Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector - Physical Tour
6/1/12 - Art Feierman
Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector - Appearance
This VPL-VW1000ES is the biggest Sony home theater projector I've seen. From the sides, it just looks large. From a straight on front view, it just looks gorgeous:
The recessed 2.1:1 zoom lens is the the eye candy in its large framed recess. The case is a coarse dark gray finish on the top which curves around to the sides. The front and back are done in a glossy piano finish.
The input panel - all the connections, as has been common on Sony's, is located along the side - the left side if you are looking from the front. They are low down. A bit higher up, and closer to the front, are the small buttons for the basic control panel.
I find it interesting, and surprising, that the VW1000ES vents the hot air out the rear. The fact that it has a zoom lens with 2.1:1 range, means enough flexibility that in most rooms it could be mounted in the rear of your room, perhaps on a high shelf.
Sony VPL-VW1000ES Control Panel
This Sony has a very small, basic control panel located on the same side of the projector as all the inputs and other connectors. It's barely even noticeable. You can see it in the image in the section below - just barely! Basically a Menu button, a Source button and a little joystick square rocker that functions like four arrow keys.
Sony VPL-VW1000ES projector's connector panel is located on the left side (if looking from the front). Facing that side, from back of the projector to the front, you'll find the power receptacle, two HDMI 1.4a inputs, and a standard HD15 connector for the usual analog computer input (it can alternately be used as a second component video input). There's a standard component video input (3 color coded RCA jacks), a pair of network ethernet connections, and also an RS232 for command and control. There's a hard wire jack for the remote control, and a pair of 12 volt screen triggers.
Sony VPL-VW1000ES Menus
Although Sony seems to add a new feature or two with each generation, the menus have been fundamentally the same.
Because the menu stucture hasn't changed since the first of the series, the VW50, way back in 2006, we often borrow from older reviews. It's time for a fresh start, so for the VW1000ES review, we have all new menu photos and descriptions. Here goes.
As you can see from the picture here, all the icons for the main menus are on the left side of the menu. That first one, is the Picture menu (shown).
The next menus relate to Picture, and modes and color.
There are plenty of color modes, as you will read later, however, Reference is pretty much the only one needed.
Of particular note, besides the color modes, there's Reality Creation - the 2K to 4K upscaler, MotionFlow (CFI for smooth motion), and Cinema Black Pro for controlling the iris either in dynamic mode or manual, and lamp control (high or low).
The Expert Settings option shown above, brings up a major sub-menu with features relating to Gamma, gradation, noise reduction, color space and more.
Also found on the Picture menu are your basic Contrast, Brightness, Color and Hue controls. Color Temp comes next and it offers up four basic and multiple Custom color temp settings. The standard ones are High Middle, Low 1, and Low 2.
For those who like experimenting, and lots of controls to play with, this VPL-VW1000ES should keep you extremely pleased!
Screen Menu is shown above, and it deals with aspect ratios. It offers a choice of Normal, Full, Wide Zoom, Zoom, and Anamorphic Zoom. The other setting on the Screen menu is Overscan. The Sony offers only Overscan off and on options, and no masking alternative which I prefer (as it maintains 1:1 pixel mapping, though creates a slightly smaller image).
The Setup menu's next with the Lamp reset control, all your standard setup stuff like menu position and language, Standby modes...
The Function Menu is an interesting one with a 3D settings item (offers auto select between 2D and 3D, or manual). HDMI settings and input search are also there.
Note that only two items come up in the Function menu when in 2D (as shown), in 3D modes, other items appear, including choosing the "mode" for the glasses. The High setting, is a bit brighter (nice) and has a touch more "noise/artifacts", but should be just fine for most folks, as its better than most projectors can do in any glasses mode.
The Installation menu is about projector positioning, the 12 volt trigger, setting the IR for the remote, and aligning Sony's LCoS panels.
Finally, of course, there's an Information menu.
Last is the Information menu. As you can see, this is the 70th VW1000ES, and I've put on most of those 259 hours on the lamp.
OK, that's a good selection to give you a proper feel. Missing are many more menus, including the Gamma menu.
Note that with Image Director software, and your computer, you can further customize the gamma controls.
Let's look at 3D menus: Yes, the Picture Mode menu in 3D looks exactly like the 2D version, except for the addition of (3D). All modes are useable for 3D.
