Projectors

Sony VPL-HW10 LCoS Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design

The VPL-HW10, like its more expensive cousins, is based on LCoS (liquid-crystal-on -silicon) display technology, which Sony brands as SXRD. Like LCD projectors, LCoS displays use three panels (one for each primary color) to produce an image. Unlike LCD’s, which are transmissive (light passes through the panel), LCoS panels reflect light through a series of mirrors and prisms similar to DLP. However, because LCoS uses three panels rather than the single one found in inexpensive DLP designs, no color wheel is needed, which avoids the potential ‘rainbow effects” that bother some viewers of DLP sets. A potential problem with both LCoS and LCD-based projectors is that with three panels, misalignment of the panels can result in uneven colors. The VPL-HW10 comes with a panel alignment function previously available only in the top-of-the-line models that can fix minor panel alignment problems.

The VPL-HW10 is a full 1080p projector, with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It uses a 200W UHP lamp which is rated at 1000 ANSI lumens, one of the reasons I was interested in testing out the VPL-HW10 in my non light-controlled room. The Sony has manual zoom and focus controls, and more flexible placement options than prior Sony models. The zoom range is 1.6x, vertical lens shift is 2.4 screen heights, and horizontal lens shift is included as well. This provides a good range of placement options for use in a non-dedicated room.

The VPL-HW10 is a knock-out visually. Like other Sony projectors, it has a sleek, curved high-gloss black shape that resembles a stealth aircraft. Power and input connections are on the right side of the projector, including two HDMI inputs, component video and a D-sub 15-pin PC input. The top panel is unadorned by any buttons, save the manual horizontal and vertical lens adjustment wheels. Zoom and focus adjustments are lens-based.

 

Sony VPL-HW10 front projector

 

The thin, fully back-lit remote has relatively few controls, including single-touch buttons that allow the user to switch between three picture modes (Dynamic, Standard and Cinema) as well as three user-defined picture modes. Navigating through the various menus was intuitive and easy for those with even a little projector experience, although I missed having automated zoom and focus controls.

 

Sony VPL-HW10 front projector

 

The VPL-HW10 uses Sony’s BRAVIA Engine 2 video processing engine (rather than outboard solutions offered by companies like Silicon Optics, Anchor Bay Technologies and Faroudja), and can display 1080p/24 frames-per-second if your video source is capable of outputting 1080p/24. The HW10 allows independent adjustment of red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta, and has three pre-set color settings: High, Middle and Low. You can also set up to four Custom color temperatures. The Sony has an auto-iris, with two automatic and one manual setting, which dynamically increases light output for maximum black level. For most of my viewing, I used the Middle setting, which is supposed to approximate the reference 6500K color temperature, and the Cinema pre-set as I watched most material at night in a darkened room. I experimented with, but ultimately left off the various automatic noise reduction and gamma correction modes.

Placement of the VPL-HW10 was quite easy. I set up the Sony on a portable table behind the main seating position, which at a distance of about 14 feet filled my 84” diagonal screen with plenty of light output. I adjusted the zoom and focus manually without any problems dialing in a good image. Like the other tested projectors in this series, the Sony was very quiet, with no audible fan noise.