Test Report: Sony VPL-HW30ES 3D HD Projector Page 2

Regardless, I just couldn’t get the Sony’s focus perfect at first. Electronic products go through all manner of hell before they arrive in your living room, and when one features multiple finely aligned sub-1-inch panels, stuff can get jostled. (Of course, that’s assuming they were perfectly aligned at the factory in the first place.) Digging through the HW30ES’s menus revealed its Panel Alignment feature. This lets you slide the red and blue panels around a bit so that they fall in line with the green one. A white grid pattern is enabled to assist during adjustment. (Red, green, and blue light make white.) If you are personally glasses-enabled, you’ll likely have to remove them to do this, since the chromatic aberrations inherent in most glasses will mask the actual location of each line of red, green, and blue light. Once you get them lined up, the image becomes noticeably sharper.

The menus themselves are simple and easy to navigate, with just about every adjustment you’d need, including color temperature and color management. (The latter is hidden in a different menu called RCP, or Real Color Processing.)

Sony’s blue-backlit remote is enormous for a projector remote. None of its 27 buttons provides direct input access, though that’s probably not a big deal on a projector with only four video inputs. As for the others, I’ve used a projector as my main display for almost 10 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a need for a Sharpness button on a remote, or a Contrast button, for that matter, once the display is set up correctly.

For 3D, you’ll need Sony’s TDG-PJ1 active-shutter glasses ($130) and TMR-PJ1 emitter ($80). Neither is included. The USB-rechargeable glasses are reasonably comfortable (though nowhere near as comfortable as Samsung’s superior high-end active-shutter glasses). In an ingenious piece of product design, the emitter doesn’t come with the Cat-5 cable it needs to attach to the projector. Does Sony expect that everyone will have a spare Cat-5 cable lying around? I mean, I do, but I’m not exactly normal. This is likely because the emitter is supposed to be placed near the screen, facing you, and Sony doesn’t know what that distance is.

Which brings up another problem. Unlike with the emitter that comes with JVC’s 3D projectors (or with DLP projectors, which are able to transmit the sync signal through their lens to the glasses), the Sony’s emitter really does need to face you, or be pretty close to facing you. An installation hassle, to be sure.