Projector Reviews

Compare Projectors – Epson 8500UB vs. JVC DLA-RS25 3

Bottom line: The JVC RS25 looks nicer than the Epson, and the motorized aspects of the lens are a nice convenience. The preference for where the cable connections are located will be a personal choice. The motorized lens cover keeps dust and cobwebs away from the lens. The improved JVC remote puts it on par with the excellent Epson remote control.

When it comes to placement, as stated above, both are extremely flexible. The differences are small, and not likely to matter to 98% of buyers. Basically, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB can be placed about one inch closer to a 100″ screen, or about nine inches further back, but that’s nothing considering that the JVC has a range of 10.2 feet of range from front to back, for that sized screen, while the Epson has 11.1 feet.

In terms of lens shift, the two projectors are just a little more different, with the Epsons (for a 100 inch screen) being able to be mounted as high as 22.7 inches above the top of the screen surface (the best we’ve tested can do 24.5 inches). The JVC’s 15 inches is still very generous, but if you have a high ceiling, (and 100 inch screen) that JVC projector will have to hang down an additional 7.7 inches. Hardly a deal breaker (especially since it is prettier)!

Both projectors have filters that require occasional maintanence. BTW, they are serious about you maintaining the filters. Following the recommendations will likely have your projector running a little cooler, and your lamp might last a bit longer as a result.

Bottom line: Styling – JVC! Physical placement flexibility: Epson, (but by the smallest of margins), Inputs – essentially identical. Size – if smaller is better (maybe in a small room), Epson advantage. Remote controls: Comparable, both with good range, and good but different layouts and priorities.

One additional note: The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB does not have internal support for an anamorphic lens, the Pro Cinema 9500UB does. If you believe you will want to buy an anamorphic lens, now, or later, the choice between the two Epson projectors is simple, forget the 8500UB and buy the 9500UB. Since it costs, typically, at least $800 for an external processor to add that capability (units like the DVDO Edge), the 9500UB ends up costing less than a 8500UB with outboard processor.

Moving on to what those considering these projectors really care about – Picture Quality!

Picture Quality Comparing the Projector's Picture Quality

For the side-by-side images below, the Epson 8500UB is on the left, and the DLA-RS25 is on the right.

In my mind, there is no aspect of picture quality (keeping brightness out of the equation) where the Epson projectors can beat out the JVC projectors. That makes the real issue, “am I getting my money’s worth when buying the much more expensive projector?” or “I realize the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB does a great job, but will I be truly happy, knowing that I could have bought the JVC and would have an even better viewing experience?”

The answers will be personal decisions, which will most strongly be determined by the level of perfection you demand, and the budget you have. Your room comes into play too. For example, if your room has white/off-white walls, ceilings, that will negate some of the advantage of the JVC’s better blacks.

For both, out of the box performance could be improved, but just barely!!! This is a big change of last year, and in both cases, thanks are deserved to both companies for getting THX certification. No, make that for having a THX mode. In both cases, the THX mode provides excellent results, right out of the box. Neither THX mode allows a whole lot of modification. The JVC allows almost no changes, and the Epson though offering a little more, still is limited in the THX mode. But then, what the hell, it looks great. We got better results after our calibration with both projectors, but, truth is, that may be more due to lamp variation from one projector to another than our skills as calibrators.

Skin Tones:

We calibrated the JVC RS25, and it looked a little better than the THX mode. Even the older JVCs without the THX mode always had a great “out of the box mode” (Cinema 2, for the RS20). Our calibration resulted in just a tad more pop to the image, but essentially the same, perhaps a tiny bit more green than THX mode.

The Home Cinema 8500UB, by comparison, also has a great THX mode, and calibrates really well. Still, the skin tones aren’t quite as natural as the JVC offers. It’s a little bit less “natural” feeling, just a tad hard by comparison. That’s more of a dynamic issue than color, but we’re talking skin tones, and the JVC is the more natural of the two.