Sony VPL-HS20: CNET Likes It for Home Theater Builders on a Budget

CNET just published an informative review of the Sony VPL-HS20, an HDTV-capable, LCD television projector. A lot of A/V freaks prefer projectors to rear-projection sets because the projectors themselves are a lot smaller and can be installed in a number of different ways. The key to making something like the HS20 work is a home theater room that can be made sufficiently dark.

The HS20's native resolution is 1,386 x 788, making it a good choice for 720p HDTV content. It can also handle images from 1020i down to traditional NTSC, but the displayed image is scaled up or down accordingly. This projector also has tons of picture-enhancing features and connectivity options.

The thing that CNET didn't like in this unit is black-level performance. Displaying black is difficult for a lot of LCD projectors and this one is no different, although the review says, "the HS20's ability to deliver darker images represents a significant improvement over previous versions and is among the best we've seen with LCD projectors."

In reading about the HS20, the thought occurred to me that this product would be ideal for a technology sales person who needs a projector to demo products during the day, but wants a home theater for entertainment purposes. I'd love to be able to write off a TV like this.