The VW100’s sharpness, meanwhile, ensures that you can make out every leaf of every tree of Skull Island’s jungles during a run-through of the HD DVD of King Kong, while the astonishing texture mapping used throughout Gears of War on the Xbox 360 is revealed in all its show-stopping glory.
Once you’ve digested the ‘big two’ attractions noted above, you might also notice that the pictures aren’t being spoiled by any technology-related video noise. There’s no sign whatsoever of such DLP problems as the rainbow effect and motion dithering or such LCD problems as visible panel structure and motion blur, leaving you free to form a more immersive connection with what you’re watching.
Dark scenes like the opening assassinations in The Bourne Supremacy, meanwhile, reveal the VW100 to be capable of some pretty impressive black levels – or at least that’s the case if you spend a little quality time with options such as the gamma controls, automatic iris and black level booster.
That said, the VW100’s black levels aren’t quite as convincingly and fulsomely black as those of JVC’s HD1 – or the best DLP projectors come to that. What’s more, the automatic iris’ machinations aren’t as subtle as they might be, meaning you sometimes see a picture’s overall brightness ‘jump’ as the iris makes a sudden adjustment. What’s more, the overall picture just doesn’t feel as bright as that of the HD1.
Another glitch, at least with our review sample, found the VW100’s handling of black levels via HDMI or DVI noticeably less impressive than its handling of black levels via component video. Odd…
Finally, we should say that the VW100 is a touch unforgiving of poor-quality picture sources, showing up any grain or digital decoding noise they may contain. But to be fair this seems more the fault of others – i.e. the broadcasters – than it is the VW100, and so we’re prepared to have this objection struck from the record.
Any Sony fanatics with the necessary readies to afford a VW100 – including its potentially stratospheric running costs – can buy one safe in the knowledge that they’ll be blown away by what it’s capable of. But although its colours are slightly more natural at times, overall we can’t honestly say that the VW100 outperforms JVC’s DLA-HD1. In fact we’d probably say that thanks to its more emphatic and natural black level response, the HD1 marginally outperforms the VW100 – a fact which inevitably makes the VW100’s considerably higher asking price a little hard to swallow.