Sony Projects True 4K and Teams With Kaleidescape

As CEDIA drew close to its September 7, 2017 opening, Sony announced three new full 4K/UHD projectors with a native resolution of 4096 x 2160. This is the resolution of Sony’s 4K SXRD imaging chips. Pro 4K projectors have a 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160, whereas consumer 4K uses 3840 x 2160. There are several ways of handling the difference between these two resolutions when displaying consumer 4K sources. The ideal approach, which involves no added processing to generate potential artifacts, is to simply leave a blank sliver of about 125 pixels at each side of the screen.

All three of the new projectors can accommodate high dynamic range in either the HDR10 or HLG formats, wider color with 10 bits, and 4K at up to 60Hz. The new budget model, the VPL-VW285ES, does leave out a few features, including a dynamic iris and lens memories, to achieve its $5000 price. But it offers an appealing alternative to the wobble 4K (or pseudo 4K) projectors that are currently the only way to acquire UHD projection at approachable prices.

The new $8000 Sony step up 4K/UHD model is the VPL-VW385ES. It offers a dynamic iris (Sony calls this its Advanced Iris) for a claimed dynamic contrast (full-on/full-off) contrast ratio of 200,000:1, and selectable position memories for lens focus, zoom, and shift.

Both the VPL-VW285ES and VPL-VW385ES are available now. The third new model, the $25,000 VPL-VW885ES, shipping in late November, employs a laser light source with a claimed life of 20,000 hours, 2000 lumens of brightness, and an infinite dynamic contrast due to the ability of lasers to be modulated almost instantaneously—unlike slower, mechanical dynamic irises.

Sony’s current VPL-675ES ($15,000) remains in the line, but has been upgraded with features inherent in the above models: the addition of HLG HDR, an upgraded Info menu, and an improved lens.

In addition, Sony and Kaleidescape, the latter a provider of UHD/4K players, are teaming up to provide a package deal to those who buy a new Sony 4K/UHD projector and a Kaleidescape 4K/UHD Stratos player (provided downloaded material purchased from the Kaleidescape store, it doesn’t play discs) between September 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. The bonus is a bundle of 10 downloaded movies totalling up to $350.