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Making Decision Today... Sony HW55ES or JVC RS49 Please Weigh In!

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Ok, price between the 2 are not an issue, so please do not consider that in your opinion. I have had the Sony 55ES in my theater room for a week and I like it, however, I want to make sure I making the right decision. The Sony RC on a setting of 15 looks great to me along with my Darbee set to HD 40%. When I turn off the RC it looks blurry! Would my JVC RS46 look as blurry, relatively speaking? I can not do a side by side unfortunately. So, my priorities in order of importance are as follows:


1. A picture that is clear, sharp, in focus and with no visible pixel structure from where I sit (I can not see pixel structure currently from my Sony or my JVC, so pixels aren't an issue with either technology)
2. Contrast, for me that means where it should be dark, I want to see dark, not gray but I don't want to lose any shadow detail (I can not hear the Iris working with the Sony, is the JVC's audible?)
4. Color accuracy without having to get it professionally calibrated
5. Motion smoothness without adding any artificial processing

Thanks again for all opinions!
Edited by tklein2 - 1/23/14 at 12:57pm
post #2 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post

Ok, price between the 2 are not an issue, so please do not consider that in your opinion. I have had the Sony 55ES in my theater room for a week and I like it, however, I want to make sure I making the right decision. The Sony RC on a setting of 15 looks great to me along with my Darbee set to HD 40%. When I turn off the RC it looks blurry! Would my JVC RS46 look as blurry, relatively speaking? I can not do a side by side unfortunately. So, my priorities in order of importance are as follows:


1. A picture that is clear, sharp, in focus and with no visible pixel structure from where I sit (I can not see pixel structure currently from my Sony or my JVC, so pixels aren't an issue with either technology)
2. Contrast, for me that means where it should be dark, I want to see bark, not gray but I don't want to lose any shadow detail (I can not hear the Iris working with the Sony, is the JVC's audible?)
4. Color accuracy without having to get it professionally calibrated
5. Motion smoothness without adding any artificial processing

Thanks again for all opinions!

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.... smile.gif Always a tough choice. I will let others weigh in.
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post #3 of 38
I have nothing useful to add based on my entire lack of experience -- but I am choosing between the same units.

I will note that all information I have received (based on reviews and other's experience) is that the Sony is better if you plan to do any gaming (less lag), or watch HDTV/Sports with lights on (better bright modes).

Regarding your number 4 requirement, on Projector Reviews the reviewer noted that the 55ES had great out of the box color accuracy (the best he had seen).

I am leaning Sony due to versatility.
post #4 of 38
this always seems like the choice that bogs everybody down.

i was choosing between x35 and 50ES last year. ultimately it seemed like a choice between darker blacks(with the jvc) and more versatility(brighter, good motion, less lag). ultimately i went with teh jvc, and i'm happy, but i never got a chance to see the sony, so i have no idea if the 'better blacks' are a big or subtle difference. and i have no idea if the motion is a big or subtle difference.

my advice would be, unless you find the sony too bright in dark scenes, to stick with it. i have a feeling from your description, that if the jvc doesn't match or beat the sony in motion resolution, iris operation, and sharpness you are going to notice and be unhappy about it.

but, i've seen neither of these in person, so again, i have no idea if these are noticeable differences or not
post #5 of 38
I've been contemplating this for awhile and have reached the conclusion so far that the JVC is the better choice if you truly don't care about 3D, are prepared to calibrate it (or pay to have it calibrated), and have the ideal blacked out room to use it in so that the one thing it does better than everything else (black levels) can be truly taken advantage of.

The Sony on the other hand is simply "good at everything" and comes already very well calibrated to the point where only a purist would bother calibrating it further.

Also this model year I don't really trust *all* the issues with the new HDMI chipset on the JVC to be fully ironed out yet. Since the Sony is simply a refinement of last year's model there is very little to no risk of having such issues.

So if you're the type who likes to tweak and fiddle with your gear, I think the JVC is the right choice. If you just want to just be able to plug it in and go, the Sony's probably a smarter move.
post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post

I can not do a side by side unfortunately.
Where are you located?

I'm in the Seattle area and I think it would be interesting to see an HW55 and compare to my RS4910, so if anybody in the Seattle area with an HW55 is considering the same thing maybe we could compare them.

