Posted on November 29, 2021 By Phil Jones
If you are looking for the ultimate home theater experience, you should definitely take a close look at Sony’s flagship projector, the VPL-GTZ380, which is a 10,000 lumen, native 4K SXRD projector that retails for $80,000 (minus lens).
In 2017 when Art reviewed Sony’s amazing VW5000ES projector, he said it was easily the best home theater projector he had ever reviewed. Over the next several years, the VW5000ES reigned supreme as the “King of Home Theater Projectors”.
However, many professionals and hard-core enthusiasts that loved the picture quality of the VW5000ES and its highly-rated professional twin brother, the VPL-GTZ270, desired an even brighter, higher performance unit.
Enter the VPL-GTZ380. Compared to its predecessors, the GTZ380 delivers much higher brightness and wider color gamut resulting in a massive increase in color volume. The unit’s X1 Ultimate chip also provides a huge boost in video processing power which further improves both SDR and HDR picture quality.
The GTZ380 can deliver more onscreen brightness than a double-stacked pair of VW5000ES or four VW1025ES which is incredible for a projector of its size.
Yes, a huge amount of brightness is overkill when viewing SDR except on an absolutely massive screen. However, if you want the best experience viewing HDR content, 10,000 lumens of brightness isn’t really that extreme.
The GTZ380 is intended for applications where the highest image quality is critical. While the unit will be most attractive to video enthusiasts looking for the ultimate home theater projector, you will also see it utilized for other applications including film festivals, private screening rooms, and training simulators.
While some high-end home theater installers prefer professional cinema projectors in their jobs, the size, weight, connectivity, and special placement needs make most of those projectors completely impractical for all but the most expensive home theater spaces.
Many of these projectors require specialized cooling systems and they need to be isolated in a separate room to spare viewers from the huge amount of noise generated. Even if a client or enthusiast can afford one of these professional cinema projectors, they may not want to deal with the hassles associated with their installation.
The GTZ380 can deliver twice the peak brightness of the VW5000ES and the chassis size is nearly identical – it only weighs about 24 more pounds. Sony states that the GTZ380 is nearly 20% smaller than the next smallest 10,000 lumen native 4K projector on the market. Weighing just 112 pounds, it is both the most compact and lightest unit in its class.
It’s not only smaller, but it’s also less obnoxious. As mentioned previously, a high brightness home theater projector like this typically needs a special room to manage the resulting heat and noise.
The advanced phosphor wheel design features a patented spiral fin that ducts heat away efficiently for impressively cool operation – a frequent issue with other high-brightness projectors. Its liquid SXRD panel cooling system and streamlined airflow design make the GTZ380 supremely quiet for such a bright, professional projector at a minimal 39dB.
Sony was the first company to introduce a native 4K home theater projector and they still have the most comprehensive model assortment. Sony has seven 4K HDR home theater projectors in their lineup, starting with the VW325ES ($5,500) moving up to the flagship GTZ380 which is $80,000 (minus the ARC-F Lens).
In addition to the GTZ380, the are four additional laser-based 4K HDR models in the Sony lineup, including the VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP) and the VW915ES ($2,000 SRP) There are also two Sony 4K HDR home theater lamp-based projectors, the VW715ES ($10,000 SRP) and the entry level VW325ES ($5,500 SRP).
See below for a summary of the Sony 4K SXRD Home Theater projector lineup.
The GTZ380 utilizes a newly designed Z-Phosphor laser light source that incorporates a red laser diode in addition to the two different-wavelength blue laser diodes to achieve the full DCI-P3 color gamut without any loss of brightness. The additional red laser diode dramatically expands color volume, without the loss of brightness common to other high-end models that use a built-in color filter.
The GTZ380 uses three newly developed 0.74″ SXRD panels to deliver true 4K resolution (4096 x 2160). The unit’s ultra-high quality lens assembly ensures that every ounce of detail reaches the screen.
In addition to a rated brightness of 10,000 lumens, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, and a 16,000:1 native contrast, the flagship GTZ380 is also equipped with the most powerful video processor that Sony has ever put into a projector, named “X1 Ultimate for projector”.
While the X1 Ultimate processor was originally developed for Sony’s Master Series LCD and OLED flat-panel televisions, this version has been optimized for projectors with the goal of enhancing the picture quality of projected images.
The GTZ380 is compatible with two motorized Sony ARC-F lenses which include an ultra-high-quality, multi-element, all-glass lens assembly. This ARC-F lens is a significant upgrade in optical quality compared to the very good lenses used on Sony’s less expensive native 4K SXRD projectors.
Check out our interview with Rob Brennan (Sony’s Product Technology & Training Manager) from the Fall 2021 Projection Showcase where we discuss the GTZ380 in detail.
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