CEDIA Expo is the biggest US trade show for home theater and home automation and it is being held at the San Diego Convention Center. I'm calling this my day 0 blog (for Wednesday, 6 September) since the first day the exhibit booths open up comes tomorrow (Thursday, 7 Sept.). Late this afternoon (Pacific Time) Sony held a press event with the news on their new 4K home theater projectors and that news is the subject of today's blog.
Sony has announced 3 new home theater projectors with 4K native resolution. The current entry-level 4K model (i.e., the VPL-VW365ESs that we previously reviewed) is being replaced with a model VPL-VW385ES that adds a few key features over the current model. Along with the new VPL-VW385ES Sony is introducing a new lower priceed entry-level model VPLVW285ES that in most aspects is very similar to the current VW365ES projector. Sounds confusing, well not really. The new VW285ES, as the new entry-level model, is very similar to last year's VW365ES while the new VW385ES becomes a step-up model that offers many of the features previously found only on Sony's more expensive series of projectors. The third new projector is a higher-end model using a laser light engine with most of the features one would expect from a high-end model.
Mike Fasulo, president and COO of Sony Electronics, stated off the Sony press conference within a few . began describing Sony’s three new projectors.
Full audio from the Sony press event is below:
VPL-VW. 285ES -
This is the new entry-level projector with native 4K/UHD resolution and is available for ordering as of today for a list price of $4999 While this model offers power focus and zoom it lacks lens memory and also lacks a dynamic iris. The lack of lens memory may make this model not the idea choice for those home theater owners that are using, or plan to use, a wide aspect ratio 'scope' screen (i.e., with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 or 2.40:1). The lack of a dynamic iris (DI) means the displayed black levels will be elevated (i.e., dark grey) as compared to more expensive Sony models that do offer a DI. The VW285ES supports both the HDR10 and HLG versions of high dynamic range (HDR) video but do not support the full Wide Color Gamut (WGC out to the DCI-P3 saturation levels) supported by some of Sony's more expensive 4K projectors. The VW285ES is rated at 1500 lumens of light output in it brightest model.
This is Sony's new step-up model using the same lamp and lens and offering the same brightness spec. (i.e., 1500 lumens) as the VW285ES. It is priced at an attractive $7999 is available very soon. As compared to the lower priced VW285ES, the addition of a dynamic iris and lens memory on the VW375ES means this model will offer a more dynamic picture with deeper black levels and will have the ability to handle wide aspect ratio 'scope' screens when displaying source videos that have various aspect ratios. Feature-wise this new model appears to be similar to the current model VW675ES, but at a significantly lower price.
This is Sony's new premium 4K projector that uses a laser light engine. This model is smaller, less bright and at $24,999 much lower priced than flagship model VW5000ES, which was introduced at CEDIA Expo two years ago. This model appears to replace the now aging VW1100ES, which has remained in Sony's 4K projector line-up for the past several years. The new VW885ES, at slight lower price point, offers more features that the older model VW1100ES but uses a less expensive lens. In fact the lens appears similar(but perhaps upgraded from the lens found on the lower priced VW385ES and VW6xx series of projectors. The VW885ES is rated at 2000 lumens of light output and supports Wider Color Gamut than do the lower priced, lamp-based models. It also supports both HDR10 and HLG versions of HDR. It offers lens memory and has a built-in auto-calibration function. The bottom line is the VW885ES has the features one would expect from a premium model 4K projector $24999 it is a very competitive addition on the premium home theater market. See our review of pre-production VW885ES - HERE.