Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
In this comparison, the winner of our mid-priced class Best In Class award – the Home Cinema 8500UB, as well as the almost identical Pro Cinema 9500UB, do battle against a Best In Class, Runner-Up winner of the premium class: The JVC DLA-RS25, and, of course, it’s amost identical sibling, the JVC HD950. You should also remember, that the one projector that beat the RS25, is the RS35, which is basically an RS25, but built from the very finest of the components and assemblies.
This is a comparison for those seeking truly superior performance in a home theater projector, who must decide if the far more expensive JVC projectors are worth the difference to them.
Let’s start by defining the differences between the two Epson projectors, then, the differences between the two JVC projectors. From there, we can move forward with how the Epson projectors fare, against the JVC projectors.
The differences between the two Epson projectors, their Home Cinema 8500UB, and the Pro Cinema 9500UB, are slight. Everything the Home Cinema 8500UB is capable of, the Pro Cinema 9500UB does exactly the same, but the 7500UB has some extras.
That covers the extras.
The only differences I am aware of are:
Essentially, JVC is marketing these two essentially identical projectors through two different divisions, and except for the trim, have no other differences.
OK, with that out of the way, let’s just say that technically, because of distribution methods, the 7500UB is the more direct competitor to either of the JVC projectors.
Still, both Epson projectors cost less than half of the JVC projectors. Are the JVC projectors worth the difference?
I have to weigh in on this one as pretty unbiased. Afterall, just over a year ago I purchased a JVC RS25 (the RS25’s predecessor) for my main theater. Similarly I have an earlier Epson UB projector – the first one, t Home Cinema 1080 UB, installed in my smaller theater as part of an upgraded Epson Ensemble HD home theater system.
To digress for a moment: The Ensemble HD 1080 (that I have) received our Outstanding Product of 2008 award (our highest honor), and is discussed elsewhere in this Report, as well as having an extensive review on our site. Note, the Ensemble HD is designed as an “instant” home theater solution, complete with projector motorized screen (with all front speakers built in), cradle for the projector (with rear speakers built in), subwoofer, equipment rack, an AV receiver with DVD player, and a pre-programmed universal remote. It’s designed to be fully installed in less than 5 hours.
Back to business. So as not to continuously have you read “Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 9500UB” or JVC DLA-RS25 and JVC HD950, I will refer to the projectors simply as the 8500UB and RS25 unless otherwise noted. You can just read into it, that I’m also talking about the 9500UB and the HD950.
Let’s start off with how these two significantly different priced projectors are similar, then we’ll get into the differences. The Home Cinema 8500UB currently has a street price of $2300 (after rebate), while the Pro Cinema 7500UB is officially $3500 but includes mount, spare lamp. and longer warranty. Both JVC models have an official MSRP of $7995.
Both Epson and JVC projectors are about as flexible in terms of placement in the room, as you will find. Both have at least 2:1 zoom lenses, and extensive lens shift. Both have two year warranties (Epson, though has a replacement program for both years). Both companies are well known for excellent support. Both are exceptional in terms of black level performance, a key demand among those seeking best performance.
Both JVC and Epson projectors are three chip devices. Epson uses 3 of the most advanced LCD chips. (Epson designs and manufactures those LCD panels or “chips”, and also sells them to all the other LCD projector manufacturers including Sanyo, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Hitachi…) JVC uses LCoS chips (Liquid Crystal on Silicon), so they are still “LC” but their chips are reflective, rather letting the light pass through (transmissive) like the traditional LCD panels. JVC designs and manufactures their LCoS chips which they refer to as D-iLA (Direct Digital Drive Image Light Amplifier) – talk about a mouthful… In our reviews we keep things simple by referring to them as LCD (or 3LCD) and LCoS.
The key differences are:
The JVC projectors are definitely brighter (around 50%) than the Epson projectors when comparing best picture modes.
When you want to use a brightest mode, for viewing with some ambient light (especially HDTV/sports), the Epsons are more than 50% brighter than the JVCs.
The Epsons have exceptional black level performance, but the JVC is simply the best in this regard. Also the JVC manages the best blacks in the industry without using a dynamic iris. The Epson projectors have manual zoom and focus, while the JVCs are fully motorized (including lens shift).
I’ll stop there, because everything will be covered in more depth below.
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