Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-HW65ES Projector Special Features

SONY VPL-HW65ES SPECIAL FEATURES: Reality Creation, Panel Alignment, 3D


The two images here are from the HW55ES.  They will shortly be replaced with HW65ES comparison images.

Reality Creation is the most impressive of any of the “dynamic detail enhancement” features I have encountered.  Essentially, Sony’s Reality Creation looks closely at many aspects of the image, frame by frame, and enhances the image as it sees best.  It’s could be the smartest of programs designed to increase the perceived details, crispness and pop of the image.  They all work somewhat differently, so each may have strengths.

For example, Reality Creation apparently treats different subjects differently.  Just as red-eye reduction on a camera knows it’s looking at eyes, Reality Creation knows when the image contains a face, and will process that differently than when processing something else, like a building.

The bottom line is that Reality Creation used in moderation (setting 20 is a great place to start), you will see an image that visibly looks sharper than with it turned off.  For less cinematic situations, I find 50 makes a dramatic difference, but I’ve only really used that for sports.  I would find the 50 (out of 100) setting to be high enough that I’d find some objections if I used it on a movie such as The Hunger Games.  But then, I’m supposed to be a bit hyper-critical, whereas the average LCD TV owner, I’m sure would be fine with it.

I consider Reality Creation a real strength of the VPL-HW65ES.  This Sony’s got panel alignment, but that’s never a perfect solution for these 3 panel (chip) projectors.  Still, the Reality Creation, set properly for the type of content you are watching, can easily make you think it sharper than a typical single chip DLP.  Lastly, although they all work differently, I find Reality Creation to be more effective than JVC’s E-shift, or Epson’s Super-Resolution.  Epson’s Super-Res, will end up having you think it’s a sharper image, but it picks up some hardness in doing so.  The Sony is just more natural looking in that regard.  (On some content I do favor the Epson, on other content, the Sony…)

Panel Alignment

Sony’s panel alignment program works brilliantly.  It’s still, I think, the best I’ve seen so far.  The Sony before adjustment had some red and blue fringing, but afterwords, that was mostly eliminated.

After using the panel alignment, as you can see in the image above, there’s almost no trace of colors being unaligned!  Really nicely done!

These images – pre and post alignment are from the review of the older HW55ES.

The difference between the HW65ES’s alignment process and Sony’s higher end projectors is that with the VW series (the more expensive ones), after a general alignment, as described, you can go in and further fine tune by aligning different “quadrants” of the screen.

3D Performance

No surprise, the 3D on this Sony VPL-HW65ES is really good, for a 3 panel device.  Crosstalk is minor, varying depending on content (some content has crosstalk already in it).

In 3D the projector is reasonably bright, keeping in mind that 3D is not going to be more than about 40% and likely closer to 30% as bright as 2D.  As is therefore usual, you want as much starting brightness as possible.  This, by the way, gives Sony a real advantage over the competing JVC projectors if you are a fan of 3D as I am.   The JVC’s simply aren’t as bright.  As already noted, I haven’t gotten in the new JVC competition yet (Ron did the JVC top of the line review, but that projector is almost 3X the price of this one.)

The VPL-HW65ES looks very nicely bright when I’m viewing at 100″ diagonal on my 1.3 gain Stewart Studiotek 130.  At my full 124″ diagonal,  brightness not quite what I’d like to have available but still reasonably watchable.  I’m not a fan of dim, especially 3D.  I keep my cineplex viewing of 3D to IMAX 3D theaters, as generally I’ve found them brighter than the smaller screens. At 124″ diagonal I do have friends who would definitely complain “not bright enough.”  Of course if that’s something you are worried about, your choice of screen can help out.

I do, for example, appreciate the better brightness (in Dynamic mode) of the Epson 5030UB/6030UB, when projecting the larger size screen.  It’s not enough difference, however, so that if you were torn between the two projectors, I wouldn’t recommend buying the Epson only for that extra brightness for 3D.  Roughly speaking, the difference between the Sony and Epson in 3D brightness is almost as much as going from lamp Full power to Eco-mode on the typical projector.  But the Sony’s color is better than the Epson in it’s Dynamic 3D mode, while the Epson’s better 3D mode isn’t as bright as the Sony.

Bottom Line, the 3D picture works for me.  And, BTW you’ll have more accurate color in the brighter modes like Bright Cinema- uncalibrated, than the Epson competition in its uncalibrated Dynamic 3D mode.  I thoroughly enjoyed 3D viewing on the Sony.  JVC has been a bit weak, year after year in terms of good 3D, with the Sony definitely superior.  I haven’t received the latest JVCs for review as this goes to press, but until I get to play with a new JVC, and am surprised, my money will remain on the Sony having the better 3D.