Posted on September 22, 2016 By Lisa Feierman
Here, we will compare two home theater projectors: the JVC DLA-RS600U and the Sony VPL-VW365ES.
These two higher end home theater projectors are very different from each other, which will either drive you crazy trying to choose, or make it simple. It also makes for a fairly short comparison.
This comparison is one of several, between projectors that won awards in our latest (2016) Best Home Theater Projector Report, which is going live in sections, the same day I published this and another comparison – Epson Home Cinema 5040UB vs JVC RS400U. Other comparisons will follow, and then they will be integrated into the full report as it is completed. Enjoy. -art
What we have here are two $9999 list price 4K capable projectors. One, the Sony VPL-VW365ES is true 4K (3840×2160), while the other, the JVC DLA-RS600U (aka the X950R) uses 1080 (1920×1080 panels, and pixel shifting when handling 4K content, sometimes referred to as “Faux K”. The VPL-365ES is Sony’s entry level 4K projector, (if any projector that’s $10K can be called entry level), but then, Sony makes 5 differs 4K projectors for the home.
The JVC DLA-RS600U is a projector with a stunning picture in large part due having the deepest, darkest black levels of any modern projector, for outstanding reproduction of dark scenes. Those 3 chip DLP projectors in your local cineplex aren’t even remotely in this projector’s league in this regard.
The two projectors are similarly bright, with not enough difference to matter.
The Sony, however, has very “OK” black levels. The similar VW675ES for an extra $5000 list price, delivers much better blacks although still not a match for the JVC, it’s “close enough” for most. The closest Sony can come is the VW1200ES, in the $25,000 range. But of course all the Sony’s are true 4K.
Both Sony and JVC projectors have similar lens zoom and placement flexibility, and both have lens memory.
Note: In the sequence of images above, the first 4 are Sony (of those, the first 2 are 1080 the 2nd pair are 4K. The JVC is also first two are 1080, second two are 4K.
I figure the VW365ES is Sony’s “media room” projector, where there’s good lighting control, but lacking the cave like quality of a great home theater. It’s also for the folks who aren’t super-critical, who just want a real 4K projector with great color, but spend their time watching the content, ignoring the projector for the most part. Those folks can put it in a dedicated home theater too, and be very happy, but of you are like me, and love having a projector that can dominate when it comes to dark scenes, this Sony isn’t a match for the JVC.
Consider this, if you aren’t going totally dark theater to enjoy those darkest scenes, be aware that it takes just a small amount of ambient light to dramatically reduce the difference between these two on those dark scenes. The JVC will not give up the advantage, but what in a fully darkened room seems like a dramatic advantage becomes only a slight one with a small light on, or a little light coming in from the adjacent room. In that case, then the Sony’s strengths, including true 4K resolution, provide the advantage.
Both projectors will calibrate beautifully, with the only question mark being dealing with HDR (high dynamic range) content.
Both will let you start collecting 4K Blu-ray UHD content movies, using 4K services, etc.
Both will let you watch copy protected 4K, with the Sony better able to reveal the finest detail, although the JVC can fool those not looking closely with it’s pixel shifting, if they aren’t careful. Ultimately as we demonstrated in older reviews, a pixel shifting 1080p projector can seem very sharp, especially if pushing the image processing hard, But if you do have 1 pixel wide lines (at 4K), the Sony will be razor sharp, while the JVC delivers noticeably fatter lines, because, ultimately, it’s dealing with a pixel size that is 4x that of true 4K!
Since I don’t have the budget for either, I can say this much:
If someone asks me what projector they should buy for their $10,000, I would ask them if they are seeking near perfection, and if they are committed to a room makes a great home theater, the JVC is probably the better choice, especially if, being a perfectionist, they are prepared to upgrade to an otherwise comparable but true 4K projector in 2-4 years.
But if that person says, I want a projector that looks great, one that I can keep for more than 2-3-4 years before it might prove dated, that would be the Sony.
Two very different projectors, 95% of the people I know would be blown away with either. As to black level differences, etc. If I showed them a side by side, and pointed out things, I suspect most would opt for the JVC, that is, until they starting thinking about the Sony being true 4K. While the JVC ultimately can mimic 4K nicely, it is still 1080p. Perhaps your decision will be at leat 50% latest, vs greatest.. Folks it depends which one offers what most interests you. They are both great projectors in their own way! I have my biases, and I have projectors in two different rooms. Perhaps one in each…
Very curious about the new JVC 4K projector and whether its black levels match the RS600U.
I would assume so, but hard to say when viewing at a trade show. I can tell you that the black levels were excellent when I watched their demo. But I was watching on a 220” screen (that should be about 175” diag, with the wide scren content, and I don’t recall what screen was being used.
Definitely the best “knock your socks off” demo I saw at the show. I’d love one. If you are rich, buy two, gift me one! thanks -art
Art, Thanks for the update! My setup is a 110″ Stewart 130 screen in a theater which can be and is fully darkened with blackout masking shades. I am in the process of updating to 4K and HDR. The new JVC native 4K projector sounds like a good sweet spot. Expensive but not as much as the Sony 5000ES. But it also has lasers, long life , and quick startup. With THX signoff, it might be my dream projector, if it can maintain those vaunted JVC black levels! I am looking forward to any testing and how it compares with the Sony 675ES which I have heard to very good also, but with a conventional lamp and lower brightness levels.
Hi Warren, Hey glad that JVC 4K is within your striking distance. I’m jealous. If you have too much budget available, you can always buy me one too! It would truly be appreciated! -art
Do you have top-of-mind thoughts on the JVC RS600 or RS620 (new top-of-line eShift) vs. the Sony VPL-VW675ES? Thanks!
Hi Gary, yep, I’ve got thoughts – while 1080p e-shifting is a wonderful thing (and the 4K UHD (still half of 4K) DLP’s that are coming are even better, at the end of the day, it’s heavy processing to simulate the higher resolution of 4K. Still, it’s good stuff. Ron, my other reviewer, did the RS600 review (I normally do all the HT reviews), but he bought the RS600 so how could I say no. He’s most happy. I’m sure he prefers it to say the similarly priced Sony 365, but I don’t know if he would go 675 if the RS600 was the same price.
Certainly the JVC rules when it comes to black levels. The 675ES is most respectable, say better than the Epson UB’s and probably close to but not as good at blacks as even the RS400ES. It’s a tough call. For me, I often tell folks buy something like an Epson UB or RS400 and wait a couple of years. The new JVC is shipping shortly, (true 4K, laser), but hey, it’s $35K. WE’re not going to see massive price drops until Epson and TI (DLP chips) go to true 4K. But I have no idea whether Epson will just match TI with the inbetwen resolution, or jump to true 4K. I’m hoping to see them launch a true 4K in the fall, but, then I thought they would a year+ ago. I’ve been way, way, to optimistic about projectors transitioning to true 4K, as proven by the limited selection starting at $10K. Good luck in the hunt. -art
Thanks much – appreciate your thoughts!
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