JVC DLA-RS25 - Competitors
How does the JVC DLA-RS25 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market? In this section we consider the practical and performance differences, between JVC's RS25 projector and some of the toughest competition
11/6/2009 - Art Feierman
DLA-RS25 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, Pro 9500UB
The RS25 is roughly three times the price of the Home Cinema 8500UB, and over twice the price of the Pro Cinema 9500UB.
And, as an owner of the older RS20 and an Epson Home Cinema 1080UB (and having a 9500UB here as well), I have to say that the RS25 is the superior projector.
Those of you seriously interested in this comparison probably fit into these categories.
1. First projector - if you can afford either, you want to know if the JVC is worth the difference
2. You have an older Epson UB, and are considering going to the JVC
3. You have an old 720p projector or an old entry level 1080p model , and want to move to an ultra-high contrast 1080p projector.
These "UB" Epson's may have the best black levels of any of the lower cost projectors, but they both still come up short compared to the DLA-RS25, (and likely, for that matter, short of the RS15, although those should be much closer).
Not only will you get blacker blacks, but the JVC does it without dynamic iris, so no compression of images that are generally dark but with a few small bright areas.
As good as the Epson is, the RS25 is a step up in terms of black level performance.
Shadow details - the JVC has a slight advantage here too. That said, the JVC isn't exceptionally good at shadow detail, just a bit better than the Epson. Both, however are still very reasonably good. Remember, because these projectors have relatively very black blacks, the nearest dark shadow detail, is much darker - and there for harder to spot, than on projectors with inferior black level performance.
Placement flexiblity - both excellent with the Epson spouting more lens shift range.
Warranty - Both 2 years, but the Epson gets the win, for the two year replacement program that's part of theirs.
Color accuracy, natural, look and skin tones. Sorry Epson, the JVC wins, rather easily. The Epson is more of a pop and wow projector. On some things it looks right on, but on others just a tiny bit over the top, enough to be less natural looking. When it comes to color, and skin tones, We've calibrated a number of Epson UB's and while they are very good, the JVC really nails it by comparison. The JVC though may not be the absolute best on skin tones, (close), but its visibly superior to the Epson in side by side viewings.
If money is tight, and the JVC is just plain out of reach the Epson is a great lower cost alternative. That said, it definitely hasn't as refined a picture, and isn't a projector that a true purist would select, but one that will please most enthusiasts.
The JVC, outmuscles the Epson easily in :best" mode with a rather significant 50% more lumens. Comparing brightest - the Epson's got almost as great an advantage. I can't tell you how often I wish the brightest mode of my JVC was as bright as my Epson's when I'm watching sports. Still the JVC's almost 900 lumens is definitely acceptable in my room with my 128" Firehawk and low levels of ambient light.
Both, by the way, have Creative Frame interpolation. Here I give the advantage to the Epson. Still, most won't use it for movies, and both are fine for sports.
My last thought: When asked - Is the JVC worth the difference, my answer is, if you can afford either, and you really want a great projector, then - Yes!
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. Mitsubishi HC7000
I didn't have an HC7000 here for the RS25 review, or for that matter the RS20 review back in Janurary of this year (09).
The Mitsubishi, however stacks up this way. It costs less than half as much. It is way quieter. It has a slightly sharper image. It's not anywhere near as bright in best mode, and, for that matter, it's not as bright in brightest mode either. The HC7000 is a great projector for small screens (best for 100" diagonal or less). It's black levels are in the league of, but not quite as good as the Epson 8500UB discussed above, so the JVC has the significant advantage there, but, like the Epson, the Mitsubishi does offer excellent black level performance.
Shadow detail is about comparable.
When it comes to out of the box image quality, the Mitsubishi is "respectable" but a calibration is needed for best results. Calibrating the HC7000 is easy compared to the RS25. While we also strongly urge a calibraton of the RS25, it should be noted that the RS25's out of the box THX mode is definitely superior to the best mode the Mitsubishi can muster out of the box.
The Mitsubishi HC7000, unlike the RS25, lacks creative frame interpolation. The HC7000 takes a 24fps source up to 48fps, while the JVC goes to 96fps. I don't consider this to be a significant advantage, except to some sensitive to one type of motion blur.
The JVC has a slight advantage in placement flexibility.
