Absolutely Fantastic 5 Stars

The DLA-RS1000 (also known as the DLA-NX5 when sold to consumer customers) is JVC’s most affordable native 4K projector with a 4096×2160 native resolution, retailing for $5999. This price point is significant since the RS1000 does not rely on e-Shift technology to achieve its resolution, and includes many elements from more costly siblings like the DLA-RS2000 including a 0.69 inch D-ILA panel and an all glass 65mm lens.

Since 4K projectors hit the market I’ve been eager to get a JVC unit into my theater for review, but held off due to the lack of native 4K resolution. While JVC’s e-Shift technology allows a 1080p panel to produce a 4K image (affectionately termed Faux K) and is well liked by most customers, I had a hard time justifying this over Sony’s established native 4K lineup.

With their most recent revision of their projector lineup, JVC has brought native 4K to their entry level model, and added 8K e-Shift to their top of the line NX9. The primary difference between the RS1000 and its more expensive siblings are in contrast ratio and color gamut. The step up from the RS1000, the $8999 NX7 offers double the claimed contrast ratio of the RS1000, and also claims to reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut with a Cinema filter setting engaged.

Features & Specifications

The $17,999 NX9 takes things a step further with a further 25% bump in contrast, 8K e-shift and a 100mm all glass lens. It is worth noting that all three models support 3D, despite being released in 2019, which make them a very good investment for those who consider 3D an essential requirement for their system.

The RS1000 is driven by a newly developed triple panel 0.69 inch D-ILA device that JVC has specifically created to offer improved contrast with non-laser light sources. The RS1000 has two 18Gbps HDMI/HDCP 2.2 compatible inputs and features a 3 year factory warranty.

In typical JVC fashion no compromises are made when it comes to contrast and black levels, and the RS1000 offers a native contrast ratio of 40,000:1 and a dynamic contrast ratio of up to 400,000:1 once the dynamic iris is engaged. The RS1000 ships with a 17-element, 15-group all glass 65mm lens that is of very high optical quality compared to the lenses seen in Sony’s lower end units.

In terms of lens memory, RS1000 offers 10 user-customizable picture memory settings, including lens shift and focus memory for those who like to watch in multiple aspect ratios or in a constant image height setup. From an HDR perspective, the RS1000 supports HDR 10 and HLG HDR, and ships with an auto tone mapping algorithm, that JVC claims automatically adjusts picture settings based upon mastering metadata included in HDR content.

 

Unboxing & Build Quality

The RS1000 arrived in a sturdy double box, well protected in transit from JVC’s offices to my home. In rather typical fashion, closed cell foam is used to cushion the RS1000 and the projector itself is enclosed in a thick plastic bag.

The first thing I noticed about this projector as I removed it from the box was that it was extremely heavy, and larger than most projectors I had reviewed in the past. For those who are curious, the RS1000 measures in at 19.75 inches wide, 19.5 inches long and 9.25 inches tall and weighs 43.2 pounds. JVC’s reputation for excellent Japanese build quality is no secret, and was clearly on display here. The included remote is nothing special, but is easy to use and feels nice in the hand.

Installation & Calibration

Hefting the RS1000 onto my projector shelf was more exciting than anticipated due to its physical size and not so svelte weight. Due to the length of the RS1000, my shelf was just barely long enough to accommodate it, so potential buyers may want to measure before ordering to ensure they can fit the RS1000 without mount modifications.

Upon initially powering the unit on, I used the RS1000’s motorized focus and lens shift to adjust the picture to fit my screen. A quick perusal of the OSD shows that the RS1000 is quite intuitive to operate and shouldn’t require hours of intensive manual studying unless you enjoy that sort of thing.

After my last few reviews, I am beginning to reach the conclusion that most higher end display manufacturers have managed to achieve a very satisfactory level of color accuracy and image quality out of the box thanks to factory calibration procedures. While the RS1000 could certainly benefit from ISF calibration, the benefit is far smaller than it once was for SDR content. These days, calibrators are spending a great deal more time dialing in and tone mapping HDR content. This will typically depend on having an external video processor like the Lumagen Radiance to take your system to the next level and is a costly investment.

JVC deserves credit for including an intelligent auto tone mapping algorithm in their firmware, and with a recent firmware update to the RS1000, this has become substantially better. Before returning the RS1000, I was given a pre-release copy of this firmware and was able to test HDR content with these improvements in place.

For the average home theater or film enthusiast, a basic calibration is more than sufficient these days and will yield excellent results for years to come.

