Sony VPL-VW70 Projector Review
SXRD (LCoS) Panels
With few exceptions of home theater projectors use either DLP or 3LCD technology. Sony uses Liquid Crystal on Silicon, a reflective panel, as opposed to the translucent typical LCD panels. Sony calls their LCoS implementation SXRD, which we all have heard of, from other Sony products and advertising. In the under $10,000 price range, JVC and Sony are the primary manufacturers of LCoS home theater projectors. The advantages of LCoS, these days, are two fold: First, LCoS panels have, for all practical purposes, invisible pixel structures, way below visibility at normal seating distances with a 1080p projector. Only the 3LCD Panasonic PT-AE3000, with its addition of their SmoothScreen technology, has less visible pixels, and it comes with a price, a slightly softer image.
Pixel visibility, and screen door effect are effectively, non-issues with this Sony, thanks to the LCoS panels.
The second advantage, it seems is in terms of black level performance. While some 3LCD and DLP projectors can match some of the LCoS projectors, at this point in time, the Sony and JVC LCoS projectors outperform almost all of the non- LCoS competition, in black level performance.
Sony offers two modes for its dynamic iris. I favor Auto 1 over Auto 2. Auto 2 will apparently allow the iris to close down further, for slightly blacker blacks, but takes a further toll in terms of compressing the dynamic range of scenes that are mostly dark but have some bright areas. If you choose Off, instead of Auto 1 or Auto 2, you can then manually adjust the iris to dim the image with a slight improvement in contrast, but you no longer have it dynamically adjusting to different scenes.
The Sony allows separate adjustment of R, G, and B panels, for better alignment. This can be a real plus if one of the color panels is a little off, compared to the others. Sony mentions in the manual, that you can also use this to intentionally have a little error, to fill in the gaps around each pixel. I’m not a fan of intentionally slightly mis-aligning the panels to accomplish this. LCoS pixel structure is essentially completely invisible at normal seating distances, so why bother?
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