Posted on July 1, 2019 By Art Feierman
Sony’s collection of current laser projectors is extensive. I count 14 different models. Sure, Sony has a number of commercial projectors with standard resolutions like WUXGA, and WXGA. In addition, Sony offers a number of native 4K laser projectors, including their very cool specialty projectors in the GTZ Series, which I can’t wait to tell you about.
I am glad you made it here, to this, my most recent custom feature/paid advertorial. Thanks for stopping by. I have a good system – I get to write these, the manufacturer pays for them (and gets to do minor corrections), but unlike manufacturer-written advertorials, I get to strip out most all of the hype, and try to provide you with some useful insights!
This time, our advertorial focuses on Sony’s laser projectors and key vertical applications.
Here’s my plan; I’d like you to meet some awesome Sony laser projectors:
Get excited! Some pretty awesome stuff!
I can’t wait to tell you about the VPL-FHZ75, which can best be described as Sony’s newest mainstream commercial projector – fully featured and powerful.
The FHZ75 is available in white or black finishes.
Commercial laser projectors are often thought of to have many capabilities, starting with interchangeable lenses, but often with extensive lens shift, ability to operate at almost any angle – a real plus for digital signage and museum applications. Other key features typically found:
The Sony FHZ75 is Sony’s newest “classic” commercial WUXGA projector. It improves on those that came before, with a brand new 0.76” Sony built 3LCD panels, with significantly improved native contrast and 6,500 laser-driven lumens. Sony offers six optional lenses and plenty of lens shift, for great placement flexibility.
This ability to do deeper blacks and to better handle dark scenes is exactly the kind of performance improvements called for in applications demanding maximum picture quality. The FHZ75 is, therefore, better suited than the older FHZ61 for apps requiring faithful reproduction of art or photography in museums and similar environments, or being part of digital art displays.
All that is great for photography and video, other entertainment, as well as renderings, engineering drawings, and simulations. For some of these uses, though, the native 4K VPL-GTZ projectors (below) have a distinct advantage.
I picked the FHZ75 to mention as it offers more capabilities and performance than the less powerful, but still-current FHZ61, which we reviewed less than a year ago. Mind you, the FHZ61 is no slouch! It won this award in our recent Best Education Projectors report (3/2019):
It doesn’t get much better than that!
We expect to review the VPL-FHZ75 and include it in next spring’s Best Education Projectors Report.
Edge Blending – Using 2 or more projectors to create a seamless large image, where you can’t tell where one projector stops and the other picks up.
Constant Brightness – For Edge blending and some other apps, constant brightness is needed so that all the projectors are always equally bright.
Auto Calibration – Recalibrates the projector regularly so that images are consistent in color…
Projection Mapping – Using software to map and only hit certain spots, used for highlighting products, in retail and other display environments, also museum pieces.
Self-Maintaining – The next best thing to no maintenance is low maintenance (i.e. the FHZ75 automatically cleans its filter every 100 hours).
Sony was one of the very first manufacturers to put out lower-cost laser projectors without the larger range of capabilities that we normally think of as commercial projectors.
Low cost, high brightness, flexible and great picture: Sony’s VPL-PHZ10!
Sony’s pricing is aggressively affordable for these 5,000 lumen laser projectors.
The Sony VPL-PHZ10, a 5,000 lumen, 3LCD projector with its WUXGA resolution and a 1.45:1 zoom and lens shift, seemed a bargain just over two years ago when we reviewed it. Folks Sony pumps out high volumes of the PHZ10 (and its lower cost WXGA sibling, the PWZ10). These days, single quantity purchases should be around $2,500 or so for business, and even less with education discounts for schools and museums.
We were impressed at the time (still are), and gave the PHZ10 a top classroom award for Best Performance. (The PHZ10 is an even better value today!)
The low cost, long-life, “affordable” PHZ10 laser projector (and the WXGA PWZ10) should perform brilliantly for a decade or more in K-12 classrooms and University lecture halls. They are also equally at home in conference rooms, small auditoriums, churches, nightclubs…
The P Series warranty is an impressive 5 years or 12,000 hours (whichever comes first).
I know what you are thinking: What about 4K? First of all, know that Sony has an extensive lineup of native 4K projectors. They have been selling them now for about a decade, probably longer than almost any other brand whose name you might recognize.
Still here in 2019, outside of specialty applications (like museums or scientific/engineering uses), most commercial demand is still for WUXGA (or even WXGA) resolution projectors. That’s due to three things:
For up close or hands-on type displays where you are within a few feet away, in a museum, or perhaps in a scientific lab, then the higher resolution of 4K projection provides the extra detail desired and often required.
Note: Because the demand for 4K is still mostly specialty (or home), that may explain why a lot of the lower cost 4K UHD DLP projectors are not selling well to the business/education markets
Pretty much every projector manufacturer these days makes a number of laser projectors suitable for large conference rooms and auditoriums.
That is, most projectors are pretty darn good, but are more typically a “’jack of all trades,’ but not specialists in areas like simulation, visualization, or high-speed graphics.” Sony, though, offers their GTZ Series, which are designed to tackle some of the most advanced and specialized applications! 3D is big in some of these areas.
