JVC X35 / Epson 6020 / Panasonic PT-AE8000 -- Please help me decide which one is for

targle

Standard Member
Until about a week ago, I was in the market for a new / bigger TV to replace my 8-year-old 51" CRT rear-projection set. When I mentioned this to a salesman at a local Audio Video store, and that it was going in my basement, he brought up the idea of getting a projector instead. My wife likes the idea of a much bigger screen so, after a bit of research, and after seeing a friend's home theater projector setup, I've decided to take the plunge. Suffice it to say that I'm a newbie when it comes to projectors.

As I mentioned, the projector will be going in my finished basement which is pretty much just one very large room. I have dim-able wall sconces and pot lights covering the room. The ceiling is painted flat white and the walls are a tan colour. My TV watching area consists of about half of the finished space (11 feet wide x 18 feet long) and has a low ceiling (6'8"). The rest of the basement (taller ceiling) has a pool table and a LOT of my son's toys. So, although it is possible to completely control the light in the basement, ambient light may be a bit of an issue from time to time because sometimes the TV is being watched while my son is playing... and he can't play in the dark. :)

For the most part, I'll be watching HDTV programming (golf, dramas and the occasional movie) and Netflix (including some older SD broadcasts). I'm sure we'll watch the occasional blu-ray and DVD as well but mostly the projector will be used as a TV replacement, not a dedicated home theater for watching high quality source
material only. 3D performance isn't particularly important to me as I'm not a big fan of 3D... but I suppose it might be used occasionally.

I've settled on a budget of about $4000 for the projector and a 100" 16x9 screen (those are Canadian dollars, but pretty much the same as the U.S. dollar now anyway!). At the moment, I've narrowed down my selections to the following:

JVC X35 (or maybe X30)
Epson 6020
Panasonic PT-AE8000

From the research I've done and reviews I've read, it seems like there is really no BAD choice among these three options. It's just a question of determining which one is the best for my particular needs.

I had pretty much settled on the JVC X35 (RS46), but now I'm wondering if perhaps this projector would be better suited to a dedicated home theater setting with complete light control and for watching blu-rays, etc. The following quote is from the review on AVS Forums: “There was plenty of brightness for our blacked-out home cinema but if you have white walls the X35 may struggle and you'll rob the projector of its remarkable blacks, so bear that in mind.”

One salesperson, who had originally recommended the JVC X35 changed his mind and is now recommending the Panasonic PTAE8000 (PT-AT6000) after I told him that I would be watching mostly HDTV. His reasoning is that he feels that the PTAE8000 upscaling is much better than the JVC and would do a better job of upscaling the cable 720p content to 1080p. I've done some Googling but I haven't come up with anything useful on this subject yet. Also, a review from projectorreviews.com said: "it is one of the very brightest projectors out there, which means it's going to be every bit as good a choice in a 'brighter' room - whether living, family, or bonus - room."

Finally, I'm considering the Epson 6020 (TW9000) because my friend has the 6010 and is very happy with it and I know that he did his homework. I've also had a different salesperson tell me that THIS projector has excellent processing to make 'low quality' TV / Netflix look great. Plus, I understand that Epson has a very good warranty.

Any input on my decision from the experts on this forum would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Just briefly, I would caution against using a projector as a TV replacement, as they don't like being turned on for brief periods (especially if you turn them off and them back on again a short while later). You have to watch in darkness otherwise the image looks washed out. Some programs like the news, soaps, etc don't really warrant the big screen treatment and watching everything full size means that you get blasé about the size and films would then lose impact instead of feeling 'special'.

Having owned Panasonic and JVC projectors (older generation admittedly) I don't think you need to worry about upscaling on either: The JVC is very good and IMHO the Panasonic is no better on this score: Both aren't as good as a Lumagen, but this costs half the price of the projectors again, so perhaps a bit unfair, but it shows that neither are perfect. I wouldn't be swayed by any of the projectors based on their upscaling ability, including the Epson.

The white walls comment should apply to any projector, not just the JVC: They kill contrast, which is one of the JVC strong points, so you could argue that the Panasonic has less to start with I suppose, but it will still be effected and look even more washed out. Perhaps more important is to consider the brighter models (and this isn't the Panasonic, because once you use any kind of accurate mode (or especially if it is calibrated) then it will be dimmer than the JVC or the Epson).

I'd stick with a decent size TV in this scenario, despite being a big fan of projectors: It's cool to tell your friends that you have a 100" screen, but after a while of watching washed out pictures due to the lighting the quality will get to you as you can't watch TV in the dark all the time.
 

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