There is a 3D menu for settings, which gives you control over glasses brightness, and the depth adjust control (depth control is very interesting, but I mostly avoided it, finding the default works better than alternatives I tried).
There's greater info on these menus, of course, in the Sony user manual.
Sony VPL-VW1000ES Remote Control
Sony offers up an excellent remote control for the VW1000ES projector. It is a larger remote, reasonably backlit in blue.
The Light on button is on the top left, with the input selector in the middle and the green power button on the right.
Let me stop to say, that for a dark remote, this one is relatively easy to spot in a dark theater, unlike, for example, my Sony PS3 remote.
The next bank of buttons (3 rows of 3) offers you a discreet button for each of the 9 "color" modes.
Next are three buttons across for lens control: Focus, Zoom, and Shift. Selecting any of these brings up a green grid to help out with focus, and placement of the image.
Just above the middle comes the navigation area. The four arrow keys are "surrounded" by three buttons - the top left is Position, top right Reset.
You'll find the Menu button right below the down arrow.
The next bank of nine buttons are mostly image features with one button access, including: Aspect ratio, CFI, 3D, Color Space, Color Temp, Reality Creation (2K - 4K upscaling), Gamma correction, Black level adjust and Advanced Iris.
Finally, near the bottom, three pair of rocker switches for Sharpness, Brightness, and Contrast.
Sony VPL-VW1000ES Lens Throw
The VW1000ES projector's motorized 2.1:1 zoom lens offers a tremendous amount of placement range. Very few projectors offer this much zoom (2.1:1, or 2:1). If you are using a standard 100" diagonal HDTV shaped, 16:9 screen, you can place the projector as close as 9 feet 9 inches, or as far back as 21 feet, 2 inches.
Of the almost 200 hundred home theater projectors we've reviewed, the only other player to sport a standard lens greater than 2:1 (and also 2.1:1 like this Sony) has been Epson. I guess you could say that this Sony has more placement flexibility than basically any other projector on the market (unless of course, there is a full selection of interchangeable lenses. This Sony's 2.1:1, however, should work fine in just about any but the strangest laid out home theaters.
VW1000ES Lens Shift
The amount of lens shift available (it too is motorized), is extensive both vertically and horizontally. Officially the vertical shift is 80% of screen height. That means you can place the projector lens anywhere from about 15" above the top of the screen height to 15" below the bottom. Horizontally, the 30% shift allows more than an adequate amount to allow mounting slightly off center due to obstructions.
If you are using the Sony with a 2.35:1 ("cinemascope" shape) screen of 100" diagonal, then the distance to front of lens is 9 feet 8 inches to as much as 20 feet 11 inches.
The VW1000ES is equipped with lens memory capabilities. It can auto sense the screen and adjust as well, however I found this process to not be that reliable.
VPL-VW1000ES Anamorphic Lens, Lens Memory
The VPL-VW1000ES, of course, supports using an anamorphic lens. A motorized sled for the lens can be controlled by the Sony's 12 volt trigger. This allows you to go with a true Cinemascope shaped screen (such as 2.35:1).
The Sony VPL-VW1000ES offers a full Lens Memory setup. This will allow you to go with that 2.35:1 (or 2.40:1) "Cinemascope" width screen. With Lens Memory, once it's set up, when you want to watch a widescreen movie, then simply at the touch of a button, the image will zoom out (larger image) to fill the entire width of your 2.35:1 screen. At the same time, (the Sony has digital image shift and motorized lens shift), the image will adjust to be properly filling the screen vertically with just the information from the movie, with the letterboxing overshooting the screen. With the Sony's great black level performance, you are only likely to really notice the letterboxing if your front wall around your screen is white or near white, and you're watching a very dark scene.
Alternately, when it's time to watch some "standard" 16:9 content - including HDTV, and most animation films, the lens will return to the setting for watching in a 16:9 aspect ratio, keeping the whole vertical image within the screen height (constant screen height), which results in the letterboxing on the screen, to the left and right of the 16:9 image.
If movies are your primary reason for owning a projector, then for most, it does make sense to have the largest screen size when viewing movies. With the standard 16:9 screen, though, movies - due to their letterboxing, are a smaller area, than HDTV.
Remember, that while most movies out there are widescreen,
With the VPL-VW1000ES, you have two ways to go "widescreen" - either use the lens memory, or go with a full anamorphic lens solution.
Now its time to talk picture quality...