Using my SpectraCal C6 colorimeter and a copy of Calman generously provided by Portrait Dispalys, I performed some quick baseline measurements of the out of the box picture modes and found that the Natural setting was quite close to reference. After performing a quick grayscale calibration, I was more than satisfied with the color accuracy of the RS1000 and moved on to actual viewing.

In Use – Viewing Impressions

There is nothing quite like sitting down in your theater after installing a new piece of gear to explore content you’ve already watched or heard in a whole new way. I should note that this review was performed right after my time with Sony’s VPL-VW995ES, which as mentioned in that review attained a level of performance very hard to beat. Despite following a very impressive predecessor, the RS1000 didn’t disappoint. It was immediately apparent that JVC’s entry level lens had much more in common with Sony’s top of the line ARC-F lens than Sony’s regular lenses. Image clarity, edge to edge focus uniformity and detail were all excellent and far superior to my trusty Sony VPL-VW675ES.

With 1800 lumens of light output the RS1000 throws a bright, vivid picture regardless of the picture mode chosen. While it defaults to low lamp mode, the RS1000 does not lack for brightness at all in this out of the box configuration. Switching to high lamp mode is an easy process but does make the out of the box picture settings slightly less accurate and for my purposes I found low lamp to be the preferred setting.

Viewing Impressions – SDR Content

With JVC’s long history of excellent contrast, the RS1000 is no slouch with SDR content, and held up extremely well with a variety of titles that look excellent in both HDR and SDR. I began my impressions with Disney Pixar’s Coco, a tour de force of color and vibrant backgrounds that will remain my favorite demo disc for OLED displays for the forseeable future. Throughout my demo, color reproduction was accurate and black levels were deep without any noticeable crushing of detail. Shadows and highlights were also well resolved, with excellent overall image quality.

I will note that despite being near perfect out of the box, JVC like many manufacturers persists in leaving their motion interpolation feature enabled by default even in the Natural picture mode. This feature called Clear Motion Drive must be disabled manually for accurate motion reproduction, particularly with 24 fps content.

Moving on to a test of contrast levels, I watched Passengers, a film that has some of the best space scenes in recent memory and will give any display (beyond OLEDs of course) a run for its money when it comes to deman for contrast. The opening scene of this film remains a benchmark for black levels, contrast and overall dark scene handling, as many lesser projectors will show their flaws in this segment. As the ship moves across a dark star field, iris pumping or visible brightness fluctuations from dynamic contrast algorithms are extremely noticeable. With the RS1000, none of this was evident. Instead, consistent inky black levels were reproduced with a stable brightness level.

There really is no question that JVC remains the champ of contrast levels for front projection setups. The RS1000 continues this legacy and extends it with excellent color reproduction and a wider color gamut. In use, this is particularly noticeable only in WCG (Wide Color Gamut) content mastered for HDR.

A Few Notes On HDR Performance Improvements

Just a couple of weeks prior to the end of my review, I was able to update to a pre-release firmware from JVC that incorporates their new Theater Optimizer (TO) algorithm to their Frame Adapt HDR engine. Rather than re-write their words, I’ll simply quote JVC’s press release below:

“Each projection home theater environment is unique, as is each projector. Image brightness varies from system to system, and changes over time. JVC’s new Theater Optimizer is a smart function that addresses these distinct characteristics.

Theater Optimizer allows the integrator or user to input the screen size and gain information, which varies depending on the theater design, and then calculates installation information such as lens
zoom position, and lamp condition and settings. It then automatically adjusts the projector for optimum tone mapping and brightness. By adding this function to Frame Adapt HDR, JVC allows each user to enjoy HDR10 content matched to the viewing environment without complicated
manual adjustments.

18-bit level gamma processing is maintained while the feature is in use, bringing out deeper blacks in darker scenes, and higher peak whites in brighter scenes, along with the most realistic color, to
reproduce high precision images with smooth gradations.

In response to user requests, the upgrade offers newly added settings and improved menu operations with this firmware update. Frame Adapt HDR brightness adjustment has been increased to five steps (previously three steps), and users can choose the picture mode according
to input signals.

Complicated individual manual settings that were required in the past are now eliminated. With the newly added functions, users can easily enjoy powerful HDR images with these JVC projectors.”

Viewing Impressions – HDR Content

Coco and Passengers are excellent candidates as both SDR and HDR review material, so I watched the same set of scenes from each with HDR enabled from my trusty Oppo UDP-205 and JVC’s Frame Adapt HDR with Theater Optimizer (boy, that’s a mouthful!) enabled.