--Darin
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post

Ok, price between the 2 are not an issue, so please do not consider that in your opinion. I have had the Sony 55ES in my theater room for a week and I like it, however, I want to make sure I making the right decision. The Sony RC on a setting of 15 looks great to me along with my Darbee set to HD 40%. When I turn off the RC it looks blurry! Would my JVC RS46 look as blurry, relatively speaking? I can not do a side by side unfortunately. So, my priorities in order of importance are as follows:


1. A picture that is clear, sharp, in focus and with no visible pixel structure from where I sit (I can not see pixel structure currently from my Sony or my JVC, so pixels aren't an issue with either technology)
2. Contrast, for me that means where it should be dark, I want to see bark, not gray but I don't want to lose any shadow detail (I can not hear the Iris working with the Sony, is the JVC's audible?)
4. Color accuracy without having to get it professionally calibrated
5. Motion smoothness without adding any artificial processing

Thanks again for all opinions!

Those are the 2 I narrowed it down to as well. I picked up the JVC RS46 in December and am extremely pleased with it. Unfortunately I was not able to demo the Sony, so I only had online resources to help make the choice.

1. The picture on the JVC is very sharp and focus uniformity is great. I don't recall reading any reviews on the 55ES about it having any issues. You could look through the owners thread of the 55ES and see if anyone is reporting it, but I seriously doubt it. I sit about 10' from our 130" 2.35:1 screen and need to be about 6' away to see any visible pixels when watching scope content (which is the equivalent to a 138" 16:9 screen).
2. The RS46 does not have a dynamic iris, which was a big plus for me (so obviously there is no iris noise). On the projectors I have seen with a DI I am able to see it working and find it annoying. The 55ES is supposed to have a silent iris. Shadow detail is very good on both units from the reviews. The RS46 is not supposed to get quite as black as the 55ES according to Art's review, but remember there will be no brightness pulsing due to a DI and contrast in a mixed scene will be higher due to the fact that the black floor is not dictated by the DI. To be fair if the action of the DI is not distracting to you, I would imagine both would be very satisfying.
3. The Sony will be better out of the box. The picture on my RS46 is fantastic, but it took some tinkering to get it there.
4. Motion is better on the Sony from all accounts. I came from owning 2 Infocus single chip DLPs and find motion on the RS46 to be just fine. Side by side I am sure the Sony would win, but you'd probably need a direct comparison to really see it.

The last plus for the JVC was the lens memory. If you are even mildly entertaining the idea you may want to try a scope (2.35:1) setup, then this is a great way to do it. I wasn't sure how much impact it would make, but now I can't imagine not having it. It's almost as big of an improvement as firing up your first projector and seeing that massive image.

The Sony can do scope content with a lens, but a decent one will set you back quite a bit. The big plus for the 55ES is 3D. The Sony is very good here and the JVC is just adequate. I don't care about 3D so it wasn't a factor in my decision. But if it plays a big part in your decision then the Sony is clearly the winner 3D wise.
Edited by jeahrens - 1/23/14 at 10:26am
post #8 of 38
i would agree that lens memory is a feature i never wanted, but can now never live without.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

i would agree that lens memory is a feature i never wanted, but can now never live without.

It is interesting that you mention this as it is the one thing keeping me for just deciding that the 55ES is they way to go. I have a 19' w and 23' L theater room in the new house. The front wall will be 19 W' x 8'7" tall. Looking at the measurements -- I planned to do a 120" 16:9 screen (assuming low placement on the center channel) or could do a 158" 2.35:1 screen (a little taller than the 120" -- but also much wider).

I have looked at the option and toyed with the idea of getting the JVC and using the lens memory feature to allow me to get the really huge picture for movies. But I would say my usage will be about 30% "event" Television (i.e., Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc.), 20% HD sports (Football mostly), 30% 2D movies, and 20% games. So most of my usage (70%) would be 16:9. But ... after we get this amazing space and equipment (and with two small boys) I can see movies becoming a bigger share (think Toy Story, Cars, ... Pixar stuff).

My seating distances will be 13.5' back Front row, 17' back second row.

This is my first projector and dedicated theater space -- so I would love to get perspective from those with experience.
post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skrill View Post

It is interesting that you mention this as it is the one thing keeping me for just deciding that the 55ES is they way to go. I have a 19' w and 23' L theater room in the new house. The front wall will be 19 W' x 8'7" tall. Looking at the measurements -- I planned to do a 120" 16:9 screen (assuming low placement on the center channel) or could do a 158" 2.35:1 screen (a little taller than the 120" -- but also much wider).

I have looked at the option and toyed with the idea of getting the JVC and using the lens memory feature to allow me to get the really huge picture for movies. But I would say my usage will be about 30% "event" Television (i.e., Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc.), 20% HD sports (Football mostly), 30% 2D movies, and 20% games. So most of my usage (70%) would be 16:9. But ... after we get this amazing space and equipment (and with two small boys) I can see movies becoming a bigger share (think Toy Story, Cars, ... Pixar stuff).

