Sony VPL-HW50ES Home Theater Projector Review

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: Sony VPL-HW50ES “Projector Reviews TV” Video Summary

Sony rolled out their VPL-HW50ES home theater projector at CEDIA (and IFA in Europe) as their one new projector being added to the lineup for this fall.

Each year I do get some sneak peaks at new projectors before the CEDIA show.  This year was no different.  Of all the new projectors – ones that I didn’t get to see in action pre-show – the VPL-HW50ES was the one that most impressed me. This new Sony projector is replacing Sony’s HW30ES. With a $3999 MSRP, including a spare lamp, the VPL-HW50ES is basically selling for less than the older projector was, until Sony recently dropped the HW30 price to $2999 as they close it out., whose price has been lowered to $2999.  While that might be a value in its own right, the Sony VPL-HW50ES projector is a better one.  Let’s get started.

Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector Highlights

  • Includes 2 pair of 3D glasses and spare lamp
  • 3D capable, includes supporting both 720p and 1080i/1080p 3D, including Blu-ray 3D and all DirecTV 3D we tested
  • Medium large, reasonably good looking dark finished projector
  • Large, well backlit remote control
  • Very good color controls – calibrates very well
  • Ultra high contrast projector with very good black level performance
  • 1.6:1 zoom lens, plus vertical and horizontal lens shift for flexibility
  • Excellent warranty!
  • Creative Frame Interpolation for smooth motion
  • Available online and locally from authorized dealers
  • Excellent picture quality

Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector Overview

Another new SXRD (LCoS) home theater from Sony, the VPL-HW50ES is about serious picture quality.  I decided I’d write this opening section less than 24 hours from its arrival. Note that I did get to see the VPL-HW50ES projector at CEDIA.

The Sony projector has a nice feature set, including CFI for smoothing motion – Sony calls it MotionFlow, a dynamic iris (named Auto Iris 3) to help it generate that ultra contrast performance that yields impressive black levels, and Reality Creation (dynamic detail and sharpness enhancement), which we’ll discuss in detail below.

For those looking for more of a general purpose family room projector, the Sony will work fine, as long as you’ve got some good control of ambient light (also true of most other projectors geared for the “theater”, but some other projectors can bring a lot more brightness to the party, to allow more ambient light). The thing is, most of those, aren’t a match in terms of overall picture quality.

If 3D is part of your thing, the VPL-HW50ES, like every other higher quality 3D projector we’ve reviewed so far, could use some extra brightness. This Sony is as bright, and brighter than almost all of the other 3D, 1080p projectors we’ve reviewed – Optoma HD8300, JVC RS60, Mitsubishi HC9000D. Note that there are some other new projectors that will be reviewed soon, which are brighter, although some of those are geared for the family room.

One thing of particular note, is that the HW50ES is actually brighter in 3D than the VW95ES that we reviewed a few months ago. This relates to improvements, including new lamp dimming. I have yet to fully contemplate Sony’s explanation of how it works, but it is definitely, visibly brighter in 3D.

Let’s take a closer look at the Sony VPL-HW50ES.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: Sony VPL-HW50ES “Projector Reviews TV” Video Summary

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