Projector Reviews

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

RS440U Projector  – Picture Quality:4K HDR Movies/4K Streaming, 1080p movies, HDTV and Sports, Overall Picture Quality

4K Content with HDR and without HDR

Virtually all consumer 4K content so far on Blu-ray UHD uses HDR, but there are some exceptions.  Additionally, so far, most Netfix streaming (can’t speak for other streaming) 4K content does not support HDR.

My primary focus is on 4K content with HDR and expanded color space, which is to say, these days, is primarily content on 4K Blu-ray UHD discs.

But I am not routinely checking out 4K streaming on Netflix, relying primarily on Blacklist for my analysis.  Unfortunately, after I sent the JVC back, I realized I had never taken photos form Blacklist on Netflix, or have misplaced them. (probably forgot)!

It was a pretty great experience.  With the HDR adjusted to provide respectable brightness (read Eric’s comments on the calibration pages), it was certainly the best viewing experience since the Sony VW385ES (native 4K).  As noted skin tones were near excellent post calibration, but the RS440U has a little more trouble trying to get to P3, than more expensive laser projectors.  Still, I was never unhappy. Like predecessors to this model, once again, it rocks, and in this case, it rocks on high quality 4K content.  If, as Eric points out, technically his HDR mode, with P3 calibration proved a little less accurate than his 1080p/REC 709, but then its doing a really good job with great color space, as opposed to excellent with an inferior color space (REC 709).  That certainly earns JVC a pass.  

close up of faces
From Passengers, 4K HDR. excellent detail, but with no noticeably hardness to faces

A quick note if comparing against the Epson 5040UB.  Eric indicates that the Epson has the slight edge when it comes to tackling P3 color space.  Not enough to matter. The more important aspect today is preventing dimness in the mid-lower ranges as HDR tries to stretch out the dynamic range.  

Until Epson’s last firmware upgrade, this would have been no contest, as the Epson started out seeming dim in those mid and lower ranges, when first released.  Even, the last calibration settings we posted on the Epson with custom gamma, etc. it’s still was a little dim.  The most recent firmware version, though, is close enough with regular gammas, and that can be customized, .  Either way, reasonably close to the JVC in this regard, based on direct comparisons.  

(The two projectors features and capabilities wise are very similar.) 

1080p and Similar Content (Blu-ray disc, primarily)

Excellent.  I do wish the images did a much better job of reproducing the color on the screen.  My expectations were on the money.  It may be roughly three years since I reviewed this series last, but it must be the 4th or 5th one in the series that I have reviewed in a decade.  What’s new here?  Support for 4K with HDR since my last visit to an RS4xx series projector.  Great, but when it comes to your basic 1080p movie on Blu-ray, there is virtually no difference, and, that’s good thing.  

You will find the usual images from Hunger Games, Casino Royale, and a few other photos from other movie content.  As noted elsewhere, there is some color shifting, so these aren’t the best representatives of how good this JVC RS440U looks in person.

Great black levels combine with overall great color even if you haven’t calibrated or tried our settings. As Eric pointed out, the JVC starts out a lot better than most.  Best movie viewing I’ve seen in my theater since I had the $8K Sony here.

HDTV and Sports

One nice thing about the JVC is its overall brightness.  Even calibrated our “brightest” mode, managed 1725 lumens at full lamp, and mid-zoom.  That allows it to be as bright, and often brighter than any of the 4K UHD DLPs except perhaps one or two of the ones with “business” (RGBW) color wheels, and even there, where the JVC has less lumens than the brightest of those claiming 3000 lumens, the JVC still delivers superior color.  

True, a 4K UHD projector is inherently sharper, even if one must sit pretty close to the screen to see any difference. Just remember, that the differences, though, are primarily on 4K content. We’re still watching mostly 1080i and 720, and some 1080p for HDTV and sports, although eventually we’ll be getting more 4K content (such as with Netflix, but the amount of 4K content they have is extremely limited compared to lower resolution content.

As such, today, count the JVC RS440 looking just about as sharp on1080 HDTV/Sports even sitting close.  I’ve seen more pop, from some of those 4K UHD DLPs, but that’s usually tied, to being less natural in picture.  The JVC looked great.

Overall Picture Quality

Excellent.  I do wish the images did a much better job of reproducing the color on the screen.  My expectations were on the money.  It may be roughly three years since I reviewed this series last, but it must be the 4th or 5th one in the series that I have reviewed in a decade.  What’s new here?  Support for 4K with HDR since my last visit to an RS4xx series projector.  Great, but when it comes to your basic 1080p movie on Blu-ray, there is virtually no difference, and, that’s good thing.  

You will find the usual images from Hunger Games, Casino Royale, and a few other photos from other movie content.  As noted elsewhere, there is some color shifting, so these aren’t the best representatives of how good this JVC RS440U looks in person.

Great black levels combine with overall great color even if you haven’t calibrated or tried our settings. As Eric pointed out, the JVC starts out a lot better than most.  Best movie viewing I’ve seen in my theater since I had the $8K Sony here.

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