JVC DLA-RS60 - Competitors
Still to come...
For now, for your convenience, below is the content from last year's RS35 review, and how it compared to, well, last year's competitors. This year it will be mostly the same matchups that the DLA-RS60 projector faces, but the RS60's competition is also one year newer.
3/22/2011 - Art Feierman
Below, JVC DLA-RS60 projector:
DLA-RS35 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, Pro 9500UB
The RS35 is roughly four times the price of the Home Cinema 8500UB, and about three times 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 RS35 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 huge 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-RS35, (or any of the less expensive JVC RS projectors).
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. More "pop and wow", on darker scenes
As good as the Epsons are, the RS35 is a real and significant 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 this JVC or the incredibily similar RS25, 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 30% more lumens. Comparing "brightest" - the Epson projectors have an even greater advantage, With over 1300 lumens vs. the JVC's over 850 lumens. 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 with controlled low levels of ambient light. (I'd just like to have more lighting on for sports).
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-RS35 vs. Mitsubishi HC7000
I didn't have an HC7000 here for the RS35 review, or for that matter, either of the two previous JVC reviews, so I have never gotten to do any side by side viewing.
The Mitsubishi, however stacks up this way. It costs roughly 1/3 of the JVC. Most folks wouldn't compare the JVC to the HC7000, or if they did, they would first compare the Mits to the RS15, or the RS25. The HC7000 is quieter (Mitsubishi LCD home projectors are about the quietest on the market). The Mits image sharpness, is probably just a touch less sharp than the JVC RS35, though it can best the 25, and most other, non DLP competition.
The HC7000 is 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). Its 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 pretty straight forward for those knowing what they are doing. This year, that's also true for the RS25 and RS35, though not quite the case last year. While we also strongly urge a calibraton of the RS35, it should be noted that the RS35'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 RS35, 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. More to the point, the RS35 has creative frame interpolation the Mitsubishi lacks.
The JVC has an advantage in placement flexibility.
Price is the biggest single difference. The Mitsubishi most likely is being sold by local dealers for 1/3 of the JVC's price, making it more a competitor of the RS15, than the RS35. 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. Not likely unless you are running a smaller than 100" diagonal screen, or unless your screen has some serious gain.
Bottom Line: The Mitsubishi is a nice projector in its class. The JVC, awesome in its higher class. The Mitsubishi isn't without advantages though, being exceptionally quiet, and far more affordable.
JVC DLA-RS35 vs. BenQ W6000
Hmm, another $2500 vs. $10000. 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 RS35.
I'll keep this one shorter, save some for the RS15 review.
The BenQ's strengths:
- Likely slightly sharper image
- Brighter than the JVC in "best" mode by a significant, but not huge amount, 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 can deliver over twice the brightness (when it does, its color accuracy is not very good), but it can do 50% brighter, no problem, with pretty good color
- 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:
- Better color accuracy
- Drastically better on darker scenes, thanks to the best black levels around
- Better placement flexibility
- Overall picture is superb
- A smooth, refined look, the W6000's image, is by comparison, a little rough around the edges. Filmlike
- If it was a car, the RS35 might well be a new 600 series BMW. You know, dripping in performance, yet luxurious (picture), at the same time.
That pretty much covers it in broad strokes. The W6000 is an excellent lower priced projector that is lumen and color rich. The RS35 is simply a better, if less punchy picture.
And for those with some money still rattling around, buy the RS35, put it on a rear shelf, mount the W6000 on the bottom of the shelf, for when you need maximum lumens... (Believe me, I've considered running two projectors in my main theater for that reason, a great one for movies, and a good extremely bright one for sports. Alas!
JVC DLA-RS35 vs. LG CF181D
The JVC projector is better at most things, well, just about everything, but for 1/4 the price, the LG CF181D is formidable in its own right. It is another "poor man's alternative" to the JVC DLA-RS35 projector.
The LG CF181D's black level performance is strictly borderline "ultra high contrast" not quite there. It is no match at all for the RS35, or for that matter, its not even close to the RS15, which is far, far closer to its price.
Color and dynamics of the LG, though are impressive. There's tons of lumens, which buys a ton of respect from me, and probably every other large screen person, or sports fan.
The JVC is a projector for the hard core enthusiast, the ones demanding a healthy chunk of perfection if they can find it. The LG is a great looking projector, that can work family rooms as well as dedicated theaters. I like it. It's now one of my favorite under $3K projectors. It's for the ones who aren't as black level crazy as me.
A quick but important note: I do like to believe I'm right about black levels. As I see it, take a great projector like the RS35 and put it up against another really good projector like the LG, on say the usual daytime and bright images you see in each review, and mostly you'll see slightly different colors between the projectors. And, in fact the difference in what you see, in terms of color, is probably less than the inherent color inaccuracies accumulated getting from projected image, to camera, to software, to internet to browser, to your uncalibrated, relatively low contrast computer monitor.
