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Sony VPL-HW40ES Home Theater Projector Preview

Sony VPL-HW40ES Home Theater Projector

Sony VPL-HW40ES Home Theater Projector


  • Product Name: VPL-HW40ES
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Date: May 15, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $2500
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Display system: High Frame Rate SXRD panel
  • Light Output: 1700 lm
  • Display elements Effective display size: 0.61" x 3
  • Display elements Effective pixels: Full HD (1920x1080) x 3 6,220,800 pixels
  • Projection lens Zoom / Focus: Manual (Approx. 1.6 x) / Manual
  • Projection lens Lens shift: Manual, V:+/-71% / H:+/-25%
  • Light source: Ultra High-pressure lamp 200W type
  • Screen size: 40” to 300'‘
  • Reality Creation: YES ( FullHD Reality Creation )
  • 3D capability: YES
  • 3D emitter: Built-in IR emitter
  • 3D glasses: TDG-PJ1 ( IR type : Bundled ) / TDG-BT500A (RF type : Optional)
  • Manual Calibration: RCP
  • Picture Position Memory: No
  • Picture modes: 9 modes
  • Gamma modes: 7 modes

The term "budget" is bandied around as if it were an absolute. Many speakers that are labeled "budget" by some fall into the "wouldn't take them if they were free" category by others. I would argue that budget isn't tied solely to your income either. Instead, budget is relative to your expectations. A "budget" car is one that costs less than you were expecting to pay for the features. A budget speaker has sound quality and aesthetics that you thought would cost more. Is the moniker "budget" linked with your income? Of course. But it really is more about how much you expected to pay. Anyone can recognize that a $100,000 McLaren is a deal, but few would consider it a "budget" McLaren.

So, the question becomes what do you expect to pay for a home theater projector? Sony believes it is somewhere north of $2,500. Sony's new VPL-HW40ES home theater projector will retail for $2,500 (they say "under $2,500" which probably means $2,499.99) and features full 1080p and 3D, but no 4K. The VPL-HW40ES has a SXRD LCoS chipset and puts out 1,700 lumens with Sony's Bright Cinema and Bright TV mode for enhanced 3D images. Contrast Enhancer analyzes the scenes in real time to optimize the dynamic range for the deepest blacks. Motionflow technology is on-board as well. This inserts extra images between the original frames for smoother, sharper on-screen motion.


Glancing at the back, we find two HDMI inputs, a component video input, and a PC input. For 3D, the VPL-HW40ES has an active glasses solution that needs to be synced with a built-in IR 3D transmitter. The VPL-HW40ES automatically recognizes 2D or 3D content and offers a choice of picture modes. The fan noise has been minimized and reduced to 21dB.

For those with non-optimal placements, the VPL-HW40ES features a +/-71% vertical and +/-25% horizontal lens shift with a 1.36:1 - 2.16:1 throw ratio. It has a 1.6x manual zoom with a screen size of up to 300". RCP version 2.0 is available for manual calibration and the VPL-HW40ES can accept just about every resolution on the planet (other than 4K). Glasses for 3D are optional (and extra) with other accessories already available including a wireless HDMI unit, RF 3D External Transmitter, and an IR 3D External Transmitter.

You can fine-tune the image brightness with seven different built in modes to choose from. Reality Creation is a feature that was developed by Sony for their 4K projectors. This feature promises to reproduce "colors and textures that often get lost when movies are packaged to disc; users will be able to see extreme clarity in every pixel. Pictures are crisper and sharper, bringing the image closer to the original master." Now, we weren't aware that a technology existed that could recreate LOST data. Lots of MP3 DSP solutions promise this, but we haven't seen any that really work. Plus, with Blu-ray, there shouldn't be much (if any) texture lost during the "packaging" process (maybe it is the plastic wrap?).


Sony believes that any projector worth its salt will run you more than $2,500. Their new VPL-HW40ES projector will cost less than that. For that price, you get their SXRD LCoS projection solution, 1,700 lumens, a host of gamma modes, impressive vertical and horizontal lens shift, 1080p, and 3D. While they aren't packaging in 3D glasses with the VPL-HW40ES, there are both IR and RF options (the VPL-HW40ES is IR enabled out of the box, RF requires an additional purchase). While it may not fit everyone's definition of "budget", the VPL-HW40ES looks to be a very solid projector for a decent price.

For more information, please visit www.sony.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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