Then there’s the Real Colour Processing engine we were so impressed with on the VPL-VW80 , which enables you to fine tune the relative position, range, colour and hue of the picture’s red, green, blue, magenta, yellow and cyan elements. As well as providing unexpected flexibility for a £1695 projector, this feature is superbly presented thanks to the way it drops out every other colour from the picture aside from the one you’re trying to adjust. This lets you see how much impact a particular hue is having on the overall picture much more easily than if you were trying to fine tune things using a fully coloured image.
Also superbly presented are the HW10’s noise reduction options, with mosquito NR and block NR options adjustable via a dual-axis ‘graph’ interface that lets you pitch the effects of the NR processing with more precision than you could if the two NR features were presented independently of each other.
Within a Cinema Black Pro menu option, meanwhile, alongside the auto iris controls lies an option to set the lamp output to High or Low. Plus you get a Film Mode that applies 2:2 or 2:3 pulldown depending on the requirements of the source, and three gamma options for adjusting the general brightness tone of the image.
One thing you definitely don’t get, though, is any of the MotionFlow processing that’s so key to the VW80. So there’s no MotionFlow system for smoothing out movement, and no Film Projection mode for inserting blank frames into the image to reproduce a viewing effect more reminiscent of a celluloid projector at a cinema.
You do get Sony’s Bravia Engine 2 processing, though, with its focus on improving various picture elements including colours, contrast and sharpness. And we’re happy to say that this processing system helps standard definition images look unusually good for such an affordable projector. The lack of noise in standard def pictures is particularly impressive, but they also look sharper than we’d normally expect – provided, at least, the source you’re watching is of a decent quality in the first place.
As you’d expect, though, the HW10 really springs to life once you’ve given it an HD source to work with. At this point SXRD’s traditional abilities with fine detail come to the fore, presenting every last pixel of image data in highly textured Blu-rays like ”Batman Begins” with absolute precision, but without any unwanted grain or other noise to accompany the sharpness.
It’s worth adding here that despite their acute sharpness, the HW10’s HD images are free from any of the grid-like patterning sometimes seen with rival LCD projectors, demonstrating the benefits of the SXRD’s extremely dense pixel configuration.
Turning to the HW10’s handling of motion, it’s actually pretty good despite the lack of MotionFlow processing. Images crossing the screen don’t lose any significant resolution, and the amount of judder is pretty low – though obviously there’s nothing like the same almost eerie fluidity seen with the VW80.