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Sony VPL-HW65ES Projector Special Features 2

Posted on March 6, 2016 by Art Feierman
SONY VPL-HW65ES PROJECTOR:  SPECIAL FEATURES PAGE 2:  RF 3D Glasses, Dynamic Iris, Optional Wireless HDMI, CFI - aka Motion Enhancer, aka "smooth motion"

RF 3D Glasses Are Optional

Here's the scoop.  Sony used to provide two pair of 3D glasses with the older HW55ES projector.  They were the  infra-red type glasses. Most companies have moved to using RF (radio frequency), and Sony is now one of them with the new HW65ES.  The older HW55ES needed an optional RF emitter, but had IR for 3D built in.  This newer Sony has an RF emitter built in.  Hooray!


Sony's TDG-BT500A RF 3D glasses for the VPL-HW65ES and other new Sony home theater projectors

The newer glasses, the RF TDG-BT500A glasses - are optional (and lighter, and more comfortable than their older IR glasses).   RF is the way to go, and there's a huge benefit if you do.  Their RF glasses are compatible with other projectors, and some LCD TVs.  While projector manufacturers set their glasses prices pretty high (expect to pay around $50 for the Sony's), there are some very low cost ones.  There are inexpensive Samsung glasses that I use with the Epson  and Sony projectors that are very lightweight, and cost less than $20 a pair.  They do use button Lithium batteries, rather than being rechargeable.  Considering you can probably watch about 100 hours of 3D content on a less than $2 battery, I don't see that as a problem!  So if you want a whole bunch of 3D glasses for those movie nights, know that there are affordable options.

Sony Dynamic Iris: Cinema Black Pro

Cinema Black Pro is a sub-menu on the VPL-HW65ES that offers two controls.  One is the lamp power - High or Low (most projectors call their low lamp modes: Eco).

The other is Sony's dynamic iris.  No change in Contrast ratio over the older HW55ES.

Are the black levels any better?

Tough call.  Of course I haven't had an HW55ES here in well over a year.  I'm thinking that maybe, there's a slight improvement, but that is based on a quick side by side with the Epson Home Cinema 5030UB.

I do believe there has been some change to the irises' algorithm.  It used to be that when I would view a very dark scene (like our Bond night train), the pause icon had virtually no effect on the iris, but with the HW65ES, the iris definitely opens up a good bit when the pause icon appears, much as it always has on Sony's $25K+ VW1100ES. (BTW, the pause icon is even a smaller icon now that I'm using a PS4, not my old PS3, so I was surprised to see so much of a reaction by this Sony's iris.

Even if the contrast hasn't changed, I therefore expect that dark scenes are being handled slightly differently.  My general feeling is that the HW65ES is, on really dark scenes, perhaps a tad better than it's predecessor, but it may be "more different - than better."

What makes Sony's iris configuration both interesting, and especially flexible, are the options.

You can set the iris for Auto - which is dynamic mode, or you can set it for Manual  which gives you a slider control with a range from 0 to 100.   For those who find the image too bright when watching a movie in their theater (on a relatively small screen), without ambient light, you can just dial down the brightness.  The HW65ES produces 900 lumens in Low power, so it's unlikely you would need to, but at full power it's got over 1500 lumens calibrated, so setting the iris to manual allows you to lower the overall brightness.

The VPL-HW55ES offers up excellent black level performance, superior to most sub-$5000 projectors

The VPL-HW55ES offers up excellent black level performance, superior to most sub-$5000 projectors

Now it gets interesting, because there is one other mode.  That one is called Auto Limited.  This  mode limits the maximum the iris is open, to what you set in the Manual area.   From there, the  iris functions dynamically.  In other words it works just like normal, except you've managed to lower your overall brightness.  A very nice touch for those folks with smaller screens or very high gain ones.

