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The Best Home Theater Projectors to Not Win A Best In Class award in 2013

Greetings home theater (projector) fans! How's that for a title.  I'm getting inundated (as usual) with folks defending their personal favorites that didn't pick up a major award this year.  So, I thought I would just remind everyone that there are more really good projectors than one can hand out awards to. These three all received our individual Hot Product Award but none received any of our Best In Class awards from the report.  Let's start with the most obviously "neglected" great projector, the one I've received the most email about: JVC's DLA-X35 also sold as the DLA-RS46. JVC has always set the bar for great blacks.  Technically I owned the very first JVC in the "series", the old RS1.  The RS2 and it's later day equivalents - the higher end X75R X95R and their RS twins, took blacks to another level still.  The X35 may be the equal to the X55R at blacks but not the X75R / X95R which are quite visibly better.
So, why not a Best In Class or Runner-up award, in the $2000 - $3500 range?   Mostly for what the JVC lacks.  The lack of a full CMS makes it near impossible to get as accurate color out of the JVC X35 as achievable with the best competing projectors.  Even with the sophisticated gamma, I still never was as happy with skin tones on the X35 or X55 as with the X95R, or the Sony HW50ES for that matter.   The other reason is that relatively, the JVC can be underpowered.  It's 700 calibrated lumens, is fine, but there's very little extra under the hood, for dealing with ambient light, whether intentional, or unavoidable. That gave both the Epson and Sony a distinct advantage.  And of course, I am biased.  I'm not just a black levels guy, but also a huge 3D fan. Sorry, but the Epson and Sony - color issues in 3D not withstanding - easily can put up much brighter 3D images.  I just couldn't see owning an X35 and a 110" or larger 1.3 type gain screen and being happy with the brightness of the JVC, while the other two would be acceptable.   On the other hand, I wish those two competitors - the Epson and Sony, had Lens Memory like the JVC.
OK that's the short version, there's probably a few more tidbits in the three way comparison between them, that I wrote a month or so ago. BenQ W7000:  Back again for year two, I really like the BenQ W7000 as a powerfully bright DLP projector that makes the cut as ultra-high contrast - in terms of good blacks.  Not up to the Epson, JVC, Sony, but right there with the Panasonic PT-AE8000 etc.

JVC DLA-X55R Projector

Large screen capable, it's got the looks - classic DLP look and feel in terms of color and dynamics, and it's got some flexibility in terms of zoom lens, lens shift.  OK, it has about the shortest lamp life specs of anything in the report, but, again, it is bright.  For those who wouldn't find the more "elegant" Sharp XV-Z30000 bright enough to rock their world, but love DLP, the W7000 has to be a great choice for about the same money, or a little less. JVC X55R - that's the third.  While I appreciate features like e-shift2, and Reality Creation, that is the primary difference between the X35 and the X55R.  I'm sorry, I just don't see e-shift2 being worth an extra $1500, give or take.  Certainly the X55 is an excellent projector but I'd tell folks hooked on JVC to either buy the X35, or splurge for the X75R, which for the bucks, would be my choice, budget allowing.  -art  

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