JVC DLA-RS45 Projector - Competitors
Below are my thoughts on how the JVC DLA-RS45 compares with five other excellent projectors priced between $2500 and $4500: In order of typical selling prices from low to high: BenQ W7000, Epson Home Cinema 5010, Panasonic PT-AE7000, Sony VPL-HW30ES, and Optoma HD8300.
1-25-12 - Art Feierman
DLA-RS45 vs. Sony VPL-HW30ES
This one is relatively easy. First, both are LCoS projectors, and both have fairly similar feature sets, with 3D capable, and offering CFI for smooth motion.
The Sony VPL-HW30ES gives you more control. There's a full color management system for calibrating it, a sophisticated pixel alignment solution and other such details.
When it comes to the picture, in 2D, the JVC's deeper blacks give it a distinct advantage on dark movie scenes in 2D. On the other hand, for 3D, the advantage definitely goes to the Sony with cleaner looking 3D, and slightly brighter to boot. The brightness is very important, since neither is especially bright compared to several other new 3D capable projectors which are as much as twice as bright. As an existing JVC owner, I tend to still have a bias for the JVC, but understand why many folks prefer the Sony. Tough call. Those who's real love is watching 2D movies will likely also favor the JVC. Those watching a wider variety of 2D and 3D, though may well find the Sony to be the better fit.
The JVC has more placement flexibility, thanks to their 2:1 zoom, vs. the Sony's 1.6:1. That lets the JVC have enough range, for example, to rear shelf mount. Fully zoomed out though, means you are giving up additional brightness, which will tend to make 3D, or even large screen 2D doing sports with lights on, even more of a challenge.
Both are relatively elegant projectors - both physically, and also in terms of performance. As such, regardless of the details and differences, both are the type of projector that once you get one home, you're probably going to be very happy, and not worry about what you didn't buy!
JVC DLA-RS45 vs. Epson Home Cinema 5010
Here we have two very different projectors. The physical and performance aspects - such as brightness make these two different enough that deciding between them, is almost formulaic - that is, "if you want this, buy that one..."
The JVC does have a slight black level advantage over the Epson. I'm huge on blacks, but as I like to say, once you get to a certain point, other factors start taking on more importance. I'd rather the JVC's blacks, but the trade-offs for that not too great a difference, isn't huge. (In the image below you can just make out that the background of the Epson (right) is a bit brighter (and slightly redish).
Above, in 3D, a good example of the huge difference in brightness (which carries true when using the 3D glasses.
A great image above from Casino Royale (in grayscale), please click on the larger version for closely comparing dark shadow detail, black levels, and sharpness, (and the overall "pop" of the image).
In the image below from Casino Royale, you can again note detail, color, sharpness, "film-like qualities". Please ignore any color aspects - as these were shot the evening the full production Epson arrived, and before it was calibrated.
Where are the big decision differences between the JVC DLA-RS45 and the Epson Home Cinema 5010? 2D vs. 3D, enough movie brightess, sufficient brightness for sports brightness, etc.
For example. Let's say movies are your thing! You barely care about using your projector for anything else. You'd like a really large screen with plenty of brightness in 2D. 3D is something for experimenting, but basically you are a "not really interested in 3D" type person. (Go see Hugo in IMAX 3D.) That sounds like a great match for the JVC RS45.
Above, from Ultimate Wave: Tahiti 3D, again, you can see a huge difference in brightness. The Epson also, through the glasses, offered a bit better color when comparing 3D.
On the other hand, if you really like your sports and other HDTV, and do some viewing in not fully darkened positions, and you don't need a huge screen for movies, the Epson is the ticket. It's got approaching twice the brightness for 3D, making 3D a no contest win for the Epson. It's mere 630 calibrated lumens in best mode, can't match the JVC's unusually bright 892 lumens, but is enough to fill a typical 120" diagonal screen, so not exactly underpowered, even calibrated.
For your upcoming Superbowl party, though, having roughly 1700 rather good looking (but not calibrated) lumens vs. the JVC's either slightly better 892 lumens, or significantly worse looking 1080 lumens, makes the Epson the hands down favorite for those of us who watch a lot of everything.
Shadow details are about a tie, with the Epson having the slightest lead (minor changes to custom gamma could easily reverse that, though, as can a change of 1 on brightness can improve black levels at the expense of better dark details.
I do like the lens memory feature of the JVC, which allows you to go with a 2.35:1 screen, again, that fits in with the JVC's strength being 2D movies, rather than the more flexible Epson Home Cinema 5010.
