Test Bench: Sony Bravia VPL-AW15 720p LCD Front Projector

Color temperature (User Mode, Low Color Temperature before/User Mode, Custom Color Temperature after calibration):

20 IRE: 5,771 / 6,466 K 30 IRE: 5,976 / 6,628 K 40 IRE: 5,935 / 6,490 K 50 IRE: 5,972 / 6,472 K 60-IRE: 5,855 / 6,537 K 70 IRE: 5,824 / 6,450 K 80 IRE: 5,873/ 6,551 K 90 IRE: 5,979 / 6,579 K 100 IRE: 6,100 / 6,562 K Brightness (Low lamp mode, 100-IRE window before/after calibration): 14.5 / 12.5 ftL

Primary Color Point Accuracy vs. SMPTE HD Standard

Color Target X Measured X Target Y Measured Y
Red 0.64 0.718 0.33 0.318
Green 0.30 0.341 0.60 0.649
Blue 0.15 0.122 0.06 0.035

With the Sony's User picture adjustment mode and Low Color Temperature preset selected, its grayscale tracked within ±729 degrees kelvin of the 6,500 K standard from 20 to 100 IRE, which is below-average performance. Adjustments to the red, green, and blue Gain and Bias settings in the projector's Custom color-temperature menu removed the reddish grayscale tint and resulted in a much improved ±128 K grayscale tracking from 20 to 100 IRE. Color-decoder tests showed -5% green error for the HDMI and component-video inputs. The set's red and blue primary color points, meanwhile, both exhibited a degree of oversaturation as compared to the SMPTE HD specification.

Overscan - the amount of picture area cut off at the edges of the display - measured 0% for 720p signals with the Overscan option set to Off and 4% with the option switched on. The projector displayed 720p test patterns with full resolution via the HDMI and component-video connections, although a slight amount of moiré was visible on the high-frequency burst with a component-video input. The VPL-AW15 will accept 1080p/24-format programs via its HDMI input, downconverting the signal to 720p and displaying it at 48 Hz to eliminate the uneven cadence that occurs when 24-fps material is converted for standard 60-Hz display. Screen uniformity was poor, with green and pink tinting showing up on either side of the screen with 30-IRE and under gray full-field test patterns. The same discoloration was also clearly visible on black-and-white movies but not on regular color programs. A high-def Silicon Optix HQV test disc showed virtually no picture softening when noise reduction was applied, and the projector also passed that disc's video and film deinterlacing tests.

The projector's post-calibration brightness was adequate for dark-room viewing on an 87-inch wide, 100-inch diagonal screen. Turning on the projector's High lamp mode yielded even better brightness, and in this case the very slight difference in fan noise with that setting selected made it a viable option. The best-case full on/off contrast ratio that I measured for the Sony was 3,833:1 with Auto Iris 2 mode selected. Native contrast ratio with the Iris turned off was 828:1. These measurements rank the Sony among the best LCD models on the market with respect to picture contrast.

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