Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector Review

The section below assumes that you have a rather well designed room for viewing projector based content.  We don’t see anyone placing this $25,000 projector your basic living room or family room with light surfaces, and poor lighting control.

VPL-VW1000ES Projector Screen Recommendations

It is most interesting to figure screen options when the projector you are working with is essentially at its brightest when calibrated!

We found the VPL-VW1000ES to measure almost 1200 lumens once D65 calibrated.  While a few more lumens can be tweaked out of the Sony, it is only with a visible drop in overall picture quality.

In one regard that makes this Sony projector somewhat similar to many others, that don’t have a big difference between “best” and “brightest” modes.  However, with the number of lumens being around 1200, that makes for a very different story for this projector.  Most of the DLP and LCoS projectors (those technologies rarely have a huge difference between “best” and “brightest”), however, only manage 500 to 800 lumens calibrated and maybe 1000 lumens “brightest” as the brightest spec from most of those.

That translates into this Sony being a much brighter projector than most single chip DLP projectors and other 3 panel LCoS projectors.  (It is a few lower cost LCD projectors that can have more than twice the brightness in “brightest” as “best”.

First et’s consider the room.   I would expect almost all Sony VPL-VW1000ES projectors to end up in very good or excellent rooms for projection- dedicated home theaters, screening rooms, and perhaps, well designed multi-media rooms, rather than your average family room with off white walls.

Then let’s consider the content:

  • Movies (2D)
  • Sports and HDTV (2D)
  • Movies (3D)
  • Sports and HDTV (3D)
  • Gaming

And finally we’ll consider screen size, as it relates to the content.

We will assume that your room for the Sony VPL-VW1000ES is a “very good to excellent” setup (dark surfaces, controlled lighting, especially to keep ambient light from directly hitting the screen.

With 1200 lumens you have enough brightness in a darkened environment for 2D movie viewing on some truly huge screens.  If your room can handle a 150″ diagonal screen, for example, this Sony should have no trouble filling it with a reasonably bright image with a typical screen offering modest gain, such as my 1.3 gain Stewart Studiotek 130, or my Carada Brilliant White (1.4).

For your 2D sports and HDTV viewing, where you have some controlled lighting in place so you can see your friends and family, the 150″ diagonal is still somewhat reasonable.  From a more practical standpoint, I have been running up to 124″ diagonal (2.35:1) with my rear, down facing lights on, for sports viewing, and at that size can even let a little light in from outside by not having my shutters fully closed.

Assuming a well designed room, no reason to go with anything but a white surfaced screen.  The blacks get so black, that to consider a high contrast grey screen is something I might only recommend if you are going with a very small screen – certainly no larger than 100″ diagonal.

Ultimately, the only screen/brightness issues to be concerned with, are for 3D viewing. With 3D eating up something along the lines of 75% of the brightness, everything changes.  Now I complain about 3D brightness, probably more than any other reviewer out there.  I don’t like dim 3D.  I find most 3D setups at your local cineplex to be “too dim”, though I’ve had much better luck with IMAX 3D.

With my tougher demands in mind, here’s my best description of what works – based on more than 40 hours of 3D viewing on the Sony in the last month and change:

100″ diagonal (roughly what my 124″ diagonal 2.35:1 screen works out to, when showing 16:9 content) is always fine, brightness wise, in 3D.  That’s been true for movies and sports.

On the other hand, when I do get a 2.35:1 3D movie, and push it at the full 124″ diagonal, with lamp on full, etc., I do find the Sony a little dim, but not too badly.  I’m pretty certain that I’d be plenty happy with a 110″ screen, just that 124″ is a bit to large.  Many others would probably be fine with the 124″ size.

To compare this to an excellent, lower cost projector, the JVC DLA-X70R, the Sony calibrated, measures a good 1/3 brighter than the JVC at its brightest, and more than 50% brighter than the JVC calibrated.  That 50% works out to a screen size over 20% larger diagonally.

Thus, the Sony would be slightly brighter on a 120″ screen than the JVC on a 100″.  Or, the Sony would be slightly brighter on a 144″ diagonal screen, than the JVC on a 120″

And that matches what I’ve previously written.  For projector’s like the JVC, I’ve described 3D on a typical 100″ diagonal screen as being a bit dim, just as I say that this Sony is a bit dim on my 124″.

Except that I believe that I was a bit happier with the Sony’s when it’s filling my 124″ than I felt the JVC did when I had it around 100″.

Bottom line:  Get an excellent white surfaced screen.  Modest gain is recommended as it definitely helps with 3D content.  You can go with a small screen (less than 100″ diagonal), if that’s all your room can handle, as the Sony can easily adjust to smaller screens (manual iris, combined iris), as well as filling larger ones.  But, this is a projector that is designed to fill a pretty large screen with some really amazing color, and does a reasonable job in 3D brightness as well.

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