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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First of all, I'm a frequent reader of this forum but rarely post. Just wanted to thank all of you who keep the consistent dialogue going for people like me who, for whatever reason, don't care to post all that much.

So I'm moving backing to Brooklyn from Manhattan and to another space that will fit a projector. It pains me to part with my Panasonic TC-P60ST60 - a tv I love more than any TV I've ever had - but I used to live with a projector (JVC DLA-HD1) and I just loved it.

So I have been scouring over interviews of the Epson's (3000, 3010, 3020, 3500, 5030) and the BenQ's (W1070, HT1075) and then, all of a sudden, a projector that is a little out of price range came into play - the Sony VPL-HW40ES. A friend of a friend got one and is moving to an apartment that doesn't work with a projector set-up and, while still above my $1500 threshold, his price is within reasonable range. My past experiences with Sony projectors have have led me to believe that they are made for "theater-dedicated" rooms with full light control, but I have read in some reviews that this one is just super bright and would do well in a living room set-up. Any thoughts? And can someone explain to me what exactly a "dynamic iris" is and why it limits black levels and to what extent? If it has such a costly downside, why include it at all? What are its positives?

*** A little about my set-up - I'll likely be going for a 100-120" screen from a ceiling mount. I am considering wireless hdmi though will avoid it if i can keep the hdmi cable length under 50'. The room is not void of ambient light, but most of my watching will be done at night when the light is entirely controllable. Accordingly, I will likely be getting a gray high contrast screen.

Again, thanks so much for all of your help. I could just pour over reviews as I have been for the last 2 weeks, but I figured some experience and expertise would be the best next step.
 

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I'm not a projector expert by any means but I think I can help.


First of all find a way to keep your ST60 even if you also get a projector. :)


I just bought a VPL-HW40ES and I'm quickly falling in love with it.


This article explains dynamic contrast pretty well. http://www.cnet.com/news/contrast-ratio-or-how-every-tv-manufacturer-lies-to-you/ When he talks about a dynamic backlight think dynamic iris and it works about the same. Some people don't like using one because the brightness changes can be distracting when watching content. But even if you don't use it in dynamic mode an iris can be useful if you wish to lower the overall light output from the projector in a dim environment. Since you are talking about a less than ideal room you probably won't need to do this, but if you did you can buy lens filters that can achieve the same effect with the Sony for around $50 or so.


The Sony will be plenty bright on a 120 inch screen. But you might consider a gray screen rather than a white one to help it out a bit when ambient light is present.
 

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One last thing.....I think the benefits of anything 'better' than a VPL-HW40ES would be a bit wasted in a less than ideal room. Better in my opinion to buy this bang for the buck Sony and enjoy the hell out of it until your room improves and or 4K becomes cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for all the input. I guess my only other question would be - sort of going off something you had said - about getting less expensive projectors. I agree that there's no point in getting into a discussion of more expensive projectors until I have a more dedicated, light controlled set-up, but could that same warning be true about the VPL-HW40ES?

As I said, I'll likely be going with a grey screen to temper the presence of ambient light, but the projectors I had been looking at prior to this sony coming into play are mostly all cheaper because I wasn't sure that I would get the worth for the money of a projector above that range with my set-up. Will the Sony also only be a hint of what it can actually be in this sort of a set-up as opposed to the Optoma's or the BenQ's or the cheaper Epson's that are sort of made for this scenario and, as such, shine in it? Or am I just completely wrong with that and the best projector you can get for the money will perform the best in whatever context?
 

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Thank you for all the input. I guess my only other question would be - sort of going off something you had said - about getting less expensive projectors. I agree that there's no point in getting into a discussion of more expensive projectors until I have a more dedicated, light controlled set-up, but could that same warning be true about the VPL-HW40ES?

As I said, I'll likely be going with a grey screen to temper the presence of ambient light, but the projectors I had been looking at prior to this sony coming into play are mostly all cheaper because I wasn't sure that I would get the worth for the money of a projector above that range with my set-up. Will the Sony also only be a hint of what it can actually be in this sort of a set-up as opposed to the Optoma's or the BenQ's or the cheaper Epson's that are sort of made for this scenario and, as such, shine in it? Or am I just completely wrong with that and the best projector you can get for the money will perform the best in whatever context?

Well...hopefully someone else will chime in at some point but personally I would buy the cheapest LCoS projector you can buy because I really like the benefit of that tech over DLP and LCD projectors. Which means Sony or JVC and JVC doesn't make anything in this price range. I also don't think it's fair to say any projector will 'shine' in a less than ideal environment.


So I don't think you could go wrong with this Sony, but you could certainly go cheaper. :) I was originally concerned about the black levels but now that I have one at home I don't think the HW40ES has any really bad weaknesses. It's a very well rounded projector: bright, no screen door effect, good motion, quiet, doesn't really need calibration in reference mode, black level that is good enough even when not being best in class, low lag for gamers, good placement options due to the lens shift, and mine has really good uniformity and focus. And it comes with a three year warranty! By then 4K may finally go mainstream.
 

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Oh and like you I am a bit spoiled by the black level of a good plasma (your ST60 vs my F8500...although you may not be as 'spoiled' as I am) and I still think the VPL-HW40ES looks good enough in the proper conditions (and nothing will look black in poor conditions) to not make me wish I was watching my plasma. Having said that if my plasma was bigger I would consider a drop down screen to cover it and would watch the TV during the day and use the projector at night.
 

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Oh and like you I am a bit spoiled by the black level of a good plasma (your ST60 vs my F8500...although you may not be as 'spoiled' as I am) and I still think the VPL-HW40ES looks good enough in the proper conditions (and nothing will look black in poor conditions) to not make me wish I was watching my plasma. Having said that if my plasma was bigger I would consider a drop down screen to cover it and would watch the TV during the day and use the projector at night.
I too would endorse the 40 es. Even in not great conditions it is very good. When it is night time, it is fabulous. I struggled between this and the Epson (I first owned a 3010) and,honestly,both are great ( the 5030 am
Nd the Sony) but I am quite happy with the Sonys dead quiet and great picture. The Epson is great too so whatever the best deal is might rule.
 

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I purchased an Epson HC3500 and the Sony and had the opportunity to audition them side-by-side in less than ideal circumstances. DLP is a non-starter for me, the rainbow effect bothers me, even with 6x color wheel projectors. The Epson had a brighter picture but the Sony PQ was substantially better in my subjective opinion, easily worth the extra few hundred $$$. As for "less than ideal room" , my viewing area is one or two steps away from being the worst case scenario. Light walls, carpet, ceiling and blinds; opaque cel shaded blinds that don't do much to mitigate light during the day and still let in some during the evening from all of the exterior lights mandated by my HOA on every house. My screen is an old Optoma Graywolf manual 92".


I can tell you that the Sony looks great even during the daytime if you don't mind washed out blacks. In the evening, I wouldn't call it inky black but it's darn good. My wife has agreed to paint the walls and possibly the ceiling a darker color, put up some drapes across 3 very large windows on 2 walls in the room, in order to improve things a bit. The hope is that with a bit better light control, we can finally realize more of the benefits of the Sony but even if we were stuck with the current limitations, I'm still super happy.


So I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on the HW40ES even in less than ideal circumstances. No, you won't have the same wow factor as with proper light control but this Sony is no slouch in the brightness department and will scale to meet better conditions, should they improve for you in the future.
 
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