Sony brightens up movie night with compact Native 4K HDR laser projectors
Sony is treating home theater buffs to three new 4K laser projectors, all featuring what's claimed to be the world's smallest SXRD imaging chip as well as a laser light source and a high-end picture processor.
The pricing differences between the three models is substantial, but they do all feature that 0.61-inch 4K (3,840 x 2,160) SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) panel for the promise of "an incredibly lifelike picture," while also allowing Sony to wrap all the projection tech up in a smaller chassis than any other Native 4K HDR home cinema laser projector available.
The panel is also reckoned capable of delivering a wide dynamic range thanks to improved light control from a reflective silicon layer and the flagship processing power of the X1 Ultimate chipset from the company's US$80,000 flagship home theater laser projector. New object-based HDR remaster processing also analyzes objects frame-by-frame "for unmatched HDR imagery for any content."
The laser diode light source is reckoned good for up to 20,000 hours of use. The included Triluminous Pro engine – which is based on technology used in the company's Bravia TVs but optimized for projectors – supports output at 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut, and the projectors are certified IMAX Enhanced for big-screen immersive viewing of compatible content.
And for gaming enthusiasts, all models also come with an input lag reduction mode that can get latency down to below 13 milliseconds on 2K 120-Hz content, or under 21 ms for 4K/60p games.
Setting the VPL-XW7000ES apart from its siblings is a new motorized Advanced Crisp Focus lens with a 70-mm aspherical element up front, a floating focus system and extra-low dispersion glass, which all translates to distortion-free, corner-to-corner clarity.
Brightness for this $28k model is rated at 3,200 lumens for up to 200 nits thrown on a 150-inch screen to enable eye-popping visuals during daylight hours without having to pull the blinds. A new Live Color Enhancer selectively widens the color gamut to produce "lifelike skin tones and vivid images for all your entertainment." Powered focus and lens shift also feature, along with motion compensation for smooth action scenes and the ability to store up to five different lens settings.
Moving down a notch to a slightly less heart-stopping price tag of $12k brings us to the middle model in the new lineup, the VPL-XW6000ES. This projector lowers the maximum color and white brightness to 2,500 lumens but is otherwise pretty much the same proposition as the 7000 model.
And finally, the cheapest of the bunch is the VPL-XW5000ES at $6k, which could be quite a bargain for serious home cinema setups given the flagship tech it packs. This model loses the fancy ACF lens and Live Color Enhancer tech, brightness goes down to 2,000 lumens, and zoom/focus and lens shift are manual rather than powered.
"We've delivered the highest quality projectors and immersive entertainment experiences for 50 years, and our Native 4K SXRD projectors have led the market in providing these experiences for over a decade," said Sony's Tyler Ishida. "We're excited to debut these compact, high-brightness laser projectors, with a new design that creates flexibility and options for consumers with today's variety of home media viewing rooms and differing lighting needs. These new models showcase our continued commitment to products that provide extraordinary experiences while increasing value to the consumer with every generation."
All three Native 4K SXRD laser projectors are due to go on sale some time in the Northern Hemisphere summer.