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Sony Qualia 004 SXRD Video Projector Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 May 2005
Article Index
Sony Qualia 004 SXRD Video Projector
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Viewing Movies on DVD and High Definition Blu-ray Discs
We compared the DVD of “Spider-Man 2” to the trailer for the movie in HD on Blu-ray laser. There literally was no contest. While the edge enhancement and noise level were visible on the DVD, the smooth detailed image in HD was as good as the best film. The image did not break down and the individual pixels remained invisible. I could find no digital artifacts. All colors were not only perfectly saturated, but also showed intimate details. Reds had depth and detail equal to the best transfers on film. The differences were most obvious on Spider-Man’s costume and on faces. A projector of this quality brings out the strengths and weaknesses of sources because of its incredible ability to reveal details. It also demonstrates how amazing HD can be. This is the only projector I have ever reviewed where I can use terms like “best” and especially “just like film.” Make no mistake, I consider these to be the highest accolades.

“Lawrence of Arabia” was originally filmed in the 70mm widescreen format. The detail, depth of field and color balance of the original film is legendary in the movie industry. The demonstration at the Sony store included a side by side comparison of the HD image with the DVD image. The line separating the two images could be shifted across the screen. As it crossed over fine details, they would disappear on the DVD side. Faces in the background that were clear became indistinguishable. The DVD had been recorded onto the Blu-ray laser for this comparison and it looked as good if not better than any DVD source I have ever seen. No obvious artifacts or ringing were evident. As you might expect, there was still no contest with the HD version.

“Star Trek: Insurrection” is one of my reference DVDs. I use the opening scenes to test the dynamics of brightly lit outdoor images, and the scenes in the caves to test the dynamics of dimly lit scenes. The outdoor scenes lacked nothing. Color and detail were state of the art and mimicked film in their character. The scenes in the caves had excellent black detail and dynamics when compared to film or any projection system using a bulb, but they did not give you the feeling that you were really in a dark cave. This is an experience that I have never had from a digital projector.

“Raging Bull” is my black and white test disc. It is a rare projector that can reproduce it as though it is really a black and white celluloid image. There usually is some artifact on the screen to let you know this is not film. Incredibly, no such artifacts were visible with the Qualia 004. Strikingly, even the slightly sepia tone of black and white film was evident from edge to edge on the image.

“Master and Commander” evoked so much of the feeling of being at sea that I found myself walking like I had my sea legs on. You know, that rubbery feel they have after you have been on a ship for a while. The fog, the mist and the ocean came across so well that I was too involved in the film to be critical. I got sucked into the movie, which in retrospect is the goal of any great home theater system. Despite my goal of nitpicking and evaluating a great projection system, the projector got the best of me and suspended my disbelief. It took me until my drive home to fully realize what had happened and how impressive it was.


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