Home Theater Projector Report: Sony VW1000ES: 2013 Best in Class 2012 Projector of the Year!

Home Theater Projectors, Our Award Winners:

Class: Premium Priced Home Theater Projectors: $3500 – $10,000+

And the Best in Class winner is: The Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector!

Check out the Projector Reviews TV:  Video Summary of the VPL-VW1000ES

When we reviewed the Sony VPL-VW1000ES last summer, I was completely blown away, by just about every aspect of the projector.

True 4K resolution blew me away while watching true 4K content provided by Sony.  Black levels blew me away – the best I’ve ever seen from a dynamic iris projector, and blacks that could even be blacker than JVC’s DLA-X95R (OK, in fairness that JVC does it without a dynamic iris).

Sharpness. I’ve played with various detail and sharpness enhancement programs whose goal is to give you a next step up image.  Sorry folks, no joy for those 2K projectors.  Even the Sony HW50ES with it’s Reality Creation and the JVC’s e-Shift2 are no match for 4K content on a 4K projector.

Yes, it’s true, you still can’t go out and buy a 4K movie on Blu-ray or watch a sporting event off of HDTV at 4K.  But Sony, and the LCDTV manufacturers in particular, are in a great hurry to see 4K become the next step.  It’s coming, and Sony has committed to supporting future 4K standards on the VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector.  (They didn’t promise they would all be free solutions, but talking to management, they fully understand they have to deliver on their promise.

I saw enough of the latest Spiderman in 4K for serious jaw dropping. Also from Stephen Low who brings us Ultimate Wave Tahiti, and Legend of Flight in 1080p 3D (both of which I use for checking 3D viewing quality), I received part of his Rocky Mountain train footage in 4K 3D.   Combining 4K and 3D together, can you say:  Next Level!!!  Serious wow!   Of the 1080p projectors with fancy dynamic detail enhancement, I believe the Sony’s Reality Creation on the HW50ES is the best, but it’s not really close to true 4K.   We projector people have never had enough resolution.  4K will be a magnitude step.

If I can ever afford the VPL-VW1000ES projector or its replacement, you better believe my captain’s chair I sit in is moving all the way up to 6 feet, maybe 5 feet, from my 124″ screen.  At 6 feet, it will be sharper and cleaner than my viewing 1080p at 10 feet!

I’m into immersion, especially in 3D. At 5-6 feet, 4K and 3D on the VPL-VW1000ES, filling my 124″ screen should be like sitting in the 3rd or 4th or 5th row at a movie theater, but with one exception.   The Sony will produce a sharp and detailed image on the screen, something most theaters can’t accomplish any closer than 1/2 to 1/3 back!   Afterall, those 3D projectors in your local Cineplex are all 2K or 4K themselves, and on far larger screens, of course.

No promises, but the VW1000ES also supports DCI, that’s the higher quality standard used by movie theaters, for color handling.  It has a wider gamut, better, more dynamic color than REC709 that we home folks have to deal with.  It may not be as great an improvement as going from DVD to Blu-ray when it comes to (non-resolution related) picture quality, but another signficant step, in the right direction. Keep in mind, Sony 4K Cinema projectors are found I believe, in the majority of 4K digital cinemas. Christie originally dominated digital cinema, but Christie didn’t introduce 4K Cinema projectors until after Sony was already installing them.  Back when all the cinema projectors were 2K, we all complained about the softness, reminding ourselves that film projectors looked sharper.

What’s the competition?  Well, being the first 4K sort of narrows the field.  There are some amazing high end projectors out there, from the likes of Runco, and SIM2, but no true 4K projectors yet to my knowledge.   Runco is already making 4K (Ultra-HD) panels (just announced in February at Digital Signage, but no projectors yet.  Not sure about SIM2 at the moment, but I think you can bank on first gen 4K projectors from SIM2 and Runco to cost probably at least double the Sony!

Color is about as good as it gets, the VPL-VW1000ES projector calibrates great, producing stunning skin tones, and thanks to it’s killer black level performance, I doubt any of the 3 chip DLP’s can touch it when tackling darker scenes.

This Sony projector is no wimp either. Figure folks with the $25,000 for the Sony probably can afford and have room for a large screen.  The Sony VPL-VW1000ES loves large screens.  with almost 1200 measured (conservative) calibrated lumens that’s roughly double what you need to fill a 130″ screen!

As with all projectors, you can go with a larger screen size for 2D than 3D. Mike measured a maximum of 1269 lumens (mid-point on the zoom), in brightest mode.  In 3D, the Sony is reasonably bright on a 110″ screen and watchable filling my 124″, 1.3 gain Firehawk G3. Guess what, If I had this projector, I’d learn to live with the 3D brightness!

The VPL-VW1000ES also does something else really award winning well, and that’s its 2K to 4K conversion – Reality Creation, except with the VW1000ES, you don’t have to take that created 4K image and squish it back down to 1080p!

Downside?  You could say brightness, but only compared to the really big, expensive projectors, mostly double to 5 times the price.  Many of those produce more than 2000 calibrated lumens, and then there’s Runco’s big 3D projectors which are essentially two monster, superbright projectors built as one.  but can you say three times the price, and still only 1080p?

Save me one. It’s no surprise that Sony can now add the Best In Class, $3500 – $10,000+  award, to the Outstanding Projector of the Year award we gave it those months ago!

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