I'm a first-time projector owner with a very large media room (long throw distance), and am seeking suggestions regarding the JVC DLA-X590R vs. Epson 5040/6040UB. In the last year, at one time or another, I've owned the Epson 5040UB, 5040UBe, and now the JVC DLA-X590R from Magnolia.
My setup is as follows:
Receiver: Marantz SR6011
Speakers: 2 Martin Logan Motion 60XT Floorstanding Speakers and 1 ML 50XT Center Channel
Sub: Dynamo 1000w sub
Current Projector: JVC DLA-X590RB from BB
Screen: Inherited (came with house/media room) 146" diagonal screen of unknown brand
I'll try my best to keep this short, I originally purchased the Epson 5040UB in Jan 2017, received a defective unit (or two), decided to switch out for the 5040UBe, switched back to the 5040UB, and subsequently swapped that out for the new JVC DLA X-590R as of a week and a half ago. As noted above, I'm very new to the projector/home theater realm, and have basically taken a crash course in home theater setups over the past 9 months (i.e. reading as much about home theaters/projectors to better understand the industry and determine the best projector for my particular setup). The media room is completely light-controlled, however, I do sometimes prefer to have a little bit of light on while watching the projector. I mainly use the projector for watching sports/other TV shows on DirecTV (50-60% of the time), streaming Netflix (10-20% of the time) and after recently picking up an Xbox one X, gaming 15-20% of the time.
I've read a lot of the forums and reviews on the Epson 5040UB and the limited material out there regarding the new JVC X590. I decided to switch to the JVC after purchasing the Apple TV 4k and the XBOX one X. At the time, I was setup with an Epson 5040UB, but ran into all of the compatibility issues noted with the apple tv 4k and xbox one x due to the apparent limitations of the chip in the 5040ub. After speaking with the Magnolia guy who has been out to see my setup and has been helping me all along, he convinced me to upgrade to the JVC and said it would be noticeably better than the Epson and -- best of all -- there are no compatibility issues with apple tv and xbox one x. The media room I'm working with has high vaulted ceilings probably 17-20 feet at the highest point down to 8-9 feet in the back of the room -- which means I have a large throw distance of a little over 20+ feet. I setup an appointment to have a professional calibrator to come out to the house, and we started talking about the differences between the Epson and the JVC units I've had or currently have. My issue is that the Epson 5040 was obviously much brighter (meaning I could watch TV with the lights on or a couple of the curtains open) and had great picture quality in my opinion. Now that I've gotten ahold of the new JVC, which is obviously known for its awesome black levels and I've been told its contrast is much better than the Epson, as well as its HDR performance. I have noticed that with the Xbox One X, playing Madden on the JVC is incredible given the capabilities of the Xbox One X paired with the JVC.
However, when I started discussing the JVC X590 vs. Epson 5040 with the calibrator, he noted that at my throw distance of 20-22' the screen is receiving a lot less light as compared to the Epson I previously had mounted in the back of the room. I don't remember the technical term, but he said something along the lines of at a typical movie theater you would see the picture at approximately 12 units, at my throw distance with the JVC he said the max would be 8 units on a new bulb, and went on to tell me the Epson would display approximately 32 light units with a new bulb. He actually personally recommended I switch back to the Epson (and happily take that $2K+ back I spent on the new JVC) because in his opinion, I wouldn't be able to "reap the benefits of the JVC's superior contrast, HDR mode, etc." due to the large throw distance and that I likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference (if any) between the two units were I to switch back to the Epson. Being new to this whole thing, it raised a bunch of questions in my mind: (1) Would others recommend switching back to the Epson 5040ub from the JVC x590r given the room situation and current throw distance? (2) Should I try and move the JVC up to 19.5' throw distance (which he said was the max to achieve projection on a 146" screen) and that would take care of the perceived diminished brightness? (3) Do I switch back to the Epson, and re-invest that money in a better screen in order to take advantage of the Epson's abilities? Since I'm so new to the projector scene, I wanted to just throw this long-winded story about my setup out there to the folks I know have much more experience and expertise in this area to see what they'd recommend I do to maximize the home theater enjoyment. Any thoughts/suggestions on this or what you would do in this situation? I do absolutely love the picture on the JVC with the lights completely off, but am basically unable to watch it with the lights on (first world problems -- I know, right!), and can definitely tell the 4k and HDR modes are better on the JVC in a dark room. But since my main use for this for the room is more to watch TV and play Xbox on occasion than to watch 4k HDR movies in a dark room, it almost seems like a better idea to go back to the Epson and maybe invest the money elsewhere in my media room (e.g. upgrading the unknown projector screen from previous homeowner and/or adding 2 more rear speakers). If you took the time to read through this entire post -- thank you -- and please feel free to let me know what you'd suggest.