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CEDIA 2015: New Sony VPL-VW5000ES 4K Laser Projector for Home Theater

By Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW5000ES - The Best Home 4K Projector Ever?

When I first heard the VPL-VW5000ES mentioned, my assumption was that it was the replacement for the VW1100ES, but no, this is Sony's new flagship, high end home theater projector. More information on other new Sony and other projectors, screens and more from CEDIA 2015 are found either in this Info/Articles section, or under the two Home Theater blogs:  The Art of Home Theater Projectors, and The Technical Side:  Home Theater and Projectors. That aside, Sony's VPL-VW5000ES was the best looking projector demo'd at the show!

Sony VPL-VW5000ES Projector Details

This VPL-VW5000ES is Sony’s flagship 4K projector for the home, and is the best thing, this side of a commercial digital cinema.

The images above, it should be noted, are not from this VW5000ES, rather from the VW1100ES, their $28,000 4K projector that’s been around over a year. This VW5000ES is a whole step up, including being two and a half times as bright. Of course, your computer screen (or phone), can’t even begin to properly display the picture quality of any really good projector, let alone something this spectacular.  The first images are of 4K content, those starting with the football images are 1080i or 1080p resolution.

Budget wise, the VPL-VW5000ES isn’t for the faint of heart. The MSRP is “only” $60,000 (hooray, they resisted the temptation to make it $59,995). That’s way beyond any budget I have, so I’ll just have to settle for bringing it in for review – and hanging on to it for as long as Sony lets me. Unlike the VW1100ES and the new VW365 and VW665, their other 4K projectors, this one’s a big, and rectangular, black box, not a beautifully sculpted projector.

Sony also has a commercial version of this projector, that I reported about from Infocomm. The VW5000ES is supposed to be available early spring 2016, so be patient.

But, if you really want one of these, you can pre-order now. It’s like ordering a Tesla – sort of the old “hurry up and wait.” Contact your installing Sony authorized dealer.

That Sony had several of these seeded in other booths at CEDIA, I had guessed that it would be shipping to customers rather soon. Alas. Well, having seen it in action, it’s certainly worth the weight.


aseThe VW5000ES is bright – 5000 lumens. If you can get past the sticker shock, you probably have an appropriate theater type room with a really large wall for your screen. You don’t even have to think about brightness for movies. But more to the point, you have enough lumens to have a pretty bright room, say, for sports viewing, and then a gorgeous image for movie viewing when the lights are off.

Sony, of course was demoing the VW5000ES is a fully darkened room. The screen was large, and the picture was, basically…awesome! My biggest complaint was that Sony was also running through their audio products announced at the show. Would have liked to see more movie footage then they had time for. That’s ok, my turn will come.

This is a Sltate of the Art projector (no pun intended). Sony is still the only game in town when it comes to true 4K viewing. There are three JVCs and one Epson projector offering pixel shifting 1080p projectors that can handle 4K content, including a lot of the color space and standards I mention below, but they don’t have 4K panels aka “chips.”  For those more technically inclined, this Sony supports HDR for enhanced dynamic range (the image REALLY Pops!) It supports DCI content, (the standard that the commercial movie theaters use. DCI is coming to the home and this Sony is ready. Well, Blu-ray UHD is supporting DCI as well, so it won’t be the only projector (the lower cost Sony 4K’s also do. It also supports YCbCr 4:4:4 color space – at 4K x60fps. I don’t believe anything else out there can do that. Some will support up to 30fps with that much color space, but no more. It also can emulates the new BT2020 standard.

There be lasers!

The VW5000ES is a true laser projector.  It uses a blue laser combined with phosphors to create a white light source.   It’s not the first for the home, Epson’s LS10000 beat Sony to that last year, but it is the first that’s true 4K. The Epson can handle Blu-ray UHD, and DCI, and it uses pixel shifting, but, at the end of the day, it’s still inherently a 1080p projector, not true 4K, and it can’t handle the 4:4:4 color space, either. But, back to the Sony VPL-VW5000ES. One problem with a lot of the new “bright room” projectors being shown at CEDIA is that while they are similarly bright as this Sony, they are lamp based. When you darken the room for movies, they are typically too bright for a lights out showing. Not this Sony. Thanks to the lasers, you can dim it to whatever brightness you want. 40%, 4%, perhaps even 1%. No problem. And again, thanks to the laser, there’s virtually no color shifting over time when doing that. With any lamp projectors, switching from full power to eco mode changes the color temp of the lamp slightly, enough to visibly affect skin tones and scenes in general. Even a laser projector can visibly shift color over time – thousands of hours. This Sony, however remembers the original settings so that as it shifts, you can adjust it so the original color is matched. Excellent!

Enough. Wait for our review, or order yours today (just take out a second mortgage). Or check out Ron's The Technical Side blog, he also got a good look at the Sony.  I will of course have tons of photos of the images projected by the VW5000ES, all of which will look stunning, and not one will even closely approximate how great this projector really looks.   Sony gets a really big league WOW for this projector.

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