Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
This time around, the Sony VW85 works out to be pretty much like the JVC RS25, for HDTV and sports, but not quite as bright. Let’s put it this way, if you decided for other reasons that the VW85 is a better fit than the RS25, then the brightness difference will not be enough to disuade you from the Sony.
The Vivitek has only 526 lumens measured in “brightest” mode. I’d like you to think of it more like about 750 lumens though. That’s because of the LED light source. The Vivitek will take many years of heavy viewing before the lamp dims significantly. Projectors with regular lamps will lose about 50% of their brightness, likely before the Vivitek loses 10%. When I consider brightness, I realize almost all projectors I review have brand new, or almost brand new lamps in them.
I live in the real world though, because my own RS20 had over 800 hours on it a few months ago when I reviewed the RS25. When it came to brightness, my RS20 wasn’t close to matching the RS25 with its new lamp. Even turning the RS25’s lamp to low power, it remained brighter than my RS20, which starts out equally bright.
Bottom Line for HDTV/TV and Sports Viewing in this projector class:
These are all first class projectors, give or take an occasional issue. Not a real slacker in the lot, although brightness varies a lot. That said, for sports in particular they really show differences. Only the Optoma HD8600 and the InFocus have any serious horsepower. In fact using our roughly 1000 lumen average for brightest mode, they are the only projectors in this class that aren’t below average brightness. Both have at least 1100, whereas the next brightest – the RS25, barely reached 850 lumens.
It drives me crazy, the lack of brightness of most of these more expensive projectors. True, you can spend much bigger bucks for 3 chip DLPs, that have plenty of lumens, but we really need some projectors out there that can put 2000, or even 3500 lumens on the screen when needed. You put about 3500 lumens on a 100 inch HC gray screen, and the picture starts looking nice and bright like an LCDTV. Of course, for movie watching, you need to be able to drop it down around 1200 lumens or a lot less in most home setups. I’ve seen 3500 lumens on my 128″ and it’s awefully impressive for sports.
OK, at this level of the game, you are somewhat limited in your choices if you want brightness for your sports. Most spending in this price range, are spending more than the mid-price class because they want a higher level of image qualityfor great movie viewing. At least that’s what the manufacturers seem to believe the buyers want. I believe that in this price range you can have both: The high quality, and plenty of brightness. How much more expensive would a JVC RS25 have to be if it could have twice the output? It’s currently a pretty quiet projector, they can probably handle a brighter lamp, with more powerful fans. Please, someone build a great projector around a 400 watt lamp, instead of the usual 170 to 240 watts.
I’ll keep yelling at the manufacturers, for really bright projectors. They will give us some of them, one of these days. Of course LED light sources are supposed to replace lamps. So far most of the expensive LED light sourced projectors haven’t been that bright, but what I’m asking for, in power and price is almost certainly less than 2 years out. My fingers are crossed.
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