I'll give the JVC the slightly more film-like advantage (although Epsons have improved significantly at "film-like" over the last two years. The Epson, by comparision, generally tends to have a bit more "pop" to the image. The Epson calibrates better, thanks to a full CMS. The trade off - the slight edge in film-like for the JVC vs. the slightly more accurate skin tones, on the Epson.
Warranty - Epson's 2 years has a replacement program, JVC's 2 year warranty does not.
Lamp life: JVC RS45: 2000? (our guess) at full brightness) and 3000 hours in eco-mode (they call Normal), for the JVC, vs. Epson's 4000 hour (full power) 5000 hours in eco-mode, strongly favor the Epson in terms of cost of operation. A heavy user (like me - 40 hours a week), the Epson can save you about a couple hundred dollars a year.
Simply stated - both are excellent, the Epson, by far, the more versatile, lower cost, lower cost of operations. Can handle a much wider variety of rooms. The JVC is best at movies, and best in a well designed theater type room. 3D definitely a relative strength for the Epson.
In terms of the costs, you've got about an $800 difference to start with, with the JVC being about 30% more expensive out of the box, based on the Epson's MAP at $2699 and JVC price at $3499.
JVC DLA-RS45 vs. Panasonic PT-AE7000
Interesting comparison. Panasonic's PT-AE7000, like the JVC, is a particularly film-like projector.
In one sense, the Panasonic compares to the JVC, very much like the Epson does, in that those two LCD projectors are, in many ways similar in functionality. At the same time, the Panasonic is a bit more similar to the JVC, than the Epson is, in other ways, so one might say, that the Panasonic fits somewhere between the Epson and JVC comparison.
I find the Panasonic to be comparable to the JVC in terms of being film-like - natural looking. The Panasonic can be calibrated to have more precisely accurate color and skin tones, but the JVC comes fairly close, even lacking a CMS. The Panasonic folks are the ones that pioneered Lens Memory, so both Panasonic and JVC are tied there. Both support an anamorphic lens if you are so inclined. Of course the Panasonic is a 3LCD design, rather than LCoS, but despite transmissive vs. reflective technologies, they both have 2:1 zoom lenses and lens shift, so both have rather awesome placement flexibility. Both projectors have a relatively invisible pixel structure compared to most other projectors. The JVC because LCoS is particularly good at just that, and the PT-AE7000 because of their SmoothScreen technology.
The Panasonic has a variety of color modes. When calibrated to D65, the PT-AE7000 is no match in brightness for the JVC DLA-RS45 calibrated. In fact the JVC has almost exactly double the brightness. That said, Panasonic has brighter modes that should still look as good as the JVC at its best color, thanks to combining those "close to best" modes with a full color management system. Still, overall, for a large screen, with movie viewing as the focus, the JVC has more muscle calibrated.
On the other hand, the RS45 is no match at all for the Panasonic when comparing brightest modes, and that's even more true when comparing 3D, where the PT-AE7000, brightness wise, leaves the JVC in the dust. Panasonic's 1600+ reasonably good looking lumens, trump the JVC which still can't break 1000 lumens with anything resembling reasonably watchable color.
No doubt about it, for sports viewing, and general HDTV, the PT-AE7000 is the overall better choice, and even more so, if you care about 3D.
So, while I consider the JVC best for those who only really care about movies, the PT-AE7000 is a bit better for those wanting a blend of movies, sports and general HDTV.
The Panasonic (again, like the Epson) has a much longer life lamp rating, and lower cost of operation, as well as a lower selling price, but the Panasonic's 1 year warranty + a promotional 2nd year (when you register), does have a 2000 hour limit, while the JVC, and others with 2 year warranties, do not have any such limitation. Consider that a heavy user can go through 2000 hours in one year - 40 hours a week. Actually it is pretty easy to do, if your projector is for watching just about everything.
Thanks to the extra brightness, the Panasonic has to be considered the better overall projector in a family room type environment, while both are extremely competent in a dedicated theater.
If you care about 3D, there really is no contest there, the Panasonic PT-AE7000's 3D abilities, considering color, crosstalk/ghosting, and having adequate brightness, make it the much better choice than the RS45. That's not to say the JVC can't do a decent job on 3D on a much smaller screen.
JVC DLA-RS45 vs. BenQ W7000
Even the impressive 892 calibrated lumens we measured on the JVC DLA-RS45, is no match for the BenQ W7000'a over 1200 measured lumens after Mike calibrated it. That's a lot of wall melting power the BenQ sports at D65. When it comes to brightness in 3D, the BenQ doesn't come off as bright as we had anticipated. We expected the W7000 projector to be about equal to the Epson Home Cinema 5010 and the Panasonic on 3D, but the end result - through the glasses, lefts us with the feeling that the W7000 falls about half way between the JVC on one hand, and the Panasonic and Epson (which seem about identically bright in 3D), on the other. If anything, the BenQ is closer to the 2 LCD projectors in brightness.
