Previewed: Sony 2018 4K home theatre projector range

posted on Tuesday, 2nd October 2018 by David Slater

projectors  home cinema  4K  Marata Vision  Sony 

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The home theatre projector market is really beginning to heat up. This is excellent news for the CI trade, as it breathes new life into the home cinema market,  with existing clients keen to upgrade and new buyers tempted by the prospect of large screen 4K UHD.

The budget end of the market is filling up with low cost DLP models that use clever mirror flipping technology to increase pixel density. The original purveyor of genuine native 4K projection though is Sony, and the brand has released its best range yet, post CEDIA Expo and IFA 2018.

Inside CI was invited to an exclusive preview of the new line-up at the Grove hotel in Watford, a unique opportunity to get an early hands on. The 2018 line-up comprises the VPL-VW270ES, VPL-VW570ES and VPL-VW870ES, priced at £4999, £7999 and £24,999 respectively.

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The presentation was well attended with over 30 CI dealers. The Sony team opened with a presentation running through the history of the line-up. Sony currently dominate the 4K projector space, with market share that ranges from 50 - 66 per cent. The core products are all still manufactured in Japan, allowing for quick delivery to the market.

The incoming models all feature a new next-generation 4K processor, with the range-topping VPL-VW 870ES boasting a Z-phosphor laser light source, with a rated lamp life of 20,000 hours. The laser light source allows better control of contrast and brightness. Sony has also introduced new tone mapping to better handle HDR content in all three of its new projectors.

 The VPL-VW870ES utilises a new dual contrast engine 2,200 lm, and digital focus optimiser. It weighs in at 22 kg. Build and component quality is fabulous. An All Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) 18-piece all glass lens ensures high precision in every corner of the image.

While the new laser flagship is spectacular, the new supporting VPL-VW270ES and VPL-VW570ES models are likely to be in huge demand too. In addition to the new 4K processor, they offer 4K motion flow and offer 18gbps 4K 2160p 10-bit inputs, making them ideal for both UHD Blu-ray players and Sky Q.

Reality creation, Sony’s image enhancement technology, may seem superfluous when it comes to 4K, but it seems there are clear benefits to turning it on. Sony has also worked hard on reducing 4k input lag for gamers, good news as it seems more customers than ever want to game on the big screen.

Installation has also improved, thanks to a new lens shift motor, which allows for a much smoother operation.

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The laser-lit VPL-VW870ES really does look amazing, with crisp imagery, effective HDR and deep and convincing black levels. However, the standard lamp models also impressed. We sat through comparisons of the UHD disc of Blade Runner 2049 and I have to say it looked remarkable across the board.

Sony has stepped it up another notch with its 2018 projector range and with JVC (finally) launching their own native 4K projectors, it’ll be interesting to see how the installer market moves forward.

In a side-by-side shootout, the VPL-VW 870ES obviously looked the bees knees, but there was still amazing detail and colour depth in both of the cheaper options.

                    Also read: Laser flagship leads Sony 4K HDR projector refresh

Sony has also developed a 4K advertising campaign for dealers; Sony will include dealer information on all UK adverts across many different publications. It’s an initiative that’s well worth applauding.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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