Click to Enlarge.So close
No changes compared to the older HW10, the input panel of the Sony HW15 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.
Click Image to Enlarge
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.
The menu layout seems to be virtually identical to the HW10. 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? Dynamic iris control is also hiding in the Cinema Black Pro sub-menu.
There are three pre-configured picture modes (Cinema, Dynamic, and Standard), and three User modes where you can save your settings changes. I like the way the three user modes are matched to the pre-defined ones. User 1 starts out the same as the Dynamic settings, User 2, Standard settings, and User 3 is based on Cinema. It's often a nuisance, when calibrating a projector, that starts out very close to ideal, only to find that the user area defaults are horrible, thus making a good calibration far more difficult than it needs to be.
The Expert Setting sub-menu (of Picture), offers 5 gamma settings, with some control, a choice of wide or normal color space, noise reduction options, and a control called Black Level Adjust. That last one is designed to let you enhance black performance. It works, but it does seem to wipe out some dark shadow detail. Some may like using the control to get more pop into those darker scenes, but the price for that is lost dark detail.
There are a number of other menus, and another of note is the Setup menu, shown here. Besides the language choices, and postioning for the menus, there's the high altitude fan control, standby and power options, and control of source type for Input A. There is also a Lamp Setting item, but on this menu, that's for resetting the lamp counter, after replacing a lamp.
All told, a good layout, easy to navigate, but with a few things hidden where you might not think to look.