Projector Reviews

JVC DLA-RS60 Projector – Image Quality

It is unfortunate that we do not have screen images yet for the JVC DLA-RS60 projector. Having expected another unit quickly, I didn’t think to do the photo shoot before we shipped this one back. Further, if there was an issue with that RS60, we’d have rather done the shoot with the replacement RS60 projector.

DLA-RS60 Out of the Box Picture Quality

Not surprisingly, the JVC RS60 projector looked great – right out of the box. Of course, that’s pretty much the case with every THX certfied projector with a THX mode. It was true on the older JVCs, as well as a number of others, from other brands.

In terms of 3D, picture quality “out of the box” with the provided JVC glasses wasn’t quite as good, but the more serious issue is brightness for 3D. I figure this is as good a spot to discuss the impact brightness had on the overall picture quality when viewing 3D.

As noted elsewhere in the review, there is a way to get more lumens out of this projector, but it’s not a desirable solution and therefore I won’t discuss it again here.

There is only about 500 lumens to start with (at mid-point on the zoom lens). The 3D process is going to eat up about 3/4ths of the light before it hits your eyeballs. My math says “Gee – that’s starting to look a lot like 125 lumens to the eyeballs.” And that of course with a brand new lamp. Mileage may vary, but I’m told most projectors using active shutter glasses lose about this much, or more.

Now normally around here we say a projector with about 500 lumens can nicely handle a typical 110″ diagonal screen (or even a size or two larger depending on your room setup).

Simple math says that if you have 1/4 the lumens then a screen with half the diagonal – 55″ diagonal, would have the same brightness in 3D as a 110″ screen doing 2D! Whew.

But the real problem isn’t the math, it’s that the picture isn’t bright enough. We enthusiasts will watch it, jump up and down showing it to all our friends, we will be able to watch 3D content on it, but we are not going to be happy about it.

Now much of this lack of brightness can be dealt with, to some degree, with screen selection, although, as with anything else, there are trade-offs. Get a high power screen with a gain of 2.5 and bingo, and your 55″ relative brightness jumps back up to close to a 90″ diagonal size with the same brightness. Of course, a high power screen means a more limited viewing area, possibly different mounting, and less evenness of illumination of the content.

In summarizing the quality of the experience when viewing 3D on the JVC DLA-RS60, you need to understand the setup. Mine is a rather typical theater setup, right now with a 106″ Carada Brilliant White 1.4 gain screen, and very dark everything. Even reducing the image size to the about 82″ diagonal, still left me feeling very dim. The picture was otherwise a pretty good one as 3D accuracy goes, but, tell you the truth, that just wasn’t that high on my radar, with the brightness being the underlying dominant trait. Well, if nothing else, can you imagine how black the blacks are in the letterbox area, when in 3D!

I just found it to be a struggle. That said, I’ve got two owners who admit they really want a lot more lumens, but they find it satisfactory, and in one case they are really enjoying it.

I have one person who has a true cave, and claims that 3D is watchable in his setup getting about 3.75 ft., but I’ll bet anything he’d be far, far happier if he had 3 times that.

I look forward to seeing how 3D looks with color profile turned off. That is supposed to get us up close to or even above 1000 lumens. I’m told it’s terrible looking in 2D (or at least relatively compared to, say, THX mode), but not as bad for 3D. Without trying it, I’m at a loss to determine how good or really bad, that color profile off setup produces.

For most of us, this means the RS60 is first and foremost a 2D projector – 3D is a bonus, but limited due to brightness.