Sony VPL-VW995ES Projector Review – Hardware 1

January 21, 2019 / By Art Feierman

Sony VPL-VW995ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware: Overview, Inputs and Connectors, Lens


Let’s start with an overview of the hardware.  As usual, from the front.  But first – what we have here, is a sleek but large looking home theater projector with a black finish.  Overall its look is very minimalistic.  The front only houses the recessed ARC-F motorized zoom lens, the front IR sensor for the remote control, and two indicator lights.  The lights and the IR sensor are on the front, along the top, just to the left of the lens (if you are facing the front of the projector).

The VW995ES weighs in at 49 pounds, not exactly a portable projector. That’s fine, almost every home theater owner will have it ceiling mounted or placed on a high rear shelf.

Venting is done out of the front as well, from the left and right sides.

This Sony has two screw thread adjustable front feet, and two more in the rear.

The slightly curved top of the projector has no controls, but does have a nice Sony logo.

The back is also empty, but for the rear IR sensor, and recessed at the bottom, the power cord receptacle.

If facing the projector the mini-control panel is on the right side, recessed, and very small, running along the bottom edge of the “top” part of the projector.

All the inputs and connectors are on the other side, below the “top part” of the projector, and very well recessed, allowing for neat cabling.

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Inputs and Connectors

Sony VPL-VW995ES Inputs and Connectors
This Sony relies on HDMI, wired networking, and USB

The VW995ES’es inputs and connectors are hidden on the left side (if facing the front of the projector).  They are all in a row, nicely recessed, with the connectors starting closest to the back.

As is typical for Sony 4K projectors, there aren’t a whole lot of those inputs, etc.

Sony relies on its pair of HDMI inputs, USB, and its wired networking – with the standard RJ45 Ethernet jack, to deliver the source signals.  In addition, there’s an RS232 serial port (DB9 connector), for old school “command and control.”

And there are also a pair of 12 volt (screen) triggers, which can be used to control a motorized screen, or perhaps a screen masking system, or, for old school anamorphic lens owners, a motorized sled.   Gone, as usual, are stand alone legacy inputs such as a traditional VGA (computer) input, S-Video, and NTSC video inputs.  No problem most of those are very low resolution (except for the VGA).

From a practical standpoint it is most likely that almost every owner of the VW995ES will have a very respectable separate surround sound audio system with, either an AV receiver, or pre-amp handling the switching of all your inputs, so while I always suggest that a third HDMI is beneficial to some folks, it’s most likely not needed here.

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The Lens

ARC-F lens graphic

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I’ve already extolled the optical virtues of Sony’s very expensive, very high quality ARC-F lens (only used on Sony’s two top of the line 4K projectors). OK, let’s just go over the basics:  The all glass lens is fully motorized, including zoom, focus, and lens shift.

The zoom lens throw is 2.06:1 which is about as much zoom lens range as you can buy today, and that provides great placement flexibility - more than enough to work in almost all homes.  (OK, in fairness, Epson and JVC offer zooms that are 2.1:1 range, an insignificant difference).  By comparison most other brands of home projectors only have models with 1.6:1 or less zoom ratio.

In addition to the great clarity of the lens, other notes:  The lens memory function seems faster than on the previous generation.  Not drastically so, but faster, in this case, is better.  It only takes about 4-6 seconds.

It should be noted that while the 2.06 ARC-F lens is standard, Sony does offer an optional short throw lens as well.

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