I was immediately struck by the marked improvement in HDR from my now aging Sony VPL-VW675ES. In a variety of scenes, the RS1000 had accurate, vibrant colors and significantly increased peak brightness without the red push or washed out color reproduction the VW675ES suffers without manual adjustment. As one would expect of a front projection picture without a laser light source, black levels are compromised slightly to enable the brighter highlights and overall light output HDR requires.

JVC’s expertise pushing the envelope in contrast performance for SDR over the past two decades is clearly paying off in the era of HDR. For many of my favorite demo scenes, particularly the bridge scene in Coco, the RS1000 often makes you forget that you’re not watching a laser projector the contrast levels are so impressive.

With darker content like the opening sequence of Passengers, the RS1000 is not as impressive in HDR mode, with noticeably “grayer” blacks and reduced overall contrast, an unavoidable downfall of lamp-based projectors. Despite this trade-off, the RS1000’s picture in all but the darkest of scenes is immaculate and manages to retain very natural skin tones and color balance thanks to TO.

Summing Up

It’s hard to believe that it took more than a decade to arrange my first JVC projector review, however all things considered there probably couldn’t be a better time to have done so. JVC’s latest advances in color reproduction, contrast and their newly improved Frame Adapt HDR Theater Optimizer combine to result in a truly impressive image that accommodates the massive breath of content available today.

At a retail price of $5999, the RS1000 is a substantial investment for any theater enthusiast and represents a meaningful step up in price from the Epson, BenQ and Optoma models most buyers consider today. Many of you are probably asking, why should I invest two or three thousand dollars more to step up to the RS1000 from something more affordable like the Epson 5050UB? The short answer is that with these other projectors, you are not getting a true 4K picture. The aforementioned products all utilize a form of pixel shifting to deliver pseudo-4K or “FauxK”, and also utilize significantly lower quality lens materials that compromise picture clarity.

 

With JVC’s RS1000, you’re paying for a projector that weighs almost double what the most expensive Epson models do, and much of this weight comes in the form of a massive all glass lens assembly, higher quality circuitry and a much more robust design. When you compare to the more affordable models, the differences in optics become so pronounced that the very same source material looks almost nothing alike. See the below screenshot showing the difference between true 4K UHD and “FauxK”:

Prior to the advent of 4K UHD and HDR I have been vocal about what I perceive as a lack of innovation in front projection. Many manufacturers recycle the same tired old DLP and 3LCD designs and continue to charge entirely too much for them. Thanks to the demands of HDR and WCG mastered content and the rise of OLED displays, projector manufacturers have had to step up to the plate in a big way and offer meaningful technology improvements.

JVC has clearly heard this message loud and clear, decisively moving away from pixel shifting technology in their entire line up and offering industry leading contrast and superior optics at a price in line with Sony and other competitors. The RS1000 is without question the price:performance leader in a crowded market and deserves an extremely close look. If you can say still say no after doing so, color me surprised. Highly Recommended.

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Dave Upton

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Are you referring to the VPL-VW295ES? If so, time will tell.

I can tell you based on my previous history with Sony that JVC seems to have absolutely trounced them in the lens department outside the 995ES.
 

DaveF

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@Dave Upton Thanks for the review. Here's my six thousand dollar question: Is this JVC's update for 2020 - 2021?


Right now, Fall / Winter, is when projector makers including JVC typically announce new models. I was hoping for an iteration and/or price drop on the JVC NX5/7/9 line to buy in 2020 or early 2021. But, here you are with a November 2020 review of the NX5 with a firmware update. Suggesting no new JVC hardware or pricing until maybe Fall 2021.

What's your read? If I'm starting the 4K upgrade, is now the time to buy a projector? Or is there reason to wait a month or three (or even twelve) for something major coming up?

The JVC NX5 and NX7 are my primary contenders. But it feels weird to me to go with a two year old projector, when I thought there would the new hotness coming out now.
 

Dave Upton

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@Dave Upton Thanks for the review. Here's my six thousand dollar question: Is this JVC's update for 2020 - 2021?


Right now, Fall / Winter, is when projector makers including JVC typically announce new models. I was hoping for an iteration and/or price drop on the JVC NX5/7/9 line to buy in 2020 or early 2021. But, here you are with a November 2020 review of the NX5 with a firmware update. Suggesting no new JVC hardware or pricing until maybe Fall 2021.

What's your read? If I'm starting the 4K upgrade, is now the time to buy a projector? Or is there reason to wait a month or three (or even twelve) for something major coming up?

