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Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Projector - Special Features

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Art Feierman
SONY VPL-VW665ES PROJECTOR - SPECIAL FEATURES:  True 4K Resolution, Multi-function Dynamic Iris, and Reality Creation

VW665ES 4K Ultra-HD resolution

So far, only Sony has offered projectors with full 4K resolution for the home market. Both Sony and now Canon are offering 4K commercial projectors.

As I said in the review of the old VW600, while one can debate if anyone really needs 4K resolution on a 37 inch LCDTV, when you are sitting 7-15 feet back, it's immediately obvious to anyone with a projector (most screens are 92" to 130" diagonal), that 1080p has never been good enough if you like to sit close for best immersion.

When it comes to 1080p and 1080i content, having a true 4K projector has advantages, but with all of today's smart "detail enhancement" and other processing, the best 1080p projectors are comparable to this Sony, even if that's by way of more processing of images.  It's when you get true 4K content that there is a distinct difference, and from a practical standpoint, it's a difference that is important.

In the image pairs above, all the source material was true 4K of 3840x2160 pixels  except the last two which are 1080p content.

Reality Creation on the Sony was set to 60 for the 4K images.  More on that below.

Multi-functional Dynamic iris on VW665ES

Sony has significantly improved contrast and black levels compared to the older Sony.  Other than that, this description below from the VW600ES (with minor edits) holds true for the VW665ES:

Most dynamic irises offer a choice of off or on.  In some cases, for example Epson, there's a high speed and a normal speed iris option.

Sony's approach is different.  First of all, they realize that the VPL-VW600 ES projector is very bright.  Bright enough that in some home theaters, it might be too bright for some owners using a smaller screen, say 100" diagonal or less.  For that reason, you can leave the iris in Dynamic mode, but set the maximum the iris opens.  That limits how bright the projector can be, while still having the iris lower black levels on dark scenes.

Or you can turn off the dynamic iris (the blacks are still respectable), or just use it manually.

The iris action itself is interesting.  The VW1000ES projector (the original 4K Sony, now replaced by the $27,000 VW1100ES, also exhibits this characteristic:   The iris is sensitive to extremely small amounts of bright area on an image, in fact sensitive to amounts of bright that don't register with most other dynamic irises.   The classic example is the pause icon (double bars) that appear in the lower left when you pause a disk played on a PS3 or PS4.

Most typical is that hitting pause on a dark scene like the Casino Royale night train scene has no effect on the iris with most projectors.  With this Sony VPL-VW665 ES projector, that amount of "bright" does register and the iris opens a bit.  Thus, in the dark scene images shown in the Black Levels section of the Picture Quality pages, blacks don't get as black when pauses, as they do when just viewing the film.   The thing is, the black levels are excellent for this projector, so even with the iris opening a bit, the blacks still look great.  Even the far less bright, and small Input graphic (ie. HDMI 2 in the upper left corner which isn't near as bright as the pause icon), is enough that you can see the iris adapt.

Overall, the iris action is noticeable on slowly lightening very dark scenes, as I found in Ender's Game, but also when viewing credits (white) on black.

With the VW665ES, I'm pretty happy with the iris action. Its spottable from time to time, but if you are into what you are watching, you're most likely not to notice, or notice enough for it to register.  Works for me!

Reality Creation

Reality Creation - Sony's detail enhancement solution does an excellent job on 2K (1080p or 1080i) content and by using smart technologies (i.e. recognizing what area is a face, and treating it differently than other parts of the image), is, in my opinion the best of the smart detail enhancement solutions found on 2K projectors (Including BenQ's "Detail Enhancement", Epson's Super-Resolution, and JVC's 4K e-shift4).

In the past I've done series of photos showing the effect of different settings levels.  For those interested, here's a link to some examples on another 4K Sony review.

But this is a 4K projector, and that changes everything.  While projectors like the Epson LS10000 when handling full 4K content do appear impressively sharp, there's a definite slight hardness to the image.  Not so with the VPL-VW665ES, which appears even sharper, yet seems almost soft, or natural, by comparison.  That Epson, and the new JVC projectors with pixel shifting, provide reasonable alternatives for those that find a true 4K projector to be a financial stretch, over time as we start collecting or downloading more 4K content, the more the Sony's value proposition gets even better.  My only complaint?  Relying on a 4K download service for my 4K movies.   Pricing isn't bad - $29.99 for most, and many can be rented for around $7-$8, but I'm still looking forward to having a 4K Blu-ray UHD player and building my 4K movie collection.

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