Sony VPL-HW50ES Home Theater Projector Review
No surprise, the Sony VPL-HW50ES menus have the same look and feel as previous generations of Sony HW and VW projectors that have come before. Below, find most of the main menus, several sub-menus, and adjustment controls.
First menu is the picture menu. I’ve also placed a number of sub-menus below it, including those for CFI, Reality Creation, Color Temp selection, and Color Temp controls (for grayscale balance). Lamp brightness is found under Cinema Black Pro. The Expert setting has various noise reduction options gamma correction and other controls.
As mentioned elsewhere, this is a pre-production projector. In fact it is the 12th VW-HW50ES projector built. I would presume all of these pre-production projectors share the 9999999 serial number. When I started with this projector it had about 50 hours on the lamp. It was 107 when the image was taken, and almost 150 hours as I write this, the day of publication.
The Screen primarily offers the Overscan control. Personally, I like to also see a masking option. With overscan, you end up slightly enlarging the image to eliminate any noise around the edge of the image, by getting rid of the outer several percent. Cropping/masking by comparison, simply doesn't project that outer area, instead you get a slightly smaller image. The advantage - you maintain 1:1 pixel mapping, which overscan gives up. 1:1 means one pixel for each piece of data, no fudging, no compressing, etc.
Function menu, including 3D settings. The image to the right (above) is the 3D menu when the source is 2D. You can tell it convert to 3D. When in 3D, however you get additional options, including the key one which offers 4 different brightness modes for the glasses by controlling open/closed times for each eye.
Sony VPL-HW50ES Remote Control
I like Sony remote controls. This new one for the VPL-HW50ES is another long narrow remote. It feels good in your hand, solid! The backlight – is just a tad dim for my taste, but probably not an issue for the majority of folks. You can get to a lot of the main controls without shifting your hand from the middle area, but, power on and off, and that backlight are at the top, where you’ll probably use your other hand to control them.
Not far below those three, is a block of 3 rows by 3 buttons with your picture modes – nine total including the User mode.
Further down is the navigation area of the Sony remote control. Three large buttons surround the four navigation arrows and center Enter button.
Those three are Pattern – for test patterns, and Reset. The third one, at the bottom is the all important Menu button. (I never have understood why anyone would design RESET to be a large button the middle of things. Scary – although you have to confirm.)
The next block of nine buttons give you direct access to most of the major image controls. Those include aspect ratio, 3D, Color Space, Color Temp, RCP (CMS), CFI, Dynamic Iris (or manual iris) settings, and Reality Creation
That only leaves three very popular controls, and those are +/- controls at the bottom for Sharpness, Brightness, and Contrast.
The Sony VPL-HW50ES offers manual horizontal and vertical lens shift. As is typical, there’s far more vertical shift. Note that the two controls affect each other. The more vertical shift you use, the more the amount of horizontal shift that will be available. That’s standard across all projectors.
Assuming no horizontal shift, the vertical lens shift of the Sony VPL-HW50ES will allow you to have the projector positioned +/- 65% of screen height. Our usual 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen is roughly 50″ tall, so that provides a range of +/- about 33 inches with the lens (measured from the center of the lens) approximately 8 inches above the top of the screen surface, all the way down to about 8 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. That is the same amount as found on Sony’s HW30ES
There are a number of projectors with more vertical lens shift range, but the Sony numbers are pretty good. Having more range would help someone with a high ceiling, allowing the projector to be mounted higher up, where it is more out of the way. Of course the difference between the Sony, and the competition that has more range, is typically maybe an extra 15 inches of shift at most, not exactly a factor if you have a really high ceiling. (I once had a projector mounted and hanging down almost 8 feet on the usual extension pole, due to having a cathedral ceiling).
Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen
The Sony VPL-HW50ES does support an anamorphic lens, one feature the lower cost HW30ES does not. The HW50ES provides two anamorphic modes, so you can place the anamorphic lens in front of the projector’s lens, and leave it there, allowing for the second mode to correct the aspect ratio when you are watching standard 16:9 or 4:3. This saves you the cost of an expensive lens sled (a sled can be couple thousand dollars, or even a lot more on some really high end brands).
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