A Clean Sweep: JVC Wins Big at the 2022 Value Electronics Long Throw Shootout


(December 11, 2022) All eyes in the AV world were, once again, trained on mid-town Manhattan for another Value Electronics shootout event. This time Robert Zohn and his evaluation team pitted the industry’s best sub-$30,000 long-throw home theater projectors against each other, ultimately crowning three different winners as “King” of their respective price categories.

Much like the Value Electronics Flat Panel Shootout held earlier this year, today’s event occupied ample space at The Company Building on Madison Avenue. The event room allowed four different 120” 16:9 screens to be deployed side-by-side, with any intrusive ambient light properly mitigated by blackout drapes, and screen-reflected light mostly controlled by rigid black-velvet screen dividers. The room, itself, did possess white paint on its ceilings, support columns, and a single rear wall, however, any impact from those surfaces was arguably marginal and universally applied to every projector’s perceived performance during the contest.

The day’s Master of Ceremonies was Phil Jones, co-owner of ProjectorReviews.com and an industry expert with years of experience gained from positions held at Sony and Sound United, and Murideo’s Jason Dustal oversaw set-up and image operations throughout the event. The judging corps, tasked with ranking performance across seven Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) and four High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture categories, consisted of a battery of experts hailing from video and film industries. Filling out the limited attendance gallery was a smattering of press and projector company representatives.

Equipment-wise, the AVProStore and MetraAV provided high-level cabling, distribution equipment, and test equipment – quality was certainly abound. And, all four test screens were identical Seymour-Screen Excellence builds featuring that company’s Radiant White unity gain (1.0) screen material.

The event was divided into three categories or groupings, comprised of projectors priced from $4,000-$7,000 (JVC’s DLA-NP5 at $7,000, Sony’s VPL-XW5000ES at $6,000, LG’s AU810UP at $4,000, and Epson’s LS12000 at $5,000), $11,000 to $16,000 (JVC’s DLA-NZ7 at $11,000 and DLA-NZ8 at $16,000, and Sony’s VPL-XW6000ES at $12,000), and $26,000-$30,000 (JVC DLA-NZ9 at $26,000 and Sony’s VPL-XW7000ES at $28,000). For purposes of this article, we’ll refer to those categories as entry-level, mid-tier, and high-end.

Unlike Value Electronic’s Flat Panel TV Shootout, projectors in this event were not professionally calibrated for optimized performance. Instead, they were pulled from their factory boxes, set to the most accurate preset picture mode, and experts performed minor tweaks to gamma, contrast, and brightness. In other words, these projectors were optimized to a level that consumers might be expected to achieve without hiring a professional calibrator, largely left to operate as each brand sees fit from the factory.

Entry-level contestants featured a range of technologies, including Sony and JVC’s take on true 4K LCoS imaging chips, LG’s DLP technology paired with dual pixel shifting to achieve 4K performance, and Epson’s three LCD chips with dual 4K e-shift. All but the JVC DLA-NP5 possess a laser light source.

Differences in performance were readily apparent, with the JVC DLA-NP5 outperforming its peers in areas of black-level performance, color accuracy, skin tones, motion resolution, and detail/sharpness. The Sony was particularly adept at brightness and 1000 nit tone mapping, while the Epson performed well with SDR tasks and faltered when HDR was introduced. Unfortunately, the lowest-priced competitor, LG’s AU810UP, suffered greatly from an elevated black floor, the rainbow effect, and relatively middling color accuracy and skin tone reproduction.

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When considering overall price for performance, my internal judging skills seemed to favor Epson’s image and natural-looking skin tones for standard HD content, while the Sony gets the nod for instances where high levels of ambient light are present. The JVC NP5 , however, looked better than the next closest challenger – across the board – particularly when it came to black-level performance, and the judges agreed by awarding it a top overall score.