When night falls it's a different world:
Look at the same night scenes on both projectors and, well it's obviously not a "night and day" difference, but it really can be a "dusk" vs. night difference. All of a sudden the difference between the two projectors (actually between the RS35 and all but 2 or 3 other projectors), is dramatic, startling, or sometimes, merely noticeable or significant. My favorites - Casino Royale train scene, the space shots from 5th Element, Space Cowboys, or any good sci-fi really do look different. Or just any night street scene in a movie or your favorite cop show.
To me, that's really it. Most good $2K (even less) 1080p projectors look really similar on normal bright or average scenes, especially if they have had a basic calibration. Brightness will likely be the biggest variant.
But when the the dark scenes appear, it's a different world. One best described as "no contest". I certainly wouldn't pay thousands for for this JVC just for the color improvements over, say the LG or Panasonic - those differences are slight. But after 30 seconds of watching a night scene, the difference is so striking, that you'll be lucky if the credit card doesn't pop out of your wallet by itself, screaming for great blacks.
JVC DLA-RS35 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 may well still be a touch sharper than the JVC, but I wouldn't worry about the difference.
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 though, is a bit longer than most DLP's, so it should rear shelf mount in a lot of peoples rooms.
The JVC wins for black levels, and I'll give it the edge in color accuracy, but more to the point, natural looking skin tones.
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.
The Optoma HD8600 is a respectable DLP but still has dynamic iris issues. Optoma's been driving me crazy for years, with noisy or particularly noticeable iris action. A real improvement in iris action would elevate the HD8600 into a serious performer, even for this price range, but, again, it can't match the JVC for blacks, or color, but may have the slightest sharpness advantage - and again, not enough to matter, or so I think.
DLA-RS35 vs. InFocus IN83 and SP8602
Let's start with the InFocus SP8602 (SP is the short form for their old ScreenPlay name for home theater projectors, I assume).
I'm in the midst of the SP8602 projector as we speak. Actually I just shipped it back to them to check out a discrepancy. I'm measuring 570 lumens at "best" mode, and only 750 lumens in "brightest" mode (at the mid-point of the zoom). This InFocus loses more lumens as it goes from wide angle on the zoom (936 maximum to 750 at the mid-zoom point), and about 500 lumens in "brightest" mode, with the zoom at full telephoto.
The SP8602 has made a dramatic improvement in black level performance over the older IN83 (which was not good in that regard), still, it's no match for the JVC. Period. It can't keep up with the Epson UB projectors either. The InFocus seems to be more inline with the Panasonic PT-AE4000 and a little better than the LG CF181D or BenQ W6000 home theater projectors.
For most of the rest, I've pasted in the IN83 vs (older) DLA-RS20 competitor section (I've searched and replaced RS20 with RS35 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 RS35 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 RS35 (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 RS35 looks great, and everyone is happy, until put side by side with the IN83, then it's - the RS35 looks great, but the IN83 does better.
That's only until you hit the first dark scene, and the JVC RS35'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):
Reminder - all the images above are the IN83 vs. the older RS20. Back to the present and continuing on:
One advantage not mentioned above: The DLA-RS35, unlike the RS20, offers Creative Frame Interpolation, which the IN83 lacks. The SP8602 does have CFI and it works very nicely. I haven't used it that much but, it seems for most of its work, it's a slow moving iris - sort of the rubber band type. I tend to find it easier to spot on indoor scenes than on really dark ones. On indoor scenes, where it's not too bright, and the iris has some flexibility, if, say a man wearing a white shirt crosses in front of the camera a few feet away, you can see the whole scene brighten slowly as the iris has to open all the way, then as the person passes.
If you don't care that much about outstanding 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 RS35 a run for the money.
The SP8602 with its much improved black levels has made great gains, but also gave up a bunch of lumens. We're tracking it as noted at 570 "best", mid-zoom and 936 max at wide angle, in "brightest" mode. InFocus says the projector we have should be doing no less than 1100 lumens as they have the quality control testing numbers in house. Thus, it's on its way back. They will remeasure. If it turns out this one does perform as we have found, they will send another, swearing it will do at least 1100.
And that folks, makes a big difference. Another 15% would make 570 "best" mode lumens into about 650 lumens, and of course about 870 in "brightest" mode (at mid-zoom. That would bring it a lot closer to the JVC in best mode, and put the two on about even footing in brightest.
Still the InFocus'es strength, compared to the RS35 is price. It's half - at $4999. It's still $3000 less than the RS25.
If the SP8602 InFocus ends up having the higher lumen amount, then you have a projector with good blacks vs. the best blacks, period. You have a projector that's easily razor sharp, compared to the first LCoS projector I've seen that I can call "razor sharp" at all. Both have excellent color. The SP8602's overall look though, does have a bit more "pop" to the colors, compared to the slightly softer colors and more "natural" feel to the JVC.
Think this way. You love the JVC RS25 but want the sharpness of an InFocus - that's when you buy the RS35, if you can afford, because it gives you that, plus world class black level performance. Another way you might think of the SP8602, would be like having an RS35, but with just a little less placement flexibility, but limited (but very good) black level performance, instead of best possible blacks.
