The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Next Up A First Look at the JVC DLA-RS25, PT-AE4000 Update… Video

UPDATE: The JVC DLA-RS25 review has been posted!

Greetings people!

Ok, as usual, I’m a bit behind the curve.  I’m in the midst of the competitors page for the Epson review, and have some additional images showing the Epson tackling a pretty decent amount of ambient light, for sports viewing.

And yes, for those of you waiting, I have been working with the Optoma HD8600, a DLP, a bit higher end, with optional interchangeable lenses.  Unfortunately, there are a few projectors I have prioritized higher due to wider audience.  I’ll get back to it in a couple of weeks.

Panasonic just let me know they’re hand delivering a PT-4000 next Friday.  They’ll be flying out of NJ hq.  (Hand delivering pre-production units as seemed to be more the rule, than the exception, these last couple of years.)

That works out to Nov 6th.  That will be the highest priority.  The JVC will be done before it arrives, and I’ll get right to the Panny PT-AE4000.  I promise no more than 1 week to complete it, barring some life crisis.

Yes, I’ll follow that in a couple three days with a head to head between the PT-AE4000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.

Hey you guys are smart, you’ll have it figured out from the reviews before I get it done, but ya keep asking, and asking…

The JVC arrived, and Mike started calibrating it yesterday.  He emailed me earlier today, saying he was really having fun and wanted to try something or other – could he keep it until tomorrow?  Well, nice guy that I am…

I am looking forward to the JVC RS25.  I’m pretty darn happy with my  own JVC RS20 but for the lack of more lumens in brightest mode, but always up for something better.  I’m most curious to see what JVC has squeezed out of the RS25.

What’s really “scary” though, is that I asked if the DLA-RS35 was clearly superior to the DLA RS25.  Now the JVC RS35, is essentially, according to JVC, units built with the same components as the RS25′s but with hand picked components and higher quality control.

I was told, yes, it really does make a difference.   So, while the RS25 will no doubt be the hot one, in terms of sales (at least $2K less), I need to get my hands on one of those RS35′s for sure.

I’m still awaiting, for a Sony VPL-VW85, too, and waiting.  I see one of the print pubs has looked at it, so maybe they’ll have one for me soon.  They were great getting me an early VPL-HW15, which reviewed very well.

Oh yeah, fun stuff.  I’m spending tomorrow “filming” a short video – a video summary of the recent Mitsubishi HC3800.  We offer to do these for any projector we review (for a nice fee).  The video goes on the site.   As they say “good work when you can get it.”  (This is only our second.)  Anyway, a sweet projector and I’m going to have fun.

Besides the 4-5 minute video summary, the real fun part is doing a 90 second teaser for it, which we’ll put up on YouTube.  I’ve decided to, well, it isn’t finalized, I’m probably going to wing it when we do the shoot.  Hopefully, not too many takes.  Let’s just say, it’s informal.

OK, that’s it, I do want to work on the competitors section some more tonight.  -art

News And Comments

  • Eddie T


    JVC’s comments that ‘hand picked components and higher quality control’ make the RS35 clearly better than the RS25 rekindles a nagging question I’ve had regarding the review units supplied to ProjectorReviews, ProjectorCentral, etc.

    How certain are you that review units (usually pre-production, special delivery) are not similarly hand-picked and QC tweaked? Granted firmware and other improvements (like the Epson 6100/6500UB defocussing fix and CFI tweak) occur during production, but couldn’t your review units be sorted & tweaked for black level, alignment, light output, etc., to perform better than a typical unit?

    How confident can the average consumer be that the units we buy will at least equal the performance of these hand-delivered review units? Does anyone check random production units to see if they’re as good?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Eddie,

      Good questions. I’ve tackled them before. First of all, you can bet the store that any “pre-production” or sample unit is hand picked and tweaked, simply because they are not production units. That’s the only way they exist. While every manufacturer wants to deliver the best possible unit, the core difficulty is that there simply aren’t a whole pile of units to choose from. From my experience these past few years, most manufacturers have only 2 or 3 total units in the US, until right before production. In other words, we’re getting what they’ve got.
      This year I’ve been able to get pre-production and samples more frequently than in the past. As a group, they aren’t ready for primetime, virtually everyone has some problem or other I would expect to “not be there” when they ship production. Sometimes it’s as severe as image controls won’t work over HDMI, or a dynamic iris issue. I will be getting in follow-up units more often than not, once production units are out. Sometimes because I expect improved color tables. Some of it I don’t have to worry about. Take Epson, which basically is using the same platform this year – same lamp, etc. we pretty much know what we can expect, thus the 9500ub we have here is already in production for most of it. Firmware and optical engine would be the only changes. As to pixel alignment, the samples and preproduction most are likely to be worse than average. The Epson 9500UB I have here is definitely off, red by about a full pixel is the worst. I expect that, and expect that Epson does better than that on production 6500UBs.

