New Sony Projectors

We reported on Sony's new VPL-VW60 ($5000) and VPL-VW200 ($15,000) 1080p projectors at Sony's press conference yesterday, but I got to actually see them today. They were exceptional. Both claim dramatically enhanced chip-level contrast relative to prior SXRD projectors, and from the visible evidence this appeared to be the case.

Even with a little light spilling into the room from an open entrance, the image from the VW60 looked amazing on an 87-inch wide, Stewart Studiotek 130 screen. Sony claims a contrast ratio for the VW60 (which is being called the Black Pearl in some quarters) that is significantly improved over the VW50 "Pearl." While we won’t be able to be say for certain until we get out hands on one for a full test, Sony's "baby" SXRD projector "looked" plenty impressive on variety of program material.

The larger VPL-VW200 was set up in Sony's main demo room (with a sound system that made heavy use of Wilson Watt-Puppies). Aimed at the very high end of the projector market (but still far cheaper than what passed for high-end in projection just a few years ago), it showed loads of promise—though I felt that the anamorphic lens used for on a 2.35:1 screen for part of the demo slightly degraded its image (or it could have been the fact that the 2.35:1 picture was about 25% wider than the 1.78:1 image). I was particularly impressed by the claimed and visible contrast. Another great feature is a convergence shift feature with resolution to 0.1 pixel and 144 zones of operation on screen. The VW60 also has the convergence shift with the same resolution, but it moves the red, green, and blue on the whole image together, not on individual areas of the screen.