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Sony VPL-HW40ES Projector Review - Special Features 2

Posted on July 10, 2014 by 


Pretty nice! Thanks to most picture modes of the Sony providing around 1500 lumens, there’s plenty of brightness for 3D. Doing a nice job in terms of brightness at say a 100” diagonal size is not a problem, and you can push the 3D out to about 125” diagonal and still have an image that would not be considered dim, but “could be brighter on a typical 1.3 gain screen.”

Note that Sony, unlike many manufacturers does not provide any 3D glasses with the projector. Sony also has an identity crisis of sorts when it comes to 3D glasses.

The Sony projector has a built in IR emitter to control infra-red glasses.  It works with Sony glasses and a number of compatible ones including older Epson, and also 3rd party 3d IR glasses designed for either.

The thing is, Epson for the most part has abandoned IR transmitter based glasses, as have many manufacturers, with all but its oldest models now using RF which has a number of advantages.

Sony appreciates those advantages.  Their true 4K VW600ES and VW1100ES both have RF 3D, not IR.

Here’s the thing: Sony documentation talks about the optional 3D RF emitter and glasses, but the emitter doesn’t exist as a Sony product. The idea was that XPAND, the company that pioneered “universal” 3D glasses, makes the emitter, however the Sony kit with cable doesn’t yet exist in the US.

When I first wrote about the RF emitter and glasses in the more expensive HW55ES review, I recommended them on the basis that I have consistently found RF glasses to do better than IR in picture quality. It may be because RF glasses tend to be newer, and the IR setups older by design, but why doesn’t matter.

I just emailed XPAND to see if they can tell me how Sony HW40ES (and HW55ES) owners can buy a compatible RF emitter. And I got a great, detailed response from them. Here’s the scoop on RF glasses and emitter:

XPAND has been making RF emitters for some time, and they are compatible with the Sony HW40ES and HW55ES. The problem is the required cable. The regular cable XPAND provides is not compatible. In Europe and most of Asia, XPAND tells me that Sony was including a suitable converter cable (shown here), but not in the US.

For some time, I’m told, XPAND has been offering a hand made custom cable that works with the Sonys and their emitter, but it is expensive at $60. That’s in addition to the emitter cost which is likely in the $175-$200 range as a XPAND product.

That said, XPAND tells me that in August, they will be shipping a specific SKU for the Sony projectors. It will include the emitter, and the necessary cable. They will first ship to Europe and Asia, but expect to be shipping to the US by the end of August.

XPAND now has a part number (assuming it doesn’t change) for that emitter and special cable combination: AD025-RF-X1-R1, with a list price of $199.

If you do want to go RF for 3D, which I do recommend, figure in the extra cost of the emitter package (and glasses) as part of the total cost of ownership, especially when comparing with other projectors.

Click Image to Enlarge

It should be noted that I have used Sony RF glasses with both the VW600ES and the VW1000ES, Sony’s two, far more expensive, and true 4K projectors.  I never had a chance to compare, but I’ll still recommend that if you take 3D seriously, RF will be the better solution.

I can point this out:  The other night I was sitting in my captain’s chair  – with the projector about 6 feet behind me, and with me about 9 feet from a 120” diagonal image, and yet, every so often, I’d lose the 3D if I moved my head just a little, even though I was still facing the screen.   It was ust the wrong angle, and perhaps the IR could be stronger, because those distances aren’t great.  That's a problem RF doesn’t have, unless you are at least 25+ feet from the projector!  I've never lost an RF signal inside my theater with any company's RF based projector's 3D glasses!

Sony offers two brightness modes – adjusting the aperture open timings for the glasses.  The less bright mode is pretty clean in terms of crosstalk, you can spot some, but overall, you should be very happy.  In the brighter setting there is more crosstalk, as expected.  I did all my viewing in the better mode, and still was happy with the screen sizes I mentioned above.

We do not calibrate 3D, but it is worth noting that Sony doesn’t create “discreet” modes for 3D.  All of the modes I checked can be run in 3D.  Between them I’m sure a projector that is this almost dead on for 2D, can be made virtually as accurate in 3D.  I did not find the calibrated mode in 3D to have the same color balance, and that was no surprise.  With so many modes, no problem, or, for that matter, as discussed elsewhere, three of the modes are almost identical, so calibrate one for 2D, one for 3D if desired.

CMS - Color Management System

Yes the HW40ES does have a full CMS – color management system allowing the calibration of each primary and secondary color.  Per Mike though, the default settings are so good that he worked through the 6 colors and only made minor changes to 3 settings out of a total of 18 (3 settings for each of six colors).  When I say minor, Mike observed those changes called for by his calibration software, and noted that the changes were slight enough as not to be visible to the eye on a normal scene.

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