CEDIA Expo 2015 – Day 1: Sony, JVC and Epson Projectors

This blog reports from my visits and discussions with projector manufacturers exhibiting new projector models at CEDIA Expo 2015 being held in Dallax, Texas.  This blog will be updated a few times through the day to include additional information.CEDIA Expo 2015 intro

SONY –

As reported in my blog yesterday (Day 0), Sony has introduced a new flagship native 4K/UHD projector using a laser light engine.  This new projector, model VPL-VW5000 retails for $60,000.  Below are photo from the Sony exhibit and presention for this new model.  I’ll be adding more information later.

 

The Sony press release for the VPL-VW5000ES is shown below:

DALLAS, October 15, 2015 (CEDIA Booth #3701) – Sony Electronics today announced the introduction of the VPL‑W5000ES, a 5,000 lumens 4K SXRDTM laser light source projector. Sony’s new reference-quality unit is the first projector designed specifically for home cinema use that features 4K resolution powered by a laser light engine that provides 5,000 lumens of brightness, is compatible with High Dynamic Range (HDR), emulates the new BT.2020 color gamut, and covers the full DCI color space.

 “The VPL-VW5000ES projector is truly the ultimate home cinema display,” said Yamato “Tank” Tanikawa, Director, Home Entertainment & Sound, Sony Electronics. “The VPL-VW5000ES joins an impressive lineup of Sony home theater projectors specifically designed for the installer market, like the VPL-VW665ES and VPL-VW365ES models also announced today. All of these 4K resolution projectors offer a truly immersive viewing experience with high brightness and high contrast bringing the home theater experience to the next level. ”

Sony continues to be the only manufacturer designing projectors specifically for the home theater market that provides full 4K resolution imagers. Sony’s advanced SXRD panels are designed to produce outstanding native device contrast and when coupled with the laser light engine, the VPL-VW5000ES provides an infinite dynamic contrast ratio and 5,000 lumens of color light output.

 The VPL-VW5000ES covers the full DCI-P3 color gamut. By taking advantage of its professional calibration tools the VPL-VW5000ES allows the user to choose to emulate the BT.2020 color space, as well. This ensures compatibility with upcoming home video formats. And by bringing together high brightness, infinite dynamic contrast and the latest signal processing technology, the VPL-VW5000ES provides compatibility with High Dynamic Range (HDR), enabling the viewer to see wider ranges of contrast and colors than ever before.

Sony’s Advanced Motionflow feature reduces blur and maintains brightness and VPL-VW5000ES’ extremely fat imagers allow viewing of fast action content – especially sporting events – with great smoothness, even with 4K signals. Along with HDR and BT.2020 capabilities, the VPL-VW5000ES also includes an HDMI input that is HDCP 2.2 compatible. That same input has enough bandwidth to accept 4K 60p signals up to YCbCr 4:4:4 8bit or YCbCr 4:2:2 12bit, thus helping to ensure that the VPL-VW5000ES is prepared to handle all types of video content now and in the future.

The control and connector panel of the VPL-VW5000 is shown in the following photo.

Sony VW5000 panel

The current VPL-VW1100ES will be carried over unchanged.  The new VPL-VW365 replaces the VPL-VW350, while the new VPL-VW665 replaces the current VPL-VW600.  Prices in the USA remain essentially unchanged for the new models at $10K for the VW365 and $15K for the VW665.  The following is from the Sony press release:

The new projectors include the VPL-VW665ES and VPL-VW365ES, which deliver native 4K resolution for a truly immersive viewing experience. These projectors are the successors to Sony’s hugely popular VPL-VW600ES and VPL-VW350ES projectors, and a new long-lasting lamp gives both up to 6,000 hours of performance, with high brightness and high contrast for even more vibrant images.

Sony is unrivalled in its ability to offer breath-taking image quality through native 4K resolution, and the VPL-VW665ES is compatible with HDMI input of HDR (High Dynamic Range) content with a 300,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. HDR imagery comes closest to the reality our eyes see every day, with higher contrast, deeper blacks, and exceptional dynamic range. Sony is developing HDR support across its portfolio and the VPL-VW665ES gives home cinema enthusiasts the opportunity to experience total immersion in whatever they are watching.