My seating distances will be 13.5' back Front row, 17' back second row.

This is my first projector and dedicated theater space -- so I would love to get perspective from those with experience.

Hello Skrill. I live in Ashburn VA. I have a 120 inch screen (SI Solar HD) 16 x 9 and sit about 13 feet away. My room is not nearly as nice as what you are building, but the equipment is decent :-). Like I mentioned above, I've had the Sony for a week now and am pleased with it... just want to make sure I got the right projector until true 4k becomes more affordable. If you would like to see it in action some time, let me know.
post #11 of 38
I ordered the Sony today. Art's review is very positive, and it will fit nicely in my room. I was debating between the Sony, the DPI Cine 1000, and the Sony 600. It seems like the 55ES offers great performance for the money. Before I upgrade to 4K, I'll need to get a bigger screen to make it worthwhile. I'm excited to get the Sony up and see if it's as good as it sounds on paper.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skrill View Post

It is interesting that you mention this as it is the one thing keeping me for just deciding that the 55ES is they way to go. I have a 19' w and 23' L theater room in the new house. The front wall will be 19 W' x 8'7" tall. Looking at the measurements -- I planned to do a 120" 16:9 screen (assuming low placement on the center channel) or could do a 158" 2.35:1 screen (a little taller than the 120" -- but also much wider).

I have looked at the option and toyed with the idea of getting the JVC and using the lens memory feature to allow me to get the really huge picture for movies. But I would say my usage will be about 30% "event" Television (i.e., Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc.), 20% HD sports (Football mostly), 30% 2D movies, and 20% games. So most of my usage (70%) would be 16:9. But ... after we get this amazing space and equipment (and with two small boys) I can see movies becoming a bigger share (think Toy Story, Cars, ... Pixar stuff).

My seating distances will be 13.5' back Front row, 17' back second row.

This is my first projector and dedicated theater space -- so I would love to get perspective from those with experience.

It's one of those things that doesn't sound as impressive as it is in reality. I had been toying with a scope screen for years and just happened on a 2 prism CAVX anamorphic lens for not a whole lot of money. My projector at the time was an Infocus X10 which had support for a lens and so I decided this was going to the cheapest route I was going to find. I went from a 110" 16:9 to the current 130" scope screen. Needless to say our first movie, which was Star Wars '77, floored us. It was simply stunning to see it that big in our own basement. At this point it's something I could not see giving up unless we moved someplace where it wasn't feasible. Since I was able to maintain more or less the same screen height, there isn't really any sacrifice in viewing other content.

When we moved to the JVC I decided to forego the lens and use lens memory. The lens had some minor visual anomalies due to it's construction. My wife wasn't comfortable getting out a step stool to move it in place and it wasn't easy for her to remember the menu sequence to change modes. The lens memory is very easy for her to do. No visual issues. The black floor on the JVC is low enough that the zoomed black bars on scope movies disappear completely onto our flat dark red walls. It's also dark enough that 4:3 content is not distracting either (part of the 16:9 panel is showing black and the screen is unmasked). I imagine at some point I will make some masks.

Our viewing is mostly movies, so maybe we get more mileage than you would. But even so I can't imagine you not being thrilled with how awesome something like Star Wars or Indiana Jones looks filling that wide screen.
Edited by jeahrens - 1/23/14 at 1:03pm
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeahrens View Post

It's one of those things that doesn't sound as impressive as it is in reality. I had been toying with a scope screen for years and just happened on a 2 prism CAVX anamorphic lens for not a whole lot of money. My projector at the time was an Infocus X10 which had support for a lens and so I decided this was going to the cheapest route I was going to find. I went from a 110" 16:9 to the current 130" scope screen. Needless to say our first movie, which was Star Wars '77, floored us. It was simply stunning to see it that big in our own basement. At this point it's something I could not see giving up unless we moved someplace where it wasn't feasible. Since I was able to maintain more or less the same screen height, there isn't really any sacrifice in viewing other content.

When we moved to the JVC I decided to forego the lens and use lens memory. The lens had some minor visual anomalies due to it's construction. My wife wasn't comfortable getting out a step stool to move it in place and it wasn't easy for her to remember the menu sequence to change modes. The lens memory is very easy for her to do. No visual issues. The black floor on the JVC is low enough that the zoomed black bars on scope movies disappear completely onto our flat dark red walls. It's also dark enough that 4:3 content is not distracting either (part of the 16:9 panel is showing black and the screen is unmasked). I imagine at some point I will make some masks.