I will cover a few of these “specialty” applications, in discussing the GTZ series.
Some applications, such as museum use, demand superb and consistent color, and great contrast. Others demand extreme detail and precision (i.e. scientific use) such as those served by Sony’s VPL-GTZ series. Those are ideal for displaying scientific data, renderings, and modeling.
Sony makes other 4K laser projectors, but these are designed to tackling the toughest applications.
Tasty Tidbit – The VPL-GTZ series is heavily used in simulation applications, from simulators for civil aviation to advanced Dept of Defense related uses. OK, no surprise there, as these projectors were designed with this application in mind. Not surprisingly, it is the largest slice of GTZ installation.
Simulators and Simulations:
They are used widely in government and military applications, on campus, and also in many industries. The uses are myriad, from flight training to weather and climate projections, modeling the spread of diseases, or how drugs work in the body. Or, perhaps used for engineering simulations – how a building will stand up against a major earthquake or hurricane? That’s just a few!
The remainder of the VPL-GTZ application usage is primarily split between non-simulation uses including scientific, engineering, industrial design, visualization… Entertainment venues are another significant home for VPL-GTZ projectors. We are, of course, including museums, nightclubs, theaters, bars and restaurants. And planetariums!
Now much to my surprise, of these many uses I just mentioned, planetariums turn out to be the VPL-GTZ’s second largest market – about 20%. I, even as a planetarium enthusiast, had no idea how large that market is. Turns out there are 3,200 planetariums on the best database I could find, but guess what, a lot of the smaller planetariums – mostly located on college campuses – apparently aren’t listed.
Keep in mind that a major planetarium installation will use a lot of projectors. A great example would be the highly regarded Burke Baker Planetarium at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which uses 10 of the VPL-GTZ280 projectors to fill the sky!
More uses? I’ll leave you to your imagination – or the specific requirements for your application that brought you here. Now, I’ll take a couple of paragraphs to fill you in briefly about the particular strengths of each of the three VPL-GTZs.
Interestingly, the VPL-GTZ240 is the first projector I’ve encountered that actually talks a lot about use in planetariums as a specific target market, (Infocomm 2019). While it is strong in that area, per Sony, a much larger market for the 2,000 lumen VPL-GTZ240 is flight simulators – especially for civil aviation, where it is a great solution. Not just in new simulators, but to replace aging systems still using older, WUXGA/1080p projectors. Its smaller footprint than the other VPL-GTZs is a real plus when it comes to retrofitting existing simulators. The VPL-GTZ240 with 2,000 lumens, high contrast and native 4K resolution, is all the projector needed for many such applications.
Although not as new as the others, the 5,000 lumen GT270 is a very strong-selling, rather large, commercial projector. Sony will tell you that it is their primary commercial model for entertainment – that includes museums, thanks to great picture quality. It can run up to 40,000 hours (in Constant Brightness mode, which is widely used for Edge Blending and Projection Mapping applications). Both of those technologies are widely used in entertainment spaces. By the way – the GT270 is still the Sony with the most planetarium installations, but that may well change.
The VPL-GTZ280 is newer and builds on the capabilities of the GT270. It is Sony’s new simulation workhorse. This may surprise you but the VPL-GTZ280 comes “standard” with 2,000 lumens, but can do 5,000! It serves up especially sharp, dynamic imagery and is geared for not only reproducing challenging graphics and color, but also reproduction of high-speed motion.
Thanks to its software license flexibility, installations are able to leverage/choose high-performance capabilities they need via licensing, such as:
The modular aspects using licensing makes the VPL-GTZ280 exceptionally versatile! I’m impressed.
The VPL-GTZ280 is the latest 4K projector geared first for simulations and scientific use, although it certainly isn’t limited to those applications.
I met with almost 20 projector manufacturers. Among laser projector brands, it certainly seems we’re witnessing some players shifting to 3LCD tech from DLP with their newest laser projectors. (That includes some Panasonic and NEC models). Sony has long relied on 3LCD panels, or 3 LCoS panels for their commercial laser projector lines.
Sony’s comprehensive line-up of laser projectors range from low-cost models to mainstream, to very large venue, support a wide range of capabilities, but consistent throughout is the Sony emphasis on accurate color and overall picture quality.
OK, thanks for cruising this advertorial. I do hope you found some useful info.
Still want to learn more? Of course, stay tuned for our future VPL-FHZ75 and VPL-GTZ reviews. In the meantime, here are some resources for you on our site and Sony’s. -art
Sony’s website allows you to locate resources based on your specific applications.
Sony makes a whole lot of laser projectors – this link will take you their main laser projector page.
It features 14 different Sony laser projectors (but not the VW (home) series lasers which often end up used commercially).
Sony Planetarium Page
Our Review of the VPL-PHZ10
Until we review the FHZ75, you can check out our review of the 5,200 lumen Sony VPL-FHZ61. Note that the Z75 is brighter, has improved contrast, and lots more.
Learn More: Sony VPL-FHZ75
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