Projector Reviews

Sony PLV-VW40 Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour

Please note, this section has been lifted from the recent VW60 review, with only minor changes:

Facing the front of the Sony VPL-VW40 projector, centered, is the Sony’s motorized zoom lens with a 1.8:1 zoom ratio. Slightly to the left, and above, is the small front, infra-red sensor for the Sony remote. Sony’s remote control will be covered in the General Performance section. This Sony projector also has motorized focus, and motorized vertical lens shift.

Hot air vents out at an angle from the vents at the front left and right. Below the front of the VW40, are two, screw thread adjustable front feet. There is a non-adjustable rear bar serving as rear foot, for a stable three point stance.

Unlike almost all other projectors, the VW40, like the VW60, lacks a control panel on the top. Instead, a minimal set of controls is on the right side (looking from the rear). From back to front, there is the Lens button which toggles between Lens Focus, Lens Zoom and Lens Vertical Shift, and unless turned off, brings up a test pattern to make it easier to focus. Next comes a tiny “disk pad” which handles arrow key functions and if pressed in the center acts as an Enter button. Further front is the Menu button, next is Input for selecting your source, and finally Power off/on. Press once for on, twice for off.

The inputs for the Sony VW40 are also on the right side (looking from the rear), below the small control panel. This is different than most projectors which have their input panels on the back. Different, but not a big deal.

The selection of inputs is fairly typical for today’s affordable 1080p projectors. There are, from the left (actually the rear), two HDMI inputs (a third would have been nice, but I’m a bit greedy), A single standard analog computer input (HD15 connector) is next. Then comes an S-video and a composite video input, followed by the typical 3 RCA jacks for a component video input. There is also a 12 volt trigger for screen control, and lastly an RS-232 jack labeled Remote, for command and control (such as controlling the projector, its menus, etc., from a computer). That’s it, for the input panel.

Two “idiot” lights are located on the top of the projector near the front. One is the On/Standby, and the other a “Lamp/Cover” indicator which can tell you two things: If it’s time to replace the lamp, or if the cover is not closed for the lamp filter area. Various flashing patterns identify the problem. With the On/Standby, it can warn of overheating, a fan problem, or a general electrical problem.

This Sony, like its sibling, and the older VW50, is one of the larger projectors in its class. It shares the light gray casing as the VW50, which is much lighter than the very dark case on the VW60.Thanks to the forward venting, and the wide range zoom, the Sony should also be equally at home on a rear shelf, although a long shelf, as the VW40 is almost 19″ deep, and you won’t want to put it flush against the back wall for ventilation reasons.