|Sony VPL-VW70 Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors SXRD Projectors|
|Written by Roger Coakes|
|Thursday, 16 April 2009|
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Sony has placed the VPL-VW70 at the top position of their current home cinema projector line. I found the design to be reminiscent of the Playstation 3 shell, but with a refined, stylish grace. The midnight black, curved panels on the upper and lower sections of the unit are slick, glossy and frame the unit perfectly. The position of the cooling fans is indiscernible and the front of the projector features a motorized lens cover that effortlessly slides open when the power is turned on. It would almost be a shame to hide the projector from view in a custom home theater installation.
The remote control has a bevy of calibration options not typically found on most projector controls. There are dedicated buttons for raising and lowering sharpness, contrast and brightness. The top of the remote has six buttons for picture modes, three default and three user defined. There’s also direct access to gamma correction, color temperature, black levels and other tuning options. You can navigate to these through the on-screen menus of course, but controlling it directly is helpful.
Physically setting up the unit for the first time is a breeze. While somewhat unwieldy, it can easily be placed on a table or large shelf for projection. It can be ceiling mounted as well. The manual provides an extensive table of mounting distances based on screen sizes and aspect ratio. It’s also simple to make the lens adjustments for the positioning via the remote.
I spent about 30 minutes calibrating the picture levels using the supplied disc and a couple other calibration DVDs to verify the results. I spent some time with the advanced iris function which can be set to automatic tuning based on the projected scene or manually tuned. The automatic function was definitely preferable for my lighting condition and I could see definite contrast differences in the test material. Some various picture calibration selections include noise reduction, color, hue, film mode and color space. It's worth fiddling with if you need to setup a few different preset viewing conditions based on the source image.
Other menu functions include aspect ratio adjustments based on the source, tweaking the phase or pitch of the input signal, positioning the menu, altering cooling settings based on altitude, power saving modes and lamp settings. If you really want to perfectly tune the picture, the panel alignment adjustment options in the installation menu allow for adjusting gaps in the color of the picture. All of these options are a dream for folks trained on custom calibration of picture quality, but it’s also possible that the average consumer could severely mistune the picture without fully understanding the available options.