Test Report: Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D HD Projector Page 3

Performance

Once you get 3D up and running, though, it looks good. Really good, in fact. The projector is so bright that its image still looks punchy, even with the glasses reducing the amount of light coming through. The bright image makes for a generally pleasing experience, not the dim mess that most 3D seems to be. Some mild crosstalk was visible when I was watching Thor on Blu-ray 3D, though I’ve seen worse. Switching to the 2D version of Thor, I was impressed by the Sony’s accurate color and exceptional detail. Great Odin’s beard, there was a lot of detail in, um, Odin’s beard. Overall, the image quality was excellent.

The first time 3D is enabled on the HW30ES, the projector also sneakily enables MotionFlow, Sony’s frame-interpolation processing. This adds extra frames between the original video frames to minimize motion blur. (There wasn’t much of it to start.) I feel frame interpolation to be a festering plague of ultra-smooth, artificial motion. As such, I always turn it off when I watch movies. In 3D mode, you also lose control over the projector’s multi-setting iris, and you’ll need to recalibrate all the picture settings.

To test the projector’s 2D-to-3D conversion mode, I enabled it while playing the videogame Deus Ex: Human Revolution via my HTPC. The significant crosstalk that this mode created canceled out the novelty of mild 3D depth. However, the Sony’s solid black levels and punchy contrast made everything in this brilliant virtual world really pop. Here MotionFlow was actually a boon, smoothing out the frame rate and making for a better gaming experience.

Video-processing performance wasn’t great. It picked up the 3:2 sequence with 480i and 1080i tests, but went downhill a bit from there. The rotating bar pattern on the Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark Blu-ray looked worse than on most other displays and BD players I’ve reviewed recently, with noticeable jaggies showing around 20°. And the 1080i-format Ship video clip on this disc also looked worse than normal, with noticeable jaggies in the rigging.

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