Sony VW600ES 4K SXRD Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$14,999 MSRP Discontinued

Though 1920x1080p has become the standard resolution for home theater projectors, the next wave of technological advance is upon us. 4K Ultra HD has a native resolution of 4096 pixels by 2160 pixels (the 4K name comes from the first number, rounded off). 4K has four times the pixels of 1080p, and it shows. 4K resolution projectors are now starting to become available, though they tend to be very expensive. The first reasonably priced 4K projector to make its way into our hands is the Sony VPL-VW600ES.

The VW600ES is a unique projector: a full 4K resolution SXRD home theater projector for $14,999. Though priced higher than most home theater projectors we review, it represents an outstanding value.

The Viewing Experience

At the moment there is not a lot of native 4K content available, so anyone purchasing the VW600ES will no doubt spend most of their time watching content that is not native 4K. So we tested the VW600ES using a wide variety of content, ranging from native 4K films to HD Blu-ray movies to standard-def DVDs, to see what the projector does with a variety of sources.

The most remarkable thing about the VW600ES is that, without fail, it knocked all of our tests out of the park. Every source we threw at it looked better than it ever had before. And we're not just talking about Blu-ray movies, either. We tested a number of DVDs, including some especially poor transfers like Bottle Shock. The DVD release is full of digital noise and compression artifacts and has a picture that could charitably be described as "messy." Nevertheless, the VW600ES did an admirable job of cleaning up the digital noise and up-converting the picture, performing nearly as well as our Oppo BDP-103 reference Blu-ray player did. And when given better quality source material, like Pixar's Ratatouille, the VW600ES can really shine.

Since 4K is equivalent to four times the pixels of 1080p, all non-4K sources are up-converted to 3840 x 2160 on the VW600. But rather than doing a simple line doubling pass in each direction, the VW600ES analyzes each frame of video and then interpolates to 4K in order to maximize detail clarity and sharpness. As a result, even highly detailed HD films appear to have more detail still when viewed on the VW600.

Usually, the farther you sit from your screen, the larger your screen has to be before you see the benefit of higher resolution. In other words, super high resolution is more obvious when viewed from up close. But the benefit of 4K resolution can be evident even at longer viewing distances. The THX maximum recommended seating distance for 1080p displays is 1.5 times the screen width. At this distance, there is more visible detail in the VW600's image than on a native 1080p display. In fact, this detail advantage is still visible at even longer viewing distances -- up to about 2 times the screen width by our testing, or about 14.5 feet from a 100" diagonal image.

While it is true that the maximum benefit of a 4K picture is not truly obtained until you are sitting very close to the screen, the cumulative effect of all of those extra pixels is not lost on the eye when seated farther away.

Let's spend a minute on the subject of visual acuity, which is the ability of our eyes to resolve detail. "20/20 vision" is defined as the ability to differentiate two points of light separated by one minute of arc (that is, 1/60th of one degree). For a 100" diagonal screen at a viewing distance of 1.5x screen width, the screen is roughly 2200 arc-minutes wide. In other words, you can see all of the 1920 pixels in a 1080p image, but that image does not "max out" your visual resolution -- there's room for more detail. Furthermore, 20/20 vision is actually the lower limit on "normal" human vision. It is used as a diagnostic cut-off, above which no further testing is necessary. "Perfect" human vision is actually closer to 20/16 or even 20/12. Someone with 20/12 vision can resolve detail down to 0.6 minutes of arc, and would see some benefit to 4K even at a viewing distance of 2.25x the screen width. However, if you want to get the most out of a 4K projector, you'll want to be seated at a distance between 1 and 1.5 times the screen width. At this distance, the benefit of the extra pixels is visible to just about everyone.

Actual native 4K content is limited right now, but it does exist. We set up the VW600ES with Sony's FMP-X1 network media player, a hard drive-based 4K player with access to Sony's Video Unlimited 4K store. The VU4K store has about 70 commercial movies available, plus a variety of shorts, documentaries, and TV shows.

The FMP-X1 media player is entirely hard drive-based and has an internal 2-terabyte drive capable of storing up to 45 full-length feature films. It requires a hardwired ethernet connection and needs to be paired with a Sony Xperia Tablet Z that serves as a remote control. Due to the sheer size of the files being downloaded, the FMP-X1 cannot stream 4K content, so movies have to be downloaded completely before use. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, a feature film (roughly 50 GB) can take between 8 and 50 hours to download completely. The player does have an option to download new content automatically during off-peak network times, though it is disabled by default.

