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The excellent Sony VPL-HW50ES projector (pictures)

The Sony VPL-HW50ES is a great projector with a nice picture in both 2D and 3D, and it also includes several useful accessories.

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Ty Pendlebury
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1 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Overview

Apart from stellar image quality, the Sony has three main things in its favor: it offers a better picture out of the box; it has a better selection of included features including two sets of glasses and even a spare lamp; and it makes less noise in its highest lamp mode.

The only "negative" the Sony has is an almost imperceptible blue color cast, but only when compared directly against the more lush-looking JVC -- all of the Sony's colors are within an acceptable range.

Personally, I would be happy with either projector, as they both offer deep blacks, as close to reference color as you can get, and a great price-to-image-size ratio (not including the price of a screen). I'm going to push for the Sony because of the included extras, higher output, and relative ease of setup, but you could feasibly buy either: they're fantastic.

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2 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Remote

The remote includes lots of shortcuts to image settings, but this could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
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3 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

3D glasses

The glasses feature IR rather than RF connectivity.
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4 of 15 Sarah Tew/CNET

Connections and controls

The connections and controls are located on the right side of the projector.
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Manual lens shift

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CMS

The Real Color Processing appears powerful, but we couldn't correct for a slight blue tint.
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Panel alignment

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Grayscale adjustments

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Picture modes

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Iris control

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Iris control (part II)

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Picture quality

The picture quality of the Sony can be summed up with one word: superb. While there were some oh-so-slight blue tinges to some colors, its overall color balance could only be described as excellent. Shadow detail was fine, and black levels were the best I've seen in a home theater projector. Both the Sony and JVC are capable of jaw-dropping pictures, and if having to choose between two very good projectors is your only concern, it's a great problem to have.

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