Sony VPL-HW50ES Home Theater Projector Review

We will start our tour of the Sony VPL-HW50ES at the front.

 

Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector - Appearance

Note, while some of the product shots of the HW50ES were taken by me, once again, it’s hard to pass on the professional photography Sony provides.

Very dark gray/black throughout, with just a bit of a two tone look.  Overall, it’s slightly larger than most home projectors (typical for LCoS), but still a good bit smaller than some others.  It is just a bit larger than the Panasonic PT-AE8000 or Epson HC5020, HC6020, smaller than the JVCs…   Overall it is a clean looking design, one that other than size, shouldn’t have much problem with the “wife factor” (how politically incorrect is that phrase)?  That of course, assuming that you are placing it on a ceiling that’s dark, not white.

The VPL-HW50ES sports its lens shift dials on the top, right behind the lens.

As has been Sony’s design for several years now, the inputs, and noticeably, a small control panel, are located on the left side (when facing the projector).   More below on both.  Four screw thread adjustable feet adorn the bottom of the projector for those of you not ceiling mounting.

 

VPL-HW50ES Control Panel

In fact, the small control panel is located above the recessed input panel.  Closest to the front, is the power switch.  As you can see above, next comes the input button (press repeatedly to scroll through the many inputs), then the Menu button.  Behind that, and last, is a tiny navigation joystick, with press straight in for Enter.  It works fine, if you must, it’s just a backup to a rather full featured remote control. that replaces the usual four arrow keys. Pressing the joystick in, is the Enter function. All considered, it works pretty well. I still prefer control panels on the top, not that anyone tends to use them once a projector is mounted.

 

VPL-HW50ES Projector - Input/Output

For the most part, the VPL-HW50′s input panel is similar to previous HW and VW LCoS (“L-cose”), that is, SXRD projectors.

The connector area is located on the side of the projector, below the control panel, and runs from back to front. Furthest to the rear, is the power receptacle. Just forward, and above, are two HDMI 1.4a inputs (one circuit, two connectors, as is typical). Next up, is a standard HD15 analog computer input, for hooking up to a traditional PC.

That’s followed by the usual composite video (yellow RCA jack), and then the three (R,G,B) color coded RCA jacks for the component video. Note, should you need two component video connections, the HD15 computer connection should be able to double as your second one.

After the component video, is an ethernet type jack (RJ45) for an optional 3D emitter for the VPL-HW50ES projector.  With the less expensive HW30, there are two versions, one with the emitter and two pair of glasses, the other without. The point being, you needed to have the emitter for 3D with the less expensive Sony projector, but not for this VPL-HW50ES.

An emitter is still available as an option for the HW50, in the event you have a larger than typical room.  So far in my fairly typical sized theater (the space above a two car garage (a little more than 400 sq feet), no problem from anywhere in my room.

Next (second from the front) is a jack to hardwire the remote control (for long distances, or rear projection, where there’s no line of sight).

As is typical, there’s the usual RS-232 serial port for command and control from a room or whole house system

The VPL-VW50ES lacks a 12 volt trigger (for controlling an anamorphic lens, or a motorized screen), found on the more expensive  $6999 VPL-VW95ES, or $24,999 VW1000ES.

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