Price is the biggest single difference. The Mitsubishi most likely is being sold by local dealers for less than half the JVC's price, making it more a competitor of the RS10/RS15, than the RS25. Also in Mitsubishi's favor is longer overall lamp life. Actually both are rated 2000 hours at full power, but the Mitsubishi claims 5000 hours in low lamp. Better ask yourself, though, considering the lower brightness of the Mitsubishi, if you will have the room/screen setup that really allows you to run in economy mode, due to the low lumens.
Bottom Line: The Mitsubishi is a nice projector in it's class, the JVC, awesome in it's higher class. The Mitsubishi isn't without advantages though, being exceptionally quiet, and sharper than the JVC.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. BenQ W6000
Hmm, $2500 vs. $8000. Another odd-ball comparison. Still like with the Epson UB's, I consider the W6000 one of the really good low cost alternatives for the kind of folks that would love to have an RS25.
I'll keep this one shorter, save some for the RS15 review.
The BenQ's strengths:
- Visibly sharper image
- Brighter than the JVC in best or brightest by, not a huge, yet, still a significant amount (Best Mode: BenQ: mid 800 lumens with Brilliant Color off or over 1000 with it on. JVC is mid 700 lumens.
- In Brightest modes the BenQ is almost 40% brighter
- Lower cost, of course
- Would be my choice for sports viewing
- Rich colors combine with lots of lumens for more pop and wow!
The JVC's strengths
- Slightly better color accuracy
- Noticeably better on darker scenes, thanks to the best black levels around
- Better placement flexibility
- Overall picture is excellent
- A smooth, refined look, the W6000's image, is by comparison, a little rough around the edges.
- If it was a car, it would be "a sweet ride"
That pretty much covers it in broad strokes. The W6000 is an excellent lower priced projector that is lumen and color rich. The RS25 is simply a better, if less punchy picture.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3000
I'm not going to say much here. Because of brightness differences, and black level performance, these are not even close to being competitors. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 has the weakest black levels of the top of the line "ultra high contrast" LCD projectors, so while still very good, their black levels are no match at all for the RS25. When it comes to brightness the Z3000 is actually a little brighter in brightest mode than the JVC, but the JVC has roughly double the lumens in it's best mode, when both have their iris's open.
The Sanyo is a really good projector for the bucks, and has a three year warranty, but the only time someone might seriously consider both, is if they are torn between spending a little now, and planning a major upgrade in a year or two, and they are a smaller screen user.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. Planar PD8150 and Optoma HD8600
Two excellent pricey projectors, but the Planar is strictly a small screen projector. It produces mid-400 lumens in "best" and only about an extra 150 in brightest. As a premium single chip DLP it has a very sharp image that best's the JVC.
Although the Planar had the best black level performance of any of the DLP projectors, and definitely makes my subjective cut as an "ultra-high contrast" projector, the JVC is still a step up, in terms of black level performance.
Both projectors have extremely good color right out of the box.
The JVC has better placement flexibility with its 2:1 zoom besting the Planar's 1.3:1, but both have lens shift, and the Planar's through is a bit longer than most DLP's so it should rear shelf mount in a lot of peoples rooms.
Although they have a slghtly different look and feel to their image, the planar, with that crisp look to its image, and the rich dark colors that DLPs seem so good at. The JVC, a touch softer, very natural, and brighter, and with those blacker blacks.
If you are doing a small dedicated theater, with, say a 92" diagonal screen, the Planar will really be in its element. Otherwise, overall, the JVC just overpowers or matches the Planar at most things except sharpness.
When it comes to the Optoma HD8600, I've been working with it, as I finish this. I'll be posting the HD8600 review 2nd week of December (09), so check its competitors section for a comparison with the JVC.
DLA-RS25 vs. InFocus IN83 and SP8602
The new InFocus SP8602 - SP is short for ScreenPlay - has great potential, and ships this month (12/09). Our look at an engineering sample though didn't go far because we couldn't calibrate it. Still, from what I saw, it should prove to be a very worthy replacement for the InFocus IN83, but one with far better black level performance.
For most of this, I've pasted in the IN83 vs (older) DLA-RS20 competitor section (I've searched and replaced RS20 with RS25. from January. This is done for two reasons. First, I did a lot of still relevant side by side photos between the IN83 and the RS20. Since the picture quality of the RS25 is virtually the same as the RS20's but for some minor improvement (including black levels), these images are close enough:
Very interesting competition here. The IN83 is an excellent DLP projector with Darkchip4. The IN83 I have here still does the best overall color of any of the current 1080p projectors I've reviewed, doing our normal calibration. Even with the CMS settings we are using for the RS25 (and we didn't do anything but grayscale balance, brightness, contrast and gamma, for the IN83), the InFocus still has the advantage in skin tones and overall color. It's the kind of difference where the RS25 looks great, and everyone is happy, until put side by side with the IN83, then it's - the RS25 looks great, but the IN83 does better.
