JVC DLA-RS60 Projector – April update, also DLA-HD250Pro

Greetings all,

OK I”m back a week now from the NAB show in Las Vegas, where I did get some face time with JVC.   I’d love to say that I got all the answers, but at least I learned some things. though nothing shocking or surprising.  At least you get to hear some of JVC’s “side” of the story.

First, let’s start with the brightness ratings of the projectors… compared to last year’s and older.

JVC did reiterate what we all pretty much knew.  This year they decided to rate their projectors the way the bulk of the industry does, which is to measure how bright the projector is capable of, instead of how bright it is at an ideal D65.   Of course, very few projectors under $10,000 were doing it JVC’s way – of D65 measurements.

JVC believes that, despite record sales and backorders on their home theater projectors, that the low claimed numbers were hurting them business wise.  That is certainly understandable, as we all would likely  agree.  I was a dealer long enough to know that one would have to explain to all but the enthusiasts, why a more expensive projector might claim half the brightness, but still be brighter for movie viewing. (ie.  My JVC RS20, measured only about 60% of that of an Epson 8500UB back then, but my JVC  was at D65, vs. the Epson in a mode that was a bit ugly but OK for sports, wth a color temp around 9000K, and too strong on greens as well.  But the Epson only put out about 500 lumens at D65 compared to my JVC’s over 700 lumens.  That, BTW is why I always said, that the Epson couldn’t handle my 128″ Firehawk screen, because it couldn’t fill it with movie quality color, even if it could do a brighter football game.

So, ultimately the change in ratings, I would call a marketing decision.  If I had to second guess them, for the first year – the transition year, I might have boldly touted both – an 8500K (or brightest mode), and a 6500K measurement.

The place where JVC gets into trouble, of course, lies with us enthusiasts, and with owners of older JVC projectors, looking to move up.  I initially missed the 8500K reference, and apparently so did many others.   That is, we all assumed that JVC would still be rating  at D65.   I certainly praised JVC for a big anticipated jump in brightness in my blogs right after CEDIA.  It wasn’t until later, that I noticed the non D65 rating for the first time  (probably thanks to a comment by one of you guys).

We older JVC owners and serious enthusiasts who have been big JVC fans (even those who have not yet afforded one), have been disappointed, but, we, or at least I, share some of the hit.   Had I noticed 8500K at first… My early blogs would no doubt have been more like:  “well most projectors are a lot brighter up there close to where most projectors native lamp temp is, so we can only hope that some of that filters down to D65.”    Had I noticed, I might have still expected a 20-30% brightness increase though, not a drop.

So, that brings us to the color profile issue, and tell you the truth – I’ve got nothing to add there.  I never got to the question of why the RS40 is brighter…  That’s my bad…

JVC did tell me something though I want to share, because it explains something many of us have been conjecturing about:   Is the reason why there are no other reviews (except my partial) in the US.     OK we  pretty much realize now, that  I was the first  person to get a projector for review (in the US) from JVC.    I learned that the unit I had, was not only the only one they had for reviewers, but it was also an early one, and was needed at all the trade shows JVC attends, as well as being toured around to dealers and to commercial clients (remember it’s the Pro series – they market them to production facilities, etc.  Apparently they have 3 total (my guess) RS50 and RS60s for all that visibility.

I was told that mine was the oldest of those, and when they had them setup, as usual at a recent show, that mine did measure in about 50 lumens less than the newer ones.  That is no surprise.  I knew that mine was an early RS60 even though it didn’t land until early Feb.  They point out that they are always improving the process, and that tends to be particularly true with manufacturers with a (new) first generation engine, like this years RS40, 50, and 60.  By comparison, the HD250Pro looks to be similar to last year’s RS15.

There is some hope. JVC did say they would try to get me another projector so I can at least finish what I started.  That would probably be at least a few weeks, and they could not promise.   I said I’d take an RS50 or RS60.  I am hopeful, but not giving odds.  When I get one, I plan to fully investigate the color profile Off options, and measure them, and see how good or bad they look on 3D (and 2D).

I’m still not willing to get into the whole color profile issue from a performance standpoint with the RS50 and RS60, simply because while we know there are a few hundred extra lumens available there, I can’t talk quality of picture, etc. because I still have not seen the projector run with the color profiles off.

