Projector Reviews

Home Theater Projectors – JVC DLA-RS60 Arrives – when it rains – it pours

Greetings all,

The floodgates are apparently now open (if 3 months late).  the JVC DLA-RS60 (click for specs) – JVC’s top of the line home theater projector, landed here yesterday 1/28/11.   The DLA-RS60 is a 3D projector (and of course 2D) using JVC’s LCoS panels – which they call D-iLA (Sony calls theirs SXRD, etc.)   This JVC projector uses active LCD shutter glasses when showing 3D.

I should note that there is also a JVC DLA-RS50, which is, essentially, the same projector for two thirds the price.  The MSRP of the RS60 is $11,995, and the RS50 has an MSRP of $7995.

The difference is one of quality control.  Yes $4000 is a lot to pay for quality control, but JVC gives you the best of their power supplies, the best optical engine, cleanest image processing engine, and takes the best of all those and more parts, and assembles a limited number of DLA-RS60s.  Last year, we compared the RS25, with the RS35 (same difference) and there was a clear, and significant difference with the “premium” model.

The JVC RS60 and the RS50, have a lot more lumens than their predecessors, and that is a very good thing, since 3D using active glasses, basically loses a good 75% of the brightness by the time it gets to your eyeballs.  With 1300 lumens now, up from last year’s 900, that’s a healthy jump, but is it enough for 3D.  For those familiar with the older JVC projectors, these new ones – the DLA-RS60 included are a whole size larger. They are similar in depth to the old ones, but much wider.  Cabling is on the back, not the sides like they were the last few generations.

I’ll blog more later in the week, but I can say, during a quick setup last night, I fired up Alice In Wonderland, on Blu-ray 3D.  I hadn’t looked at the manual.  I flipped through a few of the pre set Picture modes, and immediately realized modes like THX and Cinema were going to be useless for 3D.  I settled for Natural, which seemed the brightest.

I didn’t look far enough, there is also a 3D mode, and it turns out that it is the brightest.  I’ll try that later.   Meantime last night, with a friend, we tried to watch Alice in Wonderland.  Hey, it’s a dark movie, overall, and it does not cut it when the image is underpowered.   Projecting onto a 100″ HC light gray (Elite screen – a temporary until next week), it was painfully not bright enough.   I ended up reducing the image size to about 84″ diagonal, and my friend still found it way too dark (I thought it was tolerable at that point.)   As a concession to my friend, we switched to the 2D version for the 2nd half of the movie.   As it was explained to me by her, the 3D in cool, but she’d much rather watch in 2D than have a dim 3D image.   I’m sure that resonates with lots of us.

OK, I took a break and just tried the 3D mode.  It is definitely the brightest mode, but a good deal.  I zoomed back out so Alice is filling the whole 100″ diagonal.  The 3D looks just dandy, but, I fear, the RS60 lacks the lumens to fill this 100″ screen.  Remember this is an old Elite HC Grey screen, one I estimated the gain to be 0.9 when it was reviewed 4+ years ago.

It’s probably not a good choice at all for a 3D screen, even with the active shutter glasses type of 3D.  A new Carada Brilliant White (claimed 1.4 gain, we estimate 1.3), has arrived in Carada’s Masquerade masking system.  If all goes well, that will be mounted and in use next week, in the testing room.  I’ll be sure to see how much better the JVC DLA-RS60 does with a significantly brighter screen.

It is my hope that the jump in brightness will be enough to make the JVC acceptable on 100″ screen sizes.  We can only hope.  Note, I really do believe the manufacturers have to start thinking 2400 to 3000 lumen projectors for 3D!

Brightness notwithstanding the 3D and the movie Alice, are most enjoyable, and rather impressive.  The 3D mode makes a real difference, although the 3D gamma is “interesting”.

I’ll try to do an official First Look Review soon, but don’t count on it.  I need to finish writing up the Viewsonic Pro8200, complete the review of the Sharp XV-Z17000 and the Epson MovieMate 85HD, before this JVC… With luck, both the Pro8200 and the Sharp will be posted before superbowl, and the 85HD too, if possible.  (Best to figure only 2 of the 3).  The JVC DLA-RS60 won’t be far behind the others.

One more thing I’m going to have to look into.  Trying to watch the Winter X games on ESPN3D, the Satellite box tells me that the JVC is not compatible because it needs to be 720p.  I’m investigating… -art