Our viewing is mostly movies, so maybe we get more mileage than you would. But even so I can't imagine you not being thrilled with how awesome something like Star Wars or Indiana Jones looks filling that wide screen.

Thanks for the advice -- so you use the 2.35:1 screen -- without masks -- for the 16:9 content? Are the side pillars distracting?
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post

Hello Skrill. I live in Ashburn VA. I have a 120 inch screen (SI Solar HD) 16 x 9 and sit about 13 feet away. My room is not nearly as nice as what you are building, but the equipment is decent :-). Like I mentioned above, I've had the Sony for a week now and am pleased with it... just want to make sure I got the right projector until true 4k becomes more affordable. If you would like to see it in action some time, let me know.

Thanks for the offer. My house (and HT) will not be done for some months. So I have some time. I actually plan to be out in Ashburn next month -- I will PM you.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skrill View Post

Thanks for the advice -- so you use the 2.35:1 screen -- without masks -- for the 16:9 content? Are the side pillars distracting?

Honestly they really aren't. In my setup there isn't any light spill onto the unused areas. When it fades to black, the projector is black enough that the sides still don't stand out. 4:3 content, where there is a constant area of unlit panel, is probably the most distracting, but even that isn't all that noticeable. At some point I want to make some masking just to get a finished look to the screen. But with everything else going on and the constant single digit temperatures keeping me out of the shop it just hasn't made it to the top of the to do list.
post #16 of 38
I have a question for those of you who have the Sony in hand. What is the distance between the bottom of the chassis and the lens centerline? Looks to be about 4"? Trying to figure out the vertical mounting position off the ceiling. At my image size, the lens CL can be 9" above the top of the reflective surface, which in turn is 18" below the 8' ceiling. Thanks
post #17 of 38
I wouldn't say you made an "incorrect" decision buying the HW55ES, but I think the image that the JVC puts out looks more naturally sharp compared to the HW55ES. The issue is the the HW55ES uses a far cheaper lens than the JVCs do. This makes the end user rely on RC to get a competitively sharp looking image that others, including JVC, can achieve through optical means (natural sharpness). I haven't seen the 55ES but I have seen the 50ES and thought even on low RC settings the image looked cooked and over processed. This isn't the case with the JVCs. I hope Sony realized this and changed RC on the 55ES so it can be turned down quite a bit more.

With the RS49, enabling e-shift, which is VERY subtle on the overall appearance of the image can add a small amount of extra perceived sharpness because the pixel density increases, also you can add to that sharpness by turning up the MPC controls, but at moderate levels don't give the same over processed/cooked look RC settings do at similarly moderate settings. Contrast and black levels, even without the DI disabled, will be better on the JVC. The DI, which from reports is silent like the Sony's, will only widen that gap. The Sony does have slightly better looking motion resolution. Motion with long pans and other slow movement, things that rely on proper pulldown cadence without dropping frames, look identical on both, but fast motion will look a little less smeared on the Sony. JVC has definitely made some long strides in the right direction with recent models. I would say that the difference in motion resolution performance shouldn't be used as a pro/con in a buying decision because the difference is not substantial and would only be noticeable with a side by side comparison. Both units can be calibrated to close to perfection so neither is better in that regard. All in all, I think the JVC is better value proposition because you get a far better lens (natural vs artificial sharpness), e-shift, far better contrast/black levels and motorized lens functions including lens memories for CIH applications if that's the setup you're running.

With that said, both are great products and either is worth owning but I would personally pass on the Sony if I had the money for the JVC.
Edited by Seegs108 - 1/23/14 at 2:38pm
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Middleton View Post

I have a question for those of you who have the Sony in hand. What is the distance between the bottom of the chassis and the lens centerline? Looks to be about 4"? Trying to figure out the vertical mounting position off the ceiling. At my image size, the lens CL can be 9" above the top of the reflective surface, which in turn is 18" below the 8' ceiling. Thanks

From the Manual:



3 3/4" wink.gif
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

I wouldn't say you made an "incorrect" decision buying the HW55ES, but I think the image that the JVC puts out looks more naturally sharp compared to the HW55ES. The issue is the the HW55ES uses a far cheaper lens than the JVCs do. This makes the end user rely on RC to get a competitively sharp looking image that others, including JVC, can achieve through optical means (natural sharpness). I haven't seen the 55ES but I have seen the 50ES and thought even on low RC settings the image looked cooked and over processed. This isn't the case with the JVCs. I hope Sony realized this and changed RC on the 55ES so it can be turned down quite a bit more.

