Sony VPL-HW10 Projector - Physical Tour
11/26/2008 - Art Feierman
Sony VPL-HW10 Projector - Appearance
The HW10 is a very good looking projector physically ("wife friendly"). The top of the projector is done in a nice, shiny, black piano finish. Most of the other surfaces are flat black. If you are ceiling mounting, of course, the projector is inverted, with the piano finish facing down, where it is nicely attractive with lights on.
The manual zoom lens, with its 1.6:1 zoom ratio, is partially recessed.
The lens zoom and focus are adjusted from the lens trim rings. If you are facing the front of the projector, the infra-red sensor for the remote, is just to the right of the lens area. Two screw thread adjustable feet can be found on the bottom just behind the front.
Moving to the top of the Sony VPL HW10, all you will find, are the two manual lens shift wheels, just behind the lens in the front.
VPL-HW10 Control Panel
Sony relies on a very small, and basic, control panel located on the side of the projector, right above all the inputs and outputs (left side, if viewing from the front). This is unlike most projectors which tend to put the control panel on the top. There are others like this Sony, though, including the Panasonic PT-AE3000U.
Looking at the control panel from that side of the projector, you'll find a small power button, closest to the front (once for on, twice for off). Next to it, is a button for Input selection, then one to bring up the menus. The rest of the control panel consists of four arrow keys in a round configuration, with a center enter button. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of side mounted control panels and input areas. It may allow you to place the projector a couple inches closer to the back wall, if shelf mounting, but when ceiling mounting, if people enter your theater from that side, they will have the best look at all those cables. Not an issue for most of us, but, forewarned, is forearmed, as they say.
The input panel of the Sony HW10 is located on the left side (if looking from the front). Facing that side, from back of the projector to the front, you'll find the power receptacle, two HDMI 1.3 inputs, and a standard HD15 connector for the usual analog computer input (it can alternately be used as a second component video inputs. Next, comes the S-video (DIN connector), and composite video (RCA jack). Then comes the standard component video input (3 color coded RCA jacks), and finally an RS-232 serial port for command and control by a room control system, or a computer, if so desired.
The HDMI inputs support 1.3, Deep Color, x.v.Color, HDCP, computer HDMI standards, and LipSync. That pretty much covers all the newest standards. This is an improvement over the older Sony VPL-VW40 and VW60, which had HDMI 1.3, but, for example, lacked Deep Color support. (No content yet, for Deep Color, but, we should see some content in 2009.)
The Sony's menus are well organized. Type size is reasonable, smallish, but not too small to be difficult to read at normal seating distances. You'll need to get used to where certain menu items are hiding, such as the lamp power control being found in the Picture Menu, but hidden in the sub-menu called Cinema Black Pro. Who would have thought?
Sony VPL-HW10 Remote Control
Sony's remote control is a familiar one from previous home theater projectors. It is a larger affair, with widely spaced buttons, and large spaces between sections, making it a pretty easy remote to navigate without looking at it. There is a backlight, although a bit dim, the light makes the buttons' labels readable.
For a remote this size, it has less controls than you might expect, with less direct access to specific controls than some other, more cluttered remotes offer.
The first row, from left to right has the backlight button, the Input source select button, and a slightly larger Power button (once for on, twice for off).
The second row offers an image Freeze button, APA, which is the automatic setup for a PC signal, and a Picture Muting button to blank the screen.
Below those two rows are the four arrow keys with center Enter button in a cross shaped configuration. To the right of the up arrow, is the dreaded Reset button.
I'm just not a fan of putting a reset button on a remote control, where any member of the household has the opportunity to wipe out your settings. Better to just offer it up in the menus.
Below the arrow keys is a blue bar, which is the menu button. It's nice and easy to find in the dark, without looking, or needing th backlight.
Below it are the aspect ratio control (Wide Mode), RCP, which is the Real Color Processing that allows fine tuning each of the primary and secondary colors (Red, Green, Blue, and Cyan, Yellow, Magenta). To the right is the ADJ PIC control, which allows you to toggle through all the individual controls found on the Picture menu, without having to use the menu system. I'm talking controls like Brightness, Contrast, Color (saturation) Tint, Noise Reduction, Black Level control, and so on.
The next two rows each offer three buttons. The first of those rows buttons are for choosing the preset picture setting you want: Dynamic, Standard, or Cinema, while the second row offers the three user definable saved modes (User 1,2,3).
Finally, there are two rocker switches, one for Brightness and one for Contrast.
Range of the remote is pretty good, a bit better than average. I was able to get a good bounce off of my front wall/screen from my normal seating position, to the front of the projector about 15 feet back. (so 25+ feet in all).
Sony VPL HW10 Lens Throw
As noted above, the lens is a manual, 1.6:1 zoom lens. According to the user manual lens allows the projector to be placed as close as 10 feet, 1 inch, or as far back as 16 feet 4 inches. Note, that the manual indicates the furthest as 15 feet, four inches which is a typo. The moderate throw range in full telephoto (16 feet four inches), is less than many other shelf mountable projectors, which, for the same sized screen can be as far back from a 100 inch screen as 20 feet. Some owners will not be able to place the Sony far enough back in their rooms to be shelf mountable.
The VPL-HW10 has both vertical and horizontal lens shift. Both functions are manual, and controlled by the adjustment wheels on the top of the projector, just behind the lens.
For a 100" screen, the center of the lens can be placed as high as approximately 7.5 inches above the top of your screen surface Actually Sony quotes, in their manual a maximum of 31 - 7/8 inches above the center of the screen, which is about 49.5 inches high, so top of the screen is about 24.3 inches above the center of the screen.
The Sony HW10 does not inherently support an anamorphic lens and motorized sled, for those wanting to go with a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) shaped screen. You will need an outboard processor that can provide the necessary stretch aspect ratio to make it work. As outboard processors typically start around $1000 and go up from there, if you are really serious about going that route, you might want to consider the more expensive Sony VPL-VW70, as you will be getting a better projector, and the cost differential isn't great, compared to an HW10 and external processor.
As an additional note, there is no 12 volt trigger for controlling a lens sled, but the most popular anamorphic lens/sled combination is Panamorph, and they provide what you'll need to control the sled.