Movie Theater Video for the Masses

Sony VPL-HS3

Technology 3 LCD, WVGA 848x484, 0.62 inches
Video standards NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, SECAM
Video format from 480i to 1080i and 480p to 720 p
PC compatibility 640x480 at 1024x768 (compressed)
Brightness 1200 ANSI lumens
Contrast ratio 800:1 in Cinema Black Pro mode
Fan noise 28 dB in economy mode
Lamp life NA

The VPL-HS3 is less angular in shape than its competitors, and is set on a round base that lets the projector pivot in all directions. A closer look reveals an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) input. The HDMI connector is smaller than DVI and transfers digital data with a bandwidth of several gigabits per second, allowing resolutions of 1920 x1080 pixels (HDTV) to be attained without compression. The video signals can also be 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p, etc. HDMI also carries sound signals such as multichannel Dolby Digital and DTS from DVD Video and also audio CD, Super Audio CD and DVD Audio.

Another clever functionality of the VPL-HS3 is Side Shot 2, which lets the projected image be shifted horizontally and vertically. This makes it easier to locate your projector in your room, which can be a real plus for small living rooms. In the same spirit, the wide-angle focal length can display a 79" (two-meter) image from only a 79" (two-meter) projection distance, which is the shortest of any projector. The rest of the unit is more conventional, with a quiet fan (28 dB), a Cinema Black Pro video mode that's supposed to improve the contrast ratio from 700 to 800:1, the ability to accept progressive signals, digital noise reduction (DNR) and horizontal keystone correction. On the other hand, oddly, Sony has chosen not to provide a YUV input for progressive signals. That means you'll have to use the HDMI connector and change DVD players if yours doesn't have one.

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