My trip to CEDIA started early this afternoon. I was very interested to see just how far the industry has come in a years worth of time. Because this is the Front Projector forum I will keep my comments mostly geared in that direction. Suffice to say that people who are looking to upgrade in the audio and blu-ray disc area will also be very happy.
I have never been to CEDIA before so I did not know quite what to expect. The event was held at the Georgia World Congress Center, which is a massive building. Much of the event was concentrated on the main floor, but a few companies, Runco and JVC were located in other areas of the building away from the main floor, al though JVC did have a booth on the main floor, slightly smaller of course. The booths were all set up very nicely and it was easy to find all the key players. Mitsubishi and Panasonic, as well as EPSON seemed to have the larger booths and no surprise the most people.
Mitsubishi had two new models
Mitsubishi had two new models on display, as well as the high end HC7000 which appears to be unchanged from last year. I was told that the HC7000 is still the flagship model at least for another year.
The first new model is the Mitsubishi HC6800 LCD (3 chip) 1080P projector, which will replace the HC6500 from last year. The projector has the same casing as the HC6500 but is brighter, with a higher native contrast. The HC680 uses an auto iris to achieve an on/off contrast of 30,000:1. Upon viewing the projector my first thoughts were how much it reminded me of the HC6500. In fact if they hadn't specifically told me that it was the new model I would have though it was the HC6500. I could tell no discernable difference in picture performance over last years model. The iris closes a bit more tightly, but that was about the only thing that really jumped out at me. Otherwise the performance seemed solid, but not a night and day difference over last years model.
Mitsubishi HC3800 DLP (1 chip) 1080P Projector
There is already a thread on this projector as well as a few other reviews so I will be brief. I was very impressed with the HC3800. The picture was arguably one of the sharpest most detailed pictures I have ever seen from a projector that sells for less than $2,000 MSRP. It was stunning how much detail this projector produces. The colors are also very close to REC 709. Perhaps a bit wider, but not nearly as much as one might think. I was also in amazement at how quiet the projector ran, weird for a DLP. The blacks were solid, not in the same ballpark as JVC, but nothing that stood out as to make you think that you were being cheated. I really think that Mitsubishi stole the show in this price division. This projector will find its way into many a homes this fall. Well done.
JVC Impressions (OMG)
First off JVC took advantage of setting up their main room away from the main floor. They were setup in the OMNI HOTEL section that connects to the GWCC. This obviously makes it a lot easier to control ambient lighting and really give an almost perfect demo. Many other companies didn't have this advantage. First up I looked at the RS15, which will become the entry level DILA machine. I want get into the numbers, as you all are obviously aware of the numbers. The contrast on the RS15 is 30,000:1 on/off and that is a native number, no auto iris. The RS15 was brilliant. The colors may have been just a tad bit over saturated, but not by much to my eyes. The picture was razor sharp, and the blacks were well black. The depth in the picture was off the charts.
Moving up a notch to the RS25 and of course you get THX and ISF certification. You also get a higher on/off contrast of 50,000:1 and the benefit of a CMS and pre-calibrated THX mode so that the projector will be as close to perfect right out of the box. I watched a few trailers, mainly Funny People. The blacks were as good as any digital projector I have seen. It really is difficult to explain how good the picture looked. What also amazed me was how much shadow detail was still present. Normally this is one area where you would expect on marginal performance from this kind of high contrast projector, but it was there. The shadows beneath the bushes, the different color graduations in the leaves the natural flesh tones. Everything was just right.
And finally there is the RS35. This is basically the same projector, expect you pay a premium for the hand selected parts, optics, polarizer’s, lens, etc. I have to say to my eyes I could not tell any difference in the RS25 and the RS35. Now please understand that this is simply one man’s opinion. But after going back and forth from each room, I could not see anything that looked any different. Maybe there is some difference, but I could not see it.
One last thing the contrast numbers I quoted were the contrast numbers listed by JVC at the event. So perhaps they will change at the final production date. I don’t know I can only report what I saw. One more thing I would like to say about all of the JVC projectors. They are all very sharp. This is coming from somebody that watches a Marantz VP11S1 nightly. I did not find these projectors to be soft in any way shape or form. They looked in fact just as sharp as my Marantz. I will say that I did not get to see the JVC RS10 and RS20. So perhaps they have improved on the optics and made the projectors sharper. Since I do not own a previous JVC projector, I really cannot comment. But these projectors the RS15, RS25 and RS35 were absolutely sharp and crystal clear, but also very film like.