JVC does say that with the color profiles off, these projectors do get very close to the 1300 lumens.  I know we’ve been hearing a bit lower, but the forums have listed measurements over 1000 lumens, with the lens set in various positions.  JVC seems confident that the projectors – by normal Industry standards (ANSI lumens – no particular color temp) definitely approaches 1300 lumens.  Well, in general, we find most projectors don’t reach their claimed brightness, but get within 5-25% of claim.  If the JVC’s get, say 1100 lumens that would be down about 15% from claim, and very typical.   That doesn’t really cheer up those of us who had anticipated 1300 lumens (give or take) at D65, but, if the color profile off options aren’t too ugly, or can be improved a bit, then the end result could even be that this projector can find more lumens for 3D and look as good or close, to the Sony VPL-VW90ES which mustered up about 750 lumens, with reasonably good color for 3D.

BTW, I am more and more coming to the belief that a dual screen solution is what we all need to deal with the brightness of these 3D projectors.  It’s definitely helping here, with the 3D but I also want the best possible screen for most of my viewing – 2D, and that’s not going to be a 3D screen, nor a really high gain screen.

Any feedback from you RS50 and RS60 owners, about how the color profile Off looks when tackling 3D, is appreciated.  How good or bad is it.  Are skin tones reasonable?  If I can’t lay my hands on another one soon, I can at least have you guys with projectors comment, so others can read it.  If you have owned a projector previously, how does the profiles off, compare with your last projector’s.   I would have liked to have a chance to play with the settings at NAB, but there were always people coming through their mini-theater area.  Too bad.

Also, anyone in So Cal, with an HD250Pro they are willing to part with for a week, I can loan my RS20… But seriously, I expect I’ll find a dealer I can work with.

There isn’t a whole lot more to report for now.  The RS50 and RS60’s seem to be what you and I have seen.  In 2D with the usual color profiles it’s still not as bright as last year’s projectors.  The promise of 1300 D65 lumens is something JVC never made, but many of us assumed.  We will all have to judge these JVC projectors, for what they are, I don’t expect any real changes at this time, just the usual minor refinements.  Sorry I have nothing more concrete than that.




News and Comments

  • Mark_H

    A good update. The only non-surprise being that JVC have now adopted the same disingenuous approach to listing lumens that other companies use, which is max, not calibrated, lumens. There needs to be a consumer campaign to encourage companies to be more honest in this regard as, as we have seen with the new JVC models the max number really bears no useful relation to what can be expected once calibrated.

    “In 2D with the usual color profiles it’s about as bright as last year’s projectors. ”

    Not in my experience. My RS60 (which I have now returned for this very reason) was 30% dimmer than my RS35.

    • Hi Mark_ Ok, I just double checked the RS35 review from last year. I was thinking (from memory) that THX last year was low 600’s but I now see that it measured 677, so you are absolutely correct. Even if, as JVC says, the bulk of the RS60’s out there are a bit brighter than mine, (by say 50 lumens) that still makes them at least 20% less bright than the RS35. I stand corrected.

      Getting back to your other statement. re max not calibrated lumens. There is/was a campaign to set standards. The thing is, the engineers, realize that D65 is not the most important thing in the world. Ask any of your friends who can’t tell which looks better 6500K, 7000K, 6500K with a 5% push on green, 7200K, with a -2% push on green. Both D65 and maximum lumens are useful, and in many applications (including, as far as I’m concerned, D65 isn’t the desired goal, given the choice of what’s available. If I want to watch an indoors NBA game, and my choices in a room with ambient light, are a perfect 6500K with 507 lumens, or a 7500K picture (with green in balance with red and blue), but outputting, say 1100 lumens, then I can tell you I and most people will be watching 7500K every time, for the brightness to make the picture look more dynamic, and not washed out as the 507 would be by comparison.

      As I said, the problem here, wasn’t with people not familiar with JVC or it’s rep. Today, they’d look at the 1300 spec, and assuming it comes close, they would expect the picture to look similar, say to any other 1300 lumen projector at max lumens. It’s those of us who assumed that JVC was talking about 1300 D65 lumens who are extremely dissapointed. JVC would argue, that any number of people, going only by specs (who don’t know better), might take a pass – on even giving the JVCs serious consideration – because they claim half or less the brightness of 90% of under $15K projectors.

      If you want a standard that is only D65, for purity, then I would suggest pushing for these others as well. 1. only Ansi contrast. 2. No consideration of dynamic irises. Elimination of all dynamic features for testing, from Brilliant Color to JVC’s several dynamic features. You know strip it down to D65, no extras.

