JVC RS1 and Sharp XV-Z20000 1080p Projector Comparison Review - General Performance
I normally start with a pretty in depth look at menus, in a standard review. For this comparison, however, no point in comparing similar menu features. Instead, focusing on the differences in features seems the logical thing to do.
JVC RS1 and Sharp XV-Z20000 Menus
Above: Sharp XV-Z20000 Picture menu, showing Preset modes, Below, JVC DLA-RS1
Roughly comparable (for what options they offer) are the JVC’s Image mode, and the Sharp’s Picture mode. The biggest exception, is that the Sharp XV-Z20000 places their color presets first, on the Picture mode, whereas the RS1, locates those presets on their second main menu; the Setup menu. I do find that to be a nuisance, it should be with the other color controls. However, since few would ever use the menus when the JVC has a separate button for each of its Preset modes. Both home theater projectors have the standard goodies – brightness, contrast, color saturation, Tint (certain modes only), and sharpness. The Sharp offers gamma in its Picture menu, but that selects from 5 preset gammas, and one Custom gamma. There is also a dedicated Gamma main menu on the Sharp, for very sophisticated control of gamma (all colors together, or R,G,B separately. With the JVC RS1, Gamma is a menu item on the main Image menu. However, that gamma menu is roughly the equivalent of the Gamma on the Sharp’s Picture menu. The JVC just gives you a choice of Normal (a gamma of 2.2), plus A, B, and C each one increases gamma a bit more, (decreases the relative brightness of the mid-range brightness areas compared to black or white). The JVC does not allow any ability to create custom gamma settings (sadly, but not critically).
In summarizing the difference in gamma controls the JVC has four pre-defined settings compared to the Sharp’s five, but you can do all kind of tweaking, tuning, adjustments (whatever you call it), beyond the five presets, on the Sharp. The JVC gives you the four, and that’s it, no way to modify them.
As I talk about the color management system of the Sharp, to tie everything together, I’ll also talk about the kind of adjustments needed to these to projectors, based on the measurements taken.
Once again, the Sharp offers far more image control when it comes to color, in fact it offers magnitudes more control. The CMS (color management system) of the Sharp is extensive, supporting not just RGB control, but also offers secondary color controls (cyan, yellow, magenta).
With the Sharp (you access the CMS system from the Picture menu, by selecting Advanced) there is separate control for Hue, Saturation, and what Sharp calls Value (not even defined in their manual). With the Hue control, you can control the balance of an individual color, for example – find that pure reds seem to have a slightly orangish caste to them. Bingo, adjust that here, to correct.By comparison, the JVC has almost no control at all. In fact what they do offer, beyond its basic presets (Cinema, Natural, Dynamic, plus 3 savable settings), is just Color Offset, on the Image menu. This allows you to adjust Red, Green, and Blue, separately. That’s it! Now the good news is that the JVC RS1 offers the best out of the box color for movie watching I’ve seen yet (and that includes two far more expensive 3 chip DLP 720p projectors, the InFocus 777 and the SIM2 C3X).
Sharp XV-Z20000 and JVC RS1 User Memory Settings
Sharp has the Memory setting option for Picture mode, and also for gamma, etc. As a result you can just modify existing settings, or save a new one, as needed. Best I can tell, you are limited to just one new preset. but the manual is almost worthless. There is no mention if the projector will recognize different sources, so that a different group of settings can be saved for each device, or failing that, for each input. I must apologize, as I didn't explore this further. I will try to update!
The JVC by comparison has 3 User Savable Memory settings (found in the Setup mode, along side the three preset modes (as shown in the JVC's Setup Menu above.
JVC RS1 and Sharp XV-Z20000 Remote Controls
I wrote in the RS1 review that it has an excellent remote, and found the Sharp also to be excellent. Between the two, for working the menu, arrow keys and enter functions, I’d have to give the XV-Z20000 a slight edge. (I favor the menu/arrows/enter to be near the top, like on the Sharp, while they are near the bottom of the RS1’s remote. On the other hand, the RS1 has more buttons offering direct access to adjustments, not only a separate button for each picture mode (Standard, Natural, Dynamic), while the Sharp has a single button for picture mode bringing up a menu. The JVC has a button for each saved memory, plus buttons for color saturation (up and down), contrast, brightness, gamma, color temperature, and so on. The XV-Z20000, does have some good buttons too, including iris, contrast and brightness, but in all cases, it still brings up menus, rather than direct control.
