Sony HW50 vs JVC RS45 2D Impressions
So after spending time with my HW50 I thought I would post my thoughts in regards to 2D on the HW50 vs. the RS45 (which I believe is very similar to the new X35/RS46). I still need to evaluate 3D but what I've seen thus far the HW50 is a MUCH better 3D projector than the RS45 is.
My initial thoughts on the HW50 were that the contrast wasn't as good as the RS45 which for me is a big deal as I'm very picky about black levels. But I was coming to this conclusion because I was focusing on very dark scenes.
Up until I very recently I've been perfectly content with 2D on my RS45. It has very good contrast and more than sufficient brightness. The added FI, helped improve motion and for me all of these improvements were a big upgrade over my RS2 clone (Pioneer FPJ1). The only reason I was upgrading was because I was looking for better 3D than the RS45 has to offer.
Over the past few days I was able to watch 3 movies (3 hour movies at that!) including The Sound of Music and I finally got around to viewing The LOTR The Fellowship of the Ring EE, and LOTR The Two Towers EE. Ah it's a little disappointing to see a better transfer on an older film such as The Sound of Music over the first two LOTR movies as The Fellowship of the Ring is one of my favorite films:(. The Sound of Music was the first film on the list (starting off the new year right thinking of my wife first
) and very early on I was faced with a dark scene that while good was slightly lacking compared to the RS45. After that early scene I really started liking the Sony. With RC at its lower settings (20-25) I found the picture noticeably sharper than my JVC without looking too digital. Even my wife commented how sharp the picture was. Additionally, using the low FI setting on the HW50 made the motion very smooth. I also tested the high setting and I found motion very smooth on the Sony compared to the JVC. FI using JVC’s Mode 3 isn't as smooth as Sony's low mode. Also, JVC's Mode 4 seemed to show a bit more artifacts vs. the Sony's high mode.
Black levels and contrast were quite pleasing on The Fellowship of the Ring. I just finished watching The Two Towers just hours ago and it looked fantastic! I never found myself missing the JVC. Very impressive!
Last night and tonight I went back and viewed key scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Sound of Music on my RS45 to see how it faired against the Sony. NO surprise here that the JVC was favored in dark scenes and that there was a slight but noticeable contrast advantage with the JVC in other scenes but mainly in the darkest scenes. I used the Auto Full iris setting on the Sony to get the best contrast/black levels which does dim details in dark scenes. Besides this difference to my surprise for the first time since I've owned my RS45 it didn't look quite the same anymore. The picture looked sharp in some scenes but it just didn't have the clarity of the Sony. The Sharpness and Detail Enhancement controls could be increased to help with overall sharpness however created more of an artificial/digital look to the picture which I didn't like. Additionally motion on the JVC now didn't look all that smooth and I found it bothersome from time to time. Motion was just smoother on the Sony. The brightness of the JVC still looked good but the additional brightness of the Sony was a nice feature (but not a must). Lastly, colors on the JVC looked over saturated in comparison however neither projector is calibrated other than very basic controls.
For reference, both projectors were in low lamp mode with an 18' throw. The projector is a couple feet above eye level throwing onto a 119" Dalite HP 2.4 gain screen. My room is fairly dark with a black ceiling and black curtains on the front side walls but I do have light tan carpeting with a low ceiling.
In summary the JVC looked better in very
dark scenes. The bridge scene in the Raimi version of Spider-Man is a good example. Mary Jane and the bridge are brighter than they are on the Sony while the night sky is a shade darker on the JVC as well. The difference is probably slight yet very noticeable to my eyes. In the end for the type of shows that I view these types of scenes are likely going to be minimal. Yes, it will probably bother me a little but I am somewhat of a perfectionist. Now that I've seen the Sony's strengths the motion, sharpness, and colors would bother me on the JVC and likely much more often that my complaints with the Sony. Even as a black level fanatic I believe that I now prefer the Sony over the JVC for 2D. I am now ready to let go of my JVC and send it off to a good home. It's been a good projector but I believe I've found a better one.