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Review: Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K Home Theater Projector - Special Features 2

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Art Feierman
VPL-VW1100ES 4K PROJECTOR - SPECIAL FEATURES: Dynamic / Auto Iris, Lens Memory, Networking, 3D, Color Management System 

Dynamic / Auto Iris

Sony's iris setup is more sophisticated than most others.  Yes, this is a classic dynamic iris, however, you can limit how far open the iris will go, effectively lowering overall brightness.  Normal dynamic mode is referred  to on the menu as Auto Full.

To limit the maximum brightness but still have dynamic function, select Auto Limited.  That allows you to use the control below - Manual, to set the max aperture.  Or, you can use the iris in purely manual mode.  Naturally, your last option is to turn the iris off.

Lens Memory

As you would expect from a premium projector like the VW1000ES, the zoom, focus and lens shift are all motorized.  This allows for "lens memory".  What that means is that you can define up to five different combinations of settings. The normal use is to set one for the right size to fill your screen with 16:9 (1.78:1) content - ie. HDTV.  A second setting would be used for content formatted into widescreen i.e. Cinemascope shape, 2.35:1, as is typical of most movies.   In recent years lens memory has become very popular as a replacement for spending thousands on an anamorphic lens and sled.

When the VW1100ES originally arrived setting up the lens memory was one of the first things I did, so I could, at a touch of a button, get the maximum sized image on my widescreen, whether watching HDTV or wide screen movies.

3D Capabilities

The 3D is great. But!

As I mentioned on the first page of the review, the VW1100ES is essentially the same projector as the VW1000ES introduced over 2 years ago.  Sony has bundled a server, started a 4K download service and made some improvements, but one of the throwback aspects of the VW1100ES is that Sony is still using IR type 3D emitter and glasses rather than RF (radio frequency).  RF is quickly replacing the older types, for several good reasons.  Sony's VW600ES, is the only Sony who's built in emitter supports RF glasses.

So, what does that mean to you?  Well, you could buy a bunch of IR 3D glasses that are compatible, or, since the cost is relatively minimal, I'd recommend buying an external 3D RF emitter, and plugging it into the the 3D input on the side of the projector.

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I played briefly with the internal IR which doesn't have bad range, but seems to have an occasional dead spot, depending on where in the room I was. Or you could go with the EXPAND emitter, which I've recommended for the HW55ES and HW40ES as well.

You can now buy that emitter directly from XPAND, and probably other sites (Amazon?)   It's only been about a month or two since XPAND finally started offering their emitter with the cable that the Sony needs, but it is available, and I have one here.  The emitter and cable for the Sony together retail for $199.

With the XPAND emitter, you get better range, and shouldn't hit any dead spots in your theater.  And XPAND makes many models of low cost compatible glasses, as do the likes of Samsung.  Between Samsung and XPAND, I've got 6 pair of compatible 3D glasses, some of which sell for under $20 a pair.  Wait, it gets better, because I also have 4 pair of Epson glasses here, I've got enough for a 10 person 3D party, since the Epson and Sony glasses are compatible as well.  If you are trading that year old $2500 Epson for this $28,000 Sony, save your Epson 3D glasses - if you buy the outboard emitter.

The $199 is a "small price to pay" in this case.  One more thing of interest.  The Sony has two "brightness modes" for the signal to the glasses - High for brightest 3D picture, and Standard which seems to be about 30% less bright, but reduces crosstalk.

Even when using 3rd party glasses with the XPAND emitter the High and Standard modes function correctly - I've confirmed with both XPAND and Samsung 3D glasses, not that it would be surprising.

That takes us to picture quality.  I decided to put the latest Thor movie up while writing this (even though the room hasn't been darkened), so I can check on a few things as I write.  With 3D Brightness set to Standard, even when I stand and wander around 2-4 feet from the screen, crosstalk is almost nonexistent.  I've certainly got no complaint at anything resembling normal seating distances.


The Sony VPL-VW1100ES supports hard wired networking.  There is no wireless option on the VW1100ES, however the 4K Media Player uses wifi to talk to the internet and Sony's 4K download surface.

We did not attempt to use or evaluate the hard networking of the projector.  It should be pretty standard stuff.

Color Management System

This is worthy of comment.  This Sony does not have the traditional CMS enabling the calibration of the individual colors!   Sony "gets away with it", because, as Mike our calibrator points out, the projector comes with a number of predefined settings, and ultimately, there is no need for the ability to individually calibrate them.   Mike also reports that REC 709 and DCI are basically "on the money" as well, saying:   "it’s odd that a projector in this price range doesn’t have a CMS.  BT.709 was just about right on the Rec. 709 standard, with a chromaticity error that rarely exceeded 1%, with a maximum of 2.2% in one instance.  This is excellent performance that is sometimes not achievable in projectors that do have a CMS."

So, while the Sony may be unconventional in this regard, ultimately it comes down to the picture... and the picture, and color is pretty awesome.

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