An interesting trade-off for $5K difference.
JVC DLA-RS35 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 far superior projector. (And an appropriate price difference.)
Consider the PT-AE4000 a poor mans JVC DLA-RS10, or RS15 projector. It can't match the black performance of the RS10, even with it's dynamic iris, nevermind the RS35'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 in the league of the RS35. The thing is, when I viewed them side by side, even dropping the JVC's lumens down to match (with the manual iris), the JVC image just had more "pop and wow"!
And the RS35 (and RS25), have much better black performance than the RS10 or RS15, which means even more "pop", especially on darker scenes.
It's a case of two grand vs $10000.
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-RS35 vs. JVC DLA-RS20, DLA-RS15 and RS25!
Let's start with the RS35 vs. the original RS2. The short version is this: The RS35 is dramatically brighter and has better color management, more features, CFI etc.! OK, with that out of the way, let's talk about the RS20 vs. RS35. With the RS20 you now get an improved color management system (compared to the RS2) but that's been further improved with the RS25 and RS35, this year's models.
The DLA-RS35 will exhibit slightly better blacks than the RS20, the different between "excellent" and a bit better still. You'll get the same look and feel, but the RS35 will exhibit extra sharpness, a significant improvement, as well as the addition of of creative frame interpolation
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 RS35 vs. the RS15. I've been working with both now, for a couple of weeks. It is, as you would expect. The RS15 is less than half the price, it's slightly brighter, but overall, looks and cooks the same, with the biggest differences being black levels, sharpness, and color accuracy. The RS15 (and its predecessors), don't have as sophisticated color setup, and I was never, for example, able to get my old RS1 as dead on as my own RS20...
Simply stated, the RS15 is a poor man's RS35. Save about $6000 and you settle for a similar look and feel projector that has the second or 3rd best black level performance around (assuming we count the RS25 and RS35 as a tie.) It won't be as dead on, it won't be quite as sharp, but side by side, there's no question about their lineage, they are so similar when viewing, until you get to really dark scenes.
Since the RS35 is the least bright (by about 10%) of any of the JVC's reviewed since the RS2, that's one slight advantage for the RS15. The other, of course, being price.
Finally that brings us to:
JVC DLA-RS35 vs. JVC DLA-RS25 - The two best under $10K home theater projectors?
One more time. The JVC DLA-RS35 uses exactly the same components inside as the RS25. The difference is that JVC quality controls the components (lens, parts of the light engine, etc.), and puts the best of each component group into making an RS35. Nothing will be radically different, but the end result is a visible improvement, primarily in a sharper feel to the projected image.
I guess that's the theme of this whole review. The JVC DLA-RS25 has already established itself as truly excellent. All you get for your extra $2000 is:
- The image appears a notch sharper than the RS25 due to better convergence and theoretically slightly better optics.
- The blacks are probably slightly better too (hard to tell from my image library, and I never had them at the same time)
- The best of the other classes of components are also placed inthe RS35
- The "sum of the parts" rule: When the RS25 came in the review was mostly - ahh, just a slightly improved RS20, but not enough (unless you must have CFI) of anything, for example to cause an RS20 owner to trade for the RS25. By comparison, it's very easy to rationalize going from an RS20 to the RS35. I know. I'm dying to. I'd like the CFI, and I'd love the extra sharpness.
When I first asked JVC: Will I really see a difference, with the DLA-RS35 compared to a typical RS25. The answer I hear from JVC is: Yes you will!
THEY WERE RIGHT!
JVC DLA-RS35 vs. Sony VPL-HW15, VPL-VW85
The Sony VPL-HW15, with it's $2799 MAP price is another lower cost alternative for those lacking the will or cash to buy a $10,000 projector.
I'm running out of time and energy though, and since it's not a direct competitor I'll leave you with this thought about the HW15. Overall it's similar to the LG CF181D. Thing is, the Sony isn't anywhere bright, and their pretty similar in most other areas, including black level performance. I favor the LG of the two, so check out the RS35 vs. the LG, above.
The Sony VW85 is a whole different story. It's the closest competition the JVC RS25 has seen yet, (other than other JVCs). The JVC's still a significantly but not dramatically brighter, and definitely has better blacks. That makes the RS25 and the Sony the direct competitors, so I'll word the problem this way.
If I'm leaning toward a Sony VW85 for the lower price, compared to the RS25, will the RS35 deliver enough more, to make me go the other way, and spend even more still?
If you chose the Sony over the RS25, then the big appeal of the RS35 becomes the sharpness. The better blacks of the RS25 didn't convince you that the RS25 was worth the difference, it really leaves perceived sharpness as the primariy, or it's the "sum of the parts" for slightly more, the RS25 gives you some advantages, but the combination of more sharpness, in addition to the better blacks and more lumens, may be worth a lot of dinero to many of you.
NEXT: JVC DLA-RS60 warranty