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AVS JVC DLA-RS1 Review...  

post #1 of 10
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Yes that is rightthe long awaited JVC DLA-RS1 is now shipping! Though a long time coming, I was able to finally get a review piece. The good news is that though I had to wait longer than originally expected, the below information is on an actual production unit (not hand picked either), so all the information will be similar to what the customers will see. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the DLA-RS1 is JVC's new 1920x1080 DILA projector that is in a new class for them, the sub $10k retail range. This actually retails well under at $6295. It comes with a 2 year warranty as well, and is calibrated out of the box making for DIY simple setups. This helps bring the front projection theater experience to a whole new level of performance/price level for the consumer. In addition, a new lamp design that retails for only $399 makes this unit even more affordable to maintain through years of use.

The unit arrived FedEx overnight priority today. I have to admit that though I had tracking, I was a bit nervous because quickly 9am passed, then 10am, and it wasn't until about 11am that it showed up. Whew! The unit comes in a relatively large box. In fact it was a bit larger than the HD10K-SYS comes in even though that unit comes with a scaler. However, it wasn't too heavy (39lbs). Of course I immediately opened it up. I was happy to see that the unit is quite a bit smaller than the box and that the foam inserts they pack it in allow about 4 per side of air space for protection. I liked this, especially since it doesn't come double boxed. The physical unit is not all that big (about the same width as a Sony Pearl, but shorter lengthwise). There wasn't much in the box, just the unit with packing, and an accessory box which contained a power cord, remote, manual, and some warning sheets about shipping the unit. They don't bother throwing in miscellaneous cables for hookup (which I find are useless for the most part, and I really don't know anyone who uses them anyways). Oh, I mentioned the lens protectors on the forum, but I will go more into that now. The units lens comes centered in the opening and there are 2 thin foam pieces that fit in between the lens and the surrounding frame. These are critical to protect the unit during shipping. I am told from JVC that the lens can move in shipping if dropped and potentially damage it. In a nutshell, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY! Make sure to put them in the lens surround securely before transporting it. Enough said on that.

post #2 of 10
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The remote is very nicely laid out. It is thin and normal length so it is comfortable to use. There are discrete on/off buttons, in addition to discrete input buttons. This is very nice for those wanting to use it with an automation system. The remote also has 6 mode buttons, 3 preset and 3 user settings so you have quick access to your own various setups. In addition, they have quick access to brightness, contrast, gamma, color, sharpness and color-temp (presets), so you can make additional changes on the fly should one of the presets not be quite right for a certain source. I should mention the remote is backlit as well. Oh thing to note, there is what is called a hide button just above the up cursor. I found it was easy to hit this when in the dark and it is essentially a video mute, so my picture kept disappearing. I only mention it because at first I thought the lamp went out and I can see this happening to many of you by accident. Just don't be alarmed.

The unit comes with 2 HDMI, 1 component, 1 s-video, and 1 composite video input. It also has RS232 (again, useful for automation). There was no 12v trigger output unfortunately, so that was a small bummer. The unit does all its intake/exhaust for heat on the front (1 side is intake and 1 side is exhaust). This allows for close wall mounting when positioned in the back of the room. It also uses a Gennum VXP internal processor. This is one of the most state of the art processors on the market and is capable of true 1080i deinterlacing, a must for a projector of this caliber. There is an air filter on the bottom that should be cleaned occasionally, but there is side access to it so you don't need to take it off the mount to do this.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
The lens is among the most flexible I have ever seen. Its throw is 1.4-2.8x screen widths, which is a huge range. The vertical offset is +/- 80% of screen height, and horizontal offset is +/- 36% of width. To figure out if it will work, simply start by taking the viewable width of your screen (16:9) and multiply that by 1.4 and 2.8. The resulting numbers are the range the lens can be placed from the screen. For the shifts, simply take the height or width (depending on if you are doing vertical or horizontal) and multiply that by the appropriate offset percentage. That resulting number is then the amount the lens can be away from the center point of the screen. That will tell you if you can make it work in your setup. The lens is fully manual, so zoom, focus, and shift are all done on the unit itself with knobs and by turning the lens rings. I would have liked to have seen motorized, but 99% of us set it and forget it anyways, so it is not a big deal. I should mention that I see why the lens protectors are shipped with it. The knobs for v/h shift are very easily rotated, almost feeling a tad loose. I don't feel this will affect the performance in anyway as the lens quality itself is very good, and in my playing around the lens didn't move at all unless I rotated the knobs.

