Review: Sony VPL-VW100 Projector

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

Sony VPL-VW100 Ruby SXRD ProjectorSony’s flagship SXRD front projector is the bomb, the bling, and yes it’s all that. This baby is finally shipping in numbers, and here’s a new review from UltimateAV. (Here’s the first VPL-VW100 review I covered from HD Blog.

They were not able to fully calibrate their test unit, and have titled this review Part 1. A couple of problems were noted, which is not unusual for a new production unit, but high praises are still ringing out for this gem of a projector. They will continue to evaluate this unit and finish part 2 when full calibration is complete, so check back for the final results.


As good as the blacks are in the VPL-VW100, they could be even better. The problem is with the evenness of the black level. It’s a little lighter in the corners—twice as high in the upper right hand corner as in the center—though still as good or better than any other digital projector I’ve measured.

Our sample also produced a rare but odd glitch. Four times in the 60 hours or so I’ve put on the projector so far, the image turned to a bright, multi-level white, with details roughly outlined by fields of multi-colored dots of noise. I don’t know how else to describe it. I would have loved to get a picture of it—it was startling when it occurred just as a fake dinosaur was being brought down in King Kong–but it only lasted a couple of seconds each time and would never repeat on the same section of program material. I’m virtually certain that this was a pre-production sample flaw, and did not appear to affect any other aspect of the projector’s performance (I mention it only because its our policy never to ignore any operational problem we experience with a product). Sony indicated that this same sample was demonstrated at CEDIA and an engineer there experienced the same problem—a good indication that it was a pre-production glitch in this specific projector. This sample, by the way, did not look anywhere near as good at CEDIA as it does in my system).


My final conclusions will have to wait for the completion of Part II. How well does the projector calibrate? What affect does the Advanced Iris have on the gray scale and gamma tracking? And I’ll have a lot more to say about my on-going experiences in watching real images, both standard and high definition, on this projector. Our usual Highs and Lows section will wait until then, too.

But if you can’t wait, I see little downside in taking the plunge. Those yet to be completed measurements may reveal a flaw or two we haven’t discovered yet, but it will take an earthquake (just kidding, San Andreas), to shake my enthusiasm for the VPL-VW100 so far.

Full Review – found via

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Review: Panasonic PT-AE900U LCD Projector

Filed Under: Front Projectors, Home Theater Reviews

Panasonic PT AE900U LCD ProjectoreCoustics have reviewed this popular Panasonic LCD projector, the PT-AE900U.

SDE (screen door effect), again is reportedly “under control” on this machine. A notorious problem for older LCD projectors, the new tech is finally here that puts LCD on a level playing field with their DLP brethren.

Rather than focusing on viewing of movies and HD material, this is a more technical review, with graphs for colors, gamma, luminance, etc.

Their conclusion?
“The Panasonic PT-AE900U is a terrific little projector. It has a good image quality, reasonable brightness and contrast, and all the preferred features, including Dynamic Iris and lens shift.

At the $2,000 price point, this Pannie is one of the projectors to beat.”

Yep, I’ve had it on the most popular list (top of the page) for a while now. Definitely a contender in the projector arms race.

Full Review


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RCA ATSC11 HD TV Tuner Only $110 at

Filed Under: HDTV Local, Cable, Satellite

Need a local OTA HD tuner to supply your new HD Ready TV with some High Def love?

The unit includes DVI and digital optical audio outputs. Resolutions supported are 480p, 720p and 1080i.

This is a great deal at $109.99.

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Polk Audio SurroundBar Review

Filed Under: Audio, Home Theater Reviews

Polk Audio Surround Bar
Here’s another great surround-sound solution for small rooms and wives who don’t like extra wires.

Similar to the Yamaha YSP-800, this is an all-in-one speaker unit that throws sound with delay timings that trick your ear into hearing surround sound from the sides and rear. Just like the Yamaha however, you’ll need to add a subwoofer to be bass-happy.

At 42″ wide, and offered in black or titanium (fancy name for silver, eh?) this piece is a great additon to flat panel HDTVs.

The Polk SurroundBar doesn’t bounce sound off walls like the Yamaha model, so it is great for odd-shaped rooms, or rooms with other acoustical problems.

The good: Sleek single-speaker surround system; five speakers in one; extruded-aluminum cabinet; flexible setup options; nonreflective virtual-surround effect works regardless of room design and layout; wall-mount bracket and table stand included.

The bad: Somewhat expensive; hardly an ideal choice for music lovers; you still need to invest in a subwoofer.

The bottom line: A single-speaker surround system, the Polk Audio SurroundBar works best as a home-theater solution for small rooms.

