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ROAD TEST: Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K Projector

Evan Powell, May 19, 2016
ProjectorCentral.com
Sony VPL-VW365ES

Sony VPL-VW365ES


Lumens: 1500      Resolution: 4096x2160      Price: $9,999



What it's designed for

Dedicated home theater. The Sony VPL-VW365ES is a native 4K resolution projector designed primarily for fixed installation home theater use. It does an outstanding job of displaying native 4K source material as one would expect, but it also substantially enhances the apparent resolution of more conventional HD 1080p sources due to its exceptional upscaling algorithms.

High Resolution Commercial Display. Despite its home theater pedigree, the VW65ES also has applications in commercial settings where ultra high resolution video is desired, such as museum auditoriums, or in any situation in which complex graphics must be displayed with maximum acuity.


What it gives you

  • Native 4K Resolution: 4096 x 2160

  • ANSI Lumen Rating: 1500

  • HDCP 2.2 compatibility

  • Power zoom lens with 2.06x zoom range

  • Power focus

  • Power vertical and horizontal lens shift

  • Motion Flow (frame interpolation)

  • Reality Creation (detail enhancement)

  • Built-in 3D transmitter

  • Nine picture calibration modes

  • 6000 hour lamp life in eco-mode

  • Weight: 31 lbs

  • Price: $9999 MSRP, replacement lamp $499

Sony VW365ES Connection Panel

Connection Panel Inputs:

  • (1) LAN - RJ45, 10Base-T/100BASE-TX
  • (1) USB
  • (2) HDMI ports (one with HDCP 2.2)
  • (1) RS-232C, D-sub 9-pin (female)
  • (1) IR IN - Minijack
  • (2) 12v. triggers

Physical attributes. When viewing the projector from above and behind the unit, the signal cable connection panel is located on the lower right side. The AC power input is located under the left rear corner. Cooling intake vents are on the rear, hot air exhaust is on the right front, directed away from the projection line.


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Bench Test: What the Meters Say

BRIGHTNESS. The VPL-VW365ES is rated at 1500 lumens. On our test sample, the brightness pre-programmed operating mode was Custom 5, measuring 1530 lumens. This particular calibration is biased toward green and thus has a bit more brightness than the eight color modes which are more balanced.

With the lamp on full power and the zoom lens set to its widest angle position, our test unit produced ANSI lumens readings as follows:

MODE
Normal Lamp
Low Lamp
Cinema Film 1
1329
943
Cinema Film 2
1329
943
Reference
1329
943
TV
1306
927
Photo
1179
837
Game
1317
935
Bright Cinema
1329
943
Bright TV
1308
929
Custom 5
1530
1086

ZOOM LENS EFFECT. The maximum light loss at the telephoto end of this long 2.06x zoom lens is only 12% (many 2.0x zooms can lose up to 40% or more). This provides more latitude for projector placement without having to factor in significant light loss from the zoom lens.

LOW LAMP MODE. Low lamp mode reduces lumen output by 29%. It also reduces fan noise enough that it will be the preferred operating mode in most smaller home theaters.

BRIGHTNESS UNIFORMITY. Uniformity measured an outstanding 93%, about the best we ever see on digital projectors.

INPUT LAG. The VW365ES has an Input Lag Reduction option that defaults to OFF. In this setting the Bodnar meter reports a lag of 116 ms. When Input Lag Reduction is turned On, the lag drops to 36 ms. Picture quality is not significantly degraded with Lag Reduction on. The most obvious difference is an increase in digital noise.



What it sounds like

Fan noise, rated at 26 dB, is somewhat more apparent on the VW365ES than on most of the premium home theater projectors we've tested. This is surprising considering it is a large 31 lb projector designed for only 1500 lumens. In full lamp mode, the audible noise may be problematic in smaller home theaters, especially for those who want silence during quiet interludes of a film. Low lamp mode, which increases lamp life and reduces lumen output by 29%, substantially reduces fan noise and will probably be the preferred operating mode for most home theater installs. In low lamp mode the fan noise is subdued and unobtrusive, but not silent.

High Altitude Mode is required at elevations above 1500 m, or about 5000 feet. In this mode the fan noise is substantially increased and likely to be objectionable to most users. If operating in full lamp mode, you'd want to place the projector behind a false wall to isolate it from the viewing room. Low lamp mode reduced the audible noise in High Altitude operation, but it is still a factor that will need to be managed.



How to set it up

THROW DISTANCES. To fill a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen, the VPL-VW365ES requires a minimum throw distance of 12 feet and a maximum of 25 feet. For throw distances required to meet your desired screen size, see the Projection Calculator.

LENS SHIFT AND VERTICAL OFFSET. At the lens' neutral position (half way between the maximum vertical and horizontal shift ranges), the centerline of the lens intersects the projected image at about the middle of the image. From this point you can either raise or lower the image across a range equal to 2.7 picture heights. At the ends of the vertical lens shift range, the bottom edge of the image will be 35% of the image height above the lens centerline, or the top edge will be 35% of the image height below the centerline.

VERTICAL OFFSET
(btwn centerline of lens
and midpoint of image,
in % of image height
HORIZONTAL SHIFT
(% of image width from midpoint)


Vertical Shift
Top Position
+85%
+/- 3%
Middle Position
0%
+/- 35%
Bottom Position
-85%
+/- 3%


What we think of it

Sony is the only company delivering native 4K resolution projectors for under $10,000 at the moment. The Sony VPL-VW365ES is an elegant home theater solution for the discriminating buyer, and if you want maximum detail in viewing 4K material, this is it. In addition, the VW65ES has a powerful upscaling capability that makes 1080p and lower resolution sources look much higher in resolution than they are.

Overall, we would characterize black level and contrast on this product as competitive and sufficient but not leading edge. Nevertheless, the picture is fully immersive and compelling, and you get lost in worlds of detail that you just don't get on 1080p projectors. Fan noise in full power mode is more noticeable than we would prefer, but it will only be an issue if the projector is located directly behind the viewers in close proximity.

Two of the most attractive processing features of this model are Reality Creation and MotionFlow. Reality Creation is adjustable to your taste and incrementally increases detail definition. Set it to where your penchant for a clean, natural image intersects your desire for maximum sharpness. And MotionFlow is, in a word, awesome. When it is set to Low, it substantially reduces (almost completely eliminates) motion judder without imparting even a hint of soap opera effect or undesirable side effect artifacts. You can set it to High also, but you do get some digital video and unwanted artifacts at that aggressive level of processing, and it simply is not necessary to remove the slight bit of motion judder that is left over from the Low setting.

All in all, the Sony VPL-VW365ES is a formidable offering. Those who install it will have an excellent home theater experience.


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(12/12/17 - 07:46 PM PST)
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