The very first thing that was evident when turning on the HW50ES was this is definitely a collaboration of the 1000ES, 95ES and the HW30. Which is not a bad thing at all. It has some of the best features of the 1000ES and 95ES in a HW30's body. And before I go any further I would like to thank Noah and Aaron of Audio Video Interiors of Chicago (located across from Oakbrook Mall on Hodges) for allowing me to do this onsite Review in their awesome Showroom. These are the "go to guys" for Sony projectors, Triad Speakers, McIntosh Audio, Marantz, Universal Remote, Martin Logan and a vast amount of other home theater items. Stop in and check out their Showrooms! So right off the bat I went right in to check out Reality Creation. Those that read my 1000ES Review hereknow that I am a huge fan of it. RC analyzes each pixel then replaces missing data resulting from compression. This will make your image much sharper and clearer. I have a couple pics below showing the image with it engaged and with it off. Just like with the 1000ES I find myself liking it set at 20 and with Noise Filtering at minimum for Blu ray titles. With TV sources I like RC at 25 to 30 and NF set at 10. Like anything else sometimes to much is not a good thing. And unlike the 1000ES you get a "Test" option on the 50ES! This feature alone would make me want to take a 50ES over the 95ES Reviewed here. Sure the 95 gives you higher contrast and a better looking case without the need to set up manually but I still prefer the 50ES. You get Motion Flow and Dark Frame Insertion as well as Panel Alignment (pic below). Blanking which helps block out video noise on the top, bottom and sides of your screen is also included! Those that have read my other Sony Reviews please take note the 50ES is much more alike than different. Its Remote, menu settings and characteristics are basically the same. So how does Blu-ray look?
The Avengers looked stunning and I can say without a doubt this is the best it has looked in and also somewhat above the 50ES's price class!The Reality Creation makes it next level image quality...
So I spent a good amount of time viewing Blu-ray material. I ended up very close to the same settings I used on both the 95ES and the 1000ES. In Cinema 1 I liked gamma at 10 even though 7 and 8 looked pretty good to. That is a personal taste decision. It seems I like 10 for more "pop" with all the Sony projectors. Color Space 3 with Color Temp set at D65 seems like an ideal combination. I also just left the Advanced Iris on Full. Motion Flow and DFI (Film Projection) are left off. With Film Projection at 1080p/24 you will see a flicker. Besides it also will darken the image. If Sony ever masters this feature without sacrificing brightness they might have me sold. All of the 50ES's Noise Reduction settings I left off for Blu-ray viewing. Black Level and Shadow Detail look as good as any projector 5K and under. I was very impressed at how deep they went. There is tough competition out there and in this price range Sony should not be underestimated. I finished off my Blu-ray viewing with How To Train Your Dragon (pics below). This movie made the Reality Creation stand out even more. In a good way! The image was so SHARP I found myself tweaking the 50ES's sharpness level down some. Colors really popped! This is also another excellent title which should not be missed. That goes for 3D as well. Speaking of 3D I did not have enough time to do any critical viewing. I may revisit that and just add it here later.
Speaking of Reality Creation look at the beautiful Anne Hathaway. Her image on the left is with it off while the image on the right obviously has it engaged. Notice the details and overall sharpness increase with it on. It has the same type of effect as the Darblet I Reviewed here...
These pics hardly do the 50ES justice. The Dark Knight Rises is definite reference material. The sound also is terrific! Kung Fu Panda 2 is as good as it gets! That goes for the 3D version as well. You can see individual hairs on each of the characters. A good movie for kids as well as adults. If you are a fan of the first you need to see the second!!!Cant wait for part 3 in 2016.
As for TV viewing I used Cable. I watched an episode of According To Jim. The image looked very good in the 50ES's TV mode. I do suggest doing a little tweaking with those "not as stellar" channels. That is where the 50ES's Noise Reduction settings can help. Of course your mileage may vary depending on TV source and screen. This is where experimenting comes in handy. Other newer shows looked very good. As for sports I was only able to see some highlights on ESPN and NFL Network. Basketball and football looked like the other Sony projectors which is a huge compliment. I still love the pop from Gamma 10! Using Bright TV with Motion Flow on High and Color Space 2 or DCI looked nice. It looks even better with Reality Creation on! I hate to keep beating a dead horse but I am giving credit where it is due. This feature is the real deal! I thought it was nice having on the 1000ES which is a 4K projector but it is much more noteworthy on a 2K model like the 50ES.
The remoe is just the other Sony models except for a couple button changes. I like having the direct command for Reality Creation. Same for Gamma, 3D and the Iris. Also direct commands to the various pic modes are at the top. I like its blue color backlit look. It is not to big and fits nicely in your hand. They also have direct hits at the bottom to Sharpness, Brightness and Contrast. I would sacrifice those for direct commands to the inputs but I won't hold my breath. Either way I still favor the Sony remotes over the other brands.
Set up of the 50ES is very simple. Sure it has to be set up manually for focus, zoom and lens shift but that is one of those "set it and forget it" things. It's a 1.6:1 zoom lens ratio so it should be able to fit most rooms rather easily. It is also a very quiet projector. I think it is a classy looking model and is not to heavy by any means coming in around 28 pounds. Of course I am comparing that to the 1000ES which weighs a ton! The Menu is just like the other Sony models. I added pics below which show many of the same settings. That has always been one of Sony's strongest features and that is an easy to navigate GUI. The Alignment on this 50ES was solid. It is hard to tell in pics but I added one anyway. As for inputs you get two HDMI which come in handy just in case you want to do a Blu ray player with Dual HDMI outs. That way you can send Audio from your Blu ray player to your AVR and then use the other HDMI out to go straight into your 50ES. In that scenario I use HDMI 2 for Blu ray and HDMI 1 for the input from my AVR (which would send TV, PS3, Xbox 360, security cameras, etc.). You also get a component and an ethernet RJ45 jack for a 3D emitter just in case you need one.
On a side note I included a couple pics below of very comfortable chairs from Continental Seating (site here). If you are looking for Home Theater Seating and need the WAF (wife acceptance factor) stop in and try them out! These handcrafted chairs scream style and elegance. She will love them and so will you!!!
Speaking of WAF take a look at the cool painting that greets you when you walk in the door at Audio Video Interiors of Chicago. You can choose your own painting! Cool! -> -> -> ->
1S 550 IL Route 83 Unit C
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(across from Oakbrook Mall on Hodges)
So my final thoughts.. The Sony VPL-HW50ES has 100,000:1 Dynamic contrast, 3D, 240Hz panels with Motion Flow and comes with a 3 year warranty. Oh did I forget to mention it comes with Reality Creation super resolution processing? It is one of Sony's most innovative features to hit the projector market in years. Sony says because of it the 50ES creates outstanding, vibrant images. That is a HUGE understatement. This is the best image to date I have seen on any projector 5K and under, maybe more! If you are in the market do your eyes a favor and check out the Sony VPL-HW50ES!