The Sony VZ1000ES laser projector is not the first ultra short throw true 4K projector, but it is the first designed for the home. Sony has previously launched two of commercial models, this one's for your home. This may be the projector everyone will be dying to own, but with a $24,999 list price, it won't fit everyone's budget (for sure)! Important to note, although the VPL-VZ1000ES isn't shipping yet, Sony dealers are now taking orders.
Yes he VPL-VZ1000ES is a home theater projector! But it's really not limited to a home theater and that's very important!. Being ultra short throw, it redefines where projectors can be used at home. Sure you can place this projector in a dedicated theater. Certainly you can watch under low light to near pitch black conditions, like other home theater projectors in a home theater, but it's designed to work in most rooms.
The game changing aspect though is that thanks to being ultra short throw, with the projector sitting just below your screen, and only inches out from that wall, this projector should be able to give you an awesome viewing experience, even in living rooms, and media rooms.
Pair the VZ1000ES with the right screen, and look what is possible!
I'll spend some time below explaining, because this aspect of the VZ1000ES, allows it to take on those tiny 71" and 80" LCDTVS in the same types of rooms that normally projectors could not play in. BTW, you can expect to see more and more ultra short throw home theater models over the next couple of years, from a number of manufacturers. This Sony is designed to let you watch, and be immersed in the "big screen" experience, so you'll probably be going with a screen size of 100" diagonal, or maybe 120". That should impress.
Before I expound on the virtues of ultra short throw combined with 4K (and the right screen), let's take a quick look at the VPL-VZ1000ES projector.
VZ-1000ES Projector = State of the Art Bright Room Projector
This is a true 4K projector. Yes, it meets the UHD specs, but is twice as high resolution, as the minimum for 4K UHD: 3840x2160 resolution. That works out to 8 megapixels), no pixel shifting 1080p, or for that matter, it's also much higher resolution than the new 4 Megapixel DLP (UHD) models just starting to ship. Even those new DLP's suffer from their pixel size being twice that of this Sony. The bigger the pixel, the less detail. As of CES 2017, Sony, I believe is still the only company shipping true 4K to the home market, although JVC has announced one of their own - for $10,000 more than this projector!
Of course the VZ1000ES supports HDR, and true 4K, BT2020 color space, etc., as do the other Sony true 4K projectors - which start with the VPL-VW365ES at $9999. The HDR and BT2020 color space simply dramatically up the picture quality compared to 1080p, so you are getting far more, than "just" true 4K resolution.
As previously mentioned, the VZ1000ES is a laser projector. That means it will go years without significant loss of brightness (a problem for lamp based projectors), and even better, color accuracy will hold, whereas lamps change color balance over time measured in hundreds of hours. There are a number of other advantages to lasers as well (including no replacement lamps to buy).
Sony VPL-VZ1000ES - 2500 lumens of true 4K, ultra short throw projection, designed to work in a wide range of rooms.
This Sony projector's footprint is 36 inches wide, by 20 inches deep, and 9 inches tall. (WxDxH, 925 x 494 x 219mm). It places as close as 6 inches from the screen wall.
As you can see from the images, that's a reasonable size to place on a credenza or other piece of furniture that will be below your screen. Of course, if you are putting this in a non-home theater, you'll probably want to pair it with a motorized screen so the screen isn't visible when you aren't using the Sony. This is no portable, weighing in at 77 pounds (35kg).
Screen Magic - Using the VZ1000ES in a Bright Room
We've discussed and created a video about how the right screen with the right projector can tackle rooms thought to be impossible for projectors just a few years ago. Basically, a class of screens sometimes called ALR or "light rejecting" or more accurately "optically light absorbing" screens, is the secret to success. These screens were first popularized by Screen Innovations (I use their Slate 1.2 in my bright living room). Today though, ALR type screens are available from a number of companies, and vary tremendously in price - although even the more expensive ones won't be considered a major expense by folks that can afford the VZ1000ES.
The idea behind these screens, is that only light hitting them from a very narrow angle gets reflected, the rest gets "absorbed". Thus, with a normal projector and an ALR type screen like the Slate, light from the sides, lights almost above the screen, is pretty much absorbed, not reflected back at you. Now with a normal throw projector, there's still the issue of light coming from around the projector (i.e. a window behind the projector, or lights, for that matter). You'll see that affect in my video.
But with the VZ1000ES, combined with an ALR screen specifically designed for ultra short throw, there just isn't going to be any significant light coming from right below the screen (except, of course from the projector), so almost no ambient light affects the picture. Awesome.
That's the ticket to bright room projectors. One thing of note, I said many screen companies offer ALR screens. True, but as of this time, only SI has figured out how to design an ALR screen that can be retracted. That is, they have the only motorized one on the market.
Since the idea is not to have a visible screen in your living room or media room, when not watching, at this time only SI has a viable solution in the form of their motorized screen for ultra short throw.
Sony VPL-VZ1000ES shown on a wall unit, with a motorized screen. Screen is retracted to show what the setup might look like when not in use.
Boy am I looking forward to reviewing this projector! In the meantime, I'll check it out here at CES. BTW, I'll be publishing my full review of Sony's flagship 4K projector, their $60,000 VPL-VW5000ES, in the next couple of weeks. There will be a lot in common between the two, although the 5000ES is not short throw.
That's it. Although I haven't seen it in action yet, I'm pretty sure I want one. Donations to help make that possible are appreciated. OK, that's not going to happen, but Happy New Year. Make this your year to move up to a 4K projector. -art