That's only until you hit the first dark scene, and the JVC RS25's black levels just destroy the IN83's best on those dark scenes. Black levels aren't even close, as you can see from these three side by side images. The first is simply a black image (between scenes). Since neither projector uses a dynamic iris, what you see, is what you get. Remember we overexpose these images (to varying degrees) to make the differences easy to see (JVC is on the right side in all of these images):
Here's a logo at the startup of The Dark Knight:
Next is a scene with almost no bright areas, from Men In Black. This is an excellent example of the difference in black level handling between these two. The first pair is more overexposed to show differences, the second is closer to what you will see on your screen:
More from The Dark Knight (again image immediately below intentionally overexposed:
And here's a good comparison of a daytime image, with skin tones (This image is unintentionally a little overexposed - sorry):
One advantage not mentioned above: The DLA-RS25, unlike the RS20, offers Creative Frame Interpolation, which the IN83 lacks. I'm not sure if the SP8602 has it or not. I did not notice it on the engineering sample, but a lot of items were either missing or grayed out on the SP8602's menus, and I didn't have it here, very long
If you don't care that much about black levels, but want a killer, razor sharp projector, with great skin tones and lots of bright, then... if you can still find an IN83 at a great price, definitely consider it. For those with more pocket change, look for my review of the SP8602 because it may be one of the few new projectors that can really give the JVC RS25 a run for the money.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. Panasonic PT-AE4000
If you forget about feature differences like the Panasonic's Lens Memory (anamorphic) aspects, this is a straight case of very good projector vs. a rather amazing projector. (And an appropriate price difference.)
Consider the PT-AE4000 a poor mans JVC DLA-RS10, RS15, or RS25 projector. It can't match the black performance of the RS10, even with it's dynamic iris, nevermind the RS25's. That said, the Panasonic still has very good black level performance.
They both have 2:1 zooms, lens shift (the Panny has more), both lenses are motorized (although the PT-AE4000's lens shift is manual
Colors, Panasonic while most impressive is definitely not a match for the RS25. I would suspect the same is true compared to the RS15, but to a lesser degree. Haven't reviewed that one yet, but the older RS10 didn't have quite as sophisticated a color management system as the RS20, so you can't dial in quite as well.
It's a case of two grand vs $8000.
And of couse, all the JVC's (the old RS2 excepted) are at least 50% brighter in best mode, while being only about 90% as bright in brightest mode. That allows a much larger screen for people buying the JVC if they are only interested in movies, or don't mind watching sports etc with minimal lighting.
In a lot of ways the Panasonic reminds me of the JVC, but just not as good. I'm talking not so much about things like color, but wow factor. The JVC's extra special blacks (and other lesser aspects),when viewed side by side, tend to make the Panasonic simply look a bit dull by comparison, especially on darker movies. I watched some Red October side by side, and it didn't take long before I lost all interest in the Panasonic, as all those dark scenes with lots of bright lights inside the subs looked dramatically better on the JVC. On bright scenes, the difference is modest by comparison. Off topic: BTW, it's that "dullness" (by comparison), that is probably why I like the Epson over the Panasonic. The Epson UB, by comparison isn't as natural as the Panny, but like the JVC has plenty of wow factor on those same scenes. Not as good as the JVC, but a whole lot closer than the Panasonic comes.
If you find yourself seriously deciding between these two, it comes back to what I said above. If some of the extra goodies on the Panasonic are not important to you, there's really no comparison. It's Really Good vs. Awesome.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. JVC DLA-RS20, DLA-RS15 and RS35!
Let's start with the RS25 vs. the original RS2. The short version is this: The RS25 is dramatically brighter and has better color management, more features, etc.! OK, with that out of the way, let's talk about the RS20 vs. RS25.
There's an improved color management system that immediately allowed Mike to calibrate the RS25 and come up with a touch better color than I've ever been able to get from my RS20, with its extremely tricky CMS. The difference is due, almost certainly, to the improved CMS. (color management system)
JVC has stayed with Silicon Optix Reon-VX processing, which, no doubt, gets improved each year or so, but there were no significant issues with the processing in older JVC projectors for that matter.
