Posted on February 11, 2008 By Art Feierman
The Sony VPL-VW40, seems primarily, to be a reworked Sony Pearl – the discontinued VW50. Perhaps the most significant new aspect of the VPL-VW40 is its price. At $2999, this Sony is competing squarely in the low end of the 1080p marketplace, leaving the slightly better VPL-VW60 to compete against some serious “higher end” projectors. True, there are a couple or three 1080p projectors available for well under $2000 if you shop around, but the bulk of the action is really in the $2000 – $3000 range.
The VW40, I should mention right now uses LCoS technology – a reflective Liquid Crystal on Silicon. In that regard, it is reflective like DLP, rather than transmissive (light passing through), like tradtional liquid crystal projectors (LCD).
Now, just to keep technology things straight, Sony doesn’t refer generally to LCoS, but prefers their proprietary name for it: SXRD. JVC, whose DLA-RS1, and DLA-RS2 are direct competitors of the Sonys, also uses their own LCoS technology, which they call D-iLA. So, call them what you will, both companies are using LCoS panels, of their own design.
About the only difference I can determine between the Sony VW40 and VW50 (besides price), is the upgrade of the HDMI inputs to 1.3. This is good news, but not great news. Unfortunately, like the VW60, the Sony may support 1.3, but does not support the Deep Color capabilities that HDMI 1.3 allows. Bottom line, as Blu-ray discs start providing more color depth in the form of Deep Color, the Sony can’t take advantage of that.
With a price $1500 below the old VW50 Pearl, the VPL-VW40 definitely is an improved value. It does face some really stiff competition, however, in the form of the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and a couple of other projectors. We’ll look at how this Sony VPL-VW40 stacks up, later in the review.
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