The JVC NX5 and NX7 are my primary contenders. But it feels weird to me to go with a two year old projector, when I thought there would the new hotness coming out now.
Dave,

I have no information from JVC here, but my gut tells me that if they rev their hardware it will likely be in late 2021 or early 2022, since their current crop can handle all current content. All manufacturers will need to be adding HDMI 2.1 support in 2021 or 22, so that is what will likely drive the next round of hardware changes from Sony, JVC and Epson.
 
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DaveF

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Thanks. That’s what I’ve read elsewhere: no new hardware. The new firmware is the JVC 2020 upgrade.
 

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Thanks for the review Dave. I know you are intent on pushing forward with projection but I’m finding it very hard to get excited about any PJs in 2020.

HDR deficiency is just so deflating. Add up the weight and cost to the current generation and they are so far off PQ wise from OLED and I’m seriously considering going to an 80inch class panel instead of my current 120” screen.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Thanks for the review Dave. I know you are intent on pushing forward with projection but I’m finding it very hard to get excited about any PJs in 2020.

HDR deficiency is just so deflating. Add up the weight and cost to the current generation and they are so far off PQ wise from OLED and I’m seriously considering going to an 80inch class panel instead of my current 120” screen.

I wonder though about this HDR craze at least for content originally intended for theatrical release.

I don't feel like my Epson 5050UB, let alone the JVC models, is necessarily missing anything significant that should actually be there -- maybe a little bit of blown highlights or crushed dark areas here or there plus not easily recognized loss of color fidelity, but...

(Extra) HDR eye candy doesn't necessarily equal or yield fidelity to the original intent.

Sure, that may be true for some (mostly newer) theatrical content, but...

I can't get too excited about HDR eye candy just for the sake of HDR eye candy.

_Man_
 

Dave Upton

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Thanks for the review Dave. I know you are intent on pushing forward with projection but I’m finding it very hard to get excited about any PJs in 2020.

HDR deficiency is just so deflating. Add up the weight and cost to the current generation and they are so far off PQ wise from OLED and I’m seriously considering going to an 80inch class panel instead of my current 120” screen.
Projection requires a great deal more effort to get right. For one, if you aren't covering the walls/ceiling in black velvet and totally eliminating all non-PJ light, you're dramatically impacting your contrast ratio. In a room that is properly set up with a laser light source, the Sony VPL-VW995ES is as close to OLED as you can get. Now, it's certainly true that OLED remains better - but that's physics at work.

I would still rather have a 120" slightly compromised picture than an 80" OLED picture, because that frankly feels tiny to me these days.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Projection requires a great deal more effort to get right. For one, if you aren't covering the walls/ceiling in black velvet and totally eliminating all non-PJ light, you're dramatically impacting your contrast ratio. In a room that is properly set up with a laser light source, the Sony VPL-VW995ES is as close to OLED as you can get. Now, it's certainly true that OLED remains better - but that's physics at work.

I would still rather have a 120" slightly compromised picture than an 80" OLED picture, because that frankly feels tiny to me these days.

Yeah, 80" just feels too small now. That plus you can vary the size to suit the content w/ FP instead of being stuck w/ an even smaller image for those content that really could use the extra size.

I'm actually thinking to go w/ a 135" 16x9 screen that I'll use full width for anything that needs the extra size and then go smaller for those that don't (ala windowbox maybe w/ appropriate matting applied). I'd want epic movies to look clearly bigger than say your avg rom-com or intimate drama meant for smaller (typically 1.66-1.85:1 AR) views -- and IMAX format content should get the largest view. I also want some variance/distinction for more and more stuff in ARs like 2:1.

Can't do any of that w/ a fixed size panel.

_Man_
 
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DaveF

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Projection requires a great deal more effort to get right. For one, if you aren't covering the walls/ceiling in black velvet and totally eliminating all non-PJ light, you're dramatically impacting your contrast ratio. In a room that is properly set up with a laser light source, the Sony VPL-VW995ES is as close to OLED as you can get. Now, it's certainly true that OLED remains better - but that's physics at work.

I would still rather have a 120" slightly compromised picture than an 80" OLED picture, because that frankly feels tiny to me these days.
Unforunately a pure, black-velvet room is unrealistic for most people. I've got a nice media room. And it's done in dark tones, but for aesthetic reasons, I can't have a velvet garment factory, so it has a mix of hard and soft surfaces. :)

Thanks for the review Dave. I know you are intent on pushing forward with projection but I’m finding it very hard to get excited about any PJs in 2020.

