4K Home Theater ES Projector
Not as good as it should be
I should start by saying that I sold this projector after a week because I was disappointed with it. It is not bad, you just have no way of using its best capabilities. It is like buying a Ferrari and realizing that there is no way to buy fuel for it and that it only has BMW performance. It is still nice to tell your friends about, but inside, you feel a little silly for buying it.
This model is not compatible with future 4k broadcasts as it only does 4k at 24 FPS, not 60 FPS. Not that it matters, there is still no 4k format available. It is just worth being aware that if there is ever a 4k cable tv service, this $25k device won't work. Typical Sony, after being promised content by summer 2013, here we are in 2014 and still, nobody knows.
Others than being 4k, this projector is mid-level and doesn't have the features you normally find on projectors in this price range. For example, no high end glass - it is entry level for glass lenses. Also, the contrast is nowhere near as good as the 1million:1 headline suggests. Dynamic contrast is nonsense. Only the ANSI contrast matters (the difference between the brightest and darkest imagery capable of being displayed at the same time). Full on / full off, measures the difference between an all black screen and an all white screen, not the contrast capability for movie content. "Dynamic contrast" is even more bogus as it uses a variable iris which is the devils play thing. No real pro devices use them. I didn't measure the ANSI contrast but it just doesn't look as good as other high end devices I have owned.
2000 lumens is brighter than cheaper Sony projectors but it is barely average for home theater projectors these days. Other $25k devices offer 10,000 lumens for use on really large screens and they have the ability to vary the lamp power so you can reduce it to get higher contrast when you don't need the extra brightness. This device needs a light controlled room. It is not bright enough for living room use. If the projector was $5k, I wouldn't complain but I struggle to see where my money went on this.
The largest selling point is the 4k resolution. Ignoring the fact that there is still no 4k content, the benefit of 4k isn't nearly as significant as the advertising suggests. I sit 10 feet from my 115 inch screen. I never had a problem with seeing a visible pixel structure with 1080p. It never looked blocky like the example Sony advertised. It is solving a problem that I didn't have. With 4k content, I can see the difference from 3-5 feet from the screen. From my normal seating position (which is not that far), the difference is harder to distinguish. If you turn all the frame smoothing off (which you should for movies), you might not be able to see any meaningful difference over a decent blu ray. I am ignoring the launch content that is used to show off all new display technologies. That stuff always looks great. I am only talking about actual movie content.
I can see a much greater difference in image clarity when using the high end glass seen on comparably priced devices from Christie, Digital Projection and Projectiondesign. You lose some detail with lower grade home theater devices. The high end glass often costs as much as a mid range ht projector on its own. It would have been nice to see a decent lens on a $25k device though.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this is a bad projector. I am saying this is a $5k projector in $25k clothing. Compared to other $5k projectors, it sits in the top 25% in terms of quality. Compared to the $4k JVC RS48 which offers simulated 4k upscaling of 1080p content (which is all you can do with the Sony right now), the image quality is comparable. The Sony has the edge on brightness and the JVC can deliver a darker black. I struggle to find $21k difference beyond that.
Perhaps the problem, is that you can't use any of the really great features of this device. For example, It uses the same 4k chips as digital theater projectors and can display the expanded DCI color pallets. If it was available, you could actually watch real theater content at home. But it is not. Sony had a great opportunity here, they are the only projector manufacturer who has access to 4k theater content. All they had to do, was make its catalogue of dci compliant content, available to first adopters- they are large files but even taking that 4k media server into a Sony store to download new files would be better than nothing at all. Those dci files are far more detailed than any home format. it would have been a major selling point. I would even go as far as to say, worth paying $25k for (to the right kind of customer). Will Sony ever learn? No format was ever successful without easy access to well priced content, no matter how good the technology is. Mini disc was better than cd. Cd was better than mp3s. Betamax was better than VHS. Only the one with the content and convenience survived. Even I know that. Why don't Sony????
Even if Sony makes another promise on when we will see a 4k format, I won't believe it. I have been burnt too many times before. Now, I'll believe it when I see it. Anyone thinking about 4k should wait a while to see what happens. This device is already not going to be compatible with 4k broadcasts and until we see one, we won't know if any of the current 4k devices will work with a new format.
This device produces a great image from blu ray sources. I will say that. My main complaint on the image, is with lower resolution sources such as cable broadcasts. Most content looks best when it is the same resolution as the device. When you upscale or downscale, you often get a softer image. This projector does a great job of scaling 1080p blu rays to fit the 4k resolution. Upscaling 720p sources and below, is a different story. I found that regular tv viewing looked very ordinary.
Unless everything you watch is on Blu Ray, I strongly recommend trying before you buy and make sure to turn off all the frame smoothing for the test. My advice is to either save $20k and by a JVC while you wait to see what happens with 4k, or, if you have to spend the cash, take a look at some of the real high end brands. You might find that those 1080p blu rays look better on a 1080p projector with $5k worth of glass sticking out of the front than they do on a 4k device with $200 worth of glass at the front.
January 9, 2014
Sony 4K Projector
I just installed the Sony projector. It is a large step up from my prior Qualia 004, but the build quality is not nearly as good as the Qualia, giving a much cheaper overall look and feel.
My biggest disappointment is to just have purchased such an expensive unit to find out several days later that Sony announced the far superior HDMI 2.0 and made it a free software update on several of it's 4K televisions. When I asked about the very necessary update of the Projector, Sony replied that the firmware for the projector was not yet available, that new firmware would have to be installed when ready for which Sony would make a charge, and of course all of the work in installing the projector on the ceiling and all of the fine adjustments etc will have to be recalibrated once the HDMI 2.0 is available.
I find this immediate outdating of such a high end and expensive product unacceptable. I would recommend waiting to purchase until the 2.0 firmware is already installed.
I am however very pleased with the performance of the projector in 108i and 1080p, but not at a retail price of $25,000.00.
September 25, 2013
Sony doesn't mention that this projector doesn't support external anamorphic lens future. Zooming is not the same as external anamorphic lens. I hope Sony will fix this, otherwise pro users will be disappointed.
March 11, 2013
So looking beyond the deep blue waters it is hard to imagine the future and just how much better it possibly could get from here. The 1000ES has surpassed all of my expectations. Sure many will say it is expensive but when has being on the cutting edge of technology been cheap? With the 1000ES finding the "sweet spot" is just not necassary. The front row looks just as good as the back row! Now the only "sweet spot" is either by the rest room or the popcorn machine. The term "Screen Door Effect" is now extinct with the 1000ES. The best seat in the house is any seat. The Sony VPL-VW1000ES has proved there definitely is a next level beyond 1080p. At least we will be ready when Blu ray 4K shows up. Until then we can still enjoy the first rate eye candy of the 1000ES. No matter where you sit the 1000ES puts you either in the MOVIE or at the GAME! I was just telling Jaclyn it's been awhile since I've seen a night and day difference. Probably not since 720p to 1080p. Well, here it is...
October 26, 2012