Entry Level Winner: JVC's DLA-NP5

The mid-tier ($11,000 to $16,000) category pitted Sony versus two JVCs, each relying on laser light sources and three-chip native 4K imaging. JVC’s projectors also possessed two variations of 8K e-shift, with the more expensive NZ8 utilizing a 4-way e-shift technology as opposed to the NZ7’s two-way approach. It’s worth noting that Sony’s entire range of SXDR projectors use the same 4K SXDR processing chip, so the VPL-XW6000ES doesn’t benefit from improvements in that department.

Not surprisingly, results between the Sony and JVC units largely tracked with their less expensive siblings. Again, putting on my own judging hat, The Sony XW6000ES was notably brighter than either JVC, making it a solid choice for rooms with ambient light, and the NZ8 held obvious advantages over the NZ7 in areas of brightness, color accuracy, and near black performance.

The NZ8 was awarded the highest overall aggregate score, with the Sony coming in second and the NZ7 placing third.

Mid-Tier Winner: JVC's DLA-NZ8

Last but not least, the “money is no object” category had JVC’s NZ9 squaring off against Sony’s more expensive XW7000ES. Once again, performance differentiators tracked in line with the companies' less expensive models. Of course, Sony’s XW7000ES gives owners access to even more brightness, and JVC’s NZ9 bumps up its optics with a large lens and higher light output.

The XW7000ES shined when it came to handling bright content, while JVC’s black-level performance was head and shoulders better.

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High-End Winner: JVC's NZ9

The differences attendees experienced would certainly lessen if each projector were to be properly calibrated and/or hitched with an external image processor. However, calibration would likely reduce overall brightness for the LG and Epson, more so than the JVC and Sony offerings. And, no amount of calibration or image processing can overcome two of Sony’s weak points. The first is Sony’s elevated black floor. When compared side-by-side to a JVC, Sony’s black floor takes on a grey appearance, and when challenged with demanding dark content (such as the infamous Game of Thrones “The Long Night”) episode, Sony’s elevated blacks allow for far fewer shadow details to resolve (see image for a general idea of what I'm referencing, Sony's XW7000ES on left, JVC's NZ9 on right). Black performance gives JVC a massive boost in overall detail and depth.

Second, was the appearance of a chromatic aberration resulting from Sony’s lens on the XW5000ES and XW6000ES. This was notable in the Spears and Munsil test image featuring horses standing in snow, where a very thin green line appeared along the edge of one of the horse’s back. Can you see this aberration when viewing moving content from typical seating distances? Doubtful, but it was still apparent from 5-6 feet from a screen's surface.

Lastly, JVC’s latest firmware update contains factory presets that position its projectors for the best performance when fed various SDR and HDR content. Sony, on the other hand, ships with its projectors with its Reality Creation processing engaged, which imparts levels of sharpness and edge enhancement that negatively impact the overall image. If you're a Sony owner, do yourself a favor and disengage this feature.















Additional Images
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Spears and Munsil "Horse" test image

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JVC accepts its award

 
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Here's the scoring sheets:

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Robert Zohn

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Top industry experts speak at our Projector Shootout on the future of projectors.

 

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The next big advancement, IMO, will come in the form of an RGB laser light source... that will eliminate the need for a light-dimming color filter. Cost-wise that might be a bit down the road.
 

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A Clean Sweep: JVC Wins Big at the 2022 Value Electronics Long Throw Shootout​


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I really like mine. Black levels and shadow detail are amazing. Hopefully by the time it goes a 100” oled will be affordable (to me).
 

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The Value Electronics Projector Shootout evaluation event took place this past weekend at The Company building in NYC. An esteemed panel of expert judges were gathered to evaluate important elements of picture quality in SDR and HDR to determine the “King of Projectors.” Here’s a link to the results for each projector event, with a detailed break-down of the scores in each category.

