Greetings everyone, As mentioned in my last post, I had to fly out of CEDIA before day two, and never got to meet with Sony, but have since spoken with them. Of primary interest was the status of the VPL-VW300ES, which was launched in Europe at IFA.
UPDATE Jan 11th 2015: Sony showed the US version of the VW300ES in a large meeting room at the Mirage in Las Vegas at CES 2015. I got to see the new VPL-VW350ES (the US version) in action, even viewing it switching back and forth for comparison with one of JVC's higher end projectors. There's a newer blog that discusses the VW350ES projector
. The VPL-VW350ES is now in stock in the US, as of this writing. Note that Sony has a special intro launch price, through Feb 28th, of $7999, but after that it goes back up to the official price of $9999.
Sony's VPL-HW300ES offers true 4K resolution. Coming soon to the EU, but no word re US. $6999 EU.
Below I've summarized the situation, and the projector's basic specs. Originally Ron had gotten conflicting info - "no, the VW300ES is not coming to the US" and "it might be here in Q1." From my discussion with Sony is plays out this way. Yes, it' will be shipping to Europe this fall. No, it won't be shipping in the US this fall." "Could we see it in Q1?" I asked. Basically, the answer was a nice, politically evasive/correct response of:
"We have no plans at this time." In other words, Sony may not have decided yet, or may have decided not to bring it to the US in the future. That's too bad. Personally, I think our interested readers, and the folks on the forums should let Sony know that there's a whole lot of interest.
Sony though, will want to figure out if there are buyers, rather than just interested folk, so let them know that too. I certainly hope it does show up here. I'm ready to review it if I can lay my hands on one. Well for our enviable readers overseas, here's what little I know: The VPL-VW300ES (or whatever they will call it in the US, if they bring it in eventually), is 1300 lumens, making it not quite as bright as the VW600ES/VW500ES.
The VPL-VW300ES looks like the VW600ES and VW1100ES, despite the word being that there's no Lens Memory. Power lens features, but no lens memory? Doesn't look like there are manual lens controls?
The two major differences though seem to be that the VW300ES lacks lens memory, and more importantly, like the HW40ES, lacks a dynamic iris to enhance blacks. In terms of the iris, that would make the VW300ES much like the HW40. Translated, that would mean that as a true 4K projector, awesome resolution but black level performance, that would leave a good bit to be desired.
I'm basing that on viewing the VW600ES which as some very good blacks, but, without the iris, you get a more "purist" image, but one that is just a bit too gray, rather than black on really dark scenes. Still, just as the HW40ES is very watchable despite no iris, so should the VW300ES.
And who knows, perhaps those blacks are a little better than the HW40ES possesses. Well, it would be a real shame if US home theater enthusiasts aren't given a shot at owning one of these. And less fun in my life if I don't get to review one. -art