Iris action itself is very smooth.  I've rarely noticed (except on movie credits and the like), except when really trying to spot its action.  I'd say it's on par in smoothness with Epson's dynamic iris action which is very good.   Great blacks are important, most projectors (even ones a fraction the price of this Sony), can look great on bright scenes.  It's the handling of very dark scenes that separate great projectors from the rest.  And while the difference may not be "night and day", you could say that it is the difference between "night and dusk."

SONY Wireless HDMI Option

The concept of wireless HDMI is a great one.  If you are installing a projector, such as ceiling mounting, you do have to get your power to the projector.  But you also have to get your sources there.  Today, HDMI is the standard.  The issue is that whether your projector, if permanently placed, is ceiling mounted, or on a high rear shelf, you also have to get your sources hooked up.    Unfortunately they are usually not near by.  Most folks will want to run the wires through the wall, and that means a lot of installation and cable running.  By comparison, getting power to the projector is simple and closer.   Thus, having a wireless HDMI solution can mean not opening up a couple of walls to run wire, not spending many hundreds of dollars to installers for doing that.

Sony's optional wireless HDMI module. The receiver side plugs right into one of the HDMI inputs, just as a 3rd party solution would.

Sony's optional wireless HDMI module. The receiver side plugs right into one of the HDMI inputs, just as a 3rd party solution would.

We did not have the opportunity to test the Sony IFU-WH1 wireless HDMI rig with its multiple HDMI inputs, but we have reviewed several stand alone ones, and also one similar solution from another projector company - in that case Epson.  In all cases, the signal has appeared clean under normal use (reasonable distances).  (I even just received another one, this time from DVDO, to review.)

But there are limitations.   For those of you used to the time it takes to get your projector or TV to start up a Blu-ray disk, for example, the source keeps changing resolutions and settings. Add to that HDCP - the Blu-ray copy protection scheme, which really slows such things down, and we are used to flashes, or messages, repeatedly, and it may often take 4 to 10+ seconds to get a real image on the screen, where that HDCP is in use.  At least we see the flashes, the messages, etc., when hard wired.  With wireless HDMI, things move slowly enough that you don't always get to see all those intermediate things happening.  Mostly, I've found, you see about nothing, until the the image appears.  Thus, it's the inconvenience of waiting, without the usual things happening that tell you that it's working.  In other words after 5 or 7 seconds you start wondering.   Well, my experience is that it will work, and it won't really take longer, you just won't know exactly what's going on.   Like most wireless HDMI offerings, the Sony's is lossless, the picture quality should be identical to using a good quality, expensive cable.

So, the Wireless HDMI is a great additional feature for the Sony VPL-HW65ES.  Most folks probably don't need it, but if wireless HDMI beats opening up more walls, and more installer expense, it's a great thing to have.  And since it's optional, you aren't really paying for it if you don't need it.  Of course there are several 3rd party wireless HDMI solutions, we've reviewed some of those (DVDO, Peerless...)

Sony Motion Enhancer - Creative Frame Interpolation

Motion Enhancer control is found on the Motionflow sub-menu off of the main Picture menu.  It is one of two features there, the other being Film Projection, which is the 3:2 pull-down feature (when On), and does 24 fps, when off.

Selecting Motion Enhancer gives you three choices, Off, Low, and High.  This is your creative frame interpolation (CFI) otherwise referred to as "smooth motion".

Overall, CFI which I don't use with movies, is very smooth, artifacts around moving objects are relatively very hard to spot, even in the high setting it's pretty good.

The Sony projector has 240 frame per second capabilities, that allows a lot of creativity when working with 30 or 60 fps source material.  Black frames can be inserted or new frames that fall between original ones that interpolate the motion.

Overall, I'd say this is one of the better CFI's around.  CFI is a nice touch to have. I will use it if I remember, for my sports.  Some folks will think it more important than I do.  I figure if a projector has it, and it works well, it's one of those pluses.   From there the user decides whether they like it or not.  Although it works very well, if this Sony VPL-HW55ES projector didn't have Motion Enhancer, it wouldn't affect my favorable opinion of this projector.

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