Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review
The contrast on the Pearl is holding up very well. I have about 700 hrs on the bulb and while I am sure that the peak brightness is reduced, I haven't been tempted to use the "high" power setting for watching in a dark room. If anything, with the slight reduction in lumens the black level is a little better without a reduction in white sufficient to affect overall contrast subjectively. I have not measured on/off or ANSI contrast specifically however. New bulbs run about $350. I expect some searching on the net could get you one for around $300.
At 700 hours I am still very happy with the Pearl. No other "oddities" have occurred. I have added blu-ray and HD-DVD players and the results are truly spectacular. Noticeably better than HI DEF cable as you would expect.
Of course there is now the VPL-vw60 (aka "Black Pearl"). Initial reviews are few, but if you are in the market, I would certainly take a look at it. The panel conversion feature should be very nice unless you get very lucky and get a well converged sample out of the box. Contrast is substantially higher, but so called "dynamic" contrast is a hard thing to get a handle on. Early reviews say that the blacks are deeper and with the additional output, overall contrast is, to the eye, better. I have read at least one review that commented on the additional "sharpness" of the picture. I personally like the smoothness and film-like quality of the Pearl as compared to some DLP projectors, so I am reserving comment on this aspect until I see the PJ. However, there should be some great pricing on close-out Pearls shortly, which will still make the Pearl a hard PJ to beat in terms of value for the money.