HDR deficiency is just so deflating. Add up the weight and cost to the current generation and they are so far off PQ wise from OLED and I’m seriously considering going to an 80inch class panel instead of my current 120” screen.
I should have a 4K 65" set in the living room in a few weeks. I'll get my first taste of HDR and be comparing 65" UHD to 120" HD. So, will see how that affects my projector upgrade. Realistically, it's probably moot. I don't see downgrading from 120" to 80" in my room, regardless. But even if I wanted to, I'm not sure I could get an 80" direct view display into my basement due to the stairs. And certainly not a 100" TV which is the minimum I want to replace a projector screen. So I will be choosing whether to stay at HD projector or doing the upgrade accepting the size vs HDR tradeoffs for the media room.

I wish for tileable micro-LED displays to give the best of all worlds: projector size with OLED quality and breaks down to easily convey into any space.
 

Dave Upton

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Unforunately a pure, black-velvet room is unrealistic for most people. I've got a nice media room. And it's done in dark tones, but for aesthetic reasons, I can't have a velvet garment factory, so it has a mix of hard and soft surfaces. :)


I should have a 4K 65" set in the living room in a few weeks. I'll get my first taste of HDR and be comparing 65" UHD to 120" HD. So, will see how that affects my projector upgrade. Realistically, it's probably moot. I don't see downgrading from 120" to 80" in my room, regardless. But even if I wanted to, I'm not sure I could get an 80" direct view display into my basement due to the stairs. And certainly not a 100" TV which is the minimum I want to replace a projector screen. So I will be choosing whether to stay at HD projector or doing the upgrade accepting the size vs HDR tradeoffs for the media room.

I wish for tileable micro-LED displays to give the best of all worlds: projector size with OLED quality and breaks down to easily convey into any space.
I don't have velvet on my ceiling at the moment, but I have tested it, and it makes a notable improvement in CR.

I also own two OLEDs, and I enjoy them a great deal. There's just no way I could see myself being able to enjoy the home theater experience with a TV sized display - now that I've had a large projection set up for so long.

Samsung makes "The Wall" which is exactly what you're describing, but unfortunately the price is obscene.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Since I should be able to do just about whatever I want w/in budgetary limits for my new dedicated HT room, I might go for the black velvet treatment or similar at least for that side of the room... probably upto a few feet from the 135" (10ft wide) screen inclusive of where all the A/V gear would be, including the Thiel CS 5i main speakers, which will probably be roughly 3ft into the room from all 3 sides).

My wife isn't going for black flooring (or walls all-around) though, haha, so need to figure out what would work best for the floor. She wanted me to pick from one of these wood-style/looking vinyl tiles from Home Depot, but not too crazy about them -- they don't seem as dark or color neutral as I'd want. Maybe I'll just end up covering the floor on that side of the room w/ some matte black material as well. I'm also considering using full wall curtains around the room so all walls won't need to be painted extremely dark and neutral plus would likely help w/ the acoustics -- walls will probably need to be completely redone anyway to make sure we don't have a mold problem, but could be painted something in a mid-tone she likes instead... and could maybe still be nice for other occasional uses of the space where we might pull back the wall curtains perhaps...

Dark wall curtains would probably also add to the feel of being in a real theater... especially when used for side-matting the screen me thinks. I might try dropping same material from top for the top portion that needs matting as well. Not sure offhand how all that would work w/ black velvet material for max contrast...

Probably also gonna want a big, thick area rug anyway in large part for acoustic reason, and that's not gonna be black. Maybe something roughly 10x8 for the area from the main speakers to the main seats.

Anyhoo...

_Man_
 

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Suprinsgly, my wife is all for us getting a projector like the NX5. Although, the Sony VPL-VW995ES is still off the table. :D

I haven't figured out how well it will work in the room we have (and how well the room will work in general). Projectors are not the strongest area for me.

It also seems this projector and the NX7 are hard to come by at the moment. They seem to be out of stock or back-ordered in lots of places. I still need to find a dealer in my area besides Magnolia at Best Buy.

Are there any other projectors in the same class as the NX5/NX7 that I should consider?
 

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Suprinsgly, my wife is all for us getting a projector like the NX5. Although, the Sony VPL-VW995ES is still off the table. :D

I haven't figured out how well it will work in the room we have (and how well the room will work in general). Projectors are not the strongest area for me.

It also seems this projector and the NX7 are hard to come by at the moment. They seem to be out of stock or back-ordered in lots of places. I still need to find a dealer in my area besides Magnolia at Best Buy.

Are there any other projectors in the same class as the NX5/NX7 that I should consider?
For all your needs, I would recommend you contact @Robert_Zohn or visit his website at https://www.valueelectronics.com/. He will likely have stock for you or at the least some idea of when it should be available.