CEDIA 2015: New Sony VPL-VW5000ES 4K Laser Projector for Home Theater

Sony VPL-VW5000ES – The Best Home 4K Projector Ever?

When I first heard the VPL-VW5000ES mentioned, my assumption was that it was the replacement for the VW1100ES, but no, this is Sony’s new flagship, high end home theater projector.

More information on other new Sony and other projectors, screens and more from CEDIA 2015 are found either in this Info/Articles section, or under the two Home Theater blogs:  The Art of Home Theater Projectors, and The Technical Side:  Home Theater and Projectors.

That aside, Sony’s VPL-VW5000ES was the best looking projector demo’d at the show!

Sony VPL-VW5000ES Projector Details

This VPL-VW5000ES is Sony’s flagship 4K projector for the home, and is the best thing, this side of a commercial digital cinema.

The images above, it should be noted, are not from this VW5000ES, rather from the VW1100ES, their $28,000 4K projector that’s been around over a year. This VW5000ES is a whole step up, including being two and a half times as bright. Of course, your computer screen (or phone), can’t even begin to properly display the picture quality of any really good projector, let alone something this spectacular.  The first images are of 4K content, those starting with the football images are 1080i or 1080p resolution.

Budget wise, the VPL-VW5000ES isn’t for the faint of heart. The MSRP is “only” $60,000 (hooray, they resisted the temptation to make it $59,995). That’s way beyond any budget I have, so I’ll just have to settle for bringing it in for review – and hanging on to it for as long as Sony lets me. Unlike the VW1100ES and the new VW365 and VW665, their other 4K projectors, this one’s a big, and rectangular, black box, not a beautifully sculpted projector.

Sony also has a commercial version of this projector, that I reported about from Infocomm. The VW5000ES is supposed to be available early spring 2016, so be patient.

But, if you really want one of these, you can pre-order now. It’s like ordering a Tesla – sort of the old “hurry up and wait.” Contact your installing Sony authorized dealer.

That Sony had several of these seeded in other booths at CEDIA, I had guessed that it would be shipping to customers rather soon. Alas. Well, having seen it in action, it’s certainly worth the weight.


aseThe VW5000ES is bright – 5000 lumens. If you can get past the sticker shock, you probably have an appropriate theater type room with a really large wall for your screen. You don’t even have to think about brightness for movies. But more to the point, you have enough lumens to have a pretty bright room, say, for sports viewing, and then a gorgeous image for movie viewing when the lights are off.

Sony, of course was demoing the VW5000ES is a fully darkened room. The screen was large, and the picture was, basically…awesome! My biggest complaint was that Sony was also running through their audio products announced at the show. Would have liked to see more movie footage then they had time for. That’s ok, my turn will come.

This is a Sltate of the Art projector (no pun intended). Sony is still the only game in town when it comes to true 4K viewing. There are three JVCs and one Epson projector offering pixel shifting 1080p projectors that can handle 4K content, including a lot of the color space and standards I mention below, but they don’t have 4K panels aka “chips.”  For those more technically inclined, this Sony supports HDR for enhanced dynamic range (the image REALLY Pops!) It supports DCI content, (the standard that the commercial movie theaters use. DCI is coming to the home and this Sony is ready. Well, Blu-ray UHD is supporting DCI as well, so it won’t be the only projector (the lower cost Sony 4K’s also do. It also supports YCbCr 4:4:4 color space – at 4K x60fps. I don’t believe anything else out there can do that. Some will support up to 30fps with that much color space, but no more. It also can emulates the new BT2020 standard.

There be lasers!

The VW5000ES is a true laser projector.  It uses a blue laser combined with phosphors to create a white light source.   It’s not the first for the home, Epson’s LS10000 beat Sony to that last year, but it is the first that’s true 4K. The Epson can handle Blu-ray UHD, and DCI, and it uses pixel shifting, but, at the end of the day, it’s still inherently a 1080p projector, not true 4K, and it can’t handle the 4:4:4 color space, either. But, back to the Sony VPL-VW5000ES. One problem with a lot of the new “bright room” projectors being shown at CEDIA is that while they are similarly bright as this Sony, they are lamp based. When you darken the room for movies, they are typically too bright for a lights out showing. Not this Sony. Thanks to the lasers, you can dim it to whatever brightness you want. 40%, 4%, perhaps even 1%. No problem. And again, thanks to the laser, there’s virtually no color shifting over time when doing that. With any lamp projectors, switching from full power to eco mode changes the color temp of the lamp slightly, enough to visibly affect skin tones and scenes in general. Even a laser projector can visibly shift color over time – thousands of hours. This Sony, however remembers the original settings so that as it shifts, you can adjust it so the original color is matched. Excellent!

Enough. Wait for our review, or order yours today (just take out a second mortgage). Or check out Ron’s The Technical Side blog, he also got a good look at the Sony.  I will of course have tons of photos of the images projected by the VW5000ES, all of which will look stunning, and not one will even closely approximate how great this projector really looks.   Sony gets a really big league WOW for this projector.

News and Comments

  • Leo Ontiveros

    So, world you say its better than an oled display, In a fully darkened room?

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Leo, Technically an OLED should be better, but then, who can afford a 100” OLED display? The largest available (assuming it’s shipping) OLED is 77” diagonal (LG) with a price of $25K. If there was, say, a 100” today, it would be about $100K. (the Viso 120” LCD display is over $100K). OLED still has some issues, for example they are not as bright as LCDTVs, but that wouldn’t be an issue in a fully darkened theater. It may well be that OLED will replace projectors in the future when they reach, and exceed 100” diagonal. (Most home theater projector owners have larger than 100” screens). It’s all about immersion, after all. -art

      • Leo Ontiveros

        But is it noticeable worse than an oled display?

