Sony's VPL-VW1000ES Brings 4K Projection to the Home

Sony's VPL-VW1000ES Brings 4K Projection to the Home

Sony's VPL-VW1000ES Brings 4K Projection to the Home

The Sony VPL-VW1000ES is the world's first 4K front projector designed for home theater installations.

First things first, what is 4K? Simply put, it's a high-end image standard used in digital movies and computer graphics. The name '4K' describes the horizontal resolution of this standard, which is about 4,000 pixels. Due to different aspect ratios used in digital films and post-production systems, both the horizontal and vertical resolutions for 4K can vary, but the horizontal resolution is always approximately 4,000 pixels. For example, full aperture 4K has a resolution of 4096 x 3112, while digital cinema 4K based on the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) spec has it at 4096 x 2160 (that's 8.8 million pixels!). To put things into perspective, the latter has four times the resolution of digital cinema 2K (2048 x 1080) and what's commonly known as full HD (1920 x 1080). Imagine this: a pixel in a 4K system is about 1/4 the size of a pixel in an equivalent 2K or full HD system. And it goes without saying that the higher the resolution, the more detailed the images will be (that is, if you've the appropriate content).

Sony already has a 4K camera and 4K digital cinema projectors (F56 CineAlta camera and SRX 4K projectors, for example); and now, it's introducing a new high-end model in its ES (Elevated Standard) projector line meant for home theater use - the VPL-VW1000ES. Here is a list of its key specs:-

  • 4K native resolution (4096 x 2160p) using a new 0.74" SXRD panel with 120Hz frame rate
  • 4K up-scaler 'Reality Creation' for 2D and 3D 1080p content
  • 2,000 ANSI lumens brightness
  • Suitable for projection on screens of up to 200 inches
  • 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (using Sony Iris3 technology)
  • Support for 2D and 3D anamorphic films
  • Built-in IR transmitter for driving active shutter 3D glasses
  • Picture position memory
  • Dual triggers, 2.1x motorized zoom
  • RS232 port, IP control, and compatibility with leading home automation systems

At an event today organized by Sony, we had a taste of this ultra high-res 4K projector; below are some pictures to whet your appetite.

According to Mr. Tsuyoshi Nagata (GM for Presentation Display, Professional Solutions Company, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific), there are now over 10,000 units of Sony Digital Cinema 4K projectors deployed in cinemas around the world.
Besides a new 4K SXRD panel and a much improved LSI chip, the VPL-VW1000ES uses a specially developed ARC-F (All Range Crisp Focus) lens to take advantage of the 4K resolution.
Here's a view of the ports and controls located at the right side of the projector.
This zoomed in image probably doesn't do the projector justice, but the point is this: with a 4K resolution, one is able to sit closer to the screen and not be bothered by the screen door effect. And oh, watching 4K in 3D up close was mind-blowing.
Here's another close-up image. Mind you, we were standing about 3 meters away from the screen; to describe it as immersive is an understatement. Could we differentiate the pixels, or see any jaggies? Only when we were 3 inches away...well, you get the idea.

Next is the million-dollar question: how much does this projector cost, and when would it be available? According to a Sony spokesperson, the VPL-VW1000ES would arrive in the Asia Pacific markets between January to March 2012, and it would go for US$24,999 (excluding local taxes). Here in Singapore, accredited dealers would be selling it from March 2012. The price? A cool S$31,999 before GST.