Projector Reviews

Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Projector: Hardware Tour

SONY VPL-VW665ES 4K PROJECTOR HARDWARE TOUR:  Overview, Control Panel, Inputs and Connectors, Menus

Hardware Overview: Sony VPL-VW665ES Projector

The VW665ES is a reasonably large projector, but with it’s very dark gray case, and large, rather pretty lens area, the Sony is designed to look impressive, yet blend in nicely into a typical home theater.  The 2.06:1 motorized zoom lens offers tremendous placement range.  This 4K  Sony’slens is centered and recessed.   The lens itself offers a very significant amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift, and (great) offers Lens Memory, for working with Cinemascope shaped wide screens (typically 2.35:1 or 2.40:1), such as my own setup.

For this class of projector, unless you are buying primarily for sports viewing, I would think a widescreen – projection screen would be the preferred choice for most of us who watch a lot of movies (which means a lot of widescreen movies.)  Despite the best intentions of the folks that created the HDTV standard as something about half way (in aspect ratio) between the old 4:3 TVs and “Cinemascope” widescreen movies, most movies today are still widescreen.

There are exceptions mostly:  Many animated films are 16:9 (HDTV), as are some of the 3D movies.  Also many of the “made for TV” flicks.  Still when you look at a list of the 2D movies you would likely see in the local movie theater (if you aren’t patient and waiting to see them at home), the vast majority will be widescreen.

The finish is a dark gray matte, with a coarse texture.  On the right side (if looking at the front of the projector), the control panel starts at the bottom by the front, and will be covered in depth, later on this page.

On the opposite side, recessed are all the inputs and connectors, starting by the back and working their way more than half way to the front.

Exhaust venting is found on the front to the left of the lens.  There are infra-red sensors both front and back for the backlit remote control.  The top (bottom when mounted) is blank, and curved, unadorned but for a Sony label.

It is one physically impressive looking projector.  That recessed lens with the gold trim and the solid look to the projector will shout “I’m one serious, high performance projector” at you.

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The VPL-VW665ES Control Panel

First, it’s almost invisible. Sony did a great job of  camouflaging the control panel so that it is barely noticeable.   This way the projector has a “sleek, unadorned” look..   From the front of the Sony, moving toward the back are the power switch (once for on, twice for off), followed by the input button.   Hitting it once brings up the input menu.  Each additional press toggles you through the choices.  Next comes the Menu button, and then another one of those Sony “micro” joystick/buttons, that Sony puts on all of it’s LCoS (SXRD) projectors.

The square “jog dial” is a micro joystick.  It rocks in up/down/left/right direction to allow full menu navigation.  Press the button straight in for the Enter function.

The last button in the control panel is the Lens button for control of focus, zoom and lens shift (in conjunction with the navigation joystick).  Important note:  You can go into the menus and turn off Lens Control, so that no one accidentally changes the settings.

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Inputs and Connectors - VPL-VW665ES Projector

Considering the hefty price of this projector, you won’t find a particularly long list of inputs and connectors.  Rather it is pretty typical of most home projectors except that it has a pair of screen triggers added.

First up is the LAN connector, as the VW665ES has some standard networking capabilities.  Right next to it is a USB port, followed by HDMI 1 and HDMI 2.

Then comes an RS232 serial port with a DB9 connector, for command and control.  It’s labeled Remote.

Speaking of remotes, the next jack over a small mini-jack allows for using an external 3D emitter.

I already mentioned that there are a pair of 12 volt triggers.  Their function can be set from the menus.  For example you might use one to control a screen’s up and down, and the other for an anamorphic lens.  (Not that  we feel you need an anamorphic lens for this projector, we favor using the Sony’s built in Lens Memory).

All the connectors are recessed is a plus for creating a clean install in terms of cables.  If I had two changes I could ask for, they would be:  A third HDMI (with MHL support as a further plus), and a digital audio output.  The Digital Audio out would be of great benefit for all of us without AV receivers that can switch full HDMI 2.0 HDCP 2.2 content.  One of my challenges, for example is outputting sound from my Sony 4K media player.  One HDMI goes into the projector, but the other (for audio) is also HDMI, whereas like many, I use a Toslink fibre optic connector to input to my older receiver.

Sony VPL-VW665ES Menus

There are many dozens of menus, sub-menus, etc., and lots of sliders for adjusting values (i.e. brightness, saturation).  We captured most of the important ones, and have brief descriptions in many of the captions areas.  We might have missed an interesting tidbit or two, but these should give you just about all the explanation anyone not yet owning a Sony VPL-VW665ES should need.  The manual has some additional info (but sometimes less insight).  Most of these photos were taken of the older VW600ES menus which remain unchanged for the VW665ES.

VPL-VW665ES, VW600ES Menu Slideshow