Screenshot of RS25
EPSON (THX Pending).
One of the biggest surprises from the event was that the new EPSON HC9500 is pending THX certification. The projector is black, well dark gray. It is basically the same shape and chassis from last years 7500. It is very quiet. One thing up front. The demo that I saw was presented without the auto iris. I asked if the unit auto iris could be engage, but the EPSON rep would not change any settings. So I am sorry for those of you that were wondering about the loudness of the auto iris I will unfortunately not be able to comment on that. I can comment on the picture. The picture was amazing. Even without the auto iris engaged the contrast was solid. In fact the blacks looked just as deep, or certainly within a few hairs of that of the JVC RS15. The first piece of material they showed was an underwater scene from Planet Earth. This scene absolutely rocked. The clarity and vivid details were mind-boggling.
When the underwater swimmer went into a cave the blacks, truly looked like the edge of the abyss. The blacks were solid and deep, with no loss of shadow detail and no gray protruding into the scene. The projector was very sharp and you could make out every single little bubble that made its way through the water. I would say that the EPSON was very close to the JVC RS15. It is certainly closing the gap, much quicker than I thought. The RS25 and RS35 (again I could tell no difference) really cannot be compared in this regard. Still though one could very easily argue that the ESPON is certainly the value champion in this regard.
Obviously there was a lot of other stuff, and other projectors for that matter that I saw briefly, but for the sake of space and time I will not comment on unless somebody has a question. I did not see the Panasonic AE4000 projector. If it was there I missed it, sorry about that. What I did see I liked, and the honest truth of the matter is that everything I wrote about above I would have been more than happy to have taken home and even paid retail for. All of the projectors really were amazing.
In short this is how I left feeling.
Mitsubishi HC6800: Solid, sharp, good contrast. Nothing earth shattering new here. If you own the HC6500 there is absolutely no good reason I can think of for you to upgrade. Unless you just like spending money. If on the other hand you want to take the plunge into the Front Projector market, this machine is not a bad way to get your feet wet.
Mitsubishi HC3800 DLP (single chip): Exceptional value. I was really amazed at what $1,500.00 will get you these days. Very sharp and detailed. Very good contrast, not the best, but not once did I look at the picture by itself and think I was being cheated. I really think Mitsubishi hit a home run with this projector. Well done. Well done. * One small caveat. This projector uses a color wheel. It only spins at 4x the speed. So for those people who find themselves sensitive to color separation (Rainbows) you may want to spend a little time watching this machine first, before you buy) I did not see any rainbows while viewing. But other people in the room said they could see them. I don’t know. I didn’t see them. If you are sensitive in this area, this may not be the projector for you.)
JVC RS15 DILA (3 chip): Deep very convincing blacks. Very close to accurate color. Improved sharpness and optics. Quiet as a peep. The best value in the JVC line. If they would have let me I would have taken it home, after payment of course.
JVC RS25 DILA (3 chip): The best blacks and detail I have seen from any projector that doesn’t require a second mortgage. I was surprised by how much shadow detail I could see. I was not expecting this. Very sharp, not the least bit soft. Very film like. CFM works very smoothly and al though I am not a big fan in this area. If you do like this sort of thing, then it works flawlessly. Best projector I saw.
JVC RS35 DILA (3 chip): Please do not shoot the messenger, I beg of you. I saw no differences in the RS25 and RS35. If they were there I could not see them. Sorry.
ESPSON 9500 3 chip LCD: THX pending. Very accurate colors. Very bright, crisp and detailed picture. Excellent contrast, even without the auto iris engaged. It does appear that this projector has a very strong native contrast. Perhaps the best projector in terms of high contrast and value. Though I will say it’s close. The only thing that puts the EPSON perhaps a tad ahead of the JVC RS15 is that the colors on the EPSON are spot on.
That’s pretty much it. I will post some more pics later. It was a very nicely done event.