Projector Review: JVC RS-1

Well, my JVC RS-1 has arrived. I’ve spent five or six hours with it trying different sources and comparing it to my existing Sony HS-20 projector.

This is my mini-review including additional notes I made in December 2007.

The Good

  • excellent convergence!
    • and it’s so nice to have the option to make pixel shifting adjustments
  • much brighter than I was led to believe, even with lens shift
    • can easily handle light in the room when necessary
  • looks great on my Da-Lite Da-Mat (1.0 gain) screen — I don’t see why high gain would be needed
    • after many months, I still swear you’re nuts to add screen gain for this projector: go with 1.0!
      all white scenes are already blinding and you don’t want to brighten the dark scenes!
  • full 1920×1080 resolution is nice but it’s not a stark difference over my old 1388×788 resolution with 1080p video/film sources (at least with the couple of Blu-Ray titles I have and some HDTV recordings)
    • great for sources of fine detail like computer output though
    • deeper dark scenes have a bigger impact than resolution increase
  • much reduced “screen door effect” — you have to be impractically close to still see it
  • deeper blacks — they are certainly much improved but, at least out-of-the-box, you definitely still see where the image frame ends; it’s not like the absence of light, not like you can’t cast an obvious shadow on the black bars
    • perhaps this can be improved with adjustments much as I was able to do with my HS-20
    • yes… much improved now, there’s so little light in the black that I get more light on the screen from an indirect light source several rooms away: bounced off of several walls before reaching my screen!
  • HDMI HDCP handshaking works with this projector when my receiver is in the chain!
    • it wasn’t working with the HS-20 (a Sony projector with a new Sony receiver)
    • yeah! that means I can get HDMI audio to my receiver without having to workaround the problem with a splitter or something

The Not-So-Great

  • light leakage all the way around image and outside my screen frame — very noticeable when scene goes near black (never had to put up with this before)
    • this is now completely invisible with a dark paint wall background — I used to have white walls
  • fan noise is comparable to others (not great, not terrible, certainly quite audible at normal bulb level despite forum comments to the contrary); it’s certainly much louder than my Mac Mini and its external hard drive, even when standing well away from the projector
  • manual zoom and lens shift controls (power zoom would be nice for constant height screen)

The Ugly

  • some distracting “off” colors, but not as bad as I initially thought once I compared to my old projector and tried other sources; perhaps it can be improved with some color adjustments (haven’t done Avia video calibration yet)
    (since doing some adjustments I’m not noticing any problems any more)
  • awful, terrible noise with certain saturated reds — it’s really bad and really noticeable but I’ve only seen it in one scene so far (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Blu-Ray), newscaster on video screen)
    (after many months, I haven’t seen this anywhere else – just a quirk with this particular scene – perhaps the extra resolution makes the intended noise of that newscast feed much more apparent)
  • Something I do keep encountering though: every so often I’m seeing very apparent banding across dark gradients like dark skies. I don’t know if it’s an issue with my Sony Blu-Ray BDP-S1, certain disks or the projector under these circumstances. For an easy example of it, just view the Planet Earth intro sequence of the sun rising over the planet.
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