Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector Review

True 4K Resolution

This Sony is not offering some fancy electronic or physical manipulation using typical “2K” panels (basically 1080p), and claiming 4K.  On the contrary, Sony’s flagship home cinema projector sports three genuine 4K LCoS (SXRD) panels, for true 4K resolution of 4096×2160, a tad higher than 4 times today’s 1080p resolution (1920×1080). That “extra” above 4x, is thanks to a wider panel.

The benefit of the higher resolution panels is immediately noticeable on 2K content.  Sony offers Reality Creation for adjustable 2K to 4K upscaling! It’s not night and day, that is, it’s not as strking as viewing true 4K content, but it is definitely a real difference compared to standard 2K.  There are times when the difference is dramatic.

Even more important in the long run than upscaling, is that the Sony VPL-VW1000ES runs true 4K content. 

Now you just need to find some.  Tthat’s not that hard, if you start thinking digital cameras, rather than commercial movies or HDTV. You will be able to see  your favorite photos at a higher resolution and greater clarity than any computer screen, even noticeably higher resolution than the latest iPad!

Wait, let’s talk about this Sony doing real 4K content. Sony shipped me an HP server with some 4K content on it, including the Spiderman 3 trailer, and a series of 4K images.  But, the real piece d’ resistance was a segment shot by Stephen Low (who did Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, and Legends of Flight – two spectacular 3D videos).  This segment is a Rocky Mountain train ride, fully done in 4K.  The level of detail, clarity, realness, simply left the usual 2K content in the dust.  I can’t wait for 4K content!  After all, we’re the “big screen” folks, we need 4K more than those poor, hapless souls handicapped with  only 37″ LCDTVs for seeing the digital world.

4K Still Photos: Here June 2012

If you have a digital camera capable of 9 megapixels and a Sony PS3 (most of us at least have the PS3, and plenty of us with never cameras have 9+ megapixels), and you can play your photos through the PS3 using the new PlayMemories 4K app from the PlayStation network. That app is scheduled for release mid-June 2012 (about two weeks from this writing).

Sadly, I don’t have any quick solution for true 4K movies or sports, however, a couple of 4K upscaling Blu-ray players are already out there!  And that raises an important topic – when will we have 4K movie content?  We’ll get to that further down the page.

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True 4K Resolution Slideshow

Star Wars

City

Photo of 4K content projected with the VW1000ES

Hugo

2K to 4K Upscaling: Sony VPL-VW1000ES Reality Creation engine

That’s it – Reality Creation is the name for the upscaling.  Since there’s no “HDTV” nor movies available yet in 4K, you will get the “highest resolution” moving images by letting the Sony upscale all the content from 2K (officially 1080p).

In the long run, we’ll see where its best to upscale – at the blu-ray player level, or at the projector.  My money, in this case, is on the projector.  First of all, I cannot imagine they would put an inferior upscaling engine in their flagship projector – a true cinema quality projector, than in an inexpensive Blu-ray player.

Turning Reality Creation on, immediately changes the already sharp image. But, depending on settings and content, mostly does this without any really apparent flaws.  The effect is that the picture starts looking razor sharp. It does not have the type of effects found with dynamic sharpening solutions.  This is more clarity, with less artifacts, but a diffent thing. Upscaling, is playing with hire resolution, not using contrast and other techniques to make things look sharper.

Not a great choice of images, but, compare the larger versions of this image.  The top one is without upscaling, the lower one, with it on.  Look at Scarlett’s face and blouse, Gweneth’s belt.

Using Reality Creation:  Easy – turn it on. There are two adjustable controls, sharpness, and noise reduction.  I did play with the sharpness in ranges from 0 to about 40 (less than half the range).  I did not play with, nor determine the value of the specific noise reduction adjustment available with the Reality Creation controls.

2K to 4K Upscaling

Without upscaling
With upscaling

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