Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review

SONY VPL-VW365ES PROJECTOR REVIEW – SPECIAL FEATURES:  4K, Reality Creation, MotionFlow (CFI)

True 4K Projector

Do you want make your move now, and get a true 4K projector to last you years.  If you won’t wait at least one more full year (from the time of this review’s publication), then this Sony projector is the least expensive game in town.  As expected from reviewing the other two Sony 4K projectors, the VW365ES is natively sharp with 4K content.  No doubt a single chip 4K DLP would appear sharper, but since those don’t exist… and probably won’t until end of 2017 at the very earliest…

For those of us who like sitting close, the available 4K content today is a blast to watch. Blu-ray UHD titles are almost all HDR.    It just smokes 1080p content when it comes to detail.  It serves up the sharpness I’ve always found mere 1080p projectors to lack.  When you watch a 50” LCD TV from 15-20 feet back, the picture is small – the immersion is minimal, but everything is razor sharp.  At a dozen feet back from my 124” screen, with this true 4K projector, things appear at least that sharp, but the screen is occupying 6+ times as much of your vision!

Bottom line on 4K: Big screen viewing begs for at least 4K, and this Sony’s got it. We projector folks were in heaven when HDTV came out, and then Blu-ray, for the dramatic increase in resolution.  The move from 720p projectors to 1080p projectors was also great, but not as dramatic.  Now the move to true 4K, however, is at least as dramatic as going from 720p to 1080p! Especially with the wider color gamut and HDR (High Dynamic Range).

Reality Creation (Detail Enhancement)

Reality Creation is Sony’s dynamic detail enhancement and sharpening feature.  In the old days, the challenge for a projector was to simply to be sharp, to faithfully reproduce that which was on the source material. But in the last several years, as image processing improved dramatically, the new “thing” seems to be to go beyond. That is, to image process to put back in – to the best of a projector’s ability, what was lost in the process of delivering the original content on a lower resolution than original (1080p) projector, thus to try to get the home experience closer to the theater one. RC when on, defaults to a setting of 20 out of 100 (at least in most modes).   Depending on content, I find I can enjoy it pushed to 40 but not much higher – some content I can push it to 50-60, but not much, at least if I don’t want the processing to be a bit obvious (fine for sports, for example).

The interesting thing is that RC works with 4K content as well. You likely won’t mess with it too much, at all, with 4K content. I stuck to 20, except for specifically when I was playing with it to see the affects of different settings.

In the images in this gallery, the first two pair (full and close-up) are from HDTV, the last pair is 4K from a Blu-ray UHD source.

Bottom line: RC takes your content, be it 1080 or 4K, and makes it seem sharper. (Apply as necessary!)

MotionFlow – Aka: CFI or Smooth Motion

With few exceptions, movies are shot at 24fps.  (A noted exception are The Hobbit movies shot at 48fps).  With 24fps, the eye does not see the movie as being perfectly smooth.  CFI works to smooth things out. One problem. it changes the feel of the movie.  As I repeat often enough, in the Bourne movies, camera shake is intentional to make the action more lively.  You don’t want a CFI making it seem less so.  That defeats the “director’s intent”.

On the other hand, I like CFI on sports content. It makes it easier to follow the fast action (check it out on ice hockey or tennis). Many folks watch content of all types on their LCDTVs with the TV’s smooth motion (CFI) engaged – they don’t even know it exists or is on.  Kids could care less.  Hard core movie viewers though would shudder at the thought of watching a lot of movies using it.

Bottom line:  With all that said, right or wrong, it’s a matter of personal preference.  If you like it – use it.  For me, it’s always off for movies, on only occasionally for HDTV other than sports. All that said, in Sony’s lowest setting, it is perhaps the least “intrusive” CFI I’ve seen on movies, that is, has the least impact on the director’s intent.

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