      That would of course make the JVC’s on top for most things (although don’t some DLP’s measure higher ANSI contrast but have inferior blacks (sorry, don’t pay attention to contrast specs except for amusement, all our home theater reviews discuss black levels based on viewing them, not on mumbo jumbo, which is all you can say of the numbers when dynamic factors are allowed to “run amok”. -a

  • Jason

    Art – the most difficult question to have asked is why is the RS40 30%+ brighter than the RS50/RS60? It would be great if you could get one of each for a direct comparison. I think you will be surprised when you see the brightness of the RS40.

    You test projector was consistent with a number of RS50 owners including myself. I had the lamp replaced and the best it could handle was about 550 lumens. RS40’s are cranking out 800-900.

    No one would use the color profile=off with 3D. The color is so bad, there is no way even a non-enthusiast would tolerate it unless sickly greenish/blue is an appealing flesh tone. And no animations either.. it’s that bad.

    See for yourself when you get it. An RS40 vs. RS50/RS60 direct comparison would tell quite a bit.

    In my opinion, claiming to change their measurements to ‘keep up with other manufacturers’ was a poor decision. There is no reason for it, and they would have gained more respect if they simply advertised something a little closer to the truth.

    After the poor QA on my first RS40 and the lower lumens issue with the RS50, I will be hesitant to consider JVC again or recommend them to peers.

    • Thanks Jason, you answered the big question, how bad the color profile off was. thanks -art

  • Jason

    Art – a quick additon – several folks noticed they removed the references to the lumens this year on the US site. Last time I checked, it does indeed appear that there are no references to lumens anymore. It used to say ‘50% brighter than last year’ and ‘Up to 14FT screens’… you can see why some people are upset with this marketing info that is not longer on the site.

    • Hey Jason,
      Yep, others have reported the same. I’m not sure, once JVC found themselves in this situation, what the best course for them might have been. I expect they found themselves in a place with not a whole lot of good options. Each situation is different, and each manufacturer invariably, when confronting an issue, tries to mitigate it to do the least damage, long and short term. We could debate what JVC should have done (still do), however, in less than 4 months JVC will no doubt launch its annual replacements at CEDIA. Whatever the brightness, of the next gen, compared to the current, and previous models, I think it’s probably safe to say that JVC will be very clear and pretty accurate about brightness claims going forward. They certainly don’t need or want this same discussion going on for years. -art

  • Matthieu

    It would be nice than, if JVC pointed out two Lumens specifications.
    * – Highest: 1300 Lumen
    * —– THX: 600 Lumen
    That way they have the High number for the Noobs, and the admired THX Specification for their fans.
    That way they can still hold on to their campaine.

    Maybe you can get them so far, to walk that road.
    It seams you have a bit of influance there, by those companies.

  • steveg

    I stayed with the RS15 and went with an Acer for 3d. 90% of the time I use the RS15. This gives me the best of both worlds. Not sure 2 screens would be a great solution.

    Glad I didnt pony up for the first generation of these JVC 3d. Maybe the next models will be the charm.

  • Drexler

    Well, the funny thing is that JVC touted they had developed a new light path designed specifically for extra brightness and incorporated a new more powerful lamp – and they still measure 20-30% less than last years models! It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Considering the claims of 1) redesigned light path for improved brightness, 2) more powerful lamp for extra brightness and 3) an increase in the lumens specs from 900 to 1300 lumens, I believe it was perfectly reasonable to expect the new models to be brighter than the older ones – and definitely not significantly dimmer!

  • Bobby

    The issue I have a hard time with is not that they printed 8500 but most assumed D65. It is that JVC’s own marketing material makes the statement “Nearly 50% brighter than our previous models” for the 40/50/60 series. But, as you found, at the same calibration levels it is actually 20% less bright.

    I think that making a claim like that, but what it really means is “brighter than our previous models … if you calibrate your older model but don’t use any calibration on the newer models” is really going one step too far.

    • Bobby, you wont’ get an argument out of me. Everyone, especially JVC, at this point, wishes that the RS50 and RS60 and the X7 and X9, lived up to expectations that JVC set. Still most of JVC’s business is through local dealers, and most folks who buy $5000+ projectors, I suspect are not as critical about the image as many of us are. They simply want what is a great projector in their price range, consult with the dealer and since they can afford the ticket, proceed. For those folks the JVC lives up to their expectations I would think, unless perhaps they were moving up from an older model, for the brightness. -art

  • Don

    I don’t know what to think anymore. JVC told us it was almost 50% brighter than last years projector. At CEDIA the pro reps said now we can drive a larger screen, they were showing it on a 11′ wide screen and it looked great. But it isn’t 50% brighter and I question what I saw at CEDIA, something is fishy. I also question the claimed 100,000:1 contrast ratio, I think that is bogus too. The review models haven’t come close to that number.

    from the JVC printed brochure on the X7 and X9 specificatons page
    brightness 1,300lm
    contrast ratio Native: 50,000:1 and 70,000:1

    page 6
    The redesigned optical engine utilizes a newly developed 220W ultra-high pressure mercury lamp to achieve a brightness level of 1,300 lumens.