The new VPL-VW665ES and VPL-VW365ES use advanced SXRDTM panels for a native 4K picture, with no artificial manipulation of pixels. Rich and accurate color reproduction is ensured by Sony’s proprietary TRILUMINOSTM engine design, while Motionflow picture technology serves to deliver clearer, less blurry images when watching fast-paced, cinematic or sports action.

Both new models allow users to enjoy up-to-date 4K content services through the latest connectivity options using the latest HDMI standard and HDCP 2.2. A built-in RF 3D transmitter provides interface to industry-standard 3D glasses with a strong wireless signal for wider coverage and 3D synchronization stability. Professional calibration features allow operators to expertly adjust the picture to suit the viewers’ tastes. These color correction tools allow access to adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness of each color and the color space for red, green, blue respectively, to their desired level.

“Ten years after introducing the world’s first 4K projectors for the industry conversion from film-based to digital cinema in neighborhood theaters, Sony is releasing our next generation of 4K projectors for use in home theaters. These latest models continue to expand our support for enthusiasts and dealers with features like HDR and IP control,” said Andre Floyd, Product Manager for projectors at Sony Electronics Inc. “By improving brightness, contrast and lamp life, and providing great calibration tools, we deliver users out-of-the-box optimized picture quality while enabling installation experts to tweak the image to meet the needs of a particular environment or a viewer’s taste. Sony’s 4K SXRD imaging technology remains the state of the art in home theater projection.”

 PC-based Calibration Tool for 4K and HD models

Now installers can take advantage of Projector Calibration Pro software on HD through 4K Sony home theater models, allowing them to manipulate all of a projector’s features from a simple PC interface, including the sophisticated color calibration tools. Setup configurations can be saved to a file to upload to any future installations, making future calibrations that much quicker. Additional adjustments made for a particular client can be saved in a separate file that will allow the installer to easily recall their original calibrations if ever needed to tweak that client’s system in the future.

Sony also introduced a replacement for their VPL-HW55ES (a 1080p model) with the new VPL-HW65ES.  The Sony press release has the following to say about this new model:

The new VPL-HW65ES also launches at CEDIA, using full HD SXRD panels while borrowing interface and processing technology from its 4K cousins. The new model brings an advanced Reality Creation to the Full HD home theater experience along with higher brightness and longer lamp life of 6,000 hours. It also provides a built in RF 3D transmitter and a USB update function to enable the device’s firmware to be updated via a simple download and thumb drive transfer. The added IP control interface gives the projector versatile home automation compatibility, which combines with its compact size and front exhaust for a range of flexible installation solutions.

 

I sat through the Sony series of demo videos today two times.  First using the VPL-VW665ES then again using the VPL-VW5000ES. Two 4K/UHD video clips were played.  First was a scene from the TV show Blacklist, which is shot using native 4K cameras.  Second, was a clip from one of the Spiderman movies that has been graded displaying High Dynamic Range (HDR).  While both clips generally look good with both projectors, the extra brightness possible with the VLP-VW5000ES make the HDR highlights much more obvious.  Note however Sony was using a very large 220 inch screen for these demos, which is substantially larger than would be appropriate for use with the lamp-based VPL-VW665ES.  If one were to use that projector on say a 120 to 140 inch screen then I would expect that the projector’s HDR capabilities would offer more real world benefit.

I must note that while the VPL-VW5000ES supports the expanded DCI-P3 color gamut, as used in commercial digital cinemas,  the VPL-VW665 (or VW365) does not.  It is anticipated that many of the movies being released on the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will support DCI-P3 when the disc player is connected to a display device supporting this capability.  As far as I know the demo video material being used by Sony was not graded for DCI-P3, therefore there was no way to judge how much visible difference support for DCI-P3 could have.

Below is an audio recording of the portion of Sony press event that covers both their new projectors and AV receivers.

JVC –

Some details on the new JVC projectors were provided in my blog from last month (HERE) with news out of the IFA trade show in Berlin.  Today JVC announced their new projector line-up for the US market.  This includes 3 equivalent models in each their Precision product line and their Reference Series product line.  The Reference Series, from JVC professional products division, includes the DLA-RS400, DLA-RS500 and DLA-RS600 while their consumer division offers the Precision series models DLA-X550R, DLA-X750R and DLA-X950R.  These models are priced at $4000, $7000 and $10,000 respectively.

