Test Bench: Sony VPL-VW50 1080p SXRD Front-projector

Color temperature (User mode, Low color temperature before/User mode, User color temperature after calibration): 20 IRE: 6,757/6,420 K 30 IRE: 6,643/6,601 K 40 IRE: 6,621/6,417 K 50 IRE: 6,501/6,588 K 60 IRE: 6,338/6,617 K 70 IRE: 6,518/6,573 K 80 IRE: 6,601/6,412 K 90 IRE: 6,427/6,553 K 100 IRE: 6,278/6,492 K Brightness (100-IRE window before/after calibration): 15.2/20.3 ftL

After adjustments in the User mode with its Low color temperature preset selected, the Sony VPL-VW50 projector measured close to the 6,500-degree kelvin grayscale standard, although the picture had a distinct greenish tint. The Cinema preset gave similar results but with a less pronounced green bias at the grayscale's lower end. After calibration in the User color temperature submenu, grayscale tracking measured ±117 K from 20 to 100 IRE, which is excellent performance. (Calibration should be performed by a qualified technician, so discuss it with your dealer before purchase, or go to imagingscience.com/isf-trained.cfm to check for a technician in your area.)

The Sony's measured color decoder error on both its HDMI and component-video inputs was 0%. Red and blue color points showed mild oversaturation with either Wide or Normal color space selected, while the green color point displayed heavier saturation.

Overscan - the amount of picture area cut off at a display's edges - measured 0% for both the HDMI and component-video inputs with 1080i/p-format test signals and 4% with the Overscan mode turned on. Both 1080i/p and 720p test patterns revealed full picture resolution via all high-def inputs. The projector easily passed the tests for deinterlacing, 2:3 pulldown detection and compensation, and noise reduction on both standard and high-def versions of the Silicon Optix HQV disc, although I noticed some deinterlacing artifacts on regular 1080i program material.

The Sony's post-adjustment light output as measured from a 100-IRE window on a 93-inch-wide screen was 20.3 foot-lamberts, making it one of the brightest projectors I've tested. A degree of red fringing showed up on crosshatch test patterns, however, indicating slight misconvergence of the projector's SXRD imaging chips.

The VPL-VW50 has a known problem with sample-to-sample variation in picture uniformity. Uniformity on our first review sample was relatively poor, with strong pink and green tinting visible on both full-field gray test patterns and regular program material, especially black & white movies. A second sample exhibited less pink and no green tint. To resolve the issue completely, Sony instructed us to perform a multipoint grayscale calibration in the projector's service menu, which allowed fine-tuning of grayscale at different points across the screen. Potential buyers should be aware that this calibration is not covered by warranty, however, and may require considerable time by a qualified technician to eliminate these effects completely, depending on their severity.

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