That brings us to the RS25 vs. the RS15. Since I haven't had a look yet, at the RS15, here's what I wrote about the RS20 vs. the RS10. the RS15 is, to the RS25, exactly what the RS10 was to the RS20:
Brightness is very close, in "best" mode (Cinema 2 on the RS20, Cinema 1 on the RS10), the difference is just a few percent. In brightest mode, the RS20 ended up slightly brighter, but, let's just say both projectors are pretty much equal in brightness.
There is still a notable difference in black levels favoring the RS20. On many mixed scenes, mostly dark, but with some bright areas, it's hard to tell the two apart, but on scenes that are pretty dark overall, the RS20 shows off its superior black level abilities. Between the two projectors (post calibration), I give a slight edge to the RS10 in showing off dark shadow detail. This isn't surprising, as the nearest thing to black is darker on a projector with better blacks, and therefore harder for the eye to discern. Call it a non-issue, adjusting Brightness by one number in either direction and one projector can go from being the better, to being the worse of the two in shadow detail.
While the RS20 is a tricky calibration (editor's note, 12/09, the RS25's CMS is much easier to calibrate), the RS10 without the CMS is much simpler, and I should point out, produces better results if you just do grayscale calibrations on both (no CMS with the RS20), you'll like the RS10's skin tones better, etc.
The RS20, though comes with the THX mode, which is probably more accurate in color handling than our RS10 calibration, but they are close. The RS10 after we calibrated, though has more pop to the image, we find THX to be a bit flat (probably technically correct, but a touch "boring" by comparison).
The RS10, of course costs a lot less, has the same 2 year warranty, and also supports an anamorphic lens solution with internal processing, however it does not offer an analog computer input, which may be a pain for some owners. If your computer outputs DVI or HDMI, though, it's not a problem.
Here are a few images showing black level, and also general differences - RS20 on the right:
OK, back to real time. ----
With the new RS25 vs. RS15, both get Clear Motion - creative frame interpolation, a feature not found on the older JVC projectors.
It really comes down to this: The JVC DLA-RS25 is expensive. For the most part, by buying the DLA-RS15 instead, you pretty much get the same projector, with a little less black level performance, and probably some other slight differences. We'll know more when the RS15 arrives.
As to the JVC DLA-RS35, JVC says the DLA-RS35's are basically identical to the RS25's but using only the best of the components based on a higher level of quality control. That means best of everything. I asked - will I really see a difference, compared to a typical RS25. The answer I hear from JVC is: Yes you will! I have requested a DLA-RS35, to determine the truth of it.
JVC DLA-RS25 vs. Sony VPL-HW15, VPL-VW85, Optoma HD8600
We're stil wating for the VPL-VW85 to arrive for review. In the meantime, here's what we wrote when we compared the RS20 to the HW10:
No contest in price, no contest in performance. The Sony is far less expensive, but black levels are not even remotely in the same league. Other lower cost projectors that do notably better black levels than this Sony (Epson UB projectors for example), still don't come close to the RS25. The JVC has a real but not great advantage in placement flexibility, but that's only an issue if the Sony won't work in your room and the RS25 will, and that's probably not more than 10% of potential buyers, and easy to figure out.
The Sony VPL-VW70 projector is the official competition for the JVC DLA-RS20, but we haven't reviewed that one yet (March 09, most likely). The Sony is also not a match in terms of brightness. As regular readers know, our old gear measured lumens higher than most other reviewers - 30%+ higher in some cases. Our new gear is in line with everyone else (more accurate). The Sony measured 836 lumens in best mode (old gear) which we translate to 597 lumens, not drastically less bright, but still well below the 775 calibrated numbers for the RS25.
The HW10 is the lowest cost LCoS 1080p projector out there. If you like the fine pixel structure of LCoS, want to avoid rainbow effect from DLP's, it is a worthy projector, but it's not playing in the same league as the RS25.
For your consideration, several images. Please note, to try to get the two projectors as close as possible in terms of brightness, I used different lamp modes and adjusted the JVC's manual iris. Since the Sony relys on a dynamic iris, if I shoot so that dark scenes are almost identical in brightness, then bright scenes make the Sony brighter, as you can see in the one daylight image. The Sony is on the left, JVC on the right:
That covers it. When the Sony VW85 gets reviewed, there will be a full VW85 vs. RS20 section.
NEXT: JVC DLA-RS25 warranty