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


Conclusions About the Sony VPL-HW30AES 3D Projector

The Good

  • Lots of light output in 2D mode
  • Excellent black levels
  • Full set of calibration controls including a functional CMS

The Not So Good

  • Light levels significantly reduced in 3D mode
  • Occasional motion blur artifacts
  • IR emitter needs to be installed on the screen with a long cable that is not included
  • Calibration somewhat tedious due to controls that interact

While flat panel displays are in their second generation of 3D implementation, front projection is seeing its first examples hit the market. A few teething pains are to be expected. As a 2D projector the VPL-HW30AES offers a bright, accurate image with plenty of available light output for a very reasonable price. It wasn’t long ago that a sub-$4000 projector only offered basic calibration controls and merely average performance. Now manufacturers are offering everything including the kitchen sink for prices that compete with flat panel TVs. Though there are still high-end models that tickle the underside of $10,000, the question is beginning to loom – why? When you can get 95% of the performance for less than half the price, the choice seems to swing heavily in favor of the value priced units. Bravo to Sony and others for bringing front projection to the rest of us. It’s no longer only the stuff of high-end theaters.

Slight flaws aside, the HW30 is one terrific projector. And don’t forget the three-year warranty and ES-level service. You won’t find this in any other projector at this price point. Currently I have to give the 3D edge to DLP with its brighter picture and perfect motion rendering. LCoS is only a fraction behind though and I suspect in the near future, there won’t be a difference worth mentioning. I have no qualms with giving this Sony a high recommendation.