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Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K Projector - A Review

Posted on November 22, 2014 by Art Feierman
The VPL-VW1100ES is Sony's top of the line true 4K projector. Awesome viewing experience. 2D, 3D. Razor sharp, gorgeous color! optional 4K media player & download service. Want better, buy an IMAX theater!  

Specs Preview

Sony VPL-VW1100ES Specs
Price 27999
Technology SXRD-3
Native Resolution HD 4K (4096x2160)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 2000
Contrast 1,000,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 2.10:1
Lens Shift Yes
Lamp Life
Weight 44.0
Warranty 3 years

Sony VPL-VW1100ES Projector - Overview

The Sony VPL-VW1100ES is certainly a premium home theater projector.  Upon considering its $28K price tag, you would at first think that limits ownership to the top 1%ers - ok, maybe top 5%ers who are really into home theater, and a few hard core enthusiasts who will sell their souls for an amazing home theater experience.

But wait!  If  you consider a projector as viable  for 5+ years of enjoyment, and this Sony with it's true 4K resolution, certainly should, then the VW1100ES plays out cost wise much like buying a well equipped Camry.   When you think about it that way, maybe $27,999 isn't all that out of reach for a whole lot of folks.  Bonus:  You don't have to pay some DMV a hefty registration fee each year!  Most of us spend a lot more time "watching TV" than driving.

Sony is the most recognized of the four companies supplying 4K projectors to movie theaters around the world, but Sony, at this time, is only company in the world currently offering true 4K projectors for the home theater market.

The VPL-VW1100ES projector is a large, but not overly so, home projector, and one impressive looking one.  It sports a 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens, with power lens shift and focus, and claims a massive 2000 lumens, which means you could conceivably own a 200" diagonal screen and still have a picture as bright as a typical theater.  It does 3D (rather beautifully), and has a fair amount of 4K movies available to watch TODAY, thanks to Sony's 4K download service and the optional 4K Media Player (under $700)!  You won't have to work for Blu-ray UHD to ship in Q3 of 2015.  Start enjoying true 4K, immediately.

It's 4K performance, and the future, though that is what the VW1100ES is all about.  We'll be discussing some of the "future proofing" issues later on.

Sony 4K Media PlayerSony is marketing a "4K Media Player (server) called the FMP-X10, which is critical to your ability to start enjoying 4K today.


Sony offers their 4K Download service, which currently has I believe upward of 100 4K movies, plus many free video clips and other content available.  When Sony introduced the original VW1000ES, this projector's predecessor, and also their less expensive VW600ES, they bundled in an early "4K media player" - and since it didn't have an operating system, a Sony Xperia android tablet to run the player. The FMP-X10 is far more capable, you can use Sony's download services, put your own content on, etc, but the new media player is now a $699 option.

I have the whole setup here, and have downloaded and viewed 4K content from the service.  Pretty awesome.  Of course I'm really waiting for Blu-ray UHD (4K) to ship in 2015, because, ultimately as good as the picture looks on the downloads, there will be a lot less image compression - aka, an even cleaner picture, from Blu-ray UHD.  Meantime though, Sony owners can enjoy a lot of great movies in true 4K.

One more thing, Sony does offer a commercial version, the VPL-GT100, which is more expensive.

VW1100ES Highlights

There is a huge number of key features and capabilities.  Here are, perhaps the most significant:

  • True 4K resolution
  • 2000 lumens - capable of filling huge screens, even calibrated
  • Very high contrast for exceptional black level performance
  • 3D capable
  • Specially designed 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens
  • Lens memory thanks to power zoom, focus, and lens shift
  • Motion Flow (CFI) for smooth motion
  • Reality Creation provides detail and sharpness enhancement and upscaling
  • Optional FMP-X10 Media Player lets owners view almost 200 titles in 4K available so far (while we wait for Blu-ray UHD Q3 2015
  • Support for wider color space for a richer picture (DCI - used by the movie theaters, in addition to REC 709 the current standard for HDTV

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