Unlike many here, I am not an expert (real or imagined
) at front projection and am looking for my first projector for my first theater. I came to CES to find out what the best projector for me is without all the hype and flame wars. The RS-1 floored me.
Taking a step back, I spent quite a long time on day one of CES looking at the Panasonic 1000U and the BenQ W1000 (shown at the DLP booth). I was somewhat torn between these projectors as the BenQ popped a little more but was $2000 more (MAP). Also, the screens and rooms that I saw them in were different enough that they could have been the difference I was perceiving.
I then saw a Pearl in the SV Sound suite while listening to subs. (I ignored the picture at first as I was there for the sound.) The Pearl had a really nice picture and the demo benefited from much better light control over what I saw on the floor.
Then I went over to Ceasars to see the RS-1. It was on a (110" ?) ST130 screen in a dark room but with white walls. The picture blew me away. A scene from Too Fast Too Furious was outside at a mansion and was mostly bright with vivid colors. However, you could still see details in the dark areas of the foliage. Amazing. We then moved on to U571 to the screen when they take over the U2. The black level was stunning.
As if I hadn't already been sold, I then sneaked into the invitation only area down stairs where they were showing an HD1 (consumer version) vs. the Pearl. This was in a totally dark room with black velvet "walls" on two 120" ST 130 screens. The black level advantage of the JVC was obvious, especially when showing the clip title which was white letters on a black background. The Sony background was grey compared to the almost black background of the JVC. Also, the white text was not as white on the Pearl. One scene had the WB company logo on a CGI door knocker as part of a very dark brown door. The JVC showed very good detail on the knocker with brighter whites and more dark detail. The total effect made the knocker much more 3D compared to the flatter, less detailed look of the Pearl. The longer I stayed, the more I could see how the JVC trashed the Pearl. (And I think the Pearl looks dammed good.)
A few more details... The RS-1 upstairs was running in low lamp mode and was set to "normal". We changed this to (cinema?) and saw very little difference in the brightness or contrast but a small shift in color temp. The projector was quite! JVC claims 25db but I can tell you that the thing was three feet behind me at ear level and I had to pay attention to hear the fan. The volum on the clips was down low so as not to take away from the picture. A rep there measured the picture at 18 ftlb which he thought was too bright but I enjoyed. He said that the bulb had around 25 hours on it. Jim Faiman, JVC VP for Buisness Development, also demonstrated the response time of the LCD using the WinXP "Star Field" screen saver. He pointed out that just as the stars are about to leave the screen, they speed up. XP does this by skipping pixels. On the JVC, this was clear. Mr. Faiman explained that on projectors with slow refresh rates (slower LCD pannels), the stars will look like a blur rather than as a sequence of pixels. You kind of had to see it.
So, I'm no expert and I'm not going to get into a debate over this technology vs. that one. I'm just a guy who found the perfect projector. Well, except for the fact that I'll have to wait until March or so to get it since I didn't pre-order it.