|JVC DLA-RS1 HD-ILA (LCoS) Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors HD-ILA Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Monday, 01 October 2007|
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If you cruise the A/V forums, it seems that JVC’s latest DLA-RS1 D-ILA (LCoS) projector is the hottest 1080p front projector on the market at this time. At under $7,000 the RS1 competes neck and neck with the Sony VPL-VW100 also nicknamed the Ruby. The feature package on the RS1 is comprehensive, and there are some unique set-up features that will aid in the ease of set-up and optimization of the picture. Rated at a very conservative 700 ANSI lumens, the RS1’s 200-watt UHP lamp has enough light output to drive screen sizes up to about 100 inches wide, depending on the screen material used. Sleek and elegant-looking, the RS1 will easily integrate into family rooms, living rooms, and of course will easily disappear on the ceiling of a dedicated home theater. While not completely perfect, the RS1 does have much to recommend it in terms of picture quality.
The RS1 is one of the few front projectors with the lens assembly perfectly centered on the chassis, which both adds to its sleek high tech look and makes it much easier to install than when the lens is set off to one side. It is finished in a glossy black with a grayish silver front plate; at least as of this writing, I don’t think any other color or finish is available. Weighing in at a hefty 25-and-a-half pounds, this projector definitely has a solid build quality, when you consider that most other projectors in its class weigh half that or less. It measures roughly seven inches tall by 18 inches wide and 17-and-a-half inches deep, which is also relatively large. However, the design is such that it is visually quite sleek and unobtrusive, which means the W.A.F. (Wife Acceptance Factor) should be very high indeed.
The remote control is a model of simplicity, well laid out and thoughtful in its design. It is one of the few projector remotes that is fully backlit, making set-up a snap in the dark. The most common keys like Menu, Enter and the four rocker buttons are all within easy thumb reach. Custom installers who typically program a projector’s menus into a Crestron or AMX touch panel will be pleased to find that there are direct access keys for all the inputs, all of what JVC terms Image Profiles (picture modes: Cinema, Natural, Dynamic, etc.) and all picture parameters (Contrast, Brightness, etc.). The internal menu or GUI (Graphical User Interface) is intuitive and simple in its navigation.
Features & Connectivity
JVC’s DLA-RS1 is packed with what I term “set-up features,” which aid both the installer in the physical installation of the unit and the calibrator in fine-tuning the projector for optimum picture quality. A total of five selectable color temperatures are available, including two user settings that add red, green and blue color adjustments for tweaking the grayscale. There are also six Image Profiles, more commonly known as Picture Modes, with three user modes. Memories can be set up with the three user Memory Profiles, and you can also create Memory Profiles for the Cinema, Natural and Dynamic Image Profiles. There is a high lamp mode for use with larger screens that require the projector’s maximum light output, and the normal mode for smaller screen sizes. Better black-level performance is a noticeable benefit of the normal lamp mode as well.
Zoom and Focus features are manual controls rather than not electronic, which makes initial set-up a little more difficult. The 2.0:1 zoom ratio offers a lot of flexibility with the placement of the projector in the room relative to the screen. In addition to vertical lens shift, the RS1 also sports horizontal lens shift, which adds to the flexibility and ease of ceiling-mounting the projector relative to the screen. Horizontal lens shift is also a feature usually only offered on much more expensive projectors. The most unique picture-enhancing feature on the RS1 is the Pixel Adjust function that actually allows you to tighten up the alignment of the LCoS panels. It gives you horizontal and vertical control over all three colors, and it does improve the out of the box convergence, visually sharpening the picture in the process. This covers the most important and useful features of the RS1.
Connection options are certainly adequate for most applications, particularly if there is a video processor in the system like the awesome DVDO VP50, which will handle all the video sources and requires only a single HDMI output to the projector. There are two HDMI inputs, one component video input, an S-Video input, a composite input and an RS-232 control port for programming touch panel remote systems like Crestron and AMX. I thought it unusual that it lacks a 12-volt trigger for electric drop-down screens.
I recently upgraded my home theater system with a new 80-inch wide (92-inch diagonal) Stewart Filmscreen GreyHawk reference screen. Even with the larger gray screen, which knocks down light output and aids in black-level performance, the light output was more than sufficient in the normal lamp mode to drive my new screen. I ended up bringing contrast down to minus five and got just below 15 foot-lambert of light output, which means the projector could easily drive a much larger screen size with similar light output. JVC does a good job of providing a reasonably accurate grayscale in the low color temperature setting. I ended up switching to the user color temperature setting, and utilizing the red, green and blue grayscale controls, along with the offset controls in another area of the menu, to improve on the factory preset grayscale. The end result was a very accurate grayscale from top to bottom. Not to pick on JVC, but the RS1, like most LCD-based displays, does have less then perfect white field uniformity, which is something that you might notice in movies with a lot of bright white content, like Ice Age or Vertical Limit.