The Art of Home Theater Projectors

October and November Home Theater Projector Reviews Scheduled

UPDATE: The Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB and JVC DLA-RS25 projector reviews have been posted!

OK everyone, this is just a quick heads up, As usual it’s crunch time in the projector review world as most new home theater projectors tend to ship each year, between September and January.

It’s getting exciting.  Here’s what’s up:

Although I barely got started on my review of the new Optoma HD8600, I’m going to delay that one a bit, and finish it as I can.

The Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB has arrived, and it top priority.  The full Epson projector review should post on Oct 21! (I think I can actually make that self imposed deadline!)

BTW, I just looked at Mike’s calibration numbers for the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB, and they look as tight (to D65) as any projector I’ve ever seen, post calibration (based on the THX mode).

Immediately following the Epson review, will be my review of the new JVC RS25. (This is cool since it means that, on back to back weeks, I’m reviewing the newest versions of the projectors I personally own – the JVC DLA-RS20 and the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB.)  Target date for the JVC DLA-RS25 – aka JVC HD950 – to publish, is Oct 28th.

That means I’ll have side by sides, showing the black level differences between the 200,000:1 contrast Epson (using a dynamic iris), against the 50,000:1 JVC (with no dynamic iris).

By the time the JVC RS25 posts, I hope to have received the PT-AE4000 for review, which is my third top priority projector.  If it isn’t here by then, I’ll likely finish up the Optoma HD8600, and start on the Mitsubishi HC6800.

OK, now I’m into November.  Assuming all of those are done, it then comes down to when I can get some other projectors in.  I’m hoping for the BenQ W1000 at $999, and the Vivitek HD1080FD (same price) - I’m waiting for an updated version, as Vivitek, who has sent out at least one sample, indicated that it the sample wasn’t ready for prime time, and would have one with new firmware, for me shortly.

Also for early November, I’ll get back in a production InFocus ScreenPlay 8602, and finish that review.  Hopefully, by then I’ll also receive a Sony VPL-VW85, which I’m pretty excited about.  As many of you know, I’ve definitely favored the JVC over the Sony when it comes to these LCoS projectors, but the VPL-VW85 looks particularly formidable this year!  We shall see.

That should pretty much cover the next month and a half, afterall, 1 per week is my absolute best time, and I prefer 10 days average.  (So if they all show up, that probably takes me close to mid-december.

Other projectors on my short list:  the JVC RS15, and if they come through, one of the Digital Projection projectors (with LED light source), but that’s iffy.  I’m also very curious about the RS35 JVC, which supposedly is a souped up RS25 with hand picked components.  I don’t even know if they would actually have a review unit of it.  The RS35 quotes higher contrast than the RS25.

With virtually no new 720p projectors announced this fall, and Sanyo not announcing any home theater projectors, the list overall, is shorter this year, which may give me time to bring in and review a few more expensive projectors.

OK, that’s the scoop.  Time to fire up the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB, and take it for a ride!  Look for the First Look blog on the Pro Cinema 9500UB and Home Cinema 8500UB tomorrow evening!  -art

News And Comments

  • Peter Miller

    Hi Art,

    Great news about getting the Epson, it’s the one I’m most interested in. Can you confirm whether the one you have is a full production model or a pre-production model?



  • Affinator

    And what about the competitors-page of the Sony VPL-HW15 ?!

    I’m dying for some direct comparisons :-|

    Though great work of yours!

    A fan from germany

    • Lisa Feierman

      Arrgh! wrote a long response and deleted it by mistake. OK, the short version. Don’t expect the competitors page for the Sony, until I review both the Epson UB, and the PT-AE4000, so figure 3-4 weeks. Meantime, the only similarly priced good projector I’ve reviewed, is the BenQ W6000, and I’ve written up a paragraph about the W6000 vs. HW15, in the W6000′s competitors page: Hang in there! – Guten abend! -art

  • Matthieu

    Is it tomorrow already??? :D

    • Lisa Feierman

      Yeah, it’s tomorrow, but I spent most of it answering the comment above! Later my friend, later. -art

  • Scott

    Hey Art,

    Could you send me a quick “first look” on the Optoma 8600 compared to the Optoma 8200?
    Namely, how’s the Dynamic Iris?


    • Lisa Feierman

      Two DI modes on the 8600 – Cinema 1, and Cinema 2. Forget cinema 2, it seems like you can actually see the iris work, that is when it closes down it’s almost if it’s visible, that the iris is creating a shadow. Nasty. Cinema 1, is a fairly typical but slower than average iris. It allows more “yo-yo” effect that most other “non-fast” irises. Watchable, but noticeable. Need to do more viewing of it. -art

  • Robert

    I know your a busy guy Art, and i’m not the only thankful reader, great job!. My question is are you going to update the Epson HC8100 fist lookwith a production unit as a review? Thanks again.


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hmm, not sure about the 8100. The full review is posted. I only think I’ll need to take a second look on that one, if they have changed the color tables, which would in turn require us to recalibrate, so that the settings we publish reflect the final color tables. I point that out, because, other than some changes to the light “engine”, this is primarily the same projector as the older 6100 it replaces. The case, the overall brightness, the lamp specs, are all basically the same. (Actually “brightest” mode brightness is down with the newer Epson’s but that seems to be in exchange for much better color. To get good color for sports, HDTV last year, we had to knock the brightness of the Epson’s Dynamic or Livingroom modes down a good deal. This year, the lumens are already down, but the color is even better. Fair enough. -art

  • Robert

    Thanks for the reply Art, really appreciate your work


  • Barry Fabyan


    I have researched and reviewed for months and months and love your work. I have a connection to get an Optoma TX 1080 at a good price but I have not been able to locate reviews on this and did not think that you had reviewed it either.

    Can you tell me where it ranks in the hierarchy or provide any insight? i sure would appreciate any information you could provide.



    • Lisa Feierman

      HI Barry,

      Sorry, haven’t reviewed an Optoma TX series in about 3 years. I just don’t know that much about that projector. At a different time, I just might have done some research before answering, but, I’m slammed. I do know this: It’s a “crossover” projector – a compromise between a bright biz projector and a home theater projector. It should have lots of lumens (3600 rated). It probably has a slower color filter wheel, and possibly fewer segments than most dlp HT projectors, if previous crossover Optoma and BenQ’s are any example. (without looking, probably 2x or 3x. That means for those sensitive, a lot more rainbow issues than pure home theater dlp projectors.

      Black level performance should be very 2005 – no dynamic iris, just the usual 2000:1 – 2500:1 contrast found on most older DLP projectors without irises. (they claim 2200:1).

      Need a light canon for football, the TX should be dandy. As a movie viewing projector, hey, it is inherently a “compromise” product. 10′s of thousands of folks, though, have brought home business projectors for movie and sports viewing. It’s right up there with most of those.

      One last thing. Biz DLP projectors usually have pretty mediocre color handling in their brighter modes (far worse than any home theater projector). In such cases, there’s usually a “video” or “movie” or similarly labeled mode, that will perform much better, but, experience has it that those DLP projectors usually only put out 40% – 60% of the brightness in their best modes, that they do at brightest. The last such projector I reviewed, I compared to an Epson. Basically I found that while that projector’s best mode, was as bright, or brighter than that Epson’s “brightest mode”, the Epson, in it’s brightest mode still had better black levels and (post calibration) better color, than the “crossover” DLP. Hope that helps! -art

      Last very bright crossover I reviewed was the