CEDIA 2007: Day Three

September 9, 2007

VPL-VW200

Well the long lines to see Sony’s VPL-VW200 subsided yesterday morning and we finally got to see the demo; Sony being Sony I should have known to expect something out of the ordinary and that it certainly was. The first thing I saw when I walked into the room oddly enough wasn’t a Sony product but a full Wilson Watt speaker system, but much to many an audiophiles dismay those speakers were powered by a Sony receiver (Sony 5300ES) and not a big multi-amplifier rack o’ gear. Surprisingly enough (to me at least) the audio was the better part of the demo, the Dave Matthews clip in TrueHD had a level of detail that I really didn’t hear from any other demo at the show (note: don’t read too much into that last comment, I didn’t hear everything at the show, just most of it).

The VPL-VW200 projector (i.e. replacement for the Ruby) on the other hand wasn’t so cut and dried for us. I’m not sure if it was a source problem or possibly some distortion induced by the anamorphic lens but the video (a clip from Spider Man 3) just left me wondering what was wrong, rather hoping something was wrong. Either the contrast or brightness seemed to be jacked up a little too high, enough to appear to affect the black level. Update: We went back to see the demo again Sunday morning before catching our flight, overall the image looked much better and we were assured what we’d seen the previous day was the result of improper settings.

Another slightly disconcerting issue with the VPL-VW200 was the adaptive motion correction circuitry (my terminology, I think that’s close though) did indeed provide better detail in fast moving scenes but it also seemed to darken the image somewhat. I spoke with the Sony representative about this after the demo and he said it was a byproduct of the process itself.

Overall the VPL-VW200 was a fine looking projector but we’ll need a closer look (hopefully a side-by-side with displays we’re familiar with) before passing final judgment either way. The pixel off-set feature however was something we welcomed with open arms the moment it was described. For those of you unfamiliar with Sony’s prior SXRD displays, they are prone to red or blue pixel shifts, which isn’t all that big of a deal if the off-set is small but a more pronounced off-set could soften the overall image. Thankfully that will no longer be a problem with the VPL-VW60 and VPL-VW200, both come with adjustments to correct for this although the VW200’s adjustments are global and quadrant based while the VW60’s are just global. Either way, a big improvement over not being able to adjust them at all.

Runco Booth

We even braved another long line that never seemed to get shorter; this time for the Runco demonstration. I didn’t even catch the model of Runco they were displaying but I assume it was their flagship projector pushing or exceeding 100k. We saw the same ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ clip from the Sim2 demo and it did indeed look better. We also saw a few minutes of the upcoming Die Hard 4 Blu-ray disc, set for release later this fall. Here’s the thing about this demo in particular and my feelings on Runco in general, yes it was better but it wasn’t three times better than some of the other demos we’d seen. Hence my feeling that squeezing out that last 10-15% of performance which Runco is famous for is a value proposition that only someone in position to actually afford one of these machines can make.

Another thing about the Runco demo that I really could have done without was the D-Box motion simulator theater chairs. I’m sure there are many that would argue this with me but these motion simulator chairs (and Butt Kickers too) are just too damn gimmicky for me. It’s annoying, distracting, and just plain silly. I suppose it would be different if the rumbling was actually in-time with the action on-screen but nine times out of ten it’s just close and for that kind of money close doesn’t cut it for me, I’d rather put the money into a better subwoofer. Like I said just one mans opinion here and I’m sure many will disagree but that’s the beautiful thing about this hobby, we all have our own ways of attaching value to products.

Digital Movie Poster

On the innovative but not directly hardware related front, I saw a very cool movie poster slash trailer frame from Acoustic Smart. In essence it was a LCD mounted on its end that displayed a movie poster, with a smaller window toward the lower half playing the trailer itself. The Acoustic Smart representative told me you can load up several trailers at a time so they’ll play back to back and even download new ones from their site.

Sharp LCD

I also had the pleasure of catching a few minutes of video on the worlds largest LCD from Sharp, I didn’t ask exactly how much it was because, well to be quite honest I didn’t care. Whatever the cost it didn’t perform as well as a projector/screen combo that would retail for less than the sales tax you’d have paid for this monstrosity. The images I saw (some footage of downhill skiing) had quite a bit of motion artifacts that were easily noticeable. Yeah it was impressive but it didn’t really seem ready for prime time.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Trade Shows


Comments

  • B.Greenway

    The Sim2 hands down, it really wasn’t even close.

  • B.Greenway

    The Sim2 hands down, it really wasn’t even close.

  • Arnie

    Of the three projectors,
    Sim 2
    Sony vpl vw200
    JVC dla hd 100

    which gave you the best home theatre experience
    I understand that the jvc has onle 600 lumen output and the sony 1000. The sim2 has 2500 lumen.

    Did the brightness make a difference on a 112 inch 2.35 aspect ration screen

  • Arnie

    Of the three projectors,
    Sim 2
    Sony vpl vw200
    JVC dla hd 100

    which gave you the best home theatre experience
    I understand that the jvc has onle 600 lumen output and the sony 1000. The sim2 has 2500 lumen.

    Did the brightness make a difference on a 112 inch 2.35 aspect ration screen