Compare Projectors - JVC DLA-RS25 vs. JVC DLA-RS35 7

March 14, 2008

/ By Jennifer Stringfellow

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JVC RS25 vs. JVC RS35 Bottom Line

$8000 vs. $10,000 (give or take whatever discounts you can find)? Is the RS35 worth the extra $2000 as simply a better quality controlled JVC RS25?

I'm sure budgets will come into play for a lot of people deciding between these two. I see it this way, as a RS20 owner, I've basically been living with a near identical projector but for the lack of CFI. I had thought about replacing the RS20 with an RS25 or an RS35. In my case, I decided right off, that for practical reasons, I'm better off waiting another year. Sorry, can't afford a new projector every year, any more than most of you can, (although large donations gratefully accepted).

Despite my decision to wait, I figured out my answer to the RS25 vs. RS35 debate. It's not necessarily your answer.

I would buy the RS35. No doubt about it. I had to look at it as another projector, that happens to be 25% more expensive. See, it doesn't seem so much more money, when you look at it as a percentage. Not, of course, that such thinking will help your Amex card).

When I forget that the two projectors are basically the same, then it starts making some sense. For the extra money, I get, what is almost certainly an insignificant improvement in black level performance. I might also get a more reliable projector (the best components might last longer)?

Above: RS35, from Blazing Saddles, below, RS25, showing the Enterprise under construction in the recent Star Trek movie.

Above, the RS35 normally exposed on a very dark scene from Quantum of Solace. This image looks great with either of these projectors, thanks to the great black level performance.

But the major difference is in the image sharpness. I attribute that to the far better pixel alignment. Now it comes down to consistency. I was led to expect a slightly sharper image, before I saw the RS35. The RS25 certainly was no sharper (perhaps a tiny bit less) than my own RS20. The JVC RS35, however, was distinctly sharper. In this regard, it looked more like a typical (sharp) single chip DLP projector than a typical LCD or LCoS projector. Now keep in mind this is one RS35. I cannot be sure than all RS35's have pixel alignment's as good as this one. That said, I was told to expect the better pixel alignment. I'm figuring that the very best RS25 to be shipped, is going to be very close in performance to the worst RS35 shipped, but if the average RS35, is this much better than the average RS25, it's price difference is definitely justifiable.

Well, slight softness and lack of more "brightest" mode lumens were always my two complaints about my RS20, and before that my RS1. The RS35 doesn't cure my desire for an extra few hundred or more lumens in the brightest mode, but it does satisfy my craving for a crisp looking image, expecially on digital content. As a bonus for me, both RS25 and RS35 offer the same Creative Frame Interpolation, which I would like to have, for most of my sports.

True, when I worked with the DLA-RS35 projector I relied not only on the superior alignment and lens, but also on a little bit of dynamic sharpening in the controls. The end result gives me that "sharper still" look, that other JVCs just can't achieve. For me, that's the winning ticket. And no, the RS35 will not be the sharpest projector around. There are definitely sharper appearing DLP projectors in this report, but the RS35 is closer to them, than to virtually any other LCD or LCoS projector. Hey, if I'm spending $10,000 for an RS35, I can always consider dropping an extra $1000 or so for a really bright projector to mount on the bottom side of my rear shelf, for those football games, etc. (I've seriously considered that, never executed, because the least expensive bright projectors won't mount far enough back to work on the bottom of my shelf.

Ok that's it. If $8000 and $10,000 home theater projectors are viable in your world, my advice - spend for the RS35. The good news, though, is that if you can't afford the difference, the RS25 is still one hell of a projector. Just ask any owner (or owners of the older RS20). I know I've really enjoyed my RS20 so far, and I've yet (RS35 excepted) to have another projector in my main room, that can produce a better image.

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