The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Sony VPL-VW600ES Projector – Review in the Works – Awesome – Can JVC compete?

As many of you know I got two good looks at pre-production VW600ES projectors months ago.  It had come with a PC/Server – generic, not the round one that now ships with the VW600ES.  It had some 4K content on it.  This time they sent me the official server – needed for Sony’s 4K media service (more details in the review) and a second source with even more 4K content than previous.

Well, I had Mike immediately calibrate this projector (figure about 20 hours on the lamp).  And started watching it extensively for two whole days before a family emergency required me to head to Florida, where I’ll be for another 5-6 days.  (Mom’s in the hospital).

I’m looking forward to getting back to it, and watching more of the Winter Olympics on it.  (I’m recording plenty.)

Let me say this.  The Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremonies were magnificent, even if merely being 1080 resolution.  I have so far only run Sony’s Reality Creation at modest settings (20).  Wow!  The 4K content Sony provided looks even more amazing. I’ve got FIFA footage you just wouldn’t believe – it’s so far beyond (in detail and clarity) anything I’ve ever seen in 2K.  (same was true when we reviewed the VW1000ES a year ago.)

vw600es

The Sony VPL-VW600ES true 4K projector – Awesome. Great on 2K content, amazing with 4K content!

So, while it will probably be two weeks before the review publishes, I have some preliminary advice for anyone shopping for a $10K plus projector right now.  Normally, short of spending $25K, I’ve always felt that the top of the line JVC’s were the projectors to beat.  The current versions of JVC’s best being the DLA-X700R and DLA-X900R.

Now while I’m still awaiting for one of those two JVCs to arrive, so I can see how well they do on 4K content (last year’s couldn’t even accept 4K content).  But I’ve looked at, and even created video content about the performance of their “4K eShift” detail enhancement, and unless there’s a magnitude (or two) improvement with these new ones, there really will be no contest, in terms of detail.

 

By my preliminary take, the Sony VPL-VW600ES projector will crush the JVC’s on 4K content, and 2K content as well.  Mind you, that’s conjecture, I don’t have a JVC here yet to confirm.

Of course it’s not all Sony. Those JVC’s will have definitely superior black level performance, but as I have always said, you reach a point, where black levels are so good, that improvements in other areas, at that point, become more important.  In this case, I can easily live with the VW600ES’es black levels, so that I can enjoy the amazing sharpness and detail.

Well, so far, that’s how I feel about the Sony VPL-VW600ES.  That is to say, I can live with the black level performance, which seems  better than the Epson 5030UB/6030UB, Sony’s HW55ES, and JVC’s DLA-X35/RS46.

But on detail, sharpness, the difference is almost “night and day”, and it’s all this Sony projector!

So, I wanted to blog about his VPL-600ES projector to address the questions I know are about to start arriving, from folks looking to spend $8000 and up:

Which do I prefer/think is the better projector, projector value:   The VW600ES or one of the two top end JVCs?

Given that I haven’t reviewed them yet, I’d have to say this:  I’m sold on the Sony.   While there are things I really like about the JVC’s (and expect to like when they arrive), If I was choose whether to spend around $12000 for the JVC X900R or an extra few thousand for the Sony VW600ES, personally I would definitely go with the Sony!  No question.  That might not be the case on 2K content (but probably).   With true 4K content, though, I don’t care how good upscaling can be, no matter what the technology, I can’t believe that any 2K projector, be it those JVC’s the lower cost Sony’s or the best of the DLP projectors that are merely 1080p resolution.

And the world is going 4K, so unless you plan to replace your projector in a year or two, if the Sony’s in your budget, it has to be the best play.  Now let me say that since the X900R is built from the best of the components but otherwise the same as the X700R, is effectively just about half the price.  As such, the X700R is truly a great 2K projector, and in that regard, an excellent value.  So, in that case, it’s X700R vs VW600ES.  For me, if the Sony’s in your budget, I believe I’d still recommend it as  the way to go, if you are even half as fanatical as I am.  In fact for a fanatic, it would be the excellent choice for sticking with true 1080p if the plan was to wait two to three years, until there’s tons of 4K content, and prices have fallen significantly for a projector “like” the VW600ES, to perhaps $5000.

That’s my take at this point, but again, remember I haven’t seen what improvements JVC has made, so I very well could change my opinion.  But as it may be a month or more before I get one of those (I requested the JVC DLA-X500R first – but don’t know which one JVC will send first.)

Bottom line / Best Guess:  JVC makes perhaps the best $8,000 to $20,000 2K projectors on the market, but the true, 4K Sony VPL-VW600ES projector, is going to be a a whole new level of experience, one that those of you who can afford it, just don’t want to miss.

Pretty amazing!  -art

PS.  The VPL-600ES projector even comes with a tablet, to control the media server.  Sony is launching a 4K service, so at least over the short term, people will be able to access a whole lot of 4K content from Sony Pictures and their affiliates.

I can’t wait to get back to California and watch some more Olympics, and some 4K content.

Stay tuned! -art

News And Comments

  • http://www.good3dprojector.com/ Peter Šmid

    I would really love to see some 4k myself…

  • Tony F.

    I wonder how the 600ES directly compares to its big brother the Sony 1100ES!

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Tony,

      I can give you a pretty good idea, since I did review the VW1000ES. (check it out). Other than some firmware updates, a price increase, and the inclusion of the 4K Media Player and the Sony android Tablet, the VW1000ES and the VW1100ES are the same projector. (That satisfied Sony’s promise to buyers of the VW1000ES.)

      Not a whole lot of difference, but, the black levels of the VW1000ES were definitely better than the 600ES’s. The 600ES are excellent, a cut above projectors like the Epson UB’s, lower end JVC’s, etc. Figure though that a top of the line (700R or 900R) JVC could produce black levels roughly comparable to the 600ES, but without an iris. (Have yet to get one of the new JVC’s in – they have added an iris.) A couple of folks have emailed me (who have bought new JVC’s to say that the iris could be smoother, though (hey, it’s their first try – Epson, Sony, others are on their 4-6 generation iris designs.).

      But the VW1000ES could produce blacks even blacker than the last gen JVCs. I doubt the 1000ES/1100ES can match the JVC’s in native contrast, but unless one is a purist who can’t tolerate a smooth dynamic iris, the VW1100/1000ES will have the blackest blacks this side of a CRT projector, other than probably the two new JVC’s with their (by me) untested irises.

      Other than that, the big Sony’s are also rather bright. claiming 2000 lumens, which is 300 more than the VW600ES

      Next difference is the lens, or at least I think. I suspect that the 1100ES may have the same lens as the VW600ES but even if that’s the case, I would not be surprised if Sony does what JVC does between their 700R and 900R… That is, pull the very best of the optics via quality control, and save those for the V1100ES while the average lens goes into the 600ES…

      Expect the black levels to be the primary difference though. And, if the optics are better still, that’s a plus as well. Let’s put it this way, if spending an extra $12K isn’t a big deal, then why not go VW1100ES? Otherwise, the value proposition has to be the 600ES. I do remember drooling over the 1000ES’s blacks, while the VW600ES has blacks that I can certainly live with, as a black level fanatic. -art

      • Tony F.

        Thanks for the information Art! The Lens on the 1100ES looked to me to be a lot larger than the 600ES. I was told that the light path of the two projectors were different. How this translate to the final picture I do not have a clue yet. You should get something for about twice the price I guess. – Tony F.