    Then they go on about the contrast ratio of the X3.

    Do you think certifying it for THX did something to the brightness output?

    • Don, Re CEDIA, naw, I was there too. I never draw conclusions when viewing in those nice super dark, temp “theatre’s” So I don’t suspect anything “fishy”. If they had an RS25, side by side and a brighter RS50… But that wasn’t the case.

      So, moving on… regarding the THX, no, I don’t suspect that, since the older RS25 and RS35 also are THX…

  • Robert van de Straat

    I have read your review about the rs60. What I don’t get is your problems with the brightness. I am the proud owner of a X3 (RS40) And the 3d is really good. Brightness is not an issue. I even play on standard lamp mode and not high lamp mode sometimes, and it still looks bright… You have to warm up the beamer for about 45 min to get rid of the crosstalk, but after that it is amazing. I have a 100inch screen(might be a bit more), not sure about the gain. 2D is exceptionally good, but 3D is mind-blowing. How is it that my experience is so different then yours with the JVC?
    Sorry for my bad english but I’m duct. You try typing something in Dutch 😉
    Love you’re reviews, please review the RS40/X3.

    • Greetings Robert!
      OK, first thing is that your X3 – RS40, is substantially brighter than the RS50 and RS60 projectors out there, at least by the measurments posted by commenters here, and on the forums. Most are reporting that the RS40 can do around 800 lumens at D65. That’s a far cry from the 507 I think we measured with the RS60. (We measure at midpoint on the zoom, so that should be about 550 at full wide angle where the manufacturers measure (to get out extra lumens) even though most people don’t mount at the full wide angle position.. (but that’s ok, and standard).

      Generally those reporting measurements of THX mode, or their own calibrated D65, have been quoting about 600 lumens or a little less. Thus the RS40, based on all of those reports, seems to be measuring about 1/3 brighter than the more expensive models (despite having the same brightness claims).

      Now, you have a nice 100″ screen – which is slightly below average for home theater. The sweet spot seems to be between 100 and 110″ diagonal. That was the case when my last company sold home theater projectors – very few screens under 100″, a lot of 100, 106, and 110, and fewer larger…

      Now, based on the brightness differences reported, if you switched to an RS50 or RS60 or X7, X9, to maintain the same brightness, you would have to drop your screen size to just under 84 inches to get the same brightness with those more expensive JVCs.

      Now I have two screens in use (now) – a 3D silverscreen from Stewart, at 100″ 16:9, and a Stewart Studiotek 130 (gain 1.3), which is 124 diag, but it’s 2.35:1.
      When I had the JVC here, I had a 1.4 gain Carada brilliant white screen at 106″ 16:9, on which I did most of the viewing of the JVC. Brightness was never satisfactory in 3D on any screen, at 100″ diagonal. It was just dim. What screen surface are you using? (The gain is obviously important, and you can get the gain you need to make an RS60 bright enough on a 100″ but that much gain pretty much guarantees hot spotting – roll off to the sides…

      You mention you even use standard lamp (but you didn’t mention if you are using standard when viewing 3D). BTW, keep in mind that your X3 is pretty new. As with most other projectors, by the time you have say 400 – 600 hours on the lamp, your High lamp mode will only be about as bright as the Standard mode when you first fired up the X3. By the time you hit, say 1500 hours on the 2000 hour lamp, figure you’ll be down 35-40% in brightness.

      I mention that because most of us can’t afford to change out lamps every 500 or 1000 hours to keep our brightness up. That too has to be factored in.

      Finally, the X3 – RS40, and even the RS50, RS60 and their X versions, are all bright enough to do a 100′ screen in 2D or even fill my old 128″ firehawk or my new Studiotek. 550 – 600 lumens will do that for you.

      Brightness of the RS60 is still brighter than the RS2, the least bright of all the RS projectors we measured (3+ years ago). That was the only one not to measure over 500 lumens in D65. So, there’s not a damn thing wrong with the RS50 and RS60 for 2D. Sure we all would have liked the expected 30-40% bump in brightness over the RS25, RS35 projectors, but as I said, a measured 600 lumens is enough for larger screens in 2D never mind a 100″.

