RS1 vs Sharp, Marantz, Pearl and HD10K
I promised a comparison between these machines, please keep in mind that these are subjective and very cursory. The meaningful comparisons will be done by those lucky few who get a production version of the RS1 and can put it through it's paces in their own environment. But here is my thoughts nonetheless:
RS1 vs Sharp 20K
The easy comparison is the Sharp vs RS1 because it was a side by side demonstration. I thought that the Sharp looked good and other than the blue tint and the fact that RBE was prevalent and very distracting it throws a great image. For critical viewing the only mode that makes sense on the Sharp is the high contrast mode (iris stopped down). Side by side the image on the RS1 was a little better in just about every respect. The biggest difference between the two is that the high dynamic range (on/off CR) of the RS1 really allows the small bright detail in dark scenes to pop. When the Sharp is in the high bulb, high contrast mode the RS1 has something like 2x the lumens and 3x better on/off. I've heard people say that LCOS has a veil over it that hides detail compared to DLP, but for those who saw it the opposite seemed to be true. I wouldn't ever say the Sharp had a dull appearance, but next to the RS1 it did look a little dull but again not by a huge amount.
RS1 vs HD10K.
As I mentioned earlier the image on the HD10K was truly exceptional. I can't imagine someone not being happy with the image this thing throws. I thought that the image on the RS1 was *very* similar between these machines but they weren't side by side and they were shown with different sources and the HD10K benefited from the Schneider anamorphic lens which increased pixel resolution and brightness. Despite these differences it was clear that the RS1 showed more detail in the low APL scenes owing to it's 5x better on/off CR. It didn't seem as dramatic as one would expect though, but then again as I mentioned in Part2 we weren't really seeing the true black level on this projector because of the rope lighting. I know the grey scale tracking and color gamut on the HD10K should be a little better and I looked for clear differences but I was hard pressed to see a significant difference. I'd love to see a side by side with these two projectors though because they are so similar looking that it would come closest to keeping everything equal but ANSI and on/off CR so that a person could gauge the impact of just those two aspects of PQ.
RS1 vs Marantz
As I mentioned earlier in this thread I saw the Marantz 11S1 the day before the Expo and I thought it was exceptional. The RBE is much less prevalent than on the Sharp and MC6 has pointed out that this is due to the new color wheel on the Marantz. This is the first 1-chip DLP that I've seen where the RBE was minimized to the point where i would consider it for my HT. The image was razor sharp, actually too sharp for my tastes. I like to sit close to the screen as I feel this adds an enveloping experience and it's one of the big strengths of the pixel density in 1080p. When I sit at ~1x screen width the edginess of the Marantz gives it a digital sort of look to it. Although as I mentioned I don't think a person could go wrong with it. Price aside, it throws a different sort of an image to the RS1 but I can see why many people will prefer it. I also thought it was a step up from the Sharp 20k.
RS1 vs Pearl
I wish that I had a chance to see the Pearl side by side with the RS1. I had viewed the Pearl about a week prior to the EH Expo and I provided my comments on this thread:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8867560
I thought that the Pearl throws an outstanding image and I didn't see any uniformity problems (black or white) that I expected to see. It throws an image that is remarkably similar to my HD2K with the exception that the contrast is better on the Pearl in the darker scenes. I can't imagine someone not being happy with this projector and I found it honest of Tom to also speak favorably of this projector and reaffirm what I was thinking.
The Pearl vs RS1 comparison will likely hinge on the merits of native CR over a DI and I think that the RS1 will have an advantage here, but I think a side-by-side is needed to gauge the differences accurately and I think they may be more subtle than people may realize. I don't think a person can go wrong with either projector and for the price both are stand outs. I'm also hopeful that the QC on the RS1 vs the Pearl will be less of a crapshoot as far as convergence, shading, etc. is concerned although as I mentioned in the review of the Pearl the uniformity was good and much better than my expectations.Final thoughts on the Comparison
It's amazing to see the progress that has been made in delivering such outstanding PQ. I thought that all of the 1080p projectors at the show including the lower cost LCD Mitsibusihi that was also at the Expo threw really good images. LCD, DLP and LCOS all seem to be converging towards the same PQ nirvana, but at very different price points. These technologies are becoming more similar image-wise than they are different. It's clear that we are rapidly approaching an era of diminishing returns as far as PQ and projector specs are concerned. I'm not sure where this is going to lead us hobbyists but one thing is clear - setup and calibration is becoming one of the biggest differentiating factors in image comparison between projectors even across projection technology.
When I spoke with Dr. Bleha at JVC (who co-invented the original LC light-valve technology and has helped to perfect it over the years). We both remarked how far image quality has come over the years. I asked him that now that we have 1080p and 15000:1 on/off CR what's next? We both joked that to get the same jump in improvements that we've grown used to seeing in recent years that we'll need to go to hologram technology or something A couple other notes from JVC and the Expo
The RS1 is the first product in JVC's new Reference Series line. Expect further products( RS2, 3,4, etc.) to come out that vary in key specs from the RS1. What I'm personally interested in is a higher-end projector that is a replacement for the Qualia and HD10K and better in every respect. JVC also recognized that there is a niche for this machine and I expect them to eventually release this sort of a machine but I don't think it will be for awhile and this shouldn't be a concern for those buying the RS1 and worrying about the RS2 (or whatever it will be called) being announced immediately thereafter.
JVC reiterated what Tom had said earlier, that the wiregrid polarizing technology used in the PBS is what really has leapfrogged CR spec. In earlier posts someone mentioned that WG polarizors came out about two years ago and they were wondering why it took so long for LCOS manufacturers to adopt them. I believe that it was Dr. Bleha that said that they saw the dramatic improvements that it made two years ago but then they had to go back and redesign the panels to maximize the gains that could be realized by the WG PBS. Although JVC was being coy about it, enough details have come out that it's clear that the new panels are improved in just about every respect. New LC material, thinner LC layer, smaller gap between LC molecules, smaller die sizes, better uniformity, better fill ratio, etc. etc.
The new digital backplane looks like it will be the future for JVC products. This is a departure in that the pro line has always used the analog backplane and the consumer the digital. As I mentioned in part 1, I looked hard to spot any contouring or banding problems and didn't find any. We also froze the image to look for any unsteadiness in the pixels and didn't find any. It's my belief although not confirmed by JVC (Tom feel free to chime in) that the digital backplane allows more flexibility in the way the panels are driven and in particular it facilitates the higher panel refresh rate which removes some of the flicker at 1080p48 that some HD10K users are seeing.
There were also some reports circulating around about 17000:1 on/off, but JVC doesn't know where these came from so add this to the unsubstantiated rumor list.