Day 1 on Saturday, 12/10 Ultra Short Throw (UST) Projectors were evaluated. Top models were selected to compete in the event:
  • AWOL’s LTV-3500
  • Epson’s LS800B
  • Hisense’s PX1-PRO
  • LG’s HU915QB
  • Samsung’s LSP9T
LG's HU915QB won the top prize and has been crowned the “King of UST Projectors.” The LG HU915QB took a nice lead, winning 9 of the 15 categories being judged, and winning the overall average of all scores in HDR, SDR, and combined totals. The AWOL LTV-3500 had a commanding lead in bright content and took second place. Epson’s LS800B, Hisense’s PX1-PRO, and Samsung’s LSP9T were almost tied for third place, although the Epson came in third, winning 3 of the 15 categories.

Attendees also enjoyed a surprise showing of the next generation Hisense Laser TV model, L9H, which was available for viewing with a 100” screen. AWOL’s “Vanish Laser TV” which comes included with an UST projector, cabinet, and rollable screen was also on display outside the Projector Shootout room.

Day 2 on Sunday, 12/11 Long Throw Home Theater Projectors were evaluated in three different price categories.

First was the $4,000 to $7,000 price range, which included:
  • Epson’s LS12000
  • LG’s AU810PB
  • JVC’s DLA-NP5
  • Sony’s VPL-XW5000ES
It was a close competition with the first two contenders, Sony and JVC at almost a tie with only one tenth of a point difference in overall score, but the JVC NP5 narrowly took first place. The Sony had an advantage in bright content, upscaling and tone mapping, but JVC’s benefits in near black, color accuracy, and motion gave it the win.

Next was the mid-priced projectors in the $11,000 to $16,000 category:
  • Sony’s VPL-XW6000ES
  • JVC’s DLA-NZ7
  • JVC’s DLA-NZ8
JVC's DLA-NZ8 took a slight edge in this section with its high score for near black and HDR performance. However, among the two closer priced models, Sony’s XW6000ES and JVC’s NZ7, the Sony had the better SDR performance and overall score.

The final long throw projector category was in the $25,000 to $30,000 price range:
  • Sony’s VPL-XW7000ES
  • JVC’s DLA-NZ9
Although the Sony did very well in both Bright Content and 1000 Nit Tone Mapping Categories, the JVC’s lead in Near Black and Sharpness gave it the win.

On both days, all screens were provided by Seymour AV. Seymour’s 120” screen with reference Radiant White Material was used to give the most pure and equal playing field for the projectors. Switching, test, and distribution equipment was provided by AVPro with Murideo’s new 8x8 48Gbps HDMI matrix switch. The HDMI 2.1 cables were provided my MetraAV.

Here’s the Panel of Expert Judges:
  • Charlie Anderson Digital Imaging Technician and Cinematographer
  • David Mackenzie, Compressionist, Fidelity in Motion
  • Ilya Akiyoshi, Digital Imaging Technician, Cinematographer/Producer
  • Kenneth Almestica, Senior Technical Director, Viacom
  • Phil Jones, Lead Reviewer and Technical Editor, ProjectorReviews.com
  • Brent McCall Technical Specialist, HDMI Product Development and Support, Metra AV
  • Shane Lee, A/V YouTube Channel Owner and Video Enthusiast
Congratulations to all the top rated models competing in the event!

Let me know if anyone has any questions or would like to have our quotation for any of the projectors that competed in our event. Please tell us you came from AVNirvana.com
 

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Todd Anderson

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Thanks, @JStewart.

The pictures can be a tad misleading, because a camera might be pulling in more or less light than the naked eye perceives. But, I think they do help to flesh out the story.

I look forward to seeing @Robert Zohn run this shootout again, next year. It's an invaluable way to to see the biggest and best on the market strut their stuff.
 

mikroland

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Thanks Todd! great info!

T
Hi Tom, I saw your nice review of the Monoprice M-215 subwoofer. I'd like to know if you've ever reviewed the Monolith 16 THX Ultra sub as well? Which one do you think would perform better for movies?
 
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