A couple of new features include the Wide Anamorphic aspect ratio, which has been added for systems that integrate an outboard anamorphic lens for constant height 2.35:1 (CinemaScope) aspect ratio screens, and the Panel Adjust feature, which lets you converge the center of the screen if there are any panel alignment issues. The latter is restricted to the center of the screen, much like the static convergence controls in older CRT TVs. Far more comprehensive is Panel Adjust on the more expensive VPL-VW200, which gives you the ability to tweak the panels in zones all over the screen.
In the Expert Setting menu, both Black Level Adjust and Gamma Correction should be set to off, as should Real Color Processing, while the Color Space should be set to Normal. I tried correcting the inaccurate primary colors with the RCP feature, and found that it still basically doesn't work. It does change the color, but it negatively impacts the color decoding, making it unusable.
Connectivity on the VPL-VW60 is decent, with two HDMI inputs heading up the list. There is also one component video input, one S-Video, and one composite video for older analog video sources like VHS tape. A 15-pin VGA, an RS-232 control port, and a 12-volt trigger for electric drop-down screens rounds out the connections on the projector.
Overall, the VPL-VW60 is a solid performer. I was disappointed to find that it didn't deliver more-accurate primary colors, especially since Sony's much less expensive A3000-series SXRD rear-projection sets, as well as its flat panel LCDs such as the KDL-46XBR4, have extremely accurate reds, greens, and blues as well as accurate secondary colors. I would've thought Sony would apply it across the board for all its TVs and projectors.
The color decoding, as I have come to expect from Sony, is dead-on accurate so color saturation is excellent. Black level performance is a notch above last year's VPL-VW50, giving the 60 better contrast ratio for snappier, more three-dimensional pictures. The Sony's 200 watt UHP lamp won't drive large screens, but for screen sizes up to about 84-inches wide, it will do an excellent job.
Video processing on the VPL-VW60 leaves something to be desired. One example is the slight loss of resolution for both video and film-based HD sources at the HDMI inputs, which was clearly discernable on the HD DVD version of the excellent Silicon Optix HQV test disc. This issue is less visible in program material, as usual.
Blu-ray Discs looked mostly excellent on the little VPL-VW60. To examine black level performance, I watched some scenes from Pearl Harbor and the excellent transfer of Live Free or Die Hard. Chapter 15 of Pearl Harbor provides some good, contrast-intensive scenes with light and dark areas in close proximity, and the VPL-VW60 fared very well with this kind of material. In the beginning scenes of the most recent Die Hard flick, when Bruce Willis is out late at night, the blacks and shadow detail again looked really solid. Chapter 4 of The Italian Job showed off the 60's high-contrast ratio with great snap and pop, as well as excellent color saturation.
|Before color temp (20/80)||7,650/7,250||Good|
|After color temp||6,450/6,550||Good|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 886K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 162K||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.645/0.351||Poor|
|Color of green||0.314/0.653||Average|
|Color of blue||0.151/0.073||Average|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Fail||Poor|