Posted on September 9, 2015 By Art Feierman
Epson’s Pro Cinema LS10000 and JVC’s DLA-RS6710 are arguably the two best 1080p projectors under $20,000.
This is my opinion which resulted in the Epson LS10000 winning our Best In Class award for projectors priced $3500 and up, while the JVC came in as Runner-Up. I’m sure, even after reading this, some of you will decide I should have awarded the JVC the top spot, over the Epson. Fair enough.
These to HT projectors are very different in a number of ways and capabilities, while being very similar in other ways.
Unlike most comparisons of competing projectors, I think that for most people, the choosing one over the other will be easy. That’s not because one is truly superior to the other, but because their differences make for some very clearly definable choices.
Also helping is that the JVC is $12,499 while the Epson is $7999. In fairness though, JVC makes an identical lower cost projector at $8499, the RS5710/X700R… Difference – quality control. Per JVC, all the best parts – best optics, power supplies, etc. go into the RS6710. The rest go into the RS57/X700R etc. JVC’s been doing this for about 5 years. A few years ago we did get to review the standard and “best” versions and we could see a difference, notably in the optics.
In this comparison, I’ll go into all the usual – the differences in sharpness, brightness, placement flexibility, color, shadow detail, black level performance, but on this first page, I’ll start by discuss the biggest difference – 4K compatibility. If that doesn’t help you decide, then you can dig into the rest.
The images in this slider (other than the product shots) are all 1080p or 1080i content from Blu-ray or HDTV. In the sequence the first 8 content images are the Epson LS10000, the last 8 images are from the JVC DLA-RS6710.
For most people it comes down to whether they want the one that is far more future proofed, or the one that offers the better pure 2D 1080p projected image. That is, one, the Epson, has the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 that is required (they tell me) for Blu-ray UHD, aka 4K Blu-ray. The JVC which was first announced in 2013, and started shipping at the beginning of 2014, just isn’t new enough to have the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 because those standards weren’t even around back then. Even the Epson was rolled out before the standards were solidified, but as with some other projectors, they were able to work from sufficient preliminary info to claim compatibility. That’s pretty typical. Remember, in this day and age, standards tend to be moving targets.
For example, Blu-ray UHD will support a whole host of standards relating to color depth, frame rates, color standards, such as DCI or REC 2020, etc. At first, products won’t be able to work with everything, but over time, newer products will. The idea, though, is that we’re already getting the first generation of products that can handle the basic key capability – playing copy protected, true 4K content. We don’t know, for example if DCI which is the standard for commercial movie theaters, will ever be made available to consumers, but there is some hope.
For me, immersion in the image is my new “holy grail.” This is replacing black level performance. There are now plenty of projectors (at least over $2000) with really good to great black level performance, so, as I’ve said for years, once black level performance gets sufficiently good, then other aspects of the picture start becoming more and more important. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on black level performance. It’s just that in a case like this with two projectors with outstanding black level performance (Epson) and the best black level performance – JVC. There are, as the expression goes, “bigger fish to fry.”
Well, for me, that next one is immersion in the content, and that is mostly the result of having the sharpness and detail to allow us to sit close enough to a given screen size, so that the content is filling most of our view. With 1080p projectors, we’ve been limited to sitting no closer than about 10 feet back from a 100″ diagonal screen, and most would say 12-15 feet back is ideal. With true 4K – that is, content and a true 4K projector, we can cut those distances in half!
And that means that the picture is occupying 4 times as much of your view. That’s a truly awesome difference!
And that means the projected image is taking up 4 times as much of our view as a 1080p image. Instead of sitting in the first row in our home theaters, of being similar to sitting near the back of a typical movie theater, now we can be sitting about 1/3 back. (That’s where I like to be!)
From working with both projectors, even though they are both 1080p and both use pixel shifting, the real difference is that the Epson promises to work with commercial 4K content including Blu-ray UHD, the JVC is not, only 1080p.
That ability to handle commercial 4K is the Epson’s single most important advantage.
