Local home theater distributor called and said "we have the new 9700UB and JVC 550 for you to check out"... I jumped on it and decided to bring the wife and kids with me.
We sat in both demo rooms for about 30 min each watching a combo of HDTV NCAA football, movie on TNT, and Blueray Transformers.
First Impressions from me and the family.
9700UB / 106in white screen / semi dark room:
~ Wife: OMG is this real? Simply stunning, looks better than the movies, HDTV looks super. You made your point - how long before "our" home theater is ready?
~Kids: Dad this is so awesome
~Me: Sports are crisp and jump off the screen (detected some blur in fast crowd movement) could be the settings - not a big deal, BD content looks like a Movie and vibrant colors that pop.
JVC 550 with Anamorphic lens / 110 stewart firehawk / totally dark room:
~Wife: Looks expensive (i have no idea what that means), everything looks perfect but it needs to be dark in here to really get the effect not like the other room. I dont want to sit in the dark all the time to enjoy this thing... I like the other one more (Epson).
~Kids: Dad this rocks! can we get it too?
~Me: breathtaking image on blueray content, HDTV sports - kind of movie like, not crisp. The color and image is life like...
Overall impression: I'm a newbie front projector enthusiast just getting into the game so take what i say as just that " i don't know squat"
Both projectors are as good to better picture quality than our point of reference - which is a 65in panny plasma.
The JVC is outstanding in its picture quality not as bright and does not hold up to ambient light at all. We had to make sure the door was always closed to keep the screen from fading/washing out
The Epson is hard to deny - it did everything just right and image felt comfortable across various content...its a great all around performer and will work in my not so dark, game room, bar, open space basement layout.
In comparing the JVC to the Epson I get the image quality differences and give the nod to JVC (barely) but JVC is not worth 2-3 times the price of the Epson.
Side note: 9700UB vs. Ambient light - this sucker shrugged it off. The demo room has double french doors leading to a main gallery with a couple of table lamps and fixed wall sconces. I would say the equivalent of 60 watt bulb was coming through the doors when open and i have to say picture quality was barely impacted.
If you are waiting to pull the trigger like i was JUST DO IT! FRONT Projection and size cant be beat!
If you cant tell by now I am saving myself the $1000 bucks between the 9700UB and getting the 8700UB with the voucher!