Sony has announced three new projectors for its native 4K SXRD home theater line-up, including two with advanced tone-mapping and other features that should noticeably improve image quality over prior models.
Sony's new flagship home theater projector is the previously announced VPL-GTZ380, which we described in detail back on July 27th. It's a 10,000 ANSI lumen behemoth featuring a trio of redesigned SXRD LCoS panels that can provide the required stability for the massive light output and a three-laser light engine that guarantees full DCI-P3 gamut at the rated lumens. Pitched initially for the commercial display and simulation markets, its reach is being extended now for high-end home theater applications that presumably involve either very large screens or high ambient light viewing. It has a claimed 16,000:1 native contrast ratio (by an unspecified measurement technique), and is said to be suitable for bright and dark room environments. However, no rating is given for dynamic contrast, and based on the very high brightness it's safe to assume that it won't likely deliver the kind of black levels and dark room performance that serious projector enthusiasts have come to expect from Sony's traditional home theater projector family. The VPL-GTZ380 should be available in Janary 2021, and though pricing has not been officially released, Sony has told its commercial dealer community that final MSRP before discounting could be in the $80,000-$85,000 range prior to the purchase of a separate lens.
Of more interest to the broader home theater market are the new VPL-VW715ES lamp-based projector (1,800 ANSI lumens) and VPL-VW915ES laser projector (2,000 ANSI lumens), priced at $9,999 and $19,999. These replace the VPL-VW695ES and VPL-VW885ES, respectively, and bring some noteworthy advances over their predecessors. Like the VPL-GTZ380, both models implement a projector-centric implementation of the powerful X1 video processor used in Sony's high-performance panel televisions.
The additional processing power has notably been applied in the VW715ES and VW915ES to perform scene-by-scene analysis to further improve HDR tone-mapping. The algorithm behind this Dynamic HDR Enhancer feature is said to use the scene-by-scene data to perform video processing and adjust the light source and/or dynamic iris found in both models to further deepen blacks and improve peak brightness.
Also, a new Digital Focus Optimizer is said to improve sharpness and focus uniformity, particularly at the outer edges of the image, by compensating for the natural optical degradation of the lens at the far corners. Sony's existing Digital Reality Creation sharpness, scaling, and noise reduction engine is also said to enjoy additional processing power for improved performance that adds texture and detail to both 4K and scaled 1080p content.
Both the VPL-VW715ES, in either black or white, and VPL-VW915ES in black only are available as of today for order at Best Buy, Amazon, and other authorized dealers. ProjectorCentral's review of the VPL-VW715ES is currently pending for publication this month.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-VW915ES projector page.