Sony Cineza HS51A Review – Their latest LCD powered, home theater projector

Projector Calibration

As mentioned in the image quality section, I did a good basic calibration to improve the color balance. The image below shows the diamond shaped marker that indicates the color balance of the projector sitting dead on top of the little square which represents where the color balance should be. This particular graph shows the results at 80 IRE (light gray) (80% of the way to white from black.

For those of you who buy an HS51A, you can try these settings below. They yielded the basically perfect color temperature. (The accuracy varies depending on what level of grays you measure, but, these were close to dead on at 30 IRE (30%) and 80 IRE. They are slightly off at 50 IRE.

By comparison, below are the original measurements before calibration. You can see, on the right, how far the white (diamond) is from the square target. If you look to the left to the Bar Graph, you can see how far down the red is (only 83.15%, the Green was over 105%, and the Blue at 92.37.

Noise Levels

The Sony is very quiet in Low Power mode, not the quietest, but its a non issue. In full power mode, the fan runs louder, and noise may be noticeable, especially if you have your projector on a table top. I would say it is a little noiser than most in full power, but still significantly quieter than the Epson 550 and 800 projectors in their full power modes. I consider them too noisy in full power mode, loud enough to bother some, while movie watching when there are quiet scenes. The Sony, however, should be satisfactory even in high power.

Vertical Banding

These are faint vertical lines sometimes seen on LCD based projectors on large light colored areas of an image. The Sony exihibited some vertical banding, but it was slight enough, that I doubt anyone would notice, unless looking for them, (and probably moving closer to the screen then where they would normally sit.

Seating distance - Screen Door Effect

This is a typical LCD projector, and that means that the pixels are more distinct than DLP projectors. Sitting too close to the screen results in what is referred to as the Screen Doore Effect (SDE). To avoid this, I recommend a seating distance of 1.3 time your screen width. I definitely found the Sony to allow seating closer than Sanyo’s Z4. I mention this in particular, because, like the Sony, the Sanyo produces a very sharp image. If you like sitting closer to enjoy the theater feel, (with a 110″ screen I’d say you can sit 2 feet closer than with the Sanyo. This difference is SDE may be all the reason you need to justifying the extra on the Sony.

LCD Panel Alignment

There have been reports on several different LCD projectors, where the color is not consistant across the whole screen. The Sony I tested had some variations, that can be clearly seen on this image of a dark gray (30 IRE) test projection. Despite this, I never noticed it during normal viewing, but, you can see shifts to red and slightly to green in different areas. Note: when I calibrated I made sure to place my light meter just about dead center, avoiding the shifted areas.

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