CEDIA Expo is the biggest US trade show for home theater and home automation and it is being held at the San Diego Convention Center. Today's blog (Thursday, 7 September) is called my Day-1 blog since this is the first day the exhibit booths have opened up. Check out my Day 0 blog from Wednesday, 6 Sept. (HERE
) for what I learned at the Sony press event and also check out my Day 2 blog (HERE) with more info from JVC and Optoma.
So far today I have visited a few of the major projector manufacturers and what I have learned is summarized below.
As a follow up to my Day 0 blog, from the Sony press event, I visited the Sony booth for a first-hand look at their new 4K projector models and a demo of the new VPL-VW885ES laser projector. The VW885ES is a relatively compact and moderately light weight as compared to Sony’s flagship VW5000ES, but it is still a little larger and heavier the new VW285ES and VW385ES models well as the previous VW3xx and VW6xx series models. I found the VW885ES put up an impressive picture showing very good dynamic range for 4K HDR content.
Below is a photo showing the VW385ES on the right and the VW885ES on the left.
The unit being used for the demo was and a pre-production unit and I was told that it has a generation later firmware build as compared to the unit Art used for his review of the VW885ES that was posted (HERE
) yesterday. The final production units are not expected to go on sale until late this year.
This year Epson is carrying over their true home theater class projectors for another year. This includes their flagship LS10500 laser model with pixel shifting for 4K-lite performance as well as their lamp-based models, such as the popular Home Cinema 5040ub and Pro Cinema 6040ub series. Prices for these carry-over models remain unchanged.
Epson has introduced a ultra short throw model LS100 laser projector (pictured below) that is a 1080p HD model without the pixel shifting technology now found any many of Epson’s home theater projectors. The LS100 sells for just under $3000 and works with screens sizes from 80 to 120 inches. When combined with an ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen this projector is intended to provide an alternative to using a large flat panel TV, while supporting a larger screen size (nominally 100 inch) than your typical flat panel TV. The LS100 is rated at 4000 lumens (either white or color lumens) so with the right screen it should offer a brightness level that can compete with a large flat panel TV while offering an even larger screen size. I would consider this to be media room or living room projector rather than the ideal solution for use in a fully light controlled dedicated home theater. In any case it appears to offer a lot of value for it relative modest price.
This year JVC is carrying over the flagship DLA-RS4500 laser projector that was announced at CEDIA Expo last year and began shipping early in 2017. Their lamp-based eShift (4K-lite) models are being replaced with upgraded models. In the Reference Series the new models are the DLA-RS440, RS540 and RS640 while virtually the same projectors sold in JVC's Procision series the new models are sold as the DLA-X-590, X-790 and X-990. While the entry level model’s (i.e., RS440 and X-590) retail price remains just under $4000 the mid-level model’s price has dropped by $1K to just under $6000 and the new top model’s (i.e., RS640 and X-990) price has dropped by $2K to just under $8000. The new models will be available very soon. The significant technical changes appear to be related to the pixel shifting technology, now called eShift-5, and to improved handling of HDR content. JVC says the new version of eShift provides for the display of finer details from 4K content that did previous versions.
Hisense has announced a DLP 4K ultra short projector, model 100L8D, that is packaged with a 100 ALR screen from Screen Innovations (SI) and a audio system for a list price of just under $10,000. This projector is rated at 3000 lumens and at their CEDIA Expo exhibit booth, in a non-light controlled environment, the projected 100 inch image appeared very bright and detailed. This setup provides a real alternative to a large 4K flat panel TV and while it will initially only be offered as a package with the supplied 100 inch screen, the Hisense representative indicated it can be used with screens from 80 to 140 inches. The photo below shows the top of the projector as viewed from above and toward the side.