With Brilliant Color turned on, the BenQ W7000 projector measured 1571 lumens calibrated!
Of course if you need far more lumens than the JVC can generate in any mode, the W7000 is more than happy to oblige you, with a brightest mode measuring out even brighter. After de-tuning the brightness of the W7000 for better color, Mike's adjustments to Dynamic mode still yielded 1761 lumens, even a bit more than the Epson (our previous "brightest champ" in the class.) The W7000, before improving the color, almost hit 2000 lumens.
The BenQ is not only bright, but it is classic DLP, colors look rich, and well saturated, without managing to look over the top, especially darker colors. The BenQ's image is very sharp, as you would expect from a single chip DLP being combined with a good lens.
Both projectors offer CFI, and various other dynamic features. The W7000 relies on a dynamic iris for its blacks, while we all know by now that the RS45 has inately great blacks and needs no iris to be competitive.
The W7000 black levels, should be ultra-high contrast quality, but still no match for the RS45 which is exceptional at black performance for the price point. Unfortunately, the early engineering sample proved to have disappointing blacks. BenQ assured us that the new firmware would bring that up to that of the older W6000 (which would be just fine). We had hoped to have the new firmware before the current Chinese New Year, but it didn't make it from Taiwan in time. Assume we get it and the BenQ delivers on the blacks. If not, this will be updated. The BenQ review will autmatically be updated with the results of the new firmware.
Back to the JVC RS45, which even compared to the expected, improved W7000, should still have a rather noticeable advantage in black level performance. That's going to be a really big plus for the JVC, especially for "movies first and foremost" type viewers. I'm a former DLP owner (different BenQs) who switched to my first JVC almost 5 years ago. I fully recognize, as should you, that many folks still prefer DLP for its "look and feel". I hear occasionally from JVC, and other owners with LCoS or 3LCD projectors who love their new projectors, for this reason or that, and even love it much better than their last DLP projector, yet the common thread seems to be that many of them still wistfully think of their previous DLP projector to have the best picture quality, in terms of "it looks great". That's general feel, not details like blacks and shadows, and color accuracy, just "looks better" or "more depth"... I mention all this, because of the last few years, DLP has lost its advantage in other areas, but that "look and feel" thing, based on reader feedback, still excites many people.
Bottom Line: JVC is good as a movies first projector, one that can handle large screens for 2D viewing. The W7000 by comparison, will fall short on black level performance, but be even brighter, be more dynamic, and look sharper. And it's much better for 3D.
But, the JVC has more placement flexibility, a longer warranty, and is more elegant - both physically, but also in terms of power zoom, focus, and lens shift... The JVC also has more class, the BenQ, on the other hand, merely offers performance advantages in most areas. Some might warn that the BenQ might be too bright for some dedicated home theaters. Possible, so keep that in mind. Some would find the W7000 too bright to use, even in eco-mode, on say a typical white 100" diagonal screen. (Eco mode drops brightness by 25%).
Interesting choice - in that these are two very different projectors with not a whole lot in common, once you get past both being particularly bright when calibrated. You probably won't have much trouble crossing one of these off your list, after considering your room and viewing habits.
JVC DLA-RS45 vs. Optoma HD8300
I'll keep this one short. The HD8300 could be thought of as a similar projector to the JVC DLA-RS45, except that it is a DLP projector, not an LCoS one, and with that difference, a few things change.
The HD8300 calibrates better (has a full CMS), and has that DLP look and feel.
The JVC's key strength is, of course, black level performance, but it also offers greater placement flexibility, motorized lens functions, etc. The HD8300 offers a touch more sharpness, and perhaps some extra dark shadow detail.
The Optoma HD8300 though, has a few rough edges. It has CFI, but it's not one of the smoother ones, and it's dynamic iris still needs to be less noticeable. I don't worry too much about CFI, but, too often "noticeable" dynamic iris action is something I do not like seeing. To me that's far more disturbing than, say, even a fairly noisy projector's fan noise. Of course, you may see (and hear) things differently.
As such, despite the DLP aspects, I figure most folks will favor the JVC. Keep in mind Optoma has a similar projector to the HD8300 (different distribution), with slightly lessor feature set and a much lower price. That version may sway you, although we haven't reviewed it. The core "engine" is the same between the HD8300 and HD83.
NEXT: JVC DLA-RS45 warranty