Bottom Line in terms of image quality:
The bottom line, in this case, is the same as the top line: The Epson just can't match the JVC RS25, in most areas. The two are comparable in sharpness, and in shadow detail, but the JVC consistently has a definite, though not great advantage in terms of skin tones, black levels, and overall look and feel. On the bright side for those on tighter budgets, the Epson 8500UB - and 9500UB - come up awfully close considering they both net out to less than a third the price. And, again, the Epsons will typically be the better choice for sports viewing.
Epson 8500UB, 9500UB vs. JVC RS25, HD950 Projector Performance
I've touched on this above. The Epson in "best" mode (TheaterBlack 1) measured a very healthy 491 lumens, definitely brighter than average. But, in "best" mode, it's no match for the JVC RS25's dazzling 775 measured lumens in its "best" mode.
When you need maximum lumens, the JVC, sadly really doesn't get noticeably brighter, as we measured it in Dynamic mode at 844 lumens (below average). By comparison, the Epson is a light canon. In LivingRoom mode, it cranks out 1215 lumens, almost 50% more than the JVC. Better still, when you are desparate for every last lumen, the Epson's Dynamic mode measured 1566 lumens, the brightest of all the projectors we tested (although we believe the Optoma HD8000-LV will easily beat the Epson, as it should produce more than 2000 lumens, based on its predecessor's performance).
So, a clear win for JVC in terms of "best" mode brightness, and an even bigger win for Epson for "brightest" mode brightness.
What about sharpness
Both the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and the JVC DLA-RS25 fit into the average sharpness category. Both, in reality, have very good sharpness, but there are a few projectors (mostly DLP's) that we consider "sharper still" such as the InFocus projectors in this review. These two projectors are close enough to be considered tie in terms of sharpness.
Both projectors are quieter than the respective projectors they replaced, and both are roughly comparable. They are now, what I would call on the high side of average when run in the high power lamp modes. Those people who are the most noise adverse, might, that's MIGHT, have a problem with either of these at full power, and no one will be concerned about either when in low lamp mode.
The rest of us should be fine with the noise levels these produce. I would say both are 4-5 decibles quieter than the noisiest projectors (mostly DLP).
Let's call this a tie, even though the JVC is probably a db or two quieter overall.
Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, Pro Cinema 9500UB vs. DLA-RS25, HD950 - Special Features
Well, the JVC is pretty thin on special features. It will take a 24fps source, and do a 4:4 to it, to output at 96fps. The Epson can do that too.
The Epson, of course, has a full CFI (creative frame interpolation) suite, although the current version has problems with applying CFI to 24fps sources, so you are best served using it only with 60fps content, such as sports over HDTV, where it creatively takes the 60fps up to 120fps. I must note, that as of right now - mid-March, Epson is promising a much improved CFI implementation. While they can't pinpoint the date, it sure sounds like dealers will have them in stock, within the month. Epson has also said, to myself and others, that they will have a way for those who have already purchased their Epson, to get the CFI firmware update. Hopefully it will be by download, but if not, it sounds like Epson is prepared to pay to bring units back in, and upgrade them, then ship them back, or something similar.
Epson vs JVC - Bottom Line: Which to Buy?
If you want the great value, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 7500UB are tough to beat. (Remember, if you are thinking anamorphic lens now, or in the future, go with the Pro Cinema 9500UB because of its internal support for those lenses).
On the other hand, if the JVC DLA-RS25 price tag isn't out of reach, and, if you already appreciate the value of great black level performance, and want the best there, plus stunning color performance, then, by all means you will get your money's worth with the even better JVC DLA-RS25. It really is that simple!
A different thought: There is a compromise. You may want to consider the JVC DLA-RS15. It's priced about half way between the Home Cinema 8500UB and the JVC RS25. True, it can't match the black levels of the RS25, but it still does slightly better blacks than the Epson. It also can't match the color accuracy of the RS25, but it comes close, and I would have to consider it, too, to be slightly better than the Epson in this regard. Again, ask yourself, whether you'll be second guessing your decision in a few months.
Throwing in a monkey wrench: Hold everything - what about 3D? For those of you planning a "last purchase", and struggling between these two, think about 3D. Now I don't think anyone expects people to watch nothing but 3D content, with their 3D glasses on, but hey, most of the new LCDTVs coming out, except for the more entry level ones are being touted as 3D ready. I'm sure we'll see a number of 3D 1080p projectors this fall. Depending on your interest, some may choose to go with the lower cost projector. for perhaps a year or more to see how the possible 3D scenarios play out.