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Sony VPL-HW30ES - Setup and Features

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR


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That the HW30ES uses an external transmitter is a shift from the VW90ES, which sported a transmitter built around its lens. The external route is obviously less tidy, but we’re not necessarily against it, for it also gives you more flexibility over where you install the transmitter.

In fact, the HW30ES allows you to connect the transmitter to the projector via CAT5/CAT7 cable, so you can choose your own cable length and put the transmitter pretty much anywhere you want.

The only pity is that the transmitter itself sports a pretty horrible design; so lightweight that the weight of its cable tends to pull it off any flat surface you try to put it on unless you stick it down.

Setting up and using the HW30ES day-to-day are both pleasant experiences. The remote control is outstanding; really meatily-built, brilliantly laid out, and backlit. The onscreen menus are clear and logical too, if a little

stuffy in their presentation. And, even better, they’re stuffed with features and setup tools.

These include a pair of auto iris adjustments plus a manual iris override; High, Low and Off settings for the projector’s Motion Enhancer processing; separate MPEG and normal NR circuits; a variety of Gamma Correction settings; and four colour space settings: one normal, and three wide settings.

In place of a normal colour management system, meanwhile, you get Sony’s Real Colour Processing (RCP) system. This is rather unusual in its approach and as such isn’t particularly helpful for professional installers, but it’s fairly useful for lay users. Especially appreciated is the way it drops out of the picture all the colours you’re not adjusting, so you can focus on the red, green, blue, yellow, magenta or cyan elements individually.


Other more basic, but still very welcome, adjustments are simple but accurate vertical and horizontal image shifting via two ‘wheels’ on the projector’s top, a healthy amount of zoom, separate high and low lamp settings and, best of all, not just one 3D picture preset but a whole series of 3D presets. Far too few 3D displays include specific 3D picture modes, even though the requirements for colour, contrast and brightness for 3D viewing are radically different to the settings that best serve 2D viewing, on account of the glasses you have to wear.

Eager to find out what, if any, difference Sony’s claimed response time and brightness improvements might make to the HW30ES’s 3D pictures, we popped on the Tangled 3D Blu-ray. And we were seriously impressed with what we saw.

It’s instantly obvious that the excessive crosstalk of the VW90ES has been almost eradicated on the HW30ES. Even Tangled’s lantern release sequence only suffers with the tiniest hint of ghosting around the lanterns floating in the night sky, so that now crosstalk is only distractingly apparent on the very rare occasions where there’s a pretty much pure white object against a black background, such as the shot of the white horse eating apples on the dock in Tangled chapter 8.

The impact of not having your eyes plagued by crosstalk for 99.9% of your viewing time with the HS30ES can’t be overstated, making the 3D experience infinitely more relaxing, natural, crisp, detailed and deep than it was on the VW90ES. In short, by avoiding crosstalk the HW30ES shows up all the advantages of active 3D in impressive fashion.


November 20, 2013, 9:58 pm

I purchased a projector less than a year ago and while great picture for the money, is already giving me problems. It has a terrible flickering that makes it impossible to watch tv/movies. It is still under warranty, however, getting Sony to do anything isn't worth the trouble. Especially with the kind of money involved with projectors.

I had called a month ago to schedule repair as the product is still under warranty, I spoke to a lady who walked me through the tests to try and find out if it was something that could be fixed over the phone and it was determined that the issue was going to require repair by a professional. I was given a Case Number as well as a phone number to a local repair shop that would be doing the repairs. She said that a lot of times they take a while to call and that I may get faster service if I called them myself toschedule the appointment. Long story short, I got tied up and frankly forgot about it, but when I finally remembered and called Sony back to find out why nobody called me to schedule a repair they said that they had no record of anyone telling me that, and that I would have to send the projector in to get fixed that there was no repair shop anywhere in the state of Tennessee. Upon further Google review, I found multiple "Sony Authorized/Certified" repair shops in Tennessee. Basically telling me that I was making this up. When I asked why I was originally told that there was a repair shop locally, and given the number to said repair shop, I was told that they had no record of it. Insane. In no way should I have to pay someone to come out and take apart a theater that I had professionally installed, then mail in a projector possibly further damaging all the delicate parts by our great postal service, and then having to call another installer to come and put it all back together again. When I confronted them about not having anyone in the state to repair they said that the only people that they have repair TV's and not projectors. I know for a fact that the place I purchased it from is a certified Sony dealer and they also have repair men that work on projectors. Even after filing a complaint they are still not willing to stand by what was originally said by the first lady I spoke with and send someone out here. They can't explain to me why I was told that in the first place. Just keep saying that there's no record of that conversation. Then on top of that, the people I spoke to after the original lady wouldn't even let me get a word in edgewise. They kept trying to talk over me. Just completely unprofessional. Especially for a company such as Sony. So even if the product were to last you longer than a year, believe me when I say, you do not want to have to deal with Sony's customer service. They will do NOTHING to try and resolve my problem. All they keep telling me is to mail it in which I refuse to do because of obvious reasons.

I've always been a loyal Sony customer. I have over $10k invested in Sony products in my home. I will never buy another Sony product after this and I suggest no one else does that cares about receiving good customer service or wanting a company to go above and beyond to do whats right. They'res many other companies out there with great customer service. Don't waste your time with Sony.

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