Posted on September 5, 2017 By Art Feierman
It’s such fun giving out a Best Value award to a projector with a $9999 price tag!
Of all the projectors in this report to receive an award, the JVC RS620 is the one I directly have the least experience with. Oh, true, I’ve reviewed several of its long history of predecessors, and even owned one of the (the old RS20 – before JVC added 3D, let alone 4K). I have seen the RS620 at trade shows, but that’s it.
First of all, we haven’t reviewed it. But we did review its immediate predecessor, the RS600. And it’s true, that there really is only one change of note, between the RS600 and RS620, which is the addition of HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma – could they have come up with a more nerdy term?).
The thing is, of the past 150 plus home theater projector reviews (probably more than that), I’ve kept those reviews for myself, while having other reviewers doing even more commercial projectors (business, education, etc.), which I also do a number of each year.
There has been only one exception. And that is the RS600. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to get review units from JVC, so typically we borrow one, sometimes two from dealers (a poor way to run my business). In this case, though, Ron, my senior reviewer who does most of the high-end commercial projectors, bought an RS600 for himself (that says a lot about the projector right there). Naturally, since I couldn’t lay my hands on one, I welcomed his offer to review his own JVC.
No surprise, he loves it. And, as he’s an engineer by trade, he’s far more technically knowledgeable (read his blogs on topics like HDR, BT.2020, etc., I do). So, my decision to give the RS620 this year’s Value award is, in part, based on what I know about the RS600, and in large part Ron’s review and enjoyment with his.
So, what have we here? A $9995 1080p pixel shifter. It’s one that has the best native contrast of any projector we’ve ever reviewed, and they bolster that with a good dynamic iris. When a scene switches from bright to say, a black frame, it will take second before your eyes adjust enough to see what little light is still hitting your screen.
The only other projectors I’ve seen that also do that are laser or LED projectors that shut down their light engines when hitting a black from. But, the important thing is, if the scene switched to isn’t a black frame, but an extremely dark frame, the native contrast of the JVC (plus iris) still does the same thing – it can go so dark that you’re waiting for your eyes to adjust.
Awesome black levels. To even consider an alternative to be its equal, we’d need a high-end Sony laser these days, with a dynamic iris. That Sony probably won’t fully match the near black scenes, but will counter with pure black on black scenes.
Well, Sony doesn’t have any laser projectors under $25,000 and this guy’s a mere $9995!
But, I should focus. The basic rundown on the RS620: 2:1 zoom, Lens Memory, and lots of lens shift. Its HDMI supports 18 Ghz, which means no issue with some devices (like the Sony Playstation One S. That doesn’t support all 4K UHD modes, so it limits some other projectors and 4K UHD LCD TVs. I see that as a Sony issue, which I hope they address with the release of their newest PlayStation device.
As 1080p pixel shifter, I do believe there’s been a slight improvement (e-shift4, up from eshift3), but I would think slight is the operative term. Other than not being sure about that, I’ve found that Epson’s image processing for their pixel shifting does come out a touch sharper looking than the JVCs, but again, we’re talking slight. It only might be a touch significant in that the JVC isn’t quite as close to 4K UHD DLP single chip projectors or Sony’s true 4K ones.
Downsides – ok, it’s not true 4K (or even 4K UHD), and it is lamp-based, so like all lamp-based projectors, brightness steadily drops with use, and colors will shift slightly as lamps age. But, that’s it for my criticisms.
That said, I have reviewed JVC pixel shifters – the RS400, with the same pixel shifting, and it definitely makes a real difference on 4K content compared to standard 1080p projectors. More to the point, it gets close enough in sharpness, that its massive advantage compared to most other projectors at black levels, make this a great value for people wanting 4K compatibility and the best black levels at any price.
If you can’t swing the price for this one, you can drop down to the Epson laser, or lower priced still, the JVC RS420 or the Epson 5040UB. But, if a $10K list price projector fits your budget, this should probably be your first choice, for a dedicated home theater.
Ron, I’m definitely a bit jealous of your RS600 so even more so for the DLA-RS620!
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