Projector Reviews

1080p Projector Comparison Report-6

JVC DLA-RS45 / X30 projector

For this year, JVC abandoned their 2D only “entry level” HD250 and HD250 Pro.   The new DLA-RS45 – sold as the JVC DLA-X30 by JVC’s Consumer division, gets a serious price drop from last year’s RS40 and X3.

This “entry level” for JVC, 3D and 2D capable projector, is anything but entry level.  With a street price under $3500, this projector is supposed to only be available from local, authorized dealers, but some online dealers are advertising it as well.  I don’t recognize any of the few I just spotted with a quick search, from being authorized, and assume they are not, at JVC, I believe does have a MAP program, and these prices would be below that.  We of course recommend buying from authorized dealers, you have to expect better support.

As always with JVC’s lowest series projectors, the RS45 and DLA-X30 do not have the full color management system found on the more expensive projectors like the DLA-X70R and X90R, RS55, etc.  As with predecessors, we’ve never been able to get the color quite as accurate as with a number of close competitors.  That may well be the primary weakness.  Brightness wise, it’s brighter than the more expensive JVC’s but still a bit underpowered for 3D on typical sized screens. An excellent 2D projector overall, as a 2D and 3D projector, it’s 3D, overall, comes up a bit short.

If you aren’t into 3D, consider this an excellent projector, with Lens Memory, a 2:1 zoom lens, and a great picture (also very good shadow detail).  If you want 3D as well, I believe you can find better choices.

Sony VPL-HW30ES projector

As with the more expensive Sony projectors, post calibration, not only is color accurate, but the picture, and skin tones seem particularly natural.  Black levels are respectable, but definitely not near the top of the pack. Yes they are ultra-high contrast, but projectors like the Epson 5010 and 6010, and the JVC RS45 and X30 can beat this Sony at blacks.

The Sony will provide truly excellent color, though it really needs a calibration to get there.

Post calibration, it’s comparable to the Epson’s THX mode, which is to say, excellent color overall. Skin tone? Great! That’s one area where it pulls away from the JVC. Overall, while lacking some of the Sony VPL-VW95ES’s performance, and fully motorized lens,  this is the real value projector in the Sony line-up, and an excellent projector for under $3500!  The Sony VPL-HW30ES lacks the Lens Memory of their more expensive projector, or for that matter, the PT-AE7000 and the JVC DLA-RS45 / X30 projectors, but its 1.6:1 zoom and plenty of lens shift still promise great placement flexibility.

Brightness wise, the Sony calibrated to over 800 lumens, and cranked to max, with final color a bit heavy in green, the projector measured over 1200 lumens.

3D is perhaps the best of the lower cost LCoS projectors, though, here, we’re leaning towards 3LCD first, and then DLP for having sufficient brightness in 3D, to not be at least a small issue for most of us.

Overall, definitely a better value than last year’s Sony VWPro1 aka the VPL-HW20a, which was a perfectly good projector in its own right.

Vivitek 5080FD

A very serious projector that’s best in a home theater, but pretty capable in a family room type environment.  This single chip DLP offers up over 1200 lumens calibrated, and a couple hundred more lumens at its brightest.

Good, but not great, “out of the box” color accuracy, none-the-less, its very watchable without calibrating it.  It just still improves a good bit with calibration.

Skin tones, post calibration are excellent!  A classic DLP when it comes to that rich look and feel of the image. Black levels are only very good – borderline being “ultra-high contrast”.  This projector has to be selling well, just for the great overall DLP color/look/feel.

The thing is, street prices for this projecor have plummeted.  Another month or two perhaps the Vivitek H5080FD would qualify for the under $2000 price Class, where it should be a fearsome competitor.  As it is, try to remember, that this Vivitek is currently selling for near the low end of this Class – down near $2000.  By comparison, this year is a bit wierd, as just about all the other projectors in this Class start at $2500 or more. We didn’t find an award for the Vivitek in this report, but then every projector it had to compete with in the mid-Class, sell for from a few hundred, to more than $1000 more.  It certainly can be considered a great, but more expensive competitor to lowe cost projectors like the Acer H9500BD.

$3500 - $10,000 Home Theater Projectors

InFocus projectors

Note: Just an FYI. This is the first time InFocus has had no projector in our annual report. InFocus has exited the US market at this time, as far as home theater projectors go (concentrating on Education and Business markets), although I understand they still market at least one home theater projector elsewhere.. That may well mean that InFocus will be back selling home theater projectors in the US, sometime in the future.

JVC DLA-X70R projector

Also sold by JVC’s Pro group as the JVC DLA-RS55, the JVC DLA-X70R, is the “core” projector in the JVC lineup.  There is the less expensive X30 (RS45) which was reviewed, and covered in the $2000 – $3500 price range Class.

Then there’s this JVC DLA-X70R, and there’s also the DLA-X90R, which is identical to the X70R, except that the X90R’s are built from the best components on the assembly line.  The best lens, the best power supply, etc.

It can make a difference, as we saw a couple years ago, comparing the old RS25 to the RS35.  You probably need a perfect room, though, and a highly critical eye, to spend thousands more for what is really the same projector with just a slightly better overall image.