Greetings, back home now.
Catch up tie starting with the new Sony VPL-VW90ES. The flight back to the west coast, was long enough, and a full flight. As soon as the guy in front of me is allowed to put back his seat, there went my chance to get any real writing done on the plane. There simply wasn't enough room to use my MacBook. My thanks to Delta for such generous seating room.
The $9995 Sony looked pretty good in 3D and great in 2D. I was just a bit spoiled, though coming from seeing Runco's $49K exceptionally bright 3D projector, (plus any fancy accessories). When I saw the Sony, it was looking pretty good on 3D, on a smaller screen, I don't recall now, but probably less than 100". Despite the significant loss of brightness for 3D (figure a minimum 60% drop in most typical designs when compared to 2D), the image was bright enough. Of course we're sitting inside a true "cave" made of flat black everything, the only thing reflecting light were the dozen or so people watching the demo.
The VPL-VW90ES, (the ES is Sony's new top of the line series of Receivers, Projectors, LCDTVs), has new 240hz SXRD (LCoS) panels, double the usual 120. That's likely an excellent move, on several levels. Afterall, we now need more frames per second - for the creative frame motion smoothing, and again for left and right with 3D... 240 isn't critical for anything to my knowledge, but allows for advantages, that can be exploited. One of those, according to Sony, is to reduce crosstalk for 3D. Sounds good to me. Bring it on.
Rated 1000 lumens, the Sony isn't going to be handling any large screens in 3D. Before I forget, for the anticipated $9995 price, it includes two pair of active shutter glasses. I was concerned with the new JVC's being only 1300 lumens for 3D, and therefore I'm even more concerned with the Sony's 1000. (But then I like a 128" screen in my room.) Well, typically the JVC D-ILA projectors have been brighter than the Sony's SXRD projectors, year after year.
From the brief demo, it's a real nice machine. Black levels looked really good too, Dare I say it? "Blacks popped" I know the black cave room is a factor, but it did look impressive. Can't wait to lay my hands on one of these. This Sony, like its predecessors offers good connectivity, and more control of the image than any other brand I've reviewed in the price range. It should be a delight for integrators, calibrators, and installers. Sony provides a long list of major room and home control systems its compatible with, from AMX and Crestron to Savant and Vantage.
The Sony VPL-VW90ES will ship in November. I hope to have a review unit in simultaneous with first shipment, so I can get a review out quickly. I've volunteered for an earlier unit, but I don't know if they will lend one of the pre-production VW90ES projectors out for review.
I will keep you posted, as I learn more as to when a Sony will arrive.
Sony also introduced a second, (expected price $3395) projector but I didn't see it demo'd. Lori's already posted the press release of the VPL-VWPRO1, just a couple items before this blog entry. That will give you the basic info. Primarily it looks to be the VW40 replacement, and strictly 2D. It has a new iris configuration and 1300 lumens. A potentially brighter than average projector, which would be very welcome in the Sony line up. Gotta review this one too!
Runco and SIM2
Ok, I'm a little out of my normal space looking at projectors that cost a $50K or more by the time they get plugged in.
The Runco 3D projector demonstration was the single most impressive 10 minutes of the day. I should have noted the screen size, but it was a large screen. The projector was Runco's just announced 3Dimensions Series D-73d, with a base price if $49,995. Options include different throw length lenses, anamorphic lens and sled, and outboard processors (their DHD4 ships with the projector for the $49,995 price). It uses a LED lightsource, rated 480 watts.
The Runco projector claims 20,000:1 contrast, and 1400 lumens. If I understood them correctly, though (I will confirm), in 3D they are putting out 1400 lumens to each eye (less what the passive glasses absorb). As you can see by the image, the D-73D looks like a stacked pair of projectors, which is pretty much what it is, though I assume many components are shared. The two lenses though imply a total of 6 DLP panels. Basically one projector for each eye. I like it.
I take that back, I love it. I watched the clips and, finally after a day and a half, I had an answer to the question - have you seen anything really awesome? Ca-ching! Bingo!
I realize I'm going to have to "settle" for a Sony or JVC or ?, but Runco's 3D performance - and on a much larger screen than those others.
Later on, I saw another superb demo, and that was in the SIM2 booth, in their mini-theater... Far smaller than the ballroom setup Runco had. The SIM2 setup truly is made of a pair of their C3X Lumis projectors, and the demo was dazzlingly bright, and almost as impressive as the Runco. I'll just say that I was able to thoroughly enjoy both demonstrations, primarily taking a quick note of the blacks and dark details, then the skin tones and colors, in each clip, and then I just enjoyed the content. I wasn't looking for artifacts, and none shouted out and interrupted the viewing enjoyment.
OK, that's it for now. I'll have to get to a few others tomorrow. Ahh, including an M series Digital Projection 3D projector (with tons of lumens) - that they will send me for review. -art