Using the FMP-X1, we watched several 4K films including A Few Good Men, The Amazing Spider-Man, Battle: Los Angeles, and Salt. The quality of the 4K transfers was a little hit-and-miss, with some films showing fantastic detail and others not looking much different from 1080p. This also may be due in part to the content itself; Battle: LA and Salt are heavy on action sequences in which high resolution detail gets lost, while A Few Good Men and The Amazing Spider-Man have some long takes with stationary cameras, making it much easier to see detail. All 4K movies, regardless of the amount of detail we saw, showed above average digital noise. What's more, the FMP-X1 locks out the VW600's noise reduction circuits, so it isn't removable.

There is definitely more detail in 4K content than there is in 1080p content, and it is clearly visible from normal viewing distances. We tested this in two ways using A Few Good Men. First, we watched the Blu-ray version of the film on a 1080p projector while watching the 4K version on the VW600ES in a side-by-side test. In this comparison the 4K source's advantage in detail resolution was quite obvious. Next, we sent both the Blu-ray 1080p version and the native 4K version to the VW600ES for an A/B test. Here the VW600ES gave the 1080p version noticeably improved detail over the 1080p projector - though still not as good as the 4K version. It confirmed what we already knew about the VW600's upscaling capabilities, as well as demonstrating the potential of 4K source material.

Since current 4K content is limited, this just means that the VW600's primary benefit at the moment is as a high-resolution display that upscales standard-definition and 1080p HD content. But that benefit by itself is quite significant.

In 3D, the VW600's picture is clean and bright without any of the usual 3D pitfalls or artifacts. There's barely a hint of crosstalk at the glasses' default High brightness, and while there can sometimes appear to be a slight jitter or instability in bright areas, it never rises to the level of a serious distraction. The projector gives an excellent impression of depth and a strong 3D effect, and the included radio-frequency glasses are lightweight and comfortable -- though not rechargeable.

Setup and Configuration

As the VW600ES sells for a touch under $15,000, most buyers will opt for professional installation. Therefore, the fact that it is exceptionally easy to set up is more of a benefit to installers than it is to owners, but still worth noting.

The VW600ES has a 2.1:1 powered zoom lens with powered H/V lens shift. The vertical shift can place the image either completely above or completely below the centerline of the lens, with some leeway in either direction, for a total vertical range of 2.6 screen heights. Horizontally, the image can be shifted 50% in either direction, for a two picture width total range. This is about as good as it gets for home theater projectors. The lens shift range is elliptical, not rectangular, meaning you cannot reach maximum vertical and horizontal shift at the same time.

The lens flexibility makes it simple to place the VW600ES in a ceiling mount or on a rear shelf. The projector has a center-positioned lens that desired by installers. A ceiling mount has the benefit of pulling the projector up and out of the way, as well as being the more "professional" option from an aesthetic perspective. On the other hand, a rear shelf mount is about as simple as it gets, allows for the use of short-run cables, and it keeps the projector near your equipment stack. Be aware, though, that at roughly 20 inches on a side, the VW600ES has a large footprint. Your rear shelf will need to be rather large to ensure that the projector has adequate ventilation.

Whichever placement suits your needs, be sure to give the VW600ES plenty of room to breathe. The projector has two air intake vents on the rear panel and two exhaust vents on the front panel. For rear shelf installations, the projector has a second air intake on the front panel, situated around the lens itself. This will help prevent the projector from overheating if you have no choice but to back it up against a wall.

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.

Performance

Light output. The Sony VW600ES is a bright projector that's perfect for a big screen. In its brightest calibrated theater mode, we measured 1325 lumens on our test unit. This mode (Cinema Film 1, high lamp power, wide lens angle) also produces accurate, highly saturated color and a while balance that is within 100 degrees Kelvin of the desired 6500K across the grayscale.

Cinema Film 2 is similar to CF1, but it uses the Dynamic Limited setting for the automatic iris with a Brightness of 70 to reduce maximum light output to 860 lumens. If you switch the iris to Dynamic Full or increase Brightness to 100, CF2 and CF1 become identical.

Reference mode, at 1227 lumens, is designed to reproduce the Rec. 709 color standard exactly, and it does an excellent job. It does not have the same levels of color saturation as CF1 and CF2 modes, nor does it have the same extreme contrast, so it tends to appear flatter than the two aforementioned image modes. But it is quite accurate, and just about perfect if you are looking for a reference mode.

