Sony VPL-EX175 XGA LCD Projector Review

Sony VPL-EX175 Projector Highlights

  • XGA resolution
  • Suitable for small fixed install, or portable use
  • Extremely bright for a projector in its class
  • Low cost of operation
  • Better than typical sound – suitable for a classroom
  • Two computer inputs, and monitor out
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Wired networking
  • Sub-$1000 street price

Sony VPL-EX175 Projector Overview

I’m impressed with this Sony VPL-EX175 projector. It’s not a fancy projector, nor is it an especially low cost one. Street prices are definitely under $1000 (despite the $1420 MSRP). Of course you can find some entry level XGA projectors down around $500 these days, but the Sony VPL-EX175, truly isn’t entry level. Let’s start with the fact that it is the high end of Sony’s four VPL-E Series projectors.

The other three projectors in the series are the VPL-EX100, VPL-EX120, and VPL-EX145. The EX100 and EX120 are less bright, have smaller speakers… More on the other models in separate pages that will be added before the Educaton report is finished.

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Instead, you get a rather bright projector. It claims 3600 lumens, while most of the low cost projectors are still in the 2000 – 3000 lumen range. It also adds what appears to be a solid networking capability, something not found on the classic “entry level” projector. The EX175 also is a low cost of operation projector. At lowest power, 6000 hours per lamp, will save a bundle for any school or corporation with a lot of projectors. It’s not just the low cost per hour, but equally important, a long time before someone has to maintain this projector.

As a projector well designed for the school market, the EX175 projector has some pretty respectable sound, relying on a built in single 10 watt speaker system.

I believe Sony also sees this projector, VPL-EX175, as a nice simple placement for schools who are upgrading from older, less efficient, and lower resolution SVGA projectors, especially in a networked school environment.

The 3600 lumen EX175 projector is the brightest in its family. The remainder of the projectors in the VPL-E series are the:

VPL-EX145 projector; 3100 lumens – basically a lower powered version of the EX175
VPL-EX120 projector; 2600 lumens – lacks networking, fewer lumens, 1 watt speaker
VPL-EX100 projector; 2300 lumens – entry level, 1 watt speaker, less inputs

Sony VPL-EX175 Projector Special Features

Low Cost of Operation:

Short of the few LED light source projectors out there, 6000 hours is about as high as the hours gets. Sony has gone with three brightness levels. True, you are giving up about close to half of maximum lumens in Low mode, but this is one bright projector. At full power the lamp life is rated 3000 hours, and 4500 hours in the middle. Even in low power it’s as bright as a lot of the competition at its street price.

Let’s step back a second. In the battle for the minds of educators and the folks that support them, DLP and 3LCD camps differ in that most DLP projectors get by without fans. They argue that a school district with hundreds of projectors requires real personpower to keep changing filters every few hundred hours, as is the case with some 3LCD projectors. Here’s an example of a 3LCD projector, which takes filter changing out of the cost of maintainance equation. Sony’s brochure says it has a 6000 hour cycle, same as the lamp! I’m impressed!

Closed Captioned

Not much to say here. It wasn’t that long ago it was hard to find projectors with close captioning. It’s become far more common the last five years or so, but far from universal. Nonetheless, it seems to be an almost mandatory feature. This Sony supports close captioning.

Wired Networking:

The EX175 is designed to sit on a network. It is certified by three major networking schemes found in schools and corporations: Crestron, AMX, and PJlink. It allows for remote monitoring and control. Control and monitoring can be done from a web browser. The projector supports email notification, and monitoring. We don’t take a look at networking, that’s a field we’ll leave to the specialists.

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