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Sony VPL-VW600ES Projector Sony VPL-VW600ES
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200000:1 Contrast Ratio
1700 Lumens
Full HD 3D
$11,444 Street Price
$14,999 MSRP

Sony VPL-VW600ES
Native 4K SXRD Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, January 15, 2014

Key Features

Picture quality. While the VW600ES is chock full of features, the primary reason to buy the projector is for the stellar image quality. The VW600ES is a videophile's dream, rendering every image in bright, pixel-free Ultra HD. Actual 4K content does look great, but the VW600ES does not need native-resolution material to produce an impressive picture.

MotionFlow. The VW600ES includes MotionFlow, Sony's frame interpolation system. MotionFlow contains a number of different presets. Smooth High and Smooth Low were the most aggressive settings. Smooth High removes all traces of judder while adding significant edge enhancement and digital video effect, while Smooth Low is a milder version. Impulse reduces but does not remove judder without adding edge enhancement or digital video effect. Our favorite mode for film and video is called Combination; it reduces judder more than Impulse but less than the Smooth modes without adding digital video effect. We did notice during testing that Combination and Impulse both reduce light output by 25% to 30%, so consider using a different mode or disabling MotionFlow entirely if your installation requires maximum brightness from the projector.

Reality Creation. Sony's answer to Panasonic's Detail Clarity and Epson's Super Resolution is Reality Creation, a detail enhancement system. Reality Creation improves the appearance of fine detail and is adjustable based on your own tastes. The Reality Creation system includes a useful on/off Demo feature that will show you what the picture looks like with and without your adjustments, in A/B format. The two pictures flash back and forth until you press Enter to stop the demonstration.

Reality Creation has two sliders for adjustment. The first slider controls how much enhancement is applied to the image. The second adjust the signal to noise ratio -- in essence, it tells the detail enhancement system where to draw the line between real detail and digital noise.

Full 3D. While the primary draw of the VW600ES is its crisp, clean 4K image, it can also process full HD 3D sources over HDMI as well as any 1080p projector. This includes 3D content from Blu-ray disc as well as satellite and cable set-top boxes. Like all content, 3D movies are up-converted to 4K before display. If and when 4K 3D movies arrive, the VW600ES should have no trouble displaying them.

The VW600ES uses radio-frequency (RF) synchronization for its 3D glasses and has an internal emitter. Unlike infrared (IR) glasses, RF glasses do not require a signal in the same range as a projector's remote control. As a result, you will not find it any more difficult to use the VW600's remote control while watching 3D content. They also do not lose synchronization if you break line of sight with the projector or screen, On the downside, RF glasses are more susceptible to having the battery run down unless you remember to turn off the projector or switch out of 3D mode when you are not actively using it. Since the VW600's glasses are not rechargeable, this can be a concern for heavy 3D users.

The glasses themselves are feather-light and the arms are very flexible, which is useful when you have a larger-than-average head. The nosepiece is removable, so users with prescription glasses can take it out to reduce the distance between their real glasses and the 3D glasses. The glasses use CR2025 button-style batteries which replace through a small access tray in the nose bridge. Replacing the batteries is simple and only takes a few seconds.

As far as 3D picture quality is concerned, the VW600ES does just as well with HD 3D content as it does with the two-dimensional variety. Detail is razor-sharp after up-conversion, and the projector shows very little crosstalk or jitter even at the default High brightness setting.

Dropping 3D brightness to Normal from the default High removes any trace of crosstalk, but crosstalk is mild enough with brightness at High that we do not recommend the switch unless you are exceptionally sensitive to the artifact.

Auto/manual iris. The VW600's iris system is quite flexible. The iris has only two controls. The first, labeled Dynamic, can be set to Full, Limited, or Off. The second, labeled Brightness, can be set between 0 and 100. With Dynamic set to Limited, the Brightness control will only allow the automatic iris to open partially, effectively limiting the projector's maximum light output while still giving you the black-boosting benefits of an automatic iris system. With Dynamic set to Off, the iris reverts to full manual control. In other words, using these two controls, you can use the iris system as a full dynamic iris (Dynamic: Full, Brightness: n/a), a limited dynamic iris (Dynamic: Limited, Brightness: 0-100), or a manual iris (Dynamic: Off, Brightness: 0-100). This is perfect for those with excellent light control and/or smaller screen sizes who do not need the projector's full light output.

This has a side benefit as well. As a projector's lamp ages it loses brightness. By using the Limited dynamic iris function, you can limit the projector's brightness at the beginning of a lamp's lifetime, then gradually allow more light to pass as the lamp ages, effectively stabilizing light output over the life of your lamp.

