Sony SXRD projectors: New Pearl joined by lower-end model

Sony announced two new projectors today, including an update of its Pearl model and a newer, entry-level model.

The new VPL-VW70 boasts a better contrast ratio than its predecessor. Sony

Sony has stopped producing SXRD-based rear-projection HDTVs, but its lineup of front projectors using the company's proprietary projection technology has just been expanded.

The more-expensive of the two SXRD models introduced today at CEDIA is the newest member of the so-called "Pearl" models, technically called the VPL-VW70 (November, $8,000 street). It improves upon the current Pearl, the VPL-VW60 we reviewed earlier this year with a higher contrast ratio (60,000:1 vs. 35,000:1), and since the two projectors' lumens ratings remain the same at 1,000, we guess that the improved contrast ratio indicates somewhat deeper black level on the new model.

The VPL-VW70 also improves its cool "panel adjust" feature, which allows you to align the separate red, green, and blue panels to eliminate fringing, by bringing the same kind of multizone adjustment we liked so much on the higher-end VPL-VW200.

The VPL-HW10 is the least-expensive SXRD projector yet. Sony

We'll have to wait for the review to determine if the company improved the VW60's inaccurate primary colors.

The less-expensive of the two, model VPL-HW10 (September, $3,500), has the distinction of being the cheapest SXRD-based front projector yet. Its 35,000:1 contrast ratio is nothing to sneeze at, and we were surprised to see that Sony included panel adjustment on this model, too, albeit of the single-zone variety. For big-screen buyers seeking deep blacks on a budget, this littlest SXRD could be quite appealing. We'll try to review it as soon as we can.

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