      Lamps are an area where you can get one with the best native color. It’s been marketed before. And for those not calibrating, it’s a plus. Downside is, last time someone did that, they didn’t sell “hand picked” spare lamps. So, you were back to “average” lamps, after the first.
      You could push the power supply and run the lamp harder, I suppose, but we know that it affects color. Every projector yields slightly different color with its low and high settings.
      Remember the main thing about these units are that these are the first few units with new light engines, there are no doubt older discards, and final improvements in some areas may be made on units built later, in some cases.
      Ultimately, though it goes back to the fact that there are only relatively few built, some of which I’m sure are worse, failures. And invariably the full production projectors are better, due to a fix here, and a tweak there.
      Well, that was a ramble.
      Back to the JVC. I can see how they can pull off a better projector. Hand picking every component will yield a better final product. If they have the top, say, 5% of the lenses, the light engines, the power supplies, the 5% quietest fans, it should make a difference compared to one with average components. Not drastic, but enough to be recognizable as better, and for that some will pay the difference.

  • Bjorn

    Hi Art,

    About the JVC’s, where can you actually buy them? They seem very hard to find on the usual online projector resellers, like the ones who advertise on your website, and price comparison websites don’t come up with anything either. Not even the so-called consumer models seem to be any easier to find than the “professional” models or whatever they call them…

    What’s up with JVC anyway, do they not want to sell their projectors or what? What I really don’t get is the whole “sold through local dealers only” business model since even here around Los Angeles which you’d think should be one of the better places for such things it’s hard to even find any local dealers selling projectors, even less specific JVC models…

    May I ask where you bought your RS20 Art? Do you know if it’s possible to get a good deal on the older RS10 or RS20 models now that the new models are coming out?

    • Lisa Feierman

      Yes, hard to find with a basic online search. But, you can find the dealer listings on the right JVC sites. There are two, one for the Pro (ie. DLA-RS25) one for the consumer JVC (ie. HD-950). JVC’s running banners on our site. I followed the link from a JVC banner running inside the JVC RS20 review, for example, to the Pro site. From there, I clicked on a projector – I think the RS25, and when that came up, I clicked on the Contact / Dealer link. That got me to a enter zipcode, place, and upon doing that, it gave me a list of dealers in the area, and also the info for the JVC regional manager. Try it. -art

      PS. yes, I have heard of some good prices, but mostly on the first generation, some RS2s are apparently still rattling around. Since few local dealers stock, but mostly order when needed, there aren’t likely to be any blowouts, unless JVC finds they are still sitting on a lot of older ones when their warehouses are filled with the brand new ones.

      Finally, where I bought mine – a very good question. I buy virtually all the equipment I get direct from the manufacturers. While I’ve only ever asked for pricing on projectors I planned to buy, (over the years, that has been only BenQ, Epson, and JVC), it seems like most, if not all such companies have special accommodation programs for dealer personnel, etc., and they will usually offer that pricing to me as well. Best I’ve ever gotten on any projector I’ve bought manufacturer direct, has been up to 50% off of MSRP. that’s MSRP, not MAP, or street price. To put that in perspective: The BenQ W6000 as an example. MSRP, is $3499. MAP (which tends to be “high street price” – the most people pay online), is $2799. Thus, 50% off (and no, I haven’t enquired of BenQ, so can’t say if that is what they would offer), would be 50% off of $3499, or $1799.50. Some only offer 40% off, etc. Hey, whatever they offer, I’ll take. On the other hand, I’m not going to buy a projector I don’t like, just because they offer me a better deal. (remember, at most times, I have 3, 4, even 7 or 8 high quality projectors around here. I could probably get by fine, just using what’s here, and stall on returning them.

      It’s one of the perks, so to speak. It means that I can replace projectors every 12 to 18 months, and not take a beating, although I always lose some money. When I sold my JVC RS1, for example, due to falling prices, I got just over $2K etc. and that was with providing a new spare lamp because mine had about 1500 hours on it, it was still a loss of well more than $1000. If I had to pay regular prices, I’m pretty sure I’d still have an RS1, or perhaps, most likely an Epson Home Cinema 6500UB. Gotta love those perks. -art

      PS. not the RS20, but Pioneer had been selling a private label version of the RS2, under their Kiro name. There have been some great deals around on those Kiro’s if you can still find them. A few months ago, someone reported getting one for under $2500, which has to be considered damn good. Remember though, the RS2 is no where’s near as bright as the RS1, or any of the newer JVC’s. -a

  • Lance

    Hi Art, Eddie,
    Semiconductor companies do binning all the time. They picked the top 5% or so of the chips that exceed the spec and sell that at higher price. They do that using a tester and is quite easy. However, binning or handpick would be harder for a product and that have many parts. As such, I would guess that the price will be subtantially higher compare to the “non-hand-pick” one.

    • Lisa Feierman

      You are correct, and in this case, I believe the RS35 is officially $2000 more than the $RS25. I’m dying to see the difference. I’m the kind of guy who, once convinced, would want the higher performance one. (Better still, I’d like the best RS25 to come off the line, since that would likely be essentially the same as an average RS35.) All I have to do is convince JVC to send me 50 RS25′s and let me hand pick mine. fat chance!