Picture Position. If you are a fan of the 2.4:1 CinemaScope screen format, you'll love the VW600's Picture Position system. This feature stores up to five combinations of lens settings (including focus, zoom, lens shift) and aspect ratio and stores them in memory banks. The most practical application of this is in 2.4:1 screen format home theater without an anamorphic lens. It works like this: you set up the VW600ES on a 2.4:1 screen, then save settings for 1.85:1 movies in one memory location and a zoomed-in setting for 2.4:1 movies in another setting. When you want to switch between them, it takes three button presses instead of ten minutes of adjustment.

Low fan noise. The VW600ES is a very quiet projector. High lamp mode produces a low rush of air that is nonetheless quieter than many other home theater projectors, while Low lamp mode is as close to silent as a running projector can get. Either way, you won't hear audible noise from the VW600ES unless you're sitting right next to it.

Panel alignment. Proper panel alignment in three-chip light engines is critical, and that goes double for a 4K projector. The VW600ES has an electronic panel alignment system to help correct small errors in convergence without sending the projector back to Sony for warranty service. The panel alignment system is capable of both global adjustments, in which the entire panel is shifted, or zone-by-zone adjustments, in which a small section of the screen is tweaked. Since it's an electronic system, the panel is not physically moved, and all changes are easily reversible.

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Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Setup and Configuration Key Features Performance
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Reader Comments(18 comments)

Posted Aug 11, 2014 1:36:53 PM

By Tim

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You common folk appreciate this projector, but I demand more. I want 4k driven by separate RGB channels with LED sources, each modulated by a DLP mirror (3x4k). No color wheels, no rainbows, no LCD blanking. For $800, please. Thanks!

Posted Jul 22, 2014 4:13:07 AM

By Uzzal

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You guys please lower the price of 4k projectors so that we can buy it.

Posted Jul 14, 2014 11:58:12 AM

By UHDGuru

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mmm...when reading this..why pay for future equipment,and with this- pay and support development? 4K = 720p (and 6K) 8K = 1080p 8K Will be standard. problem solved.

Posted Apr 1, 2014 7:34:22 PM

By Doug

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Regarding 20/20. The optician's test image is a Snellen eye chart. At 20/20 the letter "E" has bars 1 arcminute thick and the two gaps between the 3 bars are also 1 arcminute (5 arcminute high total). Also the contrast is good and the background is 100 foot lamberts (i.e. brighter than typical for video projected images and TVs which gives the eye better acuity). However there is more to the story.

First, if the resizing is a weighted blending of the original pixels (bi-linear interpolation), then letters of a 20/20 eye chart would have fuzzy edges (if the displayed pixel overlapped half a dark original pixel and half a light pixel, then the bilinear interpolated output pixel would be gray). Thus 4K resolution projection would suffer only half the degradation that a 2K projector would suffer. In other words, the letters of a 20/100 resolution eye chart will be a little sharper but for the highest displayable resolution eye chart it will be a lot sharper.

Second, the eye has much higher vernier resolution and can discern if a line has a 12 arcsecond step displacement. That means the eye is very sensitive to aliasing artifacts. A 4K display would inherently have only half the angular magnitude line displacement of a 2K display. (Although line displacements will be less, they can still be visible since the displayed pixels are still larger than 12 arcseconds. Antialiasing algorithms hide these artifacts but somewhat blur the image. On a pixel basis, double display resolution allows these artifacts to be hidden with antialiasing pixel processing that is only half as blurry.

Third, if the resolution is twice as high, then motion blurring is twice as noticeable. Thus, if your eye gaze follows numbers across the screen (e.g. football jersey or stock market data scrolling across or film credits scrolling down), then the eye is blurring twice as many pixels together. This means at 4k, 240 Hz motion blur reduction is required to attain the same affect as 120 Hz MBR at 2K resolution. The good news is this is only a fair comparison when the numbers on the 4K display are half the angular size as on the 2K display and you are expecting to see them equally well. If both projectors display the same image of a moving 20/40 Snellen eye chart, then of course the high resolution projector will suffer motion blur no more than the 2K projector even when both are MBR at 120 HZ. However do not expect to then switch the 4K projector video to a 20/20 Eye chart moving at the same angular rate across the screen with the same clarity as the 20/40 video on the 2K projector unless you also run the 4K projector at double the motion blur reduction rate. On a 4K display, when motion blur occurs, the temporary resolution degradation is much more noticeable.

Posted Mar 20, 2014 5:52:53 AM

By Tom Collins

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This makes it too slow for gaming, at least when non-native sources are used.

was wondering what the input lag would be with a native 4k signal from a extremely high end PC?

Posted Mar 17, 2014 11:30:49 AM

By Ebase131

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That 120 ms input lag is a deal-breaker. Very disappointing that even in game mode it is still that bad. Makes the projector unplayable and strictly a movie/TV watcher which is not how I would want something that costs $15k to function.

