Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector - The Bottom Line
When the VPL-VW1000ES (click for specifications) arrived, I had great expectations. Over a month later, I'm not in the least disappointed. 4K is an obvious next step for projectors in the home. We can use the extra resolution.
This is simply the best projector I've ever worked with, and that's on several levels. 4K, 3D, all the rest, and a killer picture, earn the Sony VPL-VW1000ES Projector Reviews 2012 Outstanding Product of the Year.
Take all the benefits of a true 4K engine, and whether you have true 4K content, or even just the Sony's ability to upscale 2K, you immediately have a sharper, clearer looking image that can be viewed closer without visible artifacts than any projector before it, for the home.
Think of the VPL-VW1000ES projector as a true Cinema projector. It may not be as bright, but in several ways, including black level performance, it should easily exceed the performance of Sony's 4K commercial cinema projectors that most of us have encountered in our movie theater experiences.
In fact one area where the digital cinema projectors in theaters have always had a visual advantage, has been due to their using the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) color space, instead of the REC 709 or SMPTE-C standards, which have less dynamic range.
The VPL-VW1000ES supports DCI as well as the more common home formats, now all we need is DCI content to be made available. A couple of years ago, SIM2 had partnered with a company that hoped to get licensing to distribute DCI versions, but nothing has yet come of that. We shall see in time whether users can take advantage of the DCI support.
Everything about this Sony projector is pretty elegant. That is to say that none of the "fancy" controls such as CFI which Sony calls MotionFlow, are rough around the edges, rather they all seem to be pretty smooth. On the whole, the projector itself seems to lack any rough edges too.
It's getting a little old, repeating superlatives, but truth is, this Sony is hard to beat at anything.
Brightness: The 1200 lumens of calibrated brightness is a real treat (remember we don't measure to find the absolute brightest a projector is capable of, only what looks good).
This means for 2D viewing you can have pretty much as big a screen as you would like. 120" diagonal, even 140" diagonal or 150", and you can still have movie theater level brightness. Remember though there isn't a whole lot more available in modes that aren't as perfect as the calibrated Reference mode.
If there is one shortcoming to this projector, it's probably that for 3D viewing it could use more lumens (boy does that sound familiar as I've said that about all but 4 or 5 3D capable projectors. While this Sony isn't as bright in 3D as some Epsons and the Panasonic, few projectors short of some far more expensive 3 chip DLP projectors for home, can do any brighter for 3D. Still, I find 3D brightness to be fully acceptable for say a 100" diagonal screen - far brighter than you'll find in a 3D theater at your local cineplex.
Reality Creation is the star new control. This is the 2K to 4K upscaling control, and it makes a real difference. Images look sharper, without the artifacts associated with dynamic sharpnening. This is real extra resolution.
In about a week from now (June '12), Sony will release their app for the Playstation that will allow us to view 4K images in full 4K. It's likely going to be a close thing - that release, and my returning this Sony. Hope the app hits first. I took a lot of photos on our family driving trip through the southwest, with using my pro dSLR. I'd really love to see how they look projected with this Sony.
Back to the VW1000ES.
Black levels surprised me. Even better than I anticipated. When that iris shuts all the way down on a totally dark scene, things do go black.
CFI (MotionFlow) is nicely smooth. I watched NBA playoff games with the CFI set to Low and High.
Ultimately, this is one really fine projector. No previously reviewed projector, which is a lot of projectors and includes a few Runco's and a SIM2, can take on this projector. I'm still watching it (Iron Man 2 just finishing, as I finish this page).
I really can't get over the "whatever" - the combination of the 4K pixels and the Sony's upscaling, to the clarity/sharpness/crispness of the projector even on 2K content. Friends of my daughter were just blown away, a couple of hours ago, when they got to view the first 15 minutes of Hugo in 3D. But 2D is equally dazzling thanks to the benefit of a real 4K engine.
Perhaps Sony will let me keep it a bit longer, after all I did just award the VPL-VW1000ES projector our 2012 Outstanding Product of the Year award. Deservedly so!