Sony VPL-VW85 Projector Review

The Sony VPL-VW85 is the middle projector in Sony’s SXRD (LCoS) home theater projector lineup. There’s a much more expensive VPL-VW200, and the much less expensive VPL-HW15 (which we’ve reviewed).

Individual SXRD panel adjustment

A very nice, touch, this Sony allows individual adjustment of each panel for more precise alignment. This feature carried forward from the older Sony’s. And, it works nicely! Like the JVC, though, it adjusts digitally, so adjustments are in 1 pixel increments. For example, if a red panel is off by, say 1/3 a pixel diameter to the right, there’s nothing that can improve that, since shifting red a pixel to the left, would then have it off by 2/3s of a pixel. On the other hand, if that red pixel was off by 3/4 of a diameter, then the adjustment could reduce that to 1/4: 3/4 shift to right – 1.0 shift to left = 1/4 shift to left. In other words, it can improve sharpness if your projetor is off more than 1/2 pixel, but still doesn’t get you to a perfectly converged set of panels.

CFI - MotionFlow

Creative Frame Interpolation! Sony calls theirs MotionFlow, and there are two settings. We stuck to low. Good for sports. With movies, like with others, you get a little of that “live digital video” or “soap opera” look, that most enthusiasts and all purists will avoid on movies, but, hey, some folks like it. When my daughter has friends over, they mostly watch stuff like Iron Man, or Star Trek, or Across the Universe, or High School Musical 3 with CFI on low. (strange child!). To put it in further perspective, anytime I have a projector on with CFI running (always on low), Lisa can walk into the room, and in about 1 second she’ll say “you’ve got CFI on”.

Which just goes to show you that it does have a very visible impact.

Film MotionFlow

Also on the MotionFlow menu are settings for Film, which seem to be more dynamic type controls. There are three different settings, and off. The picture contrast and balance seem to change from one to the next, with overall, setting 2, darker than one, etc. The thing is, everytime I played with these choices, I was aware of a fast flicker added to the image. I have no idea if this is supposed to be there, or if this review unit has a problem. After playing a while, I gave up, and turned it off. I don’t think you’re missing anything, but then dynamic controls can do good things, but accomplish such things with trade-offs elsewhere in the image processing.

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