Posted Jan 29, 2014 7:29:08 AM

By Jim Terry

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Will you be testing the Sony VPL-VW1100ES projector? I can find very little information on this projector except from Sony itself.

Posted Jan 27, 2014 4:12:28 PM

By Reuben Ahmed

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$15000 MSRP is not a bad price. If the street price is lower, for an early adopter whose main hobby is projection technology - it is doable. I would consider this technology if it can be had for under 10K.

Posted Jan 25, 2014 11:41:39 AM

By Edlantis

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What is the range on the zoom lens (range of throw ratios)?

Posted Jan 21, 2014 7:32:12 AM

By Vlad

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"Game mode is very bright, has a blue tint, is comparatively lower in contrast, and does not offer any benefits to input lag"

It's a pity! Game mode almost useless due to input lag.

Posted Jan 18, 2014 9:36:36 PM

By Frank

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No idea how the Runco came into the picture here, based on its description (HD rez, single chip DLP, color wheel, etc), it seems to be priced about $11,500 too much.

Posted Jan 18, 2014 9:23:30 PM

By Stunko

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Wow, where to begin?

Ceilings mounts are NOT considered "professional" as far as installations go. Having the PJ behind the rear wall in a separate booth is considered much more professional. Particularly in a dedicated screening room.

No idea why this particular Sony PJ would need any more of a professional installer installation than any other HTPJ. I mean, it is just a 1700 ANSI lumen HTPJ, folks.

And that brings me to the nitty-gritty of it: fifteen-thousand dollars -- for this? Nay.... check back in 2-3-4 years time, prices by then will be under $4,000, for sure. With other players in the game, not just mega-Sony. For now, the ticket is with the 4K UHD TV, now that prices have dropped below the $1,000 mark on some of them. Great review, though, the shape of things to come, surely.

Posted Jan 17, 2014 1:15:53 PM

By Derrick

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Great review. I gave up on watching the 4K content from the media server as it's too expensive ($30 or more for some stuff)but mainly because Bluray movies look fantastic and so do the NFL night games. Day games are ok but the night games are great. It was nice to read about all the various features and how each feature changes the projector/picture as the manual is lacking in this area. Also, you did a great job explaining eye sight/vision. Your the only reviewer to do this other then my eye doc. My vision was 20/10 until recently and then it changed to 20/25 over a few years. The eye doc got my vision corrected back to 20/10. The difference is very noticeable from 18' on the 133" screen, and now I understand (somewhat) the reason. This projector is a game changer and it will be interesting to see how other manufactures react as the current street price of the projector is under 11K; still a lot of money but this projector has only been out a few months. Great review.

Posted Jan 16, 2014 1:41:49 PM

By Foxman

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Thank you for your response. It is evident I need a refresher course on upscaling. I also need to go back and see if my 5-year-old home theater system is calibrated correctly!

Posted Jan 16, 2014 9:55:17 AM

By kevin prouten

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It contains every major advancement in home theater projector technology made since the advent of high definition

with the exception of a long lasting led / laser light source !!!!

Posted Jan 16, 2014 9:29:53 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Foxman - it appears we've crossed a wire somewhere. When you're talking about digital projectors, all non-native signals need to be scaled to fit the native resolution of the projector. We experimented with scaling by setting our Oppo BDP-103 to output 4K, then switching it to output 480p (thereby allowing the VW600ES to handle its own scaling). In the past, projectors did not have the greatest upscaling capabilities, so it was frequently beneficial to add either an upscaling DVD player or a separate video processor. The VW600ES has excellent internal scaling that is variously on par with or superior to the scaling in the Oppo BDP-103, which is itself top notch.

Reality Creation, on the other hand, is not upscaling. Reality Creation is a detail enhancement system similar to Panasonic's Detail Clarity or Epson's Super Resolution. It makes the picture appear sharper, clearer, and higher in detail. You can apply Reality Creation to the picture regardless of where the scaling is performed.

Posted Jan 16, 2014 8:07:05 AM

By Foxman

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A great review! I am surprised about the upscaling quality of standard DVD material with this projector. I would have thought the higher resolution would have made DVDs look even worse. Could you please explain your comment about the projector upscaling nearly as well as your Oppo Blu-ray player? Were you going back and forth with the Oppo's enhancements on and the Sony's Reality Creation off and then vice versa? I have often wondered what determines the best quality from a standard DVD...the projector or the player. To take it a step further, what would happen if you ran a standard DVD source through the Oppo and the Sony with the enhancements and Reality Creation both on? Would the clarity improve even further, or would it reach a point of overkill? Thanks in advance for your response.

Posted Jan 15, 2014 12:52:11 PM

By AVGuru

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Still glad I picked up my brand new Sony Sony VPL VW1000ES for a hair under $14k.

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