JVC -X950
DLA-X950R

 

The following are the product sheets (click to enlarge):

JVC data sheet-X950

JVC data sheet-X750

JVC data sheet-X550

 

The previous JVC models were introduced two years ago and with those 3 models the main difference as you moved from entry-level models (e.g., DLA-RS49, DLA-X500R) to the mid-level then the flagship models was the more expensive models projected images with higher contrast and lower black levels.  It appears home theater enthusiasts went for the entry level models feeling they offered much of the performance and features of the more expensive models.  For the outgoing models we have reviewed both the entry-level model (HERE) as well a the flagship model (HERE)

For the new 2016 models that were introduced today at CEDIA, there are some functional differences that should make the mid-level models (i.e., DLA-X750R and DLA-RS600) the ‘sweet spot’ in the new line-up.  I say this because these models are both more full featured and will offer more complete support for displaying Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in that they support not only the 4K/UHD inputs and high dynamic range (as do the new entry-level models), but also support the expanded DCI-P3 color gamut that is expected to be offered with many future Ultra HD Blu-ray disc titles.  Further, the optics on the mid and higher end models have been upgraded and, of course, the more expensive models will offer higher contrast ratios resulting in a superior image quality.  All of this becomes more important as we transition from the era of 1080p video sources to 4K/UHD sources.

I viewed demo material on the new JVC projectors and felt each offered outstanding performance for their respective price points.  Now this was a very limited experience with these new models and JVC only had limited native 4K video material along with some 1080p (HD Blu-ray) source material for their demos.  Of course the black levels and shadow details were outstanding, as we have come to expect from recent JVC projectors, but with native 4K/UHD source material one would hard pressed notice the difference in image details from what one would get with a native 4K projector. It would probably take a side by side comparison at a very close viewing distance to notice even subtle difference.

These new JVC models use a new lamp this produces additional light output and is said to also offer a longer life.  The demo I saw for the DLA-RS600 was operating the projector in low lamp mode and projecting onto a very large 190+ inch screen.  In the fully light controlled demo room the image was plenty bright.  However, for optimum viewing of HDR encoded source material both a smaller screen size and use of high lamp mode would be desireable to achieve the real benefits possible with HDR.

The bottom line from my limited time with these new JVC projectors, is they offer a lot of performance for the price and while not native 4K projectors, they can certainly compete with those that are.

Epson –

Yesterday’s “Day 0”  blog covered the news from Epson while today I had an opportunity to see a demo of one of their new high light output models in action.  As expected, these projectors are intended for use and do work well for environments where room lighting cannot be fully controlled.  In fact, when paired with a projection screen intended to reject ambient light (i.e., light not coming from the direction of the projector), such as the Screen Innovations Black Diamond screens, these high brightness Epson projectors can produce very watchable pictures in rooms with moderately bright room lighting.  These are really home entertainment projectors rather than home theater projectors.  For their intended purpose, these new Epson models address a market segment for has perhaps been overlooked by many projector manufacturers.

News and Comments

  • Henry Philippeaux

    I have owned Epsons since the mid 80s and been enjoying them very much. However, times are changing and so must I. Right now, around the $8K range, I found the LS10000 lacking in HDR capability and frankly not being a true 4K; I also found the 665ES too pricey and not ready for DCI/P3. The X7000 also lacks the true 4K ability in addition to a convoluted 3D setup. With everything considered, I think the JVC gives the best bang for the money. What do you think?

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Henry, Tough call. With last year’s JVC’s I definitely preferred the LS10000 thanks to the ability to handle 4K content. The new JVC’s however, also have the same ability, and are a bit more advanced – as you point out, in terms of HDR and some other factors.

      The LS10000, however is designed to be user upgradable (think Sony PS3), so the real question is: Will Epson provide the HDR and things like 4:4:2, etc.

      As of right now, I don’t know the answer. I was discussing such things with Epson at CEDIA last month, but I’ve learned over the years that Epson won’t promise anything until it’s cleared with Japan and in progress, to say the least.

      Epson is close by (35 miles) and I happen to be up there filming a demonstration next week relating to education projectors. I’m hoping to get to chat with the product manager for the LS series. As I told them, if they are going to do that level of upgrade, they need to tell the world. So, we shall see.

      So, without that info, tough call! -art

  • Henry Philippeaux

    Thanks, Art. I was waiting for Xmas to get the Epson, but now I definitely have to wait until there are more comparison reviews on all three projectors mentioned earlier. Keep up the good work as I look forward to hearing about your upcoming meeting with Epson representatives.