JVC DLA-RS6710, RS67U and X900R – Picture Quality

DLA-RS6710, DLA-RS67U, and DLA-X900R REVIEW – PICTURE QUALITY:  Out of the Box, Skin Tones, Black Level Performance

Out of the Box Performance

Not having this JVC projector for the usual “weeks” of viewing, I spent very little time playing around with any of the preset color modes, instead viewing content post calibration.

When I was playing with those uncalibrated modes, I should note that I did use Mike’s basic Brightness and Contrast adjustments, but those had little effect on the overall picture, as any adjustments needed were minor.

DLA-RS6710U Movie - Red: Handshake photo
From the movie Red: Bruce Willis and Ernest Borgnine.

I used THX mode for some of that viewing.  Overall it looked really good, the only issues really were minor.  Too much blue in the lower brightness ranges, but it was slight, just enough to maybe feel that reds were a little thin.

But I wanted to see what worked best for when there was some ambient light present.  Only Animation mode, which defaults to High Bright Color Temp, provided significantly more brightness, but picture quality – or rather color accuracy,  does suffer somewhat.  In fairness for a native lamp type of mode, it looked better, with less over pumping of greens and yellows than most.

Better still, though was to use Stage mode.  It’s only about 50 lumens brighter – that’s almost nothing, but the other settings, gamma, etc. are optimized to provide an image with a lot more punch.  It’s not huge, but it does make a difference.  There were definitely times where I preferred to use Stage, primarily for content where color accuracy is less critical, such as my sports viewing, or animations.  I would say “for HDTV” but that depends on what you are watching.  For my concert videos Stage is great, but for my viewing of the Victoria Secret fashion show, with all those awesome skin tones, I would switch back to the calibrated mode.  In my dedicated theater, I really never needed the Animation mode with High Bright.  If I was putting the projector in a less controlled media room, then there might be some use for that combination.

All considered “out of the box” doesn’t get much better than this JVC, especially when you start considering black level performance.  So, what does the JVC really lack in this area?  Well, it could be brighter overall.  That would come into play in a media room, and definitely would help with 3D.

JVC DLA-RS6710U Handling Skin Tones

Post Calibration skin tones looked great!   These images tend to look a touch oversaturated, but looked great up on the screen.

Overall, the results of Mike’s calibration don’t look quite as dead on – drop dead gorgeous as the two higher end 4K Sony projectors – which both cost more, but pretty much can hold their own with any other projectors I’ve reviewed (the Sony HW55ES also might have a touch of advantage). But of course, Mike does a traditional calibration, someone with talent, and the gear, can keep on tweaking that last 1 or 2%. So, bottom line – for almost all scenes, skin tones are great.

Which brings me to the exception – which is some issue in very dark scenes.  Of course defining a great skin tone where the face is very, very dark, is challenging enough.  The issue encountered though was more of over saturation on some very dark faces, on dark scenes.  I attribute that mostly to a very high gamma at 20 IRE (and I assume, lower).  For that reason, I used a lower gamma than Mike recommends in his calibration, as a couple of times in Mockingjay, the issue was very visible.

JVC Black Level Performance

Once upon a time there were projectors for home that were CRT based.  In theory, when you told them to do black, no light was output at all – perfect blacks.  Of course in a mixed scene there’s always some scatter or blooming, (like some white (well gray, really)  around white credits on a black background).

The images above:  All are the JVC until we get to our usual comparison using an overexposed grayscale version of the Casino Royale “Bond” night train scene.  All of the ones shown are the other great projectors at black levels.  In order:  JVC RS6710, Sony VW600, Sony VW1100ES, Epson LS10000, and JVC RS4910.  Then  the last two sets – side by sides. Second last is a side by side comparing the BenQ W7500 (DLP) compared to the Epson 5030UB (the Epson is best at blacks under $4000), and finally, per some real perspective to some lower cost home entertainment projectors around $1000 or so:  BenQ’s HT1075, and Epson’s HC3500.

Today, though, we deal with different technology for a lot of other reasons, so we don’t get pure black.  That said, nothing comes closer to doing a true black than this JVC projector. Even without its dynamic iris, it can rival/beat anything else out there in this regard. With the dynamic iris, when a scene goes to black, you just sit there seeing nothing, at least for more than a few seconds until your eyes adjust enough to make out a very faint dark gray.  It’s unlikely that your content will ever stay black long enough for your eyes to adjust without hitting pause!

It is simply one noticeable step better than anything else I’ve encountered.  I can tell you right now, that even the those projectors I’ve reviewed that are only one notch down in black level performance only number three:

JVC’s own RS4910, RS49U, and X500R, for $5495 is one of those.  The previous year’s model in that series lacked a dynamic iris, and without it, the black levels were still extremely good, but no match. With the dynamic iris added, those JVC’s may still lack a bit of dynamic range, but are way beyond “good enough” at black levels, that I can certainly live without the small overall difference between those and this far more expensive series.

Then there’s the Epson LS10000, which has by far the best black level performance of any Epson (they set the standard for under $4000 projectors when it comes to black level performance).  The Epson really doesn’t have a dynamic iris, but can use the laser light dimming to shut off light completely when it encounters fully black frames – which are not that uncommon, especially between scenes, but also occur at times in dark scenes with action.  Black scenes are the only time the Epson can match – really beat – the JVC, but the JVC comes close enough.  The Epson might even have looked better on the high action scenes in the dark in Mockingjay, during the attack, because when it went from flashes of light to blackness, the drop was greater with the Epson.  On basically everything else, the JVC wins.  But the Epson overall on black performance comes very close to the JVC, close enough!

Finally there’s Sony’s $25 thousand plus top of the line VPL-VW1100ES 4K projector.  Like the JVC, it uses a traditional dynamic iris.  The Sony is more comparable to JVC’s RS4910 overall when it comes to black levels.  Better or worse – I don’t know, close enough.  Like the Epson, that Sony is more than good enough for my demands.

So, those three get close, but this JVC projector is the king of black levels.  The non-handpicked versions of these JVC’s should have virtually identical black level performance, BTW for $4000 less.  (I think of them as the same projector which is why, above, I said only three come close).

Bottom line – awesome black levels!  It is the one aspect of performance that truly makes this JVC special!

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