Scene fades to black exhibit no dark gray leakage, and in-scene blacks are rich and inky.
Twilight scenes, which appear right after the opening credits, feature lots of dark gray shadow details, with various scene elements easily visible even though they’re barely lit.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central via Dish Network))
With any 1080p HD projector that uses three imaging panels such as this Sony, there are over 6 million individual pixels that must be converged at all points on the screen; otherwise fine detail is lost and color smearing becomes evident. Here the Sony does a very good job of keeping convergence even over the entire screen area, right out to the screen corners. The picture is nice and crisp.
The Daily Show set features a mix of colorful elements, and with our recommended settings, the color fidelity is very good indeed, and the show’s host and correspondents are rendered with natural-looking flesh tones.
For most residential screen sizes, the lower lamp mode still provides a sufficiently bright picture and allows for deeper blacks, and the blacks here are very good indeed.
As the show’s guest enters from off stage, portions of the image are darkly lit and the shadow detail performance that the Sony delivers is very good.
Overall, the VPL-HW30ES is a very good performer, and delivers a satisfying picture with both 2D and 3D content. It delivers sufficient brightness for an immersive front projection viewing experience, and even when in the high lamp mode, the set runs truly whisper quiet. The three year parts and labor warranty is a year or two longer than most projector warranties. And, Sony offers a bundled version that has the requisite IR 3D sync emitter, two pairs of rechargeable 3D glasses specifically optimized for 3D front projection and a compact USB charger (but no LAN cable is included).
The 3D sync emitter appears to be something of a weakling in terms of IR signal strength, and must be sited near the projection screen and carefully aimed toward the principal seating area. That the IR emitter needs to be connected to the projector via standard LAN cabling is no big deal, but that’s one more wire that needs to be run to the projector, which might pose a challenge in certain installations.
SONY VPL-HW30ES 3D SXRD Projector
Practical Screen Size Upper Limit (10 Foot-Lamberts, 1.0 gain 16:9 screen): 140” diagonal
Pixel resolution: 1920x1080
1:1 Mode: Yes
Has Mode 1 Scaling (vertical stretch for external anamorphic lens compatibility)?: No
Has Mode 2 Scaling (horizontal squeeze for fixed external anamorphic lens compatibility)?: No
Video inputs: 2 HDMI, 1 component, 1 RGB PC
Other connections: 1 RS-232C serial port, 1 IR input, 1 RJ-45 emitter output
Dimensions (W x H x D): 16.1” x 7.1” x 18.34
Weight: 22 lbs.
Warranty: 3 years parts & labor (90 days lamp)
Price: $3699 (projector alone); $3999 (bundled with 2 pairs of rechargeable 3D glasses, IR emitter, USB charger – model number VPL-HW30AES)