TV mode, at 1116 lumens, has a bluish tint that brings color temperature to around 7200K. This tint is not unpleasant when watching television and other video content, but it is also not difficult to calibrate TV back to 6500K if you want to.

Game mode, at 1350 lumens, is slightly brighter than Cinema Film 1, but not enough for the difference to be meaningful. Game mode is very bright, has a blue tint, is comparatively lower in contrast, and does not offer any benefits to input lag (some Game modes in other projectors and televisions automatically activate faster processing, but that is not the case here).

Bright Cinema, despite its name, is not actually brighter than Cinema Film 1. Instead, at 1239 lumens, it offers a picture with more open mid-tones and less dramatic gamma, as does its counterpart Bright TV at 1269 lumens.

In any of these image modes, Low lamp mode reduces light output by 28%. Since the VW600ES produces over 1,000 lumens in all of its image modes save CF2, Low lamp can help to reduce light output for smaller screens.

All of our measurements were conducted with the VW600's zoom lens at its maximum wide angle setting, where it passes the most light through to the screen. However, in real-world use, most people end up using at least some portion of the zoom lens and incurring some light loss. The VW600's lens loses up to 30% of its light output as it travels from wide angle to telephoto zoom, and the loss is approximately linear across the lens' zoom range. In other words, if you use the mid-point of the projector's zoom, you will lose about 15% of the maximum potential light output. This is due to the optical properties of zoom lenses in general and is not unique to the VW600.

Contrast. The VW600ES has some of the best contrast performance we have seen on any home theater projector to date. The projector has a black level that is unparalleled. This is due in no small part to the projector's fantastic iris system, which smoothly and silently adjusts to any change in light level without causing any distraction to the viewer.

Dynamic range is set such that there is no clipping of highlight or shadow detail and mid-tones are preserved perfectly while giving the image the sort of three-dimensional pop that is usually reserved for actual 3D.

The VW600ES has several features that alter contrast and dynamic range. The first of these, Contrast Enhance, raises the cut-off point for black. This is actually not desirable most of the time, because the VW600ES is more than capable of rendering deep shadow detail. The second, Smooth Gradation, improves the projector's handling of gradients and eliminates any instances of color banding. We prefer to leave this control on Low or Medium, as the Off setting does show some color banding on a standard gray ramp pattern.

Color. The VW600's color performance is superb, even straight out of the box, with a color gamut that closely matches the Rec. 709 standard and good saturation that is not overpowered. White balance is very near the 6500K ideal even before adjustment, and some gentle fine-tuning brings the projector exactly in line with the published standards. Your installer will likely calibrate the projector for you, but even before calibration it is a treat to watch.

The VW600ES has a feature labeled "Clear White" which pushes the color temperature of 100% white towards blue. This has the effect of making white appear "whiter," but it is less accurate, so we left it disabled.

Sharpness and Clarity. The key selling point of the projector, its 4K resolution, gives it a level of detail clarity that 1080p projectors cannot match. This is evident in all types of content, from standard definition DVD up through Blu-ray and native 4K material.

Input lag. The VW600's beautiful picture requires some hefty image processing, and that processing does have a downside. The VW600ES measured 120 milliseconds of input lag in all image modes, or a touch over seven frames of a 60 fps signal. This makes it too slow for gaming, at least when non-native sources are used. This 120ms lag was not affected by MotionFlow, Reality Creation, or any of the VW600's other optional processing circuits.

Limitations

High input lag. The VW600's high lag makes it an inappropriate choice for high-performance gaming. If you enjoy playing video games on the big screen, you may want to consider a second projector with lower input lag for dedicated gaming use.

4K sources are currently limited. This is no news. It will take a while for native 4K source material to become widely available. But it will happen rather quickly. Sony is rolling out new titles, and Netflix and Amazon Instant Video have both announced plans to offer 4K streaming, including the second season of Netflix original series House of Cards.

However, the limited 4K content is not as much of a limitation as one might imagine. As discussed above, the VW600's 4K resolution provides substantial benefit for all types of content. Standard-definition DVDs and 1080p Blu-ray discs look undeniably better on the VW600ES than they do on native-resolution 1080p displays. In our opinion, the VW600ES is worth the price even if you never watch a single 4K movie on it.