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          I’m no expert on OLEDs. I really haven’t paid much attention to them, since the only affordable ones are small. An OLED can best just about any projector when it comes to black levels, but I don’t know how much dynamic range they have. They do blacker blacks than a standard LCDTV, but they also aren’t anywhere near as bright. Still the contrast numbers are impressive.

          I do know that I find the whole idea of a curved screen on a 50 or 65” display makes no sense, unless it’s for one person use. As I have always said about black levels: Once they are sufficiently good, other factors start becoming more important. I’m just not on top of what the other trade-offs are for OLEDs. Next show for me is CES. I’ll make a point of having a conversation with LG, etc. get more up to speed on them. Then I’ll be able to give you a better answer. I will say that I walked past a number of OLED projectors – none in a fully dark room. Nothing I saw at CEDIA beat the VW5000ES for picture, although the top of the line JVC was truly impressive but lower resolution. -art

    • Zorq

      OLED TVs still have a reflective screen, although better than regular LED TVs. Watching TV is nice on OLED, and more practical than projectors, but watching movies is much, much better on a projector (imho): totally different perception of depth (on 2D content as well) and more natural contours and bookeh. This Sony is a statement product, and I hope that in 3-4 years time much of the tech showcased here gets to the $3500-5000 price range.

  • martinrock

    Hello Art, long time I have not posted any comments but this time I can bring my experience. I spent a lot of time with the LG 55EG9600 and 65EG9600 because I plan to buy one for my living room in the coming months.

    FYI, I have a dedicated room like a movie theater with the Epson Pro Cinema 4030 and a small 81-inch projection screen.

    Nothing beats a real projector.

    I can explain it in simple term:
    – When I watch a movie on an OLED (LG 65 inches and especially in total darkness), I see a closed window to the “outside”.
    – When I watch a movie on my projection screen (projected with Epson PC 4030), I see an open window to the “outside”.

    Immersion is the key word. Watching The Dark Knight Rises on LG 65eg9600 (UHD), the image appears slightly blurred and “synthetic” and lack sharpness and natural. The contrast is great and the colors are gorgeous but not enough to overcome this problem.

    On my projection screen, I get the feeling of “living” the movie. The image is natural and immersive. Certainly, the black level is disturbing after watching the OLED but my 4030 is not the best on this and I think the LS10000 could stand the comparison.

    My dear Art, I look forward to seeing new laser 4k projector (at a good price), do you think we will see a true 4k LS10000 in 2016?

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      HI Martin, Great to hear from you again, and thanks for your comments! As I don’t normally comment on flat panels vs projectors other than size/immersion, I’ll probably also copy your comment to someplace more widely seen.

      As to a 4K LS10000 in 2016, well, if it is to happen, it won’t happen until end of year with some announcement at CEDIA or IFA. I certainly scream at Epson all the time, telling them it’s time for them to lead, not follow… We shall see what happens. But you are right, a true 4K with a laser engine should be seriously impressive, especially if Epson listens to me and others, and allows the laser light engine to dim dynamic iris style, not that the LS10000s black levels aren’t already pretty great, that would take them into the general JVC level. -art

  • Pengyu Zhao

    Now The information of Sony VPL-VW5000ES is archived at Everdb.com – The database of exclusive products!

  • NotIntoTeaParties

    This projector is in a class of its own and any discussion of it compared to any other consumer display would be akin to genuinely wondering if a pick-up truck might corner better than a Ferrari. It is not subjective or insulting to state emphatically that one is better than the other. The optical design and parts making it up in the Sony are again like comparing a cell phone camera to a professional Nikon or Canon DSLR. Yes, the pixel count might be similar, but the engine through which the pixels move is just fundamentally superior in one versus the other. This projector has depth and detail and clarity and brightness that no other projector can equal. Back when Runco was in the game, some of their nearly $100,000 3-chip DLP projectors had similar ‘film-like’ qualities, but still not with this combination of resolution and brightness. This is one of those rare “statement”, proof-of-concept projects that nothing in the near or distant future can touch at any real world price. What I mean by that (I can feel keyboard warriors leaping to type at that last statement) is that quality lenses and quality optical design is not now and never will be cheap. You can get an old Nikon or Canon DSLR body cheap. But the lens you attach to it? Still very expensive. And an expensive 20-year old Nikon/Canon lens is still way better than a new cheap Nikon/Canon lens. So it is with this projector. What makes it superior is attention to those things that most fundamentally affect picture quality. Optical design and associated hardware. Anyone with the means considering a top projector would almost be crazy to NOT get this. It is like having plasma-like pop and contrast but with the easier-on-the-eyes quality of front projection and scale that no flat panel TV can match. Sony – nicely done!!!

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Not!

      I’ve seen some pickup trucks that corner fairly well, but forget Ferrari, can it corner as well as my Miata (which can out corner some Ferraris 10x the price)? But I’m not arguing your point. Every time I’ve seen the 5000e at shows it looks pretty spectacular. I agree with your points on optics, with only the comment, that optics for a projector like the 5000e will be especially expensive since very few of them are built. In theory, a JVC could produce comparable optics and drop them in a $10K projector (their optics in their top of the line are very good), but JVC might sell, say 5000 of those projectors, and Sony maybe 200. That might allow the cost per unit (if a comparable quality lens), of perhaps a $1000 or 3, while the cost to Sony might be $10K plus. (unless they are using the same lenses in a range of big commercial projectors).

      I’ve been dying to get my hands on one of them for review. As I tell the folks, I’ll only need it for two weeks for the review, and another 50 weeks to confirm my initial opinion. thanks, -art