$5000 – $10,000 1080p Home Theater Projectors

Best In Class: JVC DLA-RS1
Runners-Up: Optoma HD81, BenQ W10000
Special Interest: None Yet

Best of Class: JVC DLA-RS1 LCOS (D-ILA) home theater projector

I’ll keep this short. The JVC RS1 is a breakthrough projector in overall performance. It’s not cheap, but it is worth every penny. Thanks to re-engineering the LCOS design, the RS1′s D-ILA chips (LCOS) produce contrast ratios unmatched by any other projector, whether using LCOS, LCD or even DLP. This is huge, as LCOS was, like LCD, considered poor on contrast. Amazingly the JVC claims 15,000:1 contrast, and that’s without even having a dynamic iris, which is so heavily relied on by other LCOS and all LCD home theater projectors.

Best In Class Sony VW50 “Pearl”
Runner-up Mitsubishi HC5000
Special interest Panasonic PT-AE1000U

Seeing this image on the screen, was simply awesome. This tiny picture doesn’t begin to capture the RS1′s abilities: You can click on these two images for larger versions:

and, in case that doesn’t impress you:

But enough technical mumbo-jumbo. To paraphrase: “It’s the picture, stupid”. Black levels are a magnitude beyond every other projector tested, and the result is eye-popping performance unmatched (at least under $10,000) It’s quite possible that the $30,000 – $50,000+ 3 chip DLP’s may match or outperform the RS1, but at 5 times the price, how many of us really care.

The RS1 is not perfect. It’s sharpness is very good, but not the sharpest out there, still sharp enough to not be an issue. I say that with confidence, because, I, in particular, with my huge 128″ screen and close seating distance (11.5 feet), consider sharpness to be a key issue in the selection of my own 1080p projector. It would be better too, if the JVC had HDMI 1.3 instead of 1.2, but only the Epson, so far has the improved HDMI revision. The JVC is also rather average in noise levels. But not noisy enough to be a problem, unless you need high fan power and are running in high altitude mode. (sorry Denver!)

Even standard DVDs now look drastically better, thanks to the black levels. They too, pop. I watched the standard DVD “Hunt for Red October” on it when reviewing, and was really surprised on how good it looked, and that’s a very dark movie overall.

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