      But 3D – that’s where the “disaster” lurks. Even with SMPTE setting a standard, it certainly seems their standard for brightness was based on setting a standard that current technology could achieve, rather than a 3D standard that really meets brightness requirements. With no more than 25% of the net brightness of 2D, for 3D, that’s a real problem by my take. I’m not picking on JVC. I simply expect that most of us will want something approaching if not beating getting the equivalent of 8 ft-lamberts of light to our eyeballs, for “adequate” 3D to the eyes. Remember the minimum SMPTE recommendation for 2D is 12 ft-lamberts and 16 is recommended for theaters.

      An RS60 that can only do 600 lumens (2D) with a new lamp, on a 100″ screen = 600/30.2 = 19.8 foot lamberts.

      Since active glasses solutions for 3D, at best seem to get the equivalent of 25% of the light to your eyes, and most would say 17 – 24%, then our call it 20 ft-lamberts (for a 100 inch diagonal – nevermind people who want larger), works out – to the eyes, of about 5 ft-lambert – with a brand new lamp.

      SMPTE set 4.5 ft-lambert as the minimum for 3D, so figure by the time you have a couple hundred hours you are already below the minimum for theaters.

      That said, some of the feedback I got from one of the companies that sells lots of digital cinema projectors, was that dissappointing ticket sales for 3D may in part be tied to the feedback – that people going into 3D theaters are often unhappy with the brightness – so not coming back for more. That was the feedback I was given, I have no direct access to theater goer public opinion. Of course I’ll bet a lot of those 3D theaters aren’t even hitting the 4.5 ft-lambert recommendation.

      So that’s the story. For many people like myself, who find a 100 inch screen to be on the small side, the hit the lamp brightness will take over time, and other factors, we need to wait for some brighter 3D solutions. My biggest concern is for the RS60. Since it’s $2K more than it’s predecessor, I’m hard pressed to rationalize the extra $2000, for those that will be sufficiently unhappy with the 3D brightness – like myself. With the RS50 who’s price is similar to the older RS25, that’s not an issue. Based on the RS60 I had here, due to brightness, I’d probably buy an older RS35 if still around, and maybe a low cost 720p for now, to fool with 3D…

      But, ultimately, it’s about your room, your projector… If you are pleased – just go ahead and enjoy it! If I could lay my hands on an RS40 with its greater reported brightness, I might find that to be enough, maybe. I wasn’t thrilled with the 3D brightness of the Sony VW90ES either, but with about 750 lumens I at least found it to be marginal, and (with a relatively new lamp) adequate brightness on my 3D silver screen, which is brighter (in the center) than my Studiotek 130… (but it rolls off to the sides. -art

  • Robert van de Straat

    Wow, how is that for an answer…, thanks for your quick and clear reaction.

    My screen is a little over 100inch (103) and it has a gain of 1,0. I sit about 3 meters away from the screen, and the JVC has the same distance to the screen.
    I do watch 3d movies with the lamp setting on low so that after about 1500 hrs I can switch to the high mode to compensate for the light loss.

    My 2D viewing is always on low lamp mode and with the manual iris closed to about halfway so I can open it up more when the lamp starts to dim.
    If iI put it on high lamp mode the picture is almost to bright, it will hurt your eyes in very light scenes

    I calibrated the picture my self, starting with setups I got from the net, and tweaking from there on. Colors on a X3/RS40 are very red. (65k is more like 5k, 75k is closer to 65k)
    After a small calibration I got it pretty good.

    My room is a living room with a white ceiling brown walls white doors. So it is no “Bat Cave”.
    If I really wanted to improve on the picture quality I have to get a dedicated dark room.

    I think the X3/RS40 is so good that I find it hard to justify the price difference between the X3/RS40 and the X7/RS50, X9/RS60. That is why I really hope you can get your hands on a X3 to see for your self.

    The 3D here is almost just as bright as my 2D if I put the lamp in high mode.
    I did read a review somewhere of the X3 that 3D was a lot brighter than 3D on a Sony VW90ES and has less crosstalk issues.
    I have to say that if you do not warm up the X3 for more than 45 min, you can’t watch 3D because of the very heavy crosstalk.
    After that (with the right content) there is hardly no crosstalk at all.
    It looks a lot brighter and the 3D is stronger then in the commercial cinema.

    The X3 is not very good in handling 3D material with frame rate above 24fps.
    Witch makes 3D gaming on a X3 not very good.(response time is to slow I think)
    2D gaming is excellent.

    Thanks for maintaining the best projector review site on the net, keep up the good work.
    Greetings from the Netherlands.

  • Stuwert aish

    good work