Sony’s imaginative approach to user interfaces can be seen, too, with the MPEG noise reduction system the VW80 carries. For this allows you to pick your preferred block noise and mosquito noise combination by shifting a point along a ‘graph’ where Block NR runs along the horizontal axis and Mosquito noise runs up the vertical axis. The beauty of this system is that it lets you pinpoint much more accurately the setting where either or both noise reduction routines go from aiding to actually spoiling the picture.
Yet more impressively high-tech fine-tuning comes from an electronic panel alignment feature that enables you to achieve a perfect alignment of the red, green and blue elements within each pixel.
And then there’s the VW80’s ‘Advanced Iris’ system, which can automatically adjust the amount of light let through the projector’s iris in response to how dark or bright a particular image is, thereby making black levels more convincing and expanding the possible contrast range. Thanks to this dynamic iris, the VW80 claims a prodigious contrast ratio of 60,000:1 – so far as we can recall, the highest such figure we’ve seen on a projector to date. Not forgetting, of course, that it’s not a ‘native’ figure, but one that depends on reducing and increasing the image’s brightness.
A particularly nice thing about this dynamic iris is the flexibility Sony has apportioned to it. For as well as being able to select between two levels of ‘aggression’ for the system in terms of how much brightness it cuts out, you can also adjust the speed of the iris’s reaction time to slow, fast or ‘recommended’; set the iris manually; or even turn off iris control completely.
Yet more black level support comes from the option to run the projector’s lamp at a low output level, and from a black level boosting circuit tucked away in one of the many well-presented onscreen menus.
And still we’re not done with the VW80’s picture features. For also onboard are an anamorphic zoom mode for people with anamorphic lenses, Sony’s 24p True Cinema system (via the two provided HDMIs) for purer playback of Blu-ray’s 1080p/24 format, and Bravia Engine 2. This latter proprietary Sony system uses eight-stage, real-time processing to enhance various aspects of the picture, but especially colours and noise levels.
The remarkably long raft of features we’ve just trawled through come on top, meanwhile, of the increasingly inevitable Full HD pixel count, as well as an All-Resolution Crisp Focus lens designed to optimise resolution and focus.