So from a feel standpoint, the Sharp remote has a slight edge, and from a functionality standpoint the JVC wins. Still, both are really good remotes, and both have no range problems in larger rooms. Lastly, both have backlights that are sufficiently bright.
Sharp XV-Z20000 and JVC RS1 SDE and Rainbow Effect Issues
Neither projector has an issue with screendoor effect. At normal seating distances, pixels just are not visible with either projector. The JVC with its D-ILA chips (LCOS) have much less visible pixels than the DLP chip in the Sharp if you get really close to the screen, but both are below visibility at normal seating, so a difference is a non-issue.
Rainbow Effect. A small percentage of the population is sensitive to what is known as the rainbow effect, caused by a single chip DLP projector’s spinning color filter wheel. There are no published numbers as to how many are affected, but it’s probably in the 1 to 5 percent range, and the amount of sensitivity varies. Myself, I occasionally spot rainbows around fast moving white or near white objects moving quickly across a pretty dark background, when viewing DLP projectors with 5X color wheels (the fastest currently used). I’ve lived with three previous single chip DLP projectors, but notice the effect only very infrequently, and more so if I’m moving my head, or am especially tired, late at night.
If it turns out you can spot rainbows on the Sharp, that’s a reason to favor the JVC as your choice. Having watched the Sharp and JVC back and forth for the last three weeks, the rarely visible rainbows are not enough for me to have picked the JVC for its lack of them, but, at the same time, the occasional spotting of them with the Sharp, makes me happy not to have to deal with them with my own home theater projector. Your projector is likely to be a family purchase, make sure none of your immediate family finds the rainbow effect to be significantly visible.
JVC RS1 and Sharp XV-Z20000: Light Leakage
The JVC definitely leaks more light out the lens than the Sharp, but the levels are so low, I don’t see it as an issue. The only time I notice it on my JVC is when I have first powered down my source and am looking at a fully “black” screen. Note, typically, projectors leak more light out their lenses, when lens shift is being used near its extreme. The Sharp XV-Z20000, by comparsion leaks very little light. Ultimately though this is another area where neither projector has a visible enough light leak, to be an issue.
Sharp XV-Z20000 Audible Noise Levels
The JVC is a very average home theater projector when it comes to audible noise. The quietest projectors are far, far quieter. The Mitsubishi HC5000 is the quietest 1080p we’ve seen, and is significantly quieter in full power (bright lamp) than either of these in their quieter low lamp (eco) modes.
The JVC, however is definitely the quieter of the two. Those especially adverse to audible noise will find the JVC too noisy in full power mode, but should find low power mode to be very acceptable. Most of us can easily tolerate the high lamp power mode audible noise of the JVC. Mine is shelf mounted, and barely noticeable (about 10 feet from my ears), when the audio is silent, as a relatively low pitched fan hum.
The Sharp, however, is noisier than the JVC when both are in low power mode, and when they are both in high power mode. The Sharp in low power is barely quieter than the JVC at full power. From a numbers standpoint (I don't measure audible noise), both manufacturers quote audible noise in eco (low lamp mode). The JVC claims 25db, the Sharp, 31db.
Those who are audible noise adverse will be unhappy with the Sharp, they might barely tolerate low power mode, but definitely not high power. Of all the current 1080p home theater projectors reviewed so far, the Sharp is definitely the loudest.
Don’t get me wrong, the Sharp is probably quieter than most home theater projectors of just two or three years ago, but, my point is, there are some very critical of any distraction at all, and the Sharp isn’t for them. The one "amusing thing" is that Sharp, in its brochure touts its quietness. A strange thing for a projector that is likely the noisest in its class. Something similar might be if Volkswagon spoke of the accelleration of their Beatle, as lightning fast. Hmmm!
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JVC DLA-RS1 and Sharp XV-Z20000 Lamp Life and Replacement
Dead tie here. Both projectors claim a 2000 hour lamp life, whether in low lamp or high lamp power. Both projectors allow for the lamp to be replaced without having to remove the projector from its ceiling mount (if you are ceiling mounted, of course that's an issue). There is one advantage however for the Sharp. The JVC, like other 3 chip projectors (mostly LCD), has filters to clean or replace. The Sharp on the other hand, like most single chip DLP projectors, has a sealed light path, and no filter to change. Mind you, this is a fequency issue. Sharp warns that intake or exhaust vents can get clogged (since they don't have filters), and may need to be cleaned. The JVC, on the other hand should have its filter cleaned "regularly" according to its manual. (Now, that is seriously vague).
