HDTV and Sports Viewing on the Sony VPL-VW665ES
I have watched HDTV and various sports using either Bright Cinema mode or Bright TV, they are slightly different, but both have more intentional "pop" than Reference (or Cinema). I preferred either for my sports viewing as I always have some ambient light present. This Sony is very bright, but it's still not a real "bright room" projector. I switched back and forth between Bright TV and the unadjusted Reference mode, and for almost everything (except maybe sports), if my room is fully darkened, Reference is what I preferred..
Based on our measurements, this Sony VPL-VW665ES projector measured over 1500 lumens at its brightest, which is more than enough to tackle a fair amount of controlled ambient lighting in your home theater. It's a basic "light canon" compared to most projectors a few years ago. By today's home theater standards its still very bright but there are now a lot of projectors pushing 1500-2000 lumens, primarily so that they have enough "horsepower" for decently bright 3D.
Please keep in mind that the VW665ES is bright enough to leave the home theater for some media or living rooms, the overall performance really does make you want to have a proper theater. That said, I imagine the rich and famous can afford to put one of these anywhere they choose, and honestly, I wouldn’t be opposed to having 4K for sports viewing, in other rooms. Still, if you have a bright room that can get pretty dark but can't be fully darkened, the also new, but less expensive VW365ES probably makes a bit more sense. The VW665ES will have better blacks, but if that room isn't really darkened, you probably wouldn't notice.
Bright TV mode seems a bit cooler in color temp than Reference, perhaps 7000K. That's nice because many of us favor a slightly cooler image for things like sports, finding 6500K to have just a tad too much red.
All the images above are 1080i shooting content from DirecTV. One thing to note about that: When I pause to shoot, the projector (as is normal) shows only one of the two interlaced frames, so the image upon really close inspection has some jaggies, and less real resolution than 1080p content. The last two images above, however are 4K (and a closeup) from my 4K media player, just for your comparison. OK, skateboarding isn't exactly football, but it is "sports."
For fun, I tried something different on last night's Monday Night Football game. In addition to the VW665ES, I was set up to switch back and forth with another projector - the Epson 5030UB. Of course that's hardly a fair comparison - against a roughly $2000 projector, but a good one. What I was curious about was if the inherent native sharpness and better black levels would offset the Epson's advantage of perhaps 300 extra lumens, for my sports viewing.
The slight extra lumens simply weren't enough to offset the picture differences even for sports. The boost in lumens was a nice touch, but the picture difference especially when going from the Epson to the Sony, was more "wow", as in, what the Epson had, but more refined. Both had very accurate color, but the Epson in its Living Room mode, (which is bright), doesn't use the projector's cinema filter, so things aren't quite as "right." The Sony's optics are better, too, and that helps.
Bottom line: The Epson did a great job, the Sony took it up a notch - and that's with 1080i content.
4K Picture Quality of the Sony VW665ES
Taking 4K content to the next level of viewing pleasure is what a good true 4K projector is all about. The Sony is capable of displaying a rather glorious picture. Some of the scenery shots, when viewed live on my 124" screen, are basically - breathtaking. Talk about "wow" factor.
This batch of images above are all from 4K source material coming off my Sony Media Player, most of the content was downloaded from the 4K Video Service, but some are from 4K files that I loaded from USB thumb drive into the media player.
In most cases you are seeing almost the full frame of an image, then a close up. The close up was zoomed into optically, but I also saved those close shots at 2000 pixels across instead of the usual 1000 so you can take a close look at the sharpness.
It really is a challenge appreciating what the Sony is capable of, by looking at these images, viewing them on your computer or tablet, (or mine) just doesn’t do the Sony projector justice - not even close.
Still, enjoy them. You can at least get a pretty good handle on the sharpness of true 4K content, compared to mere 1080p, such as the images below.
1080p (and 1080i) Content on the VW665ES
No surprises really on 1080p content. Smooth looking, natural colors, Reference mode is in no way over the top, although if you favor some extra pop, those HDTV images were taken with modest ambient light with Bright Cinema or Bright TV modes.
Being 4K, the Sony can take 1080 images and provide 4X the pixels. Then Reality Creation can create a sharper, perhaps more detailed seeming, image. Image processing done on the better 1080p projectors, especially the pixel shifting ones, can appear to be about the same sharpness on 1080p content, but to get that comparable "sharpness," as in the case of the LS10000, the image gets a little hard - less natural. The JVCs by comparison never really rivaled the older VW600ES is perceived sharpness (nor the Epson).
VPL-VW665ES: Overall Picture Quality
Pretty spectacular. The VW665ES comes across as a first class 1080p content projector. On 1080p movies and digital content it easily rivals the best 1080p projectors we have reviewed. On 1080p with image processing running, it has advantages, and other than some black level disadvantage, it holds its own or comes across as superior. You can find more brightness or this, or that - nothings best at everything - but the Sony is "close enough" at anything it's not best at.
It's on true 4K content though that the Sony really comes into its own. The improvements - primarily slightly better black levels, and some image processing, remove any doubt in my mind: This is a projector to own for many years. Certainly until it's 8K time. It will handle just about any format Blu-ray UHD is promising in the future, even if next-gem content (not just 4K but with things like HDR, or DCI) is a long way off, this Sony is patient, so your picture will just keep getting better as more advanced formats become available from Blu-ray UHD or download.
Bottom Line: 1080p picture - great. 4K picture - oh yeah!