CNET Review

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DViCO FusionHDTV5 USB Gold Hands-On Review

Filed Under: HDTV Local, Cable, Satellite, Home Theater Reviews, HTPCs (Computers)

DViCO Fusion HDTV5 USB Gold

Got an HTPC? Have a PC but no OTA HD tuner? This gem is your answer. It plugs in via USB and and tunes your local HD stations for viewing through your PC.

The review wrap-up:

“The bottom line is this: if you have an HDTV set and a XP or Media Center PC attached to it, you owe it to yourself to get the FusionHDTV5 USB Gold. The signal strength was impressive, the setup was mostly painless and the device is compact and easily transportable. And for only $149, it is one of the least expensive external HDTV options currently available.”

eHomeUpgrade Review – Via engadget

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Brillian 6501m – Rear Projection Product of the Year

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Rear Projection

Brillian 6501m
PC Magazine Names Syntax-Brillian’s 6501m 720p Gen II LCoS HDTV Product of the Year

I haven’t seen much about this model yet, but it sounds promising:

From PC Mags’s December 27th issue:
“With a three-panel LCoS(TM) light engine at its heart, the 6501m has great views from most angles and an outstanding contrast ratio. Though it’s far from a plug-and-play TV, it has the potential to be the perfect home theater centerpiece.”

In another recent review of the Syntax-Brillian 6501m, Dr. Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corp. said, “Brillian produces the very finest 720p HDTVs available at any price and these same HDTVs make outstanding large screen living room computer monitors for surfing the web, digital photography, even fine detail work like spread sheets and word processing. It’s the Holy Grail of convergence and we’ve awarded Brillian a special Five-Star DisplayMate Best Video Hardware Award and Trophy for this impressive achievement.”

It’s interesting this award went to a 720p model. Remember, these are PC guys talking, so HTPC and other computer performance may have swayed them over dedicated home theater results.

Still, worthy comments and sources.


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Sheet of Plywood, Bucket of Paint and LCD HDTV – all at Home Depot

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

home depot logo
Maybe I’ve missed while on mission for those projector screen materials, but Home Depot now carries LCD flat panel TVs.

Seems like a perfect fit to me – DIY home theater, purchase what you need at America’s best DIY store.

They carry models for Sharp, Magnavox, Sylvania and Polaroid. Ok, so not the top of the line, but ya gotta start somewhere right?


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Top Consumer Electronics Companies Launch Plasma Display Coalition

Filed Under: Home Theater News

Well it looks like the Plasma makers are joining up to promote plasma. As the old adage says, if ya can’t beat ’em…

Actually rather than sharing R&D, design and manufacturing secrects, it sounds like these guys are teaming up simply to promote the plasma display itself.

Great, now maybe we’ll quit hearing stuff like “But if I buy a plasma it’ll burn out in a year or two (or five) right?”

“Five leading plasma TV panel manufacturers have formed the Plasma Display Coalition to further promote the growth of plasma TV in the U.S., encourage understanding of the benefits and future potential of plasma TV and dispel lingering misconceptions about plasmaTV. The Coalition’s founders are Hitachi Home Electronics, LG Electronics USA, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. and Samsung Electronics USA. Membership is open to enterprises that manufacture, market and sell plasma TV panels.
Continue Reading “Top Consumer Electronics Companies Launch Plasma Display Coalition”

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Hitachi 42HDT52 Plasma Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

Hitachi 42HDT52 Plasma Display
We took a look at this Hitachi plasma with eCoustics a few weeks back, which was not a favorable one.

The guys over at Ultimate AV give this plasma a bit more credibility:

Stable, detailed, richly colored picture
Full feature set
Excellent remote

Mediocre black level
Inordinately high red push

There’s a lot to admire on this plasma. The feature set is complete, the price is good. The black level is not among the best I have seen, which is the only thing that keeps me from offering a high recommendation.

I still think you’ll get more bang for your buck with a Panasonic. But that’s just me.
Ultimate AV: Hitachi 42HDT52 Plasma Television – via HD Blog

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Epson PowerLite Home 20 Projector Now Shipping

Filed Under: Front Projectors

Epson Powerlite Home 20 Cinema Projector Epson has released the PowerLite Home 20 home theater projector, and she is now shipping.

This is an entry level projector, probably a good choice for first projectors for home theater beginners.

Here are the specs:
– 480p widescreen resolution
– Up to 1200 ANSI lumens
– Up to 1000:1 contrast ratio
– Epson 3LCD technology
– Short Throw Distance
– Epson Cinema Filter
– 6 optimized color modes
– Vertical and Horizontal Lens Shift
– Includes an 80″ floor standing viewing screen in 16:9 widescreen format

This is a great deal at under a grand, with screen!

Press ReleaseMore info at Epson

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