Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K and 3D Projector!
Let’s chat a minute about Sony’s VPL-VW1100ES Projector. If you are one of my regular readers, you should know two things: First, I’m a black level fanatic, not a lunatic, but unless black level performance is already approaching the best, I’ll opt for better blacks over fancy features. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to Sony’s VPL-VW1100ES in a moment.
Less obvious, but just as true, is that I am way sold on 4K, I’m sold on 8K too, but that’s probably 8 or 9 years out per most industry experts. Why so important, because the great movie experience is about being immersed. 42″ LCDTVs are too small to really be immersed theater style. So are 65″ unless you are sitting awfully close. Anyway, short of buying a genuine Cinema projector (of which Sony is one of the three major players in Digital Cinema projectors), the VPL-VW1100ES is the best 4K home theater projector in the world best I can tell! And with that, the finest pixel structure and the maximum sharpness which allows more detail while also increasing immersion. I’m moving my seat closer when this one arrives.
True, it’s due to a lack of competition, Sony now offers the only two projectors designed for home theater use with true 4K native resolution.
This VPL-VW1100ES replaces the VW1000ES that I raved about last year. And with 4K content, and HDMI 2.0 almost upon us, this is going to be awesome, but I was really also impressed last year with how good the projector looked with upscaled 2K content. The VW1100ES is $3000 more than the VW1000ES it replaces.
Sony it should be noted is delivering on last year’s promise to keep the VW1000ES future proof, for 4K… They now offer a $2500 upgrade path for the VW1000ES, so as it turns out, those who bought early – the VW1000ES actually save about $500 (That’s only 2% – the rich won’t really notice). Sony also serves up a 4K server, and a Sony tablet for controlling the projector and content, for an additional $1000, bringing the grand total (before sales tax, of course) of $28,999. For those with a sense of humor, let’s just say that if you can afford this, you probably won’t be getting subsidies from Obamacare.
Sony now has lighter weight RF glasses for the VPL-VW1100ES Home Theater Projector. That’s a very good thing. Although last year’s glasses were respectable, I found them getting uncomfortable (by the end of any long movie). In fairness I wear them over glasses, and my head is super-sized.
Moving on to important things, let’s talk about the server, and Sony’s FMP-X1. This server will work with their announced Video 4K Unlimited service. Yep, they are going to get VW1000 owners, some serious 4K content. In fact Sony’s working several fronts. While 4K Blu-ray doesn’t exist yet, Sony is now also doing special encoding of 2K (1080p) discs from Sony Pictures, so that the VW1100Es can essentially restore the picture almost to the native 4K master. Those Blu-ray discs will be marked “Mastered in 4K”. It’s not pure, but should be very close. Also big news, the Sony VPL-VW1100ES is able to support not just 4K /24fps, but can handle up to 4K/60fps. What does that mean? Well for starters – The Hobbit as intended (60fps). I’m not sure of the 4K/60 applies to 3D as well. I will eventually know for sure.
Contrast I should note is again, 1,000,000:1. That, however is no longer the highest contrast claimed. JVC’s pseudo-4K top of the line DLA-X900R claims 1.5M:1. Ultimately, I raved about black levels last year when reviewing the older VW1000ES, so no point in discussing further until I have them both for review.
Nice and bright as well, the Sony VPL-VW1100ES claims 2000 lumens, which means there’s plenty “under the hood” for handling very large home theaters and screening rooms. Calibrated we’ll expect the same roughly 1200 lumens that the older projector measured. That’s easily enough for a 150″ diagonal screen.
Let’s save the rest for the review. With the almost complete lack of new projectors under $2000 this year at CEDIA, I’ll have plenty of time to review higher end projectors. I’ve already got the VW600ES here to review so from there, it’s a question of what Sony has for me next, the new VPL-HW55ES or this VW1100ES.
Bottom Line, the VW1100ES is an updated VW1000ES. That’s given Sony time to get their act together for new standards, which I should note Sony is pushing for harder than anyone, since they’ve got the product to watch it on. This is going to be an amazing projector that will immerse you, and should dazzle with great color. I truly loved having the older one for an extended period (let’s call that “round 1″). The VW1100ES is more about having updated inputs than anything else, but new glasses and other small improvements are there too, plus their 4K content service. Can’t wait for round two. Bring it on!