Product Review: Sony Bravia VPL-HW15 SXRD 1080p Home Theater Projector

Proprietary technology yields exceptional image quality in this high-end projector

There is a wide range of home projectors, starting with models for users that want devices that can be used occasionally for special events or is also suitable for business trips and presentations on the road.


There are many top end projectors that are designed specifically to meet the needs of a demanding segment, people who want all of the bells and whistles available with the latest technology coupled with a tremendous viewing experience. That is the market that Sony has targeted for its Bravia VPL-HW15 SXRD ($2,499).



Key Sony Technology

The projector is built around Sony’s proprietary SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display), its version of liquid crystal on silicon technology, and features three SXRD 1902x1080p micro display panels in order to generate its Full HD 1080p resolution. That technology, coupled with its Advanced Iris 3 function, a feature that is designed to mimic the human eye and enables the system to analyze the contrast level in each scene and adjust the projector aperture setting to provide an optimized aperture opening for each scene. The Advanced Iris 3 technology provides the projector a maximum of 60,000:1 contrast ratio.

The result of the combination of the two technologies leads to the ability of the Bravia VPL-HW15 SXRD to display bright scenes in a clear and crisp manner, while the darker scenes retain the ability to show nuanced levels of dark while still providing detailed images.

Sony connects the SXRD panels to a 10-bit processor in order to provide smoother color and gives the projector the ability to provide smooth color gradations rather than a glaring change in shades and hues. The panels also have an alignment function that allows exact alignment of pixels within 1/10 of a pixel so that it can adjust the picture in case there are color gaps, and as a result provides a bright clear picture.

To further enhance the color, Sony has a Real Color Processing (RCP) function that permits the adjustment of a specific color or colors on the picture without altering the overall color and hue of the image.



Display Features

The projector uses a 200W High-Pressure lamp to provide 1000 ANSI lumens for bright and natural colors. The lens features All Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) features that are created to help deliver the crispness that comes from having the SXRD panels.

Other lens features include a 1.6x zoom for shorter distance focus as well as an adjustable lens shift that provides vertical and horizontal adjustment to the picture position, allowing flexibility in where the projector is placed. It has a screen size that can vary from 40 inches to 300 inches.

In order to deliver a theater-quality viewing experience, Sony has developed what it calls 24p True Cinema, a capability that allows the projector to show a film at 24 frames a second, as in a theater, rather that the almost imperceptibly faster 25 frames per second that occurs when shown over broadcast TV.

The Bravia VPL-HW15 can project a number of different high-definition signals including 720p, 1080i and 1080p as well as video in a variety of formats such as SECAM, NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-N and PAL-60 video standards and it has an international 120 to 240 V AC 50/60 Hz power supply so you can be used both domestically and internationally.


Connectivity and Inputs

There is a pair of HDMI inputs to support cable/satellite hookup as well as digital equipment at home such as a DVD or Blue-ray player. It also supports a number of analog inputs including YPbPr Component, S-Video, Composite video, and a PC input (D-sub 15-pin) to simplify connection to for easy connection to a wide variety of video sources. It also includes BRAVIA Sync, a one-touch access and control functionality other over BRAVIA Sync compatible equipment using the projector's remote and on-screen display. For easy control it has a RS-232C connectivity that enables operation of the projector using a home theater automation controller.

General Information

The projector weights in at 22 lbs and has a 16.13” x 7.13” x 18.38” footprint and has been designed by Sony to have a sleek look that will fit in seamlessly in a home environment. Sony provides a 1 Year Parts and Labor Projector warranty and a 90 Days Lamp Warranty.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This high-end home projector is designed to mimic the theater viewing experience as closely as possible, minus the soft-drink-slurping patron sitting beside you. With an emphasis on providing sharp, clear colors and running video at standard theater speeds as opposed to the faster television speed it sets itself apart from many of the lower end offerings not only in the projector space but also from offerings in the flat screen market as well. The Sony Bravia VPL-HW15 SXRD meets the needs for much more than the casual user with its feature set while still retaining strong ease of use capabilities.

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