Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-HW50ES Projector – Sony Gets It Right

Greetings Projector Fans – in a couple of month’s Sony’s shiny new VPL-HW50ES should hit the streets.  This VPL-HW50ES is a new projector that slides into the lineup above the HW30ES and way below the VPL-VW95ES.

Let’s position it first.  The price tag will be $3999 or was it $3995?  The HW50ES will come with a spare lamp for the money.  The VPL-HW50ES, will be available through local dealers, of course, but also be a select couple of authorized online resellers as well.

So, back to the title above.  I’m of course, not implying that Sony normally doesn’t get it right, after all, in this last year, their VPL-VW95ES – their flagship 2K projector, tied for our Best In Class award $3500-$10,000, while the VPL-VW1000ES at only $24999 is simply the best projector I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing and reviewing, and really earned our Outstanding Product of the Year.”

So, what’s got me so enthused about the HW50ES?

It just seems like a major step up from the HW30ES for not too bad a price difference.  Better brightness, blacker blacks, 2K to 4K upscaling essentially.  (Only 2K panels, but as many of you know, there are real benefits even if, of course, if a true 4K projector can do better with either 2K or 4K content.  Still, their Reality engine does the trick.  At this point, I’d have to say, the best use of a detail enhancement engine I’ve seen in anything under $10K.   I got to see it side by side vs. an Epson 5010, and was really impressed.  Essentially you can punch the Epson 5010’s Super-Resolution to the top setting of 5, and you get similar detail enhancement overall, but at least the 5010 is not as clean when pushed that hard.  Of course I’m comparing against a last year’s model, still, it looked really good.

Also of note, out of the box picture quality looks very good, obviously very close to D65 – 6500K, the desired standard.  Apparently there’s improved color controls as well.

Did I mention that it looks like the HW30ES, which is to say, manual zoom and focus, so about the only thing missing is a lens memory type feature (found on the bigger Sony’s) for those wanting a 2.35:1 screen.  That said, as you would expect, the Sony can accept an anamorphic lens, no sled needed.  That will take the price up a bit should you want that widescreen, but not enough more to break the bank, in all likelihood.

Sony did a great job of demoing it.  I’ll try to write later (from memory) about how it looked compared to last year’s top of the line $12,000 JVC… Let’s just say dealers in the demo room were almost stunned that the HW50ES could in terms of picture quality, take on the JVC and not be embarrassed.  Not surprising.

So, folks that’s the short version.  The projector should be available in 2 months so looking forward to having it do battle with the classic projectors in the price range, as well as a couple thousands more that I expect it will beat.

This is a great addition to the Sony lineup.  As I was very aware and had seen several other projectors (Panasonic, Epson) before the  show, this was the one new projector at the show that dazzled me the most.

Hang in there, it’s going to be a blast – plenty of new home theater projectors this year to get exited about.  -art

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