Sony's SXRD technology seriously impresses us. Its VPL-VW200 projector includes it, but the only problem is that you're looking at £8,000-plus price tag. We're rather excited by the arrival of the VPL-VW40, which brings SXRD -- Sony's version of LCOS -- technology in at the vastly more agreeable price of £2,300.
The VW200 is a pretty projector and although not quite as handsome, the smaller VW40 still looks mighty fine in its distinctive elliptical shape with a large, centrally mounted lens and two-tone white and grey finish.
It hits the ground running with its connections, too, including twin HDMI support and a 12v trigger output for driving motorised screens. Given that one of the key benefits of SXRD technology is the amount of pixels it can cram into a tiny space, it's no surprise to find the VW40 sporting a 1,920x1,080-pixel count. Other on-paper specs impress too, namely a claimed contrast ratio of 15,000:1 and Sony's 24p True Cinema processing mode for enhanced playback of pure 1080p/24 Blu-ray outputs.
Although the VW40 inevitably lacks some of the truly innovative, high-end picture options found on the VW200, it still has more than enough goodies to keep your average user happy. An auto-iris feature improves black level response and there's a facility to fine-tune gamma settings via Image Director 3 PC software.
Thankfully, the key performance benefits of SXRD technology witnessed on the VW200 have translated surprisingly well down to the VW40's much lower market position. Especially striking for a £2,300 model is how sharp pictures look. With HD sources the projector ensures that not a single pixel of data goes missing between your source and your screen, delivering dramatic, often breathtaking results with footage like the Venice scenes in Casino Royale on Blu-ray.