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JVC Announces New Home Theater Projectors At CEDIA 2017

There have been rumors for months that JVC would have some new model announcements at CES. I visited JVC's Suite at the Venetian where they again demonstrated their RS4500, their first, and only true 4K consumer projector, with 3000 lumens with a price tag of $34,999.  It looked spectacular (again), running various clips including some animation.

JVC's Pro DLA-RS620 looks identical to the X series, except for the trim. Note the gold anodized trim here.

  But the real news is that there are updated projector models due in the upcoming months.  Look for the DLA-RS420 aka X570R, to replace the RS400 and X550R.  Pricing remains at $3999.  All the new JVC models are claiming 100 lumens more than their predecessors, so, for example, the two new projectors get a 100 lumen boost over their predecessors to 1800 lumens. Moving up, the DLA-RS520 and X770R replace the DLA-RS500 / X750R.  ($6999) (Now 1900 lumens) The top of the line of the 4K UHD models will have the DLA-RS620 and X970R replace the DLA-RS600 and DLA-X950R ($9999). (Now 2000 lumens)
The reason there are two different models at each price is a marketing channel "thing."  For years the two series  projectors at the same price have been effectively identical models, except for some trim variations.  In other words, between RS and X series, buy the one that's the most convenient, the performance is identical.

JVC's DLA-X570 projector, is the "consumer series". Note the silver trim. This model has 1900 lumens at $6999

  So what's new with these projectors?  Figure overall performance remains virtually identical. Talking to the folks in the JVC suite, there are minor performance enhancements, as one would expect from any upgrade.  There are, however, two significant improvements. Of course we'll need to bring in these projectors to review to confirm, but, here are the real reasons you might want to hold off a month (or two?) to get the RS420 instead of the RS400, etc.:
  • Hybrid Log-Gamma - got to love the term, pure  techie gobbly-gook sounding for everyone but engineers - Hybrid Log-Gamma is a new standard rolling out for streaming 4K content.  It's not the only way to do it, but it's gaining traction, even if content from 4K  streaming sources are few and far between at this time.  Will it be the only standard, or the dominant one in a few years, I sure don't know.  Still, this a a new feature to look for.  Sony offers it only on their $15,000+ true 4K projectors, so far.  I believe at least some of the first crop of DLP 4K UHD projectors with pixel shifting will have it too, but please don't quote me on that.
  • Low latency mode for gaming.  Over the years JVC has been a laggard when it comes to delivering low input lag times desired by gamers.  It's nice to see that these new projectors should be fast enough to satisfy many serious gamers.  Unfortunately, I didn't see an input lag number though, for these new models.  When we get the first one in for review, we'll measure the input lag and report.
That folks is about it.  Of course, these improvements (except for gamers) are minor, although Hybrid log-gamma might prove important to some.  Personally, I count streaming as the lowest quality content source (at this time).  As such, I buy lots of Blu-ray UHD movies.  (I'm up to 40 probably by now.)  In other words, while hybrid log-gamma may have real benefits for streaming, I'm not exactly sure all the folks who buy high priced projectors - serious folks - would be willing to watch poorer quality content for the sake of streaming, but I expect there will be plenty of folks who, in the future, will stream at least some of the time. We're looking forward to reviewing, but truth is, top priority is getting in the DLA-RS4500 - the true 4K projector for review.  Unfortunately, that maybe extremely difficult to obtain.  More often than not, we borrow JVCs from dealers, but it is most unlikely that a dealer will order a $35,000 projector for inventory.  Believe me though, I will be totally disappointed if I can't get a chance to at least review the RS4500, especially since I have just enjoyed a two month stint with it's direct competition, the $60K Sony VPL-VW5000ES.  For those interested, I should be posting that review in the next two weeks.  Boy it would have been fun to have both at the same time but that RS4500 still isn't shipping yet, the Sony's been out a year!  (BTW the Sony was the first projector to support Hybrid Log-Gamma, in case anyone cares.) Bottom line, the enhancements overall in these new models may be minor for most folks (certainly 5% increases in brightness is as minor as one can get), but it's great that JVC is staying on top of the latest standards rolling out for 4K.  Can't wait!

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