With the availability of larger flat panels and LED walls, many might think that projection systems are quickly becoming obsolete. However, manufacturers of high-quality projection systems continue to thrive. In this article, sponsored by Sony, we’re going to discuss why projectors continue to be a viable option for those looking for high-quality video in massive sizes.
Whether you are watching a movie, playing a video game, or presenting a concept, the immersive experiences delivered by mega-large screens really add a "wow" factor. If you are a customer interested in the biggest screen home entertainment or a dealer looking for a great, large-screen solution for a client, Sony has you covered with a variety of large-screen solutions. Each of Sony's large screen solutions fits a specialized purpose. Read on to see what's right for your application.
The Pros and Cons of Flat Panels
Depending on the room and the amount of ambient light, you may be tempted by one of Sony's drool-worthy large flat panel options. Sony offers both the traditional LED/OLED options as well as the more futuristic, tile-based direct LED.
A great example of a large flat panel is the Sony XR-100X92. This 100" 4K HDR LCD TV is the largest flat panel in Sony's consumer lineup and it utilizes a Full-Array LED backlight system and their latest Cognitive Processor XR™ chip to deliver accurate color, high contrast, and amazing detail. For those who love the incredibly deep blacks produced by an OLED, Sony also offers the XR-83A90J. At a whopping 83 inches, it is the largest OLED display ever made by Sony.
As flat panels get larger than 85 inches, the price tag becomes seriously hefty. For example, while you can get a Sony 85" LCD TV like the KD85X85J for $2199 or the amazing XR-83A90J OLED for $7999,99, the 100” XR-100X92 retails for $19,999. Make no mistake, a 100" flat-panel TV costs significantly less today than it did only a few years ago, but it’s still a big chunk of change.
In addition to price shock, it's also really difficult to maneuver an exceptionally large flat panel TV in some situations. Imagine trying to cram an 85" or 100" TV into a typical building elevator or schlep it up 50 flights of stairs in an NYC skyscraper.
While flat panels offer exceptional brightness, color, and contrast, the maximum size of any flat panel TV will rarely top 100 inches. In order to achieve the most immersive viewing experience possible, most video enthusiasts crave displays that exceed 100 inches – in fact, most home theater projection screens are greater than 120 inches.
Instead of one large, possibly hard-to-install display, Sony also offers its own ultra-high quality version of an LED wall. Sony's Crystal LED modular display systems are designed to be flexible, long-lasting, and still deliver class-leading picture quality. Thanks to a modular configuration and bezel-free design, multiple panels can be tiled seamlessly for exceptional installation freedom. You can create custom, large-scale display solutions to fit any space.
Powered by a version of Sony's powerful X1 processor, these new Crystal LED series boast the same signal processing technology found in Sony's BRAVIA TVs. Like a Sony flat panel TV, Crystal LED displays offer realistic color, exceptional brightness, great off-axis response, and amazing black levels. The Sony LED wall is impervious to ambient light so it's perfect for any light-filled room. An LED wall is intended to blow away viewers – it's ideal for museums, education, flight simulators, a large retail display, amusement park rides, or to serve as the focal point of a multi-million dollar building. However, this awesome realistic viewing experience isn’t limited to commercial venues, Sony’s Crystal LED displays are also available to those lucky hardcore video enthusiasts with sufficient resources to purchase one for their home.
However, if you don't have a 9-figure budget and the ample resources required to build a room around this display, this might not be the right solution. Also, to maintain optimum performance, periodic maintenance is required which could easily cost several thousand dollars.
Long Live the Projector!
Considering the potential budget cost and installation drawbacks inherent in some flat-panel and Direct LED options greater than 100 inches, it's not surprising that a lot of customers still choose projectors to fulfill their big-screen dreams. However, even when paired with a Ceiling Light Rejecting screen, a projector's performance is still dependent on the amount of ambient light in the room.
Regardless of this issue with ambient light, we're big fans of projector options here at projectorreviews.com. Projectors are scaleable – able to project images at sizes far larger than the biggest LCD or OLED. And of course, the price is more reasonable. Because the cost per inch is much lower than any other display device, if you're looking for a large, immersive experience at a more approachable price, a projection system is the way to go.
Many of the past drawbacks of projectors have been overcome by recent innovative advancements in the industry. Modern projectors are brighter, more power-efficient, and virtually maintenance-free when equipped with a laser light source.
Even the issue of someone blocking the image when they walk between the projector and screen can be eliminated by an ultra-short throw projector. Sony was one of the first manufacturers to offer an ultra-short-throw projector, and they still have one in their lineup. The VZ1000ES ultra-short throw projector can be placed very close to the wall, eliminating the possibility of a viewer inadvertently disrupting the show. While the unit is larger and more expensive than most "Laser TVs," itsnative 4K SXRD panels deliver a stunning image that is worthy of its premium price.
Sony's latest lineup of 4K SXRD Home Theater projectors delivers a truly cinematic viewing experience. Sony’s 4K home theater projectors are especially known for outstanding picture quality. Their performance has been further enhanced over their predecessors by the incorporation of Sony's powerful X1 Processor which has been optimized for projector applications.
As you move up the lineup, you get additional features that further improve the image, maximize reliability, and simplify installation/operation. For example, Sony’s VW325ES is Sony’s entry-level 4K SXRD home theater is a lamp-based projector model, the top of the line VW1025ES adds a Z-Phosphor Laser Light sourcewith a Dynamic Iris paired with an ultra-high quality ARC-F Lens assembly. Below is a summary of the Sony 4K SXRD Home Theater projector lineup.
$80,000 (w/o lens
Ultra Short Throw
Standard 4K Lens
Standard 4K Lens
Standard 4K Lens
While at $5500 the lamp-based Sony VW325ES is the least expensive native 4K projector available today, it is still more costly than many competitor laser 4K models. To find out why a Sony 4K SXRD projector like the VW325ES commands deserves its premium price, check out our previous article on Sony's four key design elements.
For those looking for the ultimate home theater experience, you should definitely take a long look at Sony's flagship projector, the VPL-GTZ380. It is a 10,000 lumen, native 4K SXRD projector that includes advanced features that help overcome many innate drawbacks found in projection technology.
On second page of this article, we are going to look at some of the most important features of the Sony GTZ380 that make it a star contender in the premium large-screen market: brightness, accurate color, powerful video processing installation flexibility, and low maintenance.