OK, given that the Epson will support the true 4K content, and that the JVC won’t, what else matters:
The JVC offers by far the best native contrast and along with that the best black levels this side of an old 20th century CRT projector. Don’t get me wrong, the Epson’s pretty impressive a black levels as well, it’s one of the next best things, but I do consider the JVC DLA-RS6710 to have the advantage on your favorite 2D 1080p Blu-ray movie.
Epson is using a dual blue laser light source instead of a conventional lamp that the JVC and most projectors rely on. There are some cost factors involved but let’s talk how that affects black level performance.
The Epson’s blacks are excellent – the JVC’s, however, are a cut above – they are the very best available today at any price. There is, I should note, one area where the Epson can best the JVC at black levels. The Epson does not use a dynamic iris (which they should have also included, darn). That one exception is when there’s a black frame. They use a lot of them, for effect, in Mockingjay, in the tunnels while under attack. When we get total darkness – total blackness, the Epson simply, briefly, shuts off its lasers completely. Total black, only a CRT can match that, not even the JVC.
When the frame is very dark, though, but not completely black, that’s when the JVC’s combination of the best native contrast, AND a dynamic iris, still bests the Epson, and not by just a tiny amount. The difference is very detectable. Fortunately for the Pro Cinema LS10000, its native contrast and blacks on those very dark scenes is still one of the best available today, so you have to settle for merely great blacks, just not “the best.”
By my take, of all the projector’s I’ve reviewed, only the JVC projectors starting with their RS49/4910/X500R (with iris), and Sony’s top of the line 4K projector – their $28K VPL-VW1100ES can best the Epson on those dark (but not black) scenes. I can live with that, so while I favor the JVC for black levels, it’s not even close to being enough difference for me, to forgo handling commercial 4K content for the slight black level improvement.
OK, folks those are the two most important considerations, but there are others.
I know most folks don’t pay too much attention to warranty – unless something happens, but I personally figure it’s my job to make you consider warranty. It’s not an “I told you so” thing. The good news is that the warranties are both pretty impressive.
The JVC DLA-RS6710’s warranty is 5 years parts and labor. There is no replacement or loaner program. Important to note, the 6710 costs $500 more than the X900R or the RS67 (from two other distribution channels). That’s important because the primary tangible you get for your extra $500 is two more years of warranty. The RS67 and X900R have a three year parts/labor warranty, no replacement or loaner program.
With the Epson Pro Cinema LS10000 you get not a better warranty, but an overall better support program. The Epson, is 3 years parts and labor – same as the RS67 and X900R, but shorter than the RS6710 – but, Epson offers three years of rapid replacement program. If your Epson develops a warranty problem while under the 3 years, and you contact Epson and they replace it (within 2 business days) with another LS10000 (typically refurbished). Being down for a couple of days, instead of potentially a couple of weeks or more, to me, seems like a highly desirable advantage – but only if the projector develops a warranty problem.
When buying a JVC from a local dealer, you may be able to arrange for a loaner of some projector to hold you, while waiting, but that would typically cost you extra. We have to give the Epson the win when it comes to overall package, given that essentially when you buy an RS6710, you are effectively paying $500 extra for two more years of warranty. I’m checking with Epson right now (and will update), as to whether they are offering their usual extended warranties (which come with the replacement program) for the LS10000 (and also the LS9600e). I’ll update this page as soon as I know the answer.
Of course, you probably won’t let warranty/support differences affect your buying decision, but I still think warranty is worth talking about, and factoring in.
Placement flexibility: This is truly a tie. Epson’s 2.1:1 zoom vs JVC’s 2:1 zoom is a difference too slight to matter. Epson has more lens shift range (quite a lot, actually), but the JVC’s amount is also a lot better than most, so, unless you have the 1% or 2% of setups where those tiny differences might matter – it is a tie.
When it comes to 3D, JVC has struggled for years, but the RS6710 has improved over earlier versions. I’ll give Epson the edge in 3D for the cleaner overall 3D image, but while I love 3D, personally, I certainly consider 3D to be a bonus, and do not hold 3D picture quality to the standards we demand for great 2D. Let’s just say, when it comes to 3D Epson has the advantage, but the differences shouldn’t be enough to affect your decision between these two.
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