Tucked down the HW15’s side is a respectable strip of connections, including two HDMIs, a component video input, a PC VGA port, an S-Video input, a composite video input, and an RS-232 command/control port. It might have been nice if Sony could have run to a 12V trigger output and/or a USB port given its mid-range price point, but there you go.
Setting the HW15 up is really exceptionally easy for what is in some ways a quite sophisticated bit of kit. Particularly welcome are simple wheel adjusters on the projector’s top edge for shifting the image vertically or horizontally over quite a wide range, meaning that hardly anyone should find themselves having to distort the image via the projector’s keystone adjustment.
Zoom and focus, meanwhile, are adjusted by pleasingly responsive rings around the lens. Its 1.6:1 zoom ratio and short-throw design should enable everyone but people with very long rooms to fit an image precisely to their screen, without having to compromise on projector positioning.
Some couch potatoes might take issue with the fact that the HW15 only lets you adjust its zoom and focus via the manual lens rings, rather than letting you do it via the remote. But so far as I’m concerned, if not having a motorised zoom and focus has helped Sony sneak below two grand with the HW15, then it’s a compromise I’m more than happy to make.
Heading into the HW15’s menus, they’re not particularly spectacular to look at, but efficient enough at what they do. Plus they contain a few points of interest. Immediately obvious are three reasonably sensible Sony picture preset options (Dynamic, Standard and Cinema), as well as memory slots for a further three setting systems conjured up by yourself.
Then there’s a Cinema Black Pro sub-menu, from where you can adjust the aggressiveness of the projector’s automatic iris adjustment function, or switch the lamp between low and high modes.
Buried inside an Expert Setting submenu, meanwhile, is a nifty MPEG noise reduction facility that enables you to fine tune individually the set’s reduction of mosquito and block noise, by moving a dot around a cutely thought out twin-axis graph arrangement.
This same submenu also lets you boost the projector’s black levels, though I wouldn’t suggest that you use this, as it can force shadow detail out of the picture. And finally you can choose from one of seven gamma levels, and whether you want the projector to operate a normal or wide colour space.