons for Natural, Cinema, and HDR.  And below those is the general Picture mode button which takes you to the menu with all of those.  

To the right of the Picture Mode button are two buttons allowing direct access to the Color Profiles, and to the Gamma settings menu.

Now things get interesting. The left button on the next row down is labeled MPC. This is some smart processing, for example it provides controls to both sharpen very sharp portions of a movie while further softening softer, out of focus areas, to add “Expressiveness” as JVC calls it.  I call it another example of advanced processing that may be effective on some content, not on others.  Seems the day of the purist – is long gone, CFI, pixel shifting, MPC, and various “Super-Resolutions” dynamic sharpening, etc. now attempt to improve on the source material, to make up for the flaws in the process.  

I get that.  The photos throughout this review of movies, sports, etc. don’t even come close to reproducing faithfully, or competently what a projector puts up on the screen.  To compress a 4K image down to the 100K or so for high quality internet jpgs, we’re taking 8+ megabytes of data, and crushing it down to about 1/80th the original size.  

I did not get the time to really play with the feature.  I stuck to default values.  It’s part of my take on overall picture quality.  

Sorry – about going off on a tangent.  Next to MPC is C.M.D which let’s you toggle between the different CFI (smooth motion) settings, and turning them off.

To finish up, near the bottom are four small round buttons. The leftmost is Gamma, that will just let you toggle between different Gamma options.  Color Temp – does the same for choosing color temperatures. 3D Format (you guessed it): Manually selecting from different 3D formats, and finally: Pic Adj –  it brings up and toggles through each picture control such as brightness, contrast etc., as you repeatedly press the button.

That folks is all the real hardware.  Now let’s take a look at those menus, which of course work hand in hand…

The Menus

I recall in the past really liking the JVC menus.  But, as I have mentioned, its been a few years since I last got to review a JVC.  Ron did the last one a couple years back. My initial reaction is that the menus look very similar, but, I must confess, I had to struggle to find some features.  Darn if I didn’t even have to consult the manual to figure out where the iris controls were hiding.

So maybe, it’s a good thing, to be able to take a fresh look.  Once I figured out the various sub menus in the picture menu, everything worked out just fine.  I’ll leave it with “very good menu system, but some items may not be in the most intuitive locations.”  After a few days of working with the JVC, it still seemed different than I recalled, but I had it all figured out.  Now mind you, we reviewers are constantly playing with controls, so I spend a lot of time in menus, far more than a normal user will, so it will likely take you longer to be fully at home with the JVC menu system, than it takes me.   That’s not a ding on JVC.  There are a huge number of controls, all considered.

As I mentioned you’ll find most of the menus, including sub-menus.  I have added a caption where I wanted to point out something about that menu.  Menu position can be adjusted (a very good thing).