Shootout:
Sony VW600ES vs Runco X-200i

It's easy to say that the VW600ES is superior to 1080p projectors that cost a fraction of its $14,999 price. But how does the VW600ES fare against something in its own price class?

The Runco XtremeProjection X-200i is a 1080p projector built for the custom installation and specialty design market. This boutique projector also sells for $14,999 with the standard lens through authorized Runco dealers. Runco has a reputation for building some of the finest projectors available at any price. How it stacks up against Sony's new 4K powerhouse?

The Runco X-200i is a beast of a projector. It is clad in an all-metal black chassis and it weighs nearly 60 pounds, about double the size and weight of the VW600. The centrally-mounted lens is interchangeable, and Runco offers lensing options with throw ratios between 1.85:1 to 4.00:1. It produces 1430 lumens after calibration and uses a single-chip DLP light engine with an all-RGB color wheel. It lacks many of the user-friendly features found on today's more consumer-oriented models, and is clearly designed to be professionally installed and calibrated. As such, you won't find features like powered lens adjustments, extensive zoom and lens shift, lens memory, frame interpolation, or smart sharpening on the X-200i.

The most noticeable similarity between the images of the X-200i and VW600ES is color. Both projectors are capable of producing near-perfect color, and any differences between them can be chalked up to variances in the individual calibrations rather than inherent differences in the projectors themselves. Neither projector has any obvious flaws in the color gamut or gave us any difficulty during calibration.

Perhaps the biggest image quality difference, though, is the sheer amount of detail produced by the VW600. Placed head-to-head against the X-200i, the VW600ES clearly has the more detailed image. This is true even without the benefit of the VW600's Reality Creation system, and turning it on only increases this perception.

Digital noise. The X-200i lacks an effective noise reduction feature. In sources with a moderate to high level of noise, that noise is more apparent on the X-200i than on the VW600. The X-200i has a noise reduction control that defaults to zero, but runs up to 200. At 200, noise is eliminated but the picture quality is substantially softened to the point of being unwatchable. Pushing the control up to just 50 produces a limited reduction of noise but already begins to impact image sharpness. We found the noise reduction feature on the X-200i of limited use, and noise to be a distracting artifact on many sources.

Light output. Both the X-200i and the VW600ES produce about 1300 lumens in their video-optimized modes, but the VW600ES's light output is highly variable while the X-200i is more or less fixed. The X-200i has a 1.3:1 lens, so it does not lose a significant amount of light due to zoom. On the other hand, the VW600ES can lose up to 30% of its light by using the telephoto end of its zoom lens. The X-200i lacks a low power or low lamp mode, does not have any preset image modes, and has no manual or automatic iris, so it is more or less locked at its maximum output. In contrast, you can use the zoom, iris, and lamp power to reduce light output on the VW600ES by up to 72%. So while the X-200i produces roughly 1300 lumens no matter what, the VW600ES can output anywhere between 1325 lumens and 370 lumens.

The X-200i's constant high light output makes it difficult to use in rooms with small screens. On the other hand, the VW600's light output is extremely adjustable, so it is trivial to fine-tune light output to fit your needs.

Contrast. The VW600ES wins when it comes to black level. In point of fact, it's not even a contest; the X-200i's black level is one of its weakest points. Dynamic range, on the other hand, is a very close match, and the X-200i is neck and neck with the VW600ES with each projector winning the comparison in certain scenes and losing in others.

Input lag. If you are the kind of person who wants to use your $15,000 projector for video games, the X-200i's input lag of 30 milliseconds beats the pants off of the VW600's 120ms time. The difference between the two is palpable. Controls feel sluggish on the VW600ES but snappy on the X-200i.

Audible noise. The VW600ES is near-silent during use. The X-200i, by contrast, has a louder fan that occasionally resonates with the projector chassis, causing a rising and falling rattle/hum during operation.

The bottom line is that the VW600ES is a more fully-featured projector that produces a cleaner, more detailed image than the X-200i. The VW600ES has significant advantages in clarity of detail, digital noise, black level, variability of light output, placement flexibility, overall feature set, and audible noise -- not to mention the fact that it is a 4K projector and thus capable of displaying native 4K content once more of it becomes available. The Runco X-200i, on the other hand, manages to tie the VW600ES in dynamic range and maximum light output, while also having a significant advantage in input lag. Overall, in terms of pure bang-for-the-buck performance, the VW600ES is a far better use of $15,000.