Some projectors ask for cleaning as frequently as every 100 hours, and others every 1000. From a practical side, my own RS1 has been running over 400 hours, without a filter cleaning, and is still running pretty cool. I figure I'll do a cleaning around 500 hours. Obviously if you have your projector ceiling mounted, getting up there to remove, clean, and reinsert the filter can be a pain. However, the JVC's filter slides right out of the bottom front, takes but a second to remove, and another to replace, plus the time it takes to clean it. For most, this is a minor nuisance, and not something that is going to figure into whether to purchase the RS1 or another projector.
JVC RS1 and Sharp Z20000 Measurements and Calibration
For the most part, I'll let you rely on my comments in the individual reviews.
Now the good news is that the JVC RS1 offers the best out of the box color for movie watching I’ve seen yet (and that includes two far more expensive 3 chip DLP 720p projectors, the InFocus 777 and the SIM2 C3X). With the goal of all brightness levels (dark gray to white) having a 6500K color temperature, the JVC is almost perfect without any adjustment, with all ranges between 6620K and 6690K. Not only is that superbly close to ideal, but all ranges are within 70 Kelvin, whereas most projectors from darkest grays that I measure (30 IRE) to white, normally have a range of 300K to 700K. A 70K shift is about as close to perfect as is possible.
The Sharp XV-Z20000, by comparison is definitely off the 6500K mark. It’s numbers are still very good, but it needs adjusting. It ranged from 6849K to 7103K, still an impressive 250K shift, but, like most projectors it seems, it is cooler (shifting to blue) in the bright ranges, and more reddish in the darker ranges. Despite all the controls, I was never able to get the Sharp to be as perfect as the JVC. Still, even without any adjustment, the Sharp produces an excellent color balanced image for movie watching, and with adjustment, it comes very, very close to the JVC RS1.
When it comes to the cooler settings for watching TV/HDTV, both projectors again are excellent. I don’t normally measure grayscale for settings not intended for movies, so I can’t quote the IRE color temperature numbers for TV. I would put the two about tie, on HDTV sources that I viewed. Jay Leno’s skin tones (HDTV) never looked 100% perfect on either, but both were very close, and I couldn’t pick a winner. Of course, in the searching for ultimate perfection for HDTV watching, the Sharp has the control advantage with more ability to fine tune the many aspects of color handling.
Having just said that, the JVC still should provide a more even color temperature across the grayscale (remember that 70K shift), but, If the Sharp holds to its 250K, no one will be complaining, and it can probably be improved slightly.
The big win goes to Sharp for providing the tools to fine tune color and gamma, but, in all fairness, the JVC seems to not need those controls, it is just that good out of the box.
So, all of you who’s dream projector is one that is virtually flawless out of the box, and never want to fuss, are going to love the JVC. Conversely, those who love the technology as much as the movies, and would be frustrated without a million controls to play with, will favor the Sharp.
Editor's note: As frequent visitors to our reviews have learned, our reviews and comparisons are not written for the really hard core "purist" who will do anything and everything, to get the most perfect picture possible. There are other reviews, and better still, advanced user forums, for those demanding the last ounce of perfection out of their projector. In fact, we do not run a full set of measurements of everything that affects the picture quality, concentrating instead on brightness, grayscale balance, and black levels/shadow detail. If you get into more advanced discussions, you'll find talk of overdriven color saturation (the JVC, for example has been accused of slightly overdriven - oversaturated greens), and other such things. We choose to leave that to others to measure, report on, and debate.
We write for what we see as our target readership. Those who simply want a great projected image, and are not going to do all the things required to get that last 2%-3% out of their projector. Plan B, of course, for our readers who do want the maximum performance, but really aren't into the technology, nore want to be, is to hire a professional calibrator, to maximize the projector's performance, overall, and more specifically, in the room it will be used in. We know from feedback that even the most hardcore folks do find useful information in our reviews (although we are regularly scolded for only going so far), so we are pleased to have even the fanatics read our content. Still, let's say, we focus more on the home theater projector "mainstream" buyers and enthusiasts. I say enthusiast here, because the real masses (non enthusiasts) tend to stick to their much smaller plasmas and LCDTV's.
Time to move on, next is the warranty page - it takes a minute to read, and this time, there is something really important, worth noting!