It’s time for a projector upgrade. Ok, it’s past time for an upgrade. I’m looking into 3 projectors (in no specific order)
1) JVC RS45
2) Sony HW30
3) Epson 5010
I thought I’d share my observations regarding these 3 projectors. I wish this could appear in both the under $3000 forum and the $3000 and up forum. I picked the $3000 and up forum as 2 of the 3 projectors are discussed here.
Sadly, I need to purchase my projector sight unseen. That seems to be the way of the projector purchase. This involves reading a zillion posts about each projector and attempting to determine reality from distortion. The info below is my best attempt.
Let’s start with warranty. HW30 is 3 years with 2 years on the bulb. The 5010 is 2 years with a quick replacement plan (2 day exchange, put possibly a refurb unit). 5010 has 90 day on bulb. Finally, the RS45 has 2 year warranty and 90 days on bulb.
** Edit: HW30, as part of the elevated standard (ES) line, includes a quick exchange as well as separate support number
Warranty Winner: Tie between Sony and Epson.
Now let’s move onto a strange category: Projector weight. The RS45 is a beast at ~33 lbs. HW30 falls at ~22lbs. At the tail end, the Epson 5010 is 18lbs. What does this mean? It’s hard to tell. I’m associating it with build quality. You may disagree.
Weight Winner: JVC
Are you wondering how much power these projectors use at full? The 5010 tops out at 352W, followed by RS45 at 330W and finally the sonly at 300W. How much it costs to run these bad boys is hard to calculated because it’s not clear a typical user would run in this full power mode.
Looking at Standby power, RS45 is 0.8W, HW30 is 0.5W and the 5010 is 0.25W. Oddly the HW20 has two standby modes. I quoted the lower power mode, but the higher power mode is 8W. I’m not sure what triggers the difference.
Power Winner: everyone is a winner!
I’m not going to quote prices here, but I will list them from least to most expensive. The 5010 is least, followed by the RS45, followed by the HW30. BTW, I’m referring to the HW30AES with the included 3D accessories.
Cost Winner: 5010 is cheapest, so it wins the cost category
I don’t care much about 3D, but certainly don’t mind having it as a feature. I’m a little tired of so many posts about these projectors focusing on 3D. I’d like a 3D free forum ☺ But generally speaking, the HW30 and 5010 have very good 3D with very little ghosting. There have been several complaints about the RS45. It’s not clear if it’s just initial units or what.
Note: HW30AES includes all the 3D stuff, while the others require separate purchase
3D Winner: HW30 and 5010 tie.
Standard definition inputs are going away. None of these projectors have S-Video. Only the 5010 has a Composite input.
SD Input Winner: Epson 5010
Any projector that will be used for a while will need replacement lamps. This area is often overlooked. The HW30 has amazingly inexpensive lamp just over $200. The Epson 5010 lamp is somewhere over $300. A good deal on the RS45 lamp is exactly $400. Consider this in your total cost of ownership.
Lamp Price Winner: HW30
Focusing on other inputs (HDMI, Component, PC/D-15), all the projectors have 2 HDMI and 1 Component. The HW30 and 5010 also have a PC/D-15 (which the RS45 does not).
** Edit: there was a mistake above. The RS45 does not have a PC/D-15 connector!
HD Input Winner: HW30 and 5010!
Some projector manufactures have had quality problems in the past. A couple of years ago Epson had some bulb issues. Just last year JVC annoyed a lot of people with bulb issues. I haven’t found anything about Sony.
Manufacturer Reputation for non-defects Winner: Sony
Everyone wants perfect convergence. People like to claim that being 1 pixel off is acceptable. On a side note, I’d really like to start a separate thread discussing how even 1 pixel convergence errors can make your 1080P projector behave like a 720p projector. At least that’s a hypothesis of mine that I haven’t proven. Regardless, all the projectors discussed in this post have software pixel adjustments (up to 1 pixel).
Convergence Adjustment Winner: Everyone!
People talk about how good or bad color is straight out of the box. I always laugh a bit because we are talking samples of 1. Just because a review unit is good doesn’t mean everyone will get a good one. But what we can discuss is whether you can fix the color. Let’s divide this info color gamut and gray scale.
All the projectors support adjusting the gray scale. Thank the projector gods.
Grayscale Calibration Winner: Everyone!
But color gamut is another story. Both the HW30 and 5010 have CMS, allowing the primary and secondary colors to be adjusted fully. For the RS45 you are limited to just tint and saturation adjustments. As bulbs age, the colors can change. More useful life can likely be gained from a lamp when CMS exists. This can make you happier and save you money.
** EDIT: Some have stated that the luminance part of the HW30 CMS doesn’t work well. Because of this, I’ve made only the 5010 be the winner.
Color Gamut Adjustment Winner: 5010.
In terms of brightest good color mode, all the it seems the JVC is about 900, the HW30 is 850 and the 5010 is 700. Your mileage may vary. This assumes a 25% loss. (Thanks to coderguy’s eliteprojectorcalculator for this info).
** EDIT: changed HW30 from 800 to 850
Best Quality High Lamp Winner: RS45.
