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Best Home Theater Projector
JVC DLA-SX21U Projector JVC DLA-SX21U
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800:1 Contrast Ratio
1500 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

JVC DLA-SX21U and Dukane 9017

Evan Powell, April 17, 2003

JVC SX21 vs. InFocus Screenplay 7200

How does the SX21 stack up against the InFocus Screenplay 7200, which currently carries a similar retail price? Which is the better value?

This is a question of trade-offs and personal taste. The SX21 surpasses the 7200 in color dynamics, image smoothness and stability, and that elusive amorphous characteristic we call natural film-like quality. On the other hand the 7200 is clearly the better performer in terms of contrast. Side by side it is quite obvious that each projector has an advantage over the other, and each has a weakness. Which is more important to you?

I can attest only to my personal preferences after seeing these units together. I believe strongly in the importance of contrast as a vital element in a satisfying image. And looking at the 7200 I can only wish the SX21 had the 7200's capabilities in shadow detail and overall contrast.

Furthermore, without the side by side comparison, the color on the 7200 looks outstanding. There are no glaring errors in color decoding, and the eye/brain combination easily compensates for variations in color temperature and small imperfections in color accuracy. Also the high contrast of the 7200 contributes to a perception of high color saturation. All things considered, the viewing experience is exceptional which is why we've got this unit on our Highly Recommended list.

However, with the SX21 one sees a beautifully natural image in which both saturated and muted colors are rendered with an elegance and balance that the 7200 cannot achieve. It has a quality that is hard to describe, but one which the discriminating videophile will recognize as rare in the world of digital projectors. For what it is worth, I sat down last Sunday to watch Lord of the Rings in its entirety for the first time, for my own personal pleasure. I had both the InFocus 7200 and the JVC SX21 on hand. Based on my evaluation of these units in recent weeks, my preference was for the SX21. Others who appreciate the dramatic visual impact of high contrast over color may quite legitimately have made a choice for the 7200. There are no right answers here.

Conclusion

We believe JVC has delivered a beautiful product in the SX21. With improvements in contrast, lamp life, fan noise, and color processing, this is overall the most satisfying D-ILA projector we've seen to date. It is an outstanding value for the money, and a formidable competitor to the Mustang/HD2 DLP machines in its same price range. Thus we are pleased as of today to include the JVC DLA-SX21U on our list of Highly Recommended home theater products.

This product is also sold by Dukane as the Dukane 9017. The only difference is that Dukane offers a 5-year warranty, whereas the JVC warranty is three years. As of this date, the Dukane 9017 edition is also added to the Highly Recommended list.

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