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


Introduction to the Sony VPL-HW30AES 3D Projector

Since so many displays, both flat panel and projector, are now adding 3D to their feature lists, it’s getting harder and harder to write a witty intro for these products. Suffice it to say that 3D is here and we’re going to have it in our next TV or projector whether we like it or not. I was fortunate recently to have the opportunity to check out Sony’s version. Back at the CEDIA Expo in September of 2011, they introduced two new 3D projectors, the VPL-VW95ES and the VPL-HW30AES which is the subject of this review. Both are part of the ES line of components. This means you’ll need to visit an ES dealer to check them out, they aren’t available at most Sony shops or online. It also means you get a three-year warranty with replacement or loaner service and a special support line only available to ES customers.

The VPL-HW30AES is an LCoS projector. Sony calls their version of the technology SXRD but functionally it’s the same as the LCoS implementations used by JVC. They work similarly to LCD in that three panels are used, one for each primary color. The panels contain a microscopic matrix of liquid crystals which align to either let light through or block it. LCoS differs from LCD in that the light is passed through the panels twice; once from the source then a second time when it is reflected back. This results in significantly higher contrast and deeper black levels than LCD. It also reduces the visible pixel separation, also known as screen door effect, to almost nothing. The end result is, in my opinion, the best quality image available from digital projection.

Knowing Sony’s commitment to quality imaging, I was anxious to put the HW30 through its paces. Let’s have a look, shall we?


  • Design: 3-chip SXRD (LCoS) Digital Projector
  • Native aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Anamorphic Lens Support: Yes
  • Native Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Maximum Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
  • Throw ratio: 1.39-2.1:1
  • Lens Shift: 65% Vertical, 25% Horizontal
  • Light Output: 1,300 Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio: 70,000:1
  • Iris Control: 2 Auto modes, Manual (100 steps)
  • Image Size: 40” – 300”
  • Inputs: HDMI 1.4a (2), Component (1), 3D Sync RJ45 (1)
  • Control: RS-232 (1), IR (1)
  • Lamp Power: 200 Watts
  • Dimensions: 7.1" H X 16" W x 18.3" D
  • Weight: 22 Pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • MSRP: $3,999 USD with 2 Pairs of 3D Glasses and IR Emitter
  • 3D glasses - $130/pair
  • Sony
  • SECRETS Tag: Projectors, 3D, HDTV