|JVC DLA-RS2 HD-ILA Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors HD-ILA Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Sunday, 01 June 2008|
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I remember liking last year’s DLA-RS1 with only one real exception: primary and secondary color accuracy. Unfortunately, the new RS-2 is even worse in this important area of performance. Another disappointing area of performance is how the projector handles film-based material. I tested film resolution with the Silicon Optix HQV test disc’s Film Resolution Loss test pattern in the HD DVD format, output 1080i to the JVC, and found a significant loss of resolution. This was not the case with the Video Resolution Loss test from the same disc. This means that a quality outboard processor like a DVDO VP50 would be a good match for the RS-2. The absolutely garish color points JVC has chosen for red and green in particular are my biggest complaint. Extremely oversaturated color is one of the nasty byproducts of this choice, which means you will have to turn down the Color control significantly in order to get colors to appear reasonably natural.
Contrast ratio performance is certainly way up from the previous model, but not without a price. Better blacks give the RS-2 superior contrast ratio, but it reduces the light output of the projector by nearly 20 percent. Normally that wouldn’t be that big a deal, but the original RS-1 was weak in light output from the start. If the RS-1, conservatively rated at 700 ANSI lumens, wasn’t bright enough to effectively light up a screen larger then about 92 inches diagonal or 80 inches wide by 45 inches high, then the RS-2, rated at a lower 600 ANSI lumens, certainly isn’t capable of driving anything larger than that. I got about 12.7 footlamberts of peak light output on my 80-inch-wide by 45-inch-high Stewart Filmscreen Grayhawk RS screen, which is just slightly over the specification for projected film in a movie theater. I consider this barely acceptable. I achieved this light output by setting the Lamp Power to High in the Func menu. This limited light output is acceptable as long as you resist the temptation to mate the RS-2 with too large a screen, which is a common mistake with front projectors in general. Unlike most projectors in this category, the RS-2 doesn’t have an Iris control or an auto Iris setting, which I consider a good thing, as that function really only gives the user the ability to impair the overall picture performance.
White field uniformity is not good on most LCD-based displays, and the RS-2 is no exception. This will show up as blue and red splotching on bright white material, like clouds in the sky or snow and ice in the mountains. A good example of this is the beginning of Chapter Five of The Italian Job (Paramount Home Entertainment), where the guys are celebrating in the Austrian Alps, each with a bottle of DP. The snow-covered mountains in the background will show a bit of red and blue in some areas of the screen. Of course, there are a slew of other movies where you can also see this issue. Another example would be the ice rink in a hockey game that is supposed to be solid white, but with an LCD-based projector like the RS-2, it will appear with red and blue blotches in it.
I chose the five-disc collector’s edition of Blade Runner (Warner Home Video), recently released on Blu-ray, specifically to test the RS-2’s black level performance. Since most of the movie is set at night in L.A., it will serve as an excellent black level torture test for any projector. In the very beginning, the text on the black background practically jumps out at you because of the excellent contrast ratio when set up properly. There is no doubt the RS-2 is superior to its older, less expensive sibling in this area of performance. For clarity, I chose the awesome transfer of The Departed (Warner Home Video) on Blu-ray, as it is an exceptionally sharp-looking transfer. The beginning of the film starting with the diner scene, and moving to the police academy scenes with Matt Damon and Leonardo DeCaprio are exceptionally sharp. Skin tones did appear overly red after a thorough calibration. It forced me to dial down the color significantly from where color bars originally dictated the color adjustment should be set. This is a direct result of JVC’s color point choice for red. Green is also way beyond where it should be. Consequently, any natural object that is green, like grass, simply looks too intense or garish in nature.