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Old 06-08-2007   #13
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Default Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review

I have owned the Pearl for about 6 months and have been extremely pleased with it. I come from a CRT projector and I can really appreciate the smoothness and the black level and shadow detail possible on the Pearl. Some caveats, however. First, it is hard to get a really good feel for what the Pearl is capable of in the typical store set-up. One of the posts makes that clear. The Projector's black level and brightness are substantially affected by the position of the unit...ie distance from the screen. At the short end of the throw, you maximize the brightness while at the long end you minimize brightness and maximize black level. Secondly, the focus control is very tricky. If pressed quickly it doesn't seem to be doing anything, but it is making very small adjustments. It takes a lot of patience to get maximum sharpness out of this projector. Finally, it really needs an IFS calibration to bring out its best. Some of the user controls can, if not used correctly, create a real mess. Long and short, this is a great projector for the price, but like all projectors, not perfect. The JVC certainly does some things better, but at the price of a few others and at a higher purchase price as well. Finally, Pearl's tend to vary from sample to sample, at least initially, in that some have better conversion of the panels and some have some color uniformity issues. I got lucky with mine, but I understand that Sony has been very good about correcting such initial problems. Makes it even more important to buy one from a reputable dealer. However, if you can find a properly calibrated and focused Pearl, I personally think you will be very impressed. I am.
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Old 09-18-2007   #14
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Default Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review

Hey prohoc. How does the contrast seem to be holding up with over a year under your belt on the Perl? How much is a new lamp should it need one?
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Old 09-20-2007   #15
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Default 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.
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Old 09-25-2007   #16
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Default Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review

Hey Kevin, have you checked out the VPL-vw60 (aka "Black Pearl") that Prohoc mentioned?
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Old 10-03-2007   #17
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Default Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review

My buddy just got the Black Pearl and said it was awesome. Great colors.
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Old 11-02-2007   #18
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Default Re: Sony VPL VW50 "Pearl" 1080p Projector Review

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Actually the best 1080p projector comparison to the Sony Pearl would be Epson's Cinema Pro 1080 3LCD projector, which sells for $3995 now, and includes a ceiling mount and a spare lamp. I have done some consulting with the company, and I can tell you it produces a sharper picture with superior blacks over the Sony. It really is amazing how far LCD technology has come especially in the area of black level performance, which used to be their Achilles heal.
My neighbor just got this machine (I'm still struggling along with my 720P DLP BenQ 8700+). Very, very impressive. And he got a fantastic deal. Blacks are decent, though not as dark as I was expecting given the contrast rating. However, I stress that his unit hasn't been properly calibrated so no conclusions (negative) can be drawn.

The image is satisfyingly sharp, good with motion, and steady-as-a-rock which I loved after living with my single-chip DLP (never again will I go single-chip DLP). The image was blindingly bright which indicates to me that with calibration the contrast range could indeed get some improved black level performance.
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