Sony VPL-HW30AES 1080p Three-Chip LCoS 3D Projector


The Sony VPL-HW30AES 3D Projector In Use

When you put in a 3D Blu-ray, the projector automatically selects the Dynamic picture mode along with the higher lamp setting. Contrast is maxed and Color is bumped up 10 percent. I didn’t like the extra edge enhancement and the very blue color temperature that resulted so I switched back to my calibrated Cinema 1 preset. After a few changes which are detailed in the next paragraph, I had a reasonably bright, naturally-colored 3D image.

Sea Rex 3D, an Imax film, was the first Blu-ray I tried after calibrating the projector. I thought the image looked quite dim so I began tweaking a few controls. In the 3D menu, I set the Glasses Brightness control to Max, which improved the picture considerably. A major enemy of good 3D is the light reduction from the glasses and upping this setting helped a lot. I also changed the Black Adjust parameter in the Gamma menu to the lowest value. This helped deepen the black levels which had increased in the 3D mode, mainly due to the higher lamp setting. Once these changes were made, I settled in to watch. The 3D effect was quite convincing and I was quickly immersed in the film even though it was not the most entertaining fare. I did notice occasional ghosting but it was quite rare and only lasted for a few seconds. I also noticed a bit of motion blur which is sometimes visible with sample-and-hold technologies like LCoS and LCD. It did help to turn on the Motionflow to the Low setting but then you have the looks-like-video issue that may or may not be to your liking. I left it on for the whole film and enjoyed the improved resolution and reduced smearing.

Meet the Robinsons is a better example of 3D than Sea Rex. Although it’s a conversion, its bright image and saturated color make for a more effective presentation. I still saw ghosting for brief moments but the overall result was quite good. I tried turning off the Motionflow and found resolution to be well-preserved even in the fastest motion-oriented scenes. CGI will always make a display look good, and in this case, the Sony looked superb. I didn’t change any settings (other than Motionflow) and was rewarded with deep contrast, sharp detail and a bright, dynamic picture.

Captain America is another super-effort from Marvel Comics. This one takes place during World War II so the color palette runs a wide range from cool dankness to a warm soft glow. Depth and dimension were evident no matter what the material. Even in the more monochromatic scenes, detail and contrast always held up nicely. Film grain was present in the dark areas but it was never intrusive and the image never looked flat.

Unstoppable is at its heart an action flick, but it also provides a very realistic look at the challenges of several Pennsylvania railroad workers. The image has a very gritty feel with lots of subdued color. It relies more on texture, and this comes across extremely well from the HW30. I still believe LCoS provides the most film-like picture of any micro-display technology and this movie just reinforced that belief. Every piece of dirt, every greasy smudge, and every cold raindrop, could be felt and experienced as well as seen. I saw some neat motion effects where the edges of objects were blurred just so, to give the impression of speed. This sort of thing is a real torture test for any projector because the slightest flaw is shown big-as-life on my 92-inch screen. The Sony passed with flying colors.