I got it all hooked up to my test gear first, and fired it up. The fan started up on it and was a sounded as a low drone. I would say it was comparable to the average projector on the market today (not the quietest I have heard, but with normal audio going during a movie, it would blend into the background very easily). I adjusted the image using the focus/zoom rings and the shift knobs (for my testing I centered the horizontal) but lifted the vertical. Before I would do any testing, I decided to take a look at the menu. It is a well laid out transparent gray color. I found it easy to navigate and it had about everything you would need right in the main menu. I found a pixel adjustment setting and was very excited. The actual panel on the RS1 is a few pixels bigger than 1920x1080. This allows them to digital move the image up, down and side to side by 1 pixel increments. Very slick for stacking and the occasional misconvergence. Speaking of that, I check my convergence very closelyI had about 1/3 pixel shift red down on the top of the screen. This is actually very good and was not noticeable beyond about 4 feet. It's just too bad the pixel adjustment feature only works in 1 pixel increments. The uniformity was excellent, near perfect, so that is a plus as well. The main menu did have grayscale adjustments. One thing that is peculiar is that that gain and offset adjustments for the grayscale are under 2 separate menus. So you have to go into the 1 menu called Color Temp and adjust the gain. Then you have to exit that and go into another menu called Offset and adjust the bias. It works, but I thought it was a strange way of doing it. In addition, I was not able to simply tweak the Middle color temp. I had to start from scratch on a user setting, so that made it a bit more work. Moving on. I took some measurements of the primary/secondary colors and the grayscale. I used the Natural preset and Middle for color temp. The unit, as advertised, was near perfect D65 (slightly below on my test sample). This is excellent for those who don't want to get a calibration done. In fact, I messed with it to see if I could get it any better and really I could only achieve various subtle differences in the calibration, but never really got it better than it was out of the box. I will probably play with that more when I get a permanent demo unit and have more time. The colors were very good as well. Red, Magenta and Blue were very close to the CIE standard chart. Green, Yellow and Cyan were a bit oversaturated but not too bad (Green was the most noticeable). I would have liked to have had adjustments for this, but the unit doesn't have that capability currently. I went an adjusted the standard adjustments to get it to where it needed to be (i.e. Contrast, sharpness, etc). I should mention there is gamma and DNR built in. The gamma was subtle between the settings. I personally found the default Normal the best. When poking around the menu, I did find that out of the box it was in Normal mode for the lamp output. This was good and bad. I was able to put it into High to really get some pop, but, as with anything, there was a downsidefan noise. It went up a decent amount. I would venture to say that if one does want this run in high mode all the time, you might consider a hush box (or with the flexible lens, putting into an adjoining room with a hole for the light to come through). If like most of us, you are planning to only use high for daytime/sports/etcI don't think it is a concern.

Onto the measurements. As of late I have been taking measurements at both the long and short end of the throw to help adjust for changes in aperture. I did the same for this review. I only did the measurements with the vertical lens shift adjusted so that the image bottom and lens were equal (50%). Most of my readings are done below, but I have to talk about the contrast. Remember, this unit does not use a DI to aid in the contrast. At one of my settings, I was able to achieve over 18000:1 on/off contrast! Now that is impressive. To date, I have not tested a projector that comes even close to this level (in fact, the closest I got to this before was less than ½ that result). The unit has good brightness as well. I was able to achieve as high as 632 lumens (at D65 remember) from the RS1. Though not considered a light-cannon, this is plenty of output for most theater applications.

Alright, now it was time to put in some source material and fire up an image. In a wordgorgeous. The first thing anyone will notice is the deep black levels. They are black. In fact, when I was measuring for contrast I had to get my meter very, very close to the lens to even get it to take a reading. This translates directly to the image. This is the first projector I would comfortably put up against a CRT in this arena. Yes, the black levels are that good. This in turn aids in making the colors absolutely pop. All the colors were extremely rich and saturated, but not to the point of being cartoonish. They still remained very natural looking. The unit is capable of excellent sharpness. In fact, this is by far the sharpest projector in this general technology class (DILA, LCOS, SXRD, and LCD). I do find that DLP still has a tad of an edge in this regard, but not by much anymore and the gap I'm sure will close with future versions of this. I tested this on my 103 Vutec Silverstar, and the image just jumped off the screen. The pictures don't do it justice at all. I would say this most definitely will benefit from a white/silver screen with some gain. I think that in a higher ambient light situation, a gray screen will work, but if possible, stay away from it (my opinion of courseconsult your dealer for recommendations on your own room). The image was very clean as well. I only used the HDMI output of my HD DVD player to feed itno video processing. The internal VXP processor does an amazing job at up converting and cleaning up the image. Even standard DVD's (like the Cars pictures), looked stunning.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

HD-DVD: Phantom of the Opera

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

HD-DVD: King Kong

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Standard DVD: Cars

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

As I mention in other reviews, I keep these to a relatively non-technical level. I find that though many are into the specs and measurements, not everyone has a good understanding, nor is even interested in the real technical stuff. That being said, I did take some measurements for those who are interested. Remember, my room is not an ideal setup for measuring. So the projector is really capable of better results in a perfect testing environment. Rather my results are what you might expect to get in a typical theater when properly setup. The below numbers are calibrated (D65) results as well.

On/Off Contrast-Max Throw: ~18772:1
On/Off Contrast-Min Throw: ~14346:1
ANSI Contrast-Max Throw: ~314:1
ANSI Contrast-Min Throw: ~274:1
Light Output-Max Throw: ~486 lumens (High Lamp), ~384 lumens (Low Lamp)
Light Output-Min Throw: ~632 lumens (High Lamp), ~531 lumens (Low Lamp)
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

The RS1 is an amazing piece in any regard. But pair it with the low retail pricing, and it is going to be hard to beat. The unit will outperform virtually anything to date in the lower price category, and even outperforms many of the higher end price point units. With the best available on/off contrast levels, D65 calibration out of the box, excellent sharpness, and vibrant colors, you have to look into this piece if you are considering front projection. Personally, this is the unit by which I will compare others for some time. Thanks!
post #9 of 10
Via HDMI the RS1 takes 23.98 from the Crystalio just fine and 24 from the Sony BD player just fine.
As expected it also takes 1080i 60 or 1080p 60.
It does not take 47.95 or 71.93

Fan noise with RS analog meter at 2 feet I could net get a reading. Moving the meter around the projector found the front right corner to be where the most noise is coming from. Switching the fan to High Altitude mode I get a reading just under 60 DB at 2 feet from that corner. I do not think anyone will have any issue with fan noise.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I reread my post and realized that there might be some confusion. The offset controls normally control the black/bias of the RGB controls. However, currently in the JVC these adjust the whole spectrum. In my original post I mention that I played with this, but didn't clarify that when I said I couldn't get it more precise that this was part of the cause.
Sorry for any confusion.
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