For some situations, color accuracy isn’t the most critical. It’s worth pointing out that the 5010 is super duper bright when accuracy isn’t important. HW30 is about 1000 and RS45 is about 1100
** EDIT: Added RS45 and HW30 max bright mode
Super Duper Bright Winner: 5010
Do you like dust? I don’t either. I like dust blobs even worse. Some projector technology is prone to dust blobs while others eliminate it. The RS45 and HW30 have sealed light paths, so dust isn’t a problem. The 5010, well, not so much.
No Dust Blob Winner: RS45 and HW30
A projector’s lens causes light to be lost when using telephone vs. wide. This can cause a significant change in brightness. The HW30 is F2.52 – F3.02, the RS45 is F1.4 to F2.8, and finally the 5010 is F2 to F3.17. I’ve long forgotten how to determine the number of partial stops between arbitrary apertures, but it’s clear the Sony loses the least light from end to end. I’m thinking the RS45 loses the most, but I’m not 100% sure about that
Least Light Loss from Lens Winner: HW30
Need to keep changing your lens position or just to lazy to set it up the first time? Only the RS45 has a power zoom send with powered h/v adjustment.
Automatic Lens Movement Winner: RS45
Projector placement can be a problem in some rooms. While all the projectors here allow the projector to be placed at the absolute top of the screen or the absolute bottom of the screen, the 5010 offers the most vertical flexibility. It has an amazing 96% vertical shift. The RS45 has a nice 80% vertical shift. Finally, the HW30 as an acceptable ~65% vertical shift. To me, all of these are acceptable. But there must be a winner…
Vertical Lens Shift Winner: Epson 5010
Are you the type of guy that needs a 12V trigger? If so, avoid the HW30. Only the RS45 and the 5010 have a 12V trigger
12V Trigger Happy Winner: RS45 and 5010
Network junkies will appreciate a projector that wants an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The RS45 can be controlled over an IP network, while the other guys cannot. JVC hasn’t stated if the RS45 supports IPv6 yet. I wonder who will be the first one to ask them.
LAN Control Winner: RS45
IR doesn’t bounce around my theater that optimally, so I have an IR repeater system. If you prefer to have a phono-like cable plug directly into your device rather than gluing an IR emitter, the HW30 and RS45 projectors are for you. With the 5010, you need to stick with the glue (pun intended).
IR Winner: RS45 and HW30
Now it’s time to talk contrast. It wouldn’t be far to be vague, so let’s start with native contrast. The RS45 is undeniably the winner with a manufacturer specified 70,000:1. Even if only half of that is achieved in the real word, it’s pretty amazing. The HW30 and 5010 don’t state their native contrasts, as far as I could find. But it’s obvious they are nowhere near this. Perhaps around 7000:1.
Native Contrast Winner: RS45
Now we can talk about Dynamic Contrast and Dynamic Iris, which is achieved by a real-time aperture that opens and closes based on frame analysis. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments regarding the HW30 for the dynamic iris, even comments saying it’s the best dynamic iris since sliced photons. I’m not saying the 5010 dynamic contrast is bad, but I’m giving the award to…
Note: I’m awarding this to the RS45 also. Even though it doesn’t have a dynamic iris (because it doesn’t need one), I don’t think it’s fair to the RS45 to “lose” a category because it’s technology doesn’t require it.
Best Dynamic Iris Winner: HW30 (and RS45).
What about dynamic contrast when the dynamic iris is involved? Again, I’m going to say the RS45 is a winner in this area, but let’s figure out who the other winner is. The 5010 has better blacks than the HW30, so it goes to the 5010
Best Dynamic Contrast Winner: 5010 (and RS45)
Finally, and I seriously hesitate to write this, but let’s give an award to overall picture quality. It’s my post so I get to write what I want ☺ My gut feeling is the RS45 will have the best picture quality overall. As I stated at the beginning, I haven’t done a side by side and this is only my best guess. Feel free to ignore this category!
Best Picture Winner: RS45
** EDIT: The following category is new
Manufactures do not specify that latency a projector introduces into the video path. If a video signal is provided to the projector at time T and it ends up being displayed at time T’ then the latency is T’ – T. Zombie10k provided some great info on this topic. Only the HW30 has a gaming mode, which measures between 20ms and 30ms of latency. At best the RS45 has 80 ms latency. The 5010 is around the RS45.
Gaming Winner: HW30
** EDIT: The following category is new
When a solid black image is displayed, how solid black is the image? Reviews have stated both the 5010 and the HW30 great black uniformity. Several reviews have mentioned that the RS45 has brighter corners.
Uniform Blackness Winner: Both HW30 and 5010
** EDIT: The following category is new
This is one of those categories that is really subjective if you don’t view all the projectors side by side. Since I cannot do that, I’m using data from the forum and will guesstimate they are all about the same. Zombie10k has stated this, from a seating distance, the RS45 and the HW30 are similar.
Sharpness Winner: Everyone!
** EDIT: Remove counts from below.
The sad result from this exercise is that one can conclude all of these projectors are very good and you just need to pick the features that are most important to you. I say this is sad because I would have preferred a result clearly indicating one projector was superior.
I hope this helps someone. If you point out something I got wrong, I might just consider editing this comparison.