Conclusion

Combining a native 4K light engine with all of the features and functions that have made Sony home theater projectors popular in the past, the Sony VW600ES is a total package. It contains every major advancement in home theater projector technology made since the advent of high definition, and most of these systems are executed quite well. The choice to focus on up-conversion of non-native content was the right one, and as a result the VW600ES is a worthwhile projector even for those who never intend to watch a single 4K movie. Every piece of content sent through the VW600ES is improved.

Quite often, early examples of any new technology are more tech demos than a finished product. The Sony VPL-VS600ES breaks that mold. Not only is the VW600ES a fully featured 4K home theater projector, it is also worth every penny of its asking price, even with 4K content being as scarce as it currently is. If you have $15,000 to spend on a projector, the Sony VPL-VW600ES is the projector to buy.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-VW600ES projector page.

Comments (21) Post a Comment
AVGuru Posted Jan 15, 2014 12:52 PM PST
Still glad I picked up my brand new Sony Sony VPL VW1000ES for a hair under $14k.
Foxman Posted Jan 16, 2014 8:07 AM PST
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.
Bill Livolsi Posted Jan 16, 2014 9:29 AM PST
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.
kevin prouten Posted Jan 16, 2014 9:55 AM PST
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 !!!!
Foxman Posted Jan 16, 2014 1:41 PM PST
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!
Derrick Posted Jan 17, 2014 1:15 PM PST
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.
Stunko Posted Jan 18, 2014 9:23 PM PST
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.
Frank Posted Jan 18, 2014 9:36 PM PST
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.
Vlad Posted Jan 21, 2014 7:32 AM PST
"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.
Edlantis Posted Jan 25, 2014 11:41 AM PST
What is the range on the zoom lens (range of throw ratios)?
Reuben Ahmed Posted Jan 27, 2014 4:12 PM PST
$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.
Jim Terry Posted Jan 29, 2014 7:29 AM PST
Will you be testing the Sony VPL-VW1100ES projector? I can find very little information on this projector except from Sony itself.
Ebase131 Posted Mar 17, 2014 11:30 AM PST
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.
Tom Collins Posted Mar 20, 2014 5:52 AM PST
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?
Doug Posted Apr 1, 2014 7:34 PM PST
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.
UHDGuru Posted Jul 14, 2014 11:58 AM PST
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.
Uzzal Posted Jul 22, 2014 4:13 AM PST
You guys please lower the price of 4k projectors so that we can buy it.
Tim Posted Aug 11, 2014 1:36 PM PST
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!
Craig Posted Oct 3, 2014 10:51 PM PST
I have owned this projector for 6 months and have it in my theatre room with a Stewart 125" 2.35:1 StudioTek 130 and am very happy with it. 4K from the Sony FMP-X10 looks superb. The 1100ES was a little too big for me and the 600ES was a better choice.

The only thing I am unhappy with is the lag for gaming but an imminent update will address this apparently.
Mark Weiss Posted Mar 13, 2015 12:37 AM PST
Brightness levels in FL are confusing for these projectors of late. I've been using the calculator on this web site to compare many projectors, but all the newer ones not only have lower lamp power than my current projector, but the predicted brightness is far lower than I have now. For instance, I have the InFocus IN82, which on my screen, the calculator estimates 59 FL. This Sony projector tops out at only 18FL at the short end of the zoom lens. But everyone says this is 'bright'. I wouldn't consider my projector especially bright, but it's much brighter than my friend's Mitsubishi projector (it takes my eyes a while to acclimate to the dim picture), but it's comparable to a plasma TV display in terms of brightness and contrast. I bought it used for $1425 in 2009, and my video production business is considering a 4K production camera now, so I'll need to think about 4K projection in the studio soon. Another problem with my current setup is due to room support column placement, I can get a max throw distance of 13'. My IN82 really needs 16' to fill the screen top to bottom. The other problem is 2.35 aspect films.. there's no native 2560x1080 mode, or you need a lens that costs more than the projector and loses light. Zooming loses light and also gets pixellated as I found out with my friend's system. I wish there was a real practical brightness comparison. Subjective statements don't give me confidence. 18FL is pretty dim. I like high dynamic range stuff, so when the sun is shining into the camera, it's practically burning my retinas. My cameras can capture more than 14 f-stops of dynamic range, but current projectors seem to top out around 9-10.
John Posted Mar 27, 2015 5:44 AM PST
Very good review!! thank you www.google.com

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