With the RS49, enabling e-shift, which is VERY subtle on the overall appearance of the image can add a small amount of extra perceived sharpness because the pixel density increases, also you can add to that sharpness by turning up the MPC controls, but at moderate levels don't give the same over processed/cooked look RC settings do at similarly moderate settings. Contrast and black levels, even without the DI disabled, will be better on the JVC. The DI, which from reports is silent like the Sony's, will only widen that gap. The Sony does have slightly better looking motion resolution. Motion with long pans and other slow movement, things that rely on proper pulldown cadence without dropping frames, look identical on both, but fast motion will look a little less smeared on the Sony. JVC has definitely made some long strides in the right direction with recent models. I would say that the difference in motion resolution performance shouldn't be used as a pro/con in a buying decision because the difference is not substantial and would only be noticeable with a side by side comparison. Both units can be calibrated to close to perfection so neither is better in that regard. All in all, I think the JVC is better value proposition because you get a far better lens (natural vs artificial sharpness), e-shift, far better contrast/black levels and motorized lens functions including lens memories for CIH applications if that's the setup you're running.

With that said, both are great products and either is worth owning but I would personally pass on the Sony if I had the money for the JVC.

I agree. I've owned 6 JVC's and 1 Sony (VPL-VW95). While I really liked the picture of the Sony, I had become too dependent on JVC's deep blacks and native contrast so I had to go back the JVC (vpl-vw95's blacks are better than the hw55). That being said, I would love to have tSony's lumens and motion handling.
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbn008 View Post

I agree. I've owned 6 JVC's and 1 Sony (VPL-VW95). While I really liked the picture of the Sony, I had become too dependent on JVC's deep blacks and native contrast so I had to go back the JVC (vpl-vw95's blacks are better than the hw55). That being said, I would love to have tSony's lumens and motion handling.


Pick your poison. smile.gif
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post #21 of 38
+1. Nothing is perfect but at this price range, I have switched exclusively back and forth between these 2 brands as my primary.

Just watched Sinister 2012 on my JVC, creeping me out with the extremely dark scenes and "sinister" mood.
post #22 of 38
Thank you, Seegs! I flipped through the manual online, but missed it. Page 89. I was pretty close.wink.gif
post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 
So, last night after reading a few more opinions, I watched a blu-ray copy of Star Wars Episode 3 and right from the first scene I knew the Sony wasn't for me :-( Space was not black like it was on my RS46... ordered a firmware fixed RS4910 from Mike at AVS :-) My weekend will be quite busy now. I hope the difference between my previous RS46 is noticeable in a positive way... fingers crossed. I know I need therapy!
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skrill View Post

Thanks for the advice -- so you use the 2.35:1 screen -- without masks -- for the 16:9 content? Are the side pillars distracting?
Hey Skrill: If you are concerned about black bars with a 16:9 screen when viewing scope movies, I have built a cheap mask (basically foamboard covered in black velvet) that I insert on the bottom of my screen using velcro. So for 2.35:1 movies I use lens memory on my JVC X35 to shift the image up, leaving the bottom to the mask, and the top disappears into my wall (flat black paint). It is my compromise for not getting a 2.35:1 screen. But the most important thing is that the image floats in a sea of black, with no black (er, grey) bars. Another option is to build two masks for the top and bottom, and forgo the shift of the image up using the memory.
post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by tklein2 View Post

So, last night after reading a few more opinions, I watched a blu-ray copy of Star Wars Episode 3 and right from the first scene I knew the Sony wasn't for me :-( Space was not black like it was on my RS46... ordered a firmware fixed RS4910 from Mike at AVS :-) My weekend will be quite busy now. I hope the difference between my previous RS46 is noticeable in a positive way... fingers crossed. I know I need therapy!

Holy change of heart Batman !!! I didn't even get a chance to get over there and see it. But I also wanted to see the 4910 ... smile.gif
post #26 of 38
Street price, which one is less? I am doing research too. Dam Calif, with the huge tax!!
post #27 of 38
The Sony is typically $700 cheaper than the JVC.
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhart View Post

The Sony is typically $700 cheaper than the JVC.

I don't think $700 more.
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by blee0120 View Post

I don't think $700 more.

I'm just going off of AVS pricing and my math is correct. No doubt the price difference could be different elsewhere.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhart View Post

I'm just going off of AVS pricing and my math is correct. No doubt the price difference could be different elsewhere.

You probably right then, avs is usually cheaper than others
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