|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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JVC’s new DLA-RS-2 is the company’s new flagship 1080p-resolution front projector. It is a three-panel LCoS, or what JVC calls DLA (Digital Light Amplifier), which is a reflective variant of LCD display technology. The DLA-RS2 is the step-up from last year’s DLA-RS1, which remains in the company’s projector line-up at a lower price point. However, it improves in only one area of picture performance over the RS-1 with a higher contrast ratio, due mainly to better blacks. While the new projector adds some cool new features, it actually goes backwards in two key areas of performance. Higher contrast ratio on the RS-2 translates into a net loss of nearly 20 percent in light output from the RS-1, which was already marginal in this area. The new projector is conservatively rated at 600 ANSI lumens of light output, which means it will not drive large screens sufficiently. Also, the primary and secondary color points are extremely inaccurate and far worse than last year’s RS-1, especially red and green. Red, which is way beyond either the SMPTE or HDTV specifications, is responsible for extreme color over-saturation, which means you will need to dial down the color control significantly from where it should be set to get a semblance of natural-looking color. This is one of those rare instances where last year’s product, still in the line at a lower price point, is the better product.
In outward appearance, there are no design differences between the new DLA-RS2 and the older RS-1. It is a simple basic design, rather square in shape, neither particularly attractive nor high-tech looking, with a nice glossy black finish. It measures roughly seven inches high by 18 inches wide by 16-and-a-half inches deep, weighing a substantial 25-and-a-half pounds. Even given its size and hefty weight, the RS-2 has a relatively small footprint. The company wisely designed the projector with the lens in the center of the unit. This is a more symmetrical design that gives it a more attractive look and makes installing it on the ceiling relative to the screen easier than with units that have side-mounted lens assemblies.
The remote is an intelligent and ergonomically pleasing design. It is light and slender and fits in the hand comfortably, and the key function buttons like the menu and arrow keys are all located near the bottom in the center of the remote, easily accessible to the thumb. Some of the key function buttons are also located on the top of the projector. I was quite pleased to find that it is fully backlit at the touch of the light button on the lower right hand side of the unit. The GUI (Graphical User Interface), or internal menu system, is identical to last year’s RS-1, easy to navigate and straightforward to use.
Features and Connectivity
Electronic Zoom and Focus features, Customizable gamma, and a Vertical Stretch mode to accommodate an outboard anamorphic lens for 2:35:1 aspect ratio screen applications are all additions to the feature package over the original DLA-RS1 projector. Having electronic Zoom and Focus features is an added bonus, as this makes it much easier to tweak the projector once the final installation is complete. A Pixel Adjust feature allows you to make minor corrections to the panel alignment, which will sharpen up the picture slightly. An overscan feature that JVC chooses to call Mask is very useful in ridding the screen of compression lines created from cable and satellite boxes; the Mask feature should be employed for those sources. However, I do not recommend you use this for Blu-ray, as you should have zero overscan for that format to ensure you are getting all the resolution on the screen. As with virtually all digital projectors today, it does have selectable color temperatures, which include Low, Middle, High, Memory 1 and Memory 2. Two separate memories for grayscale calibrations will allow a trained and properly equipped technician to set up two separate grayscale calibrations. This will be very useful to movie aficionados with significant black and white collections, as they can have one memory set-up for 6500 Kelvins for color material and another set at 5400 for black and white material.
Connectivity options are reasonably generous. Two HDMI 1.3-compatible inputs head up the list, with one component video input as well. One S-Video and one composite video input will serve for legacy video sources like VHS, S-VHS and Laserdisc. An RS-232 control port is on board for touch panel remote control programming purposes, but I was surprised to find no 12-volt trigger for electric drop-down screens.