Higher-end home theater projectors have been facing an increasingly tougher marketplace lately, facing three separate sales challenges. First, flat panel sets have eroded a large amount of the old projector market share as they simultaneously gain bigger screen sizes, thinner cosmetics, and cheaper pricing. Second, many homeowners are moving away from the dedicated room concept to living room installs. Finally, the high-end of the projector space, $10,000 and above, has seen a lot of competition from fully-featured, 1080p, 3D models at lower pricing.
The VPL-VW1000ES is Sony's first consumer 4K digital projector.
Recognizing that the home market is challenged and looking for ways to revitalize its business, and showing that Sony is dedicated to the CEDIA custom install channel, the manufacturer announced today the VPL-VW1000ES, its first consumer 4K digital projector. Sony stressed that this is not a reworked model from its commercial division, but a dedicated model that utilizes a brand-new SXRD panel that has been specifically designed and built from the ground up for the consumer market.
With its unique "lens to living room" positioning, Sony is involved in all aspects of the creation of 4K material—from the filming, to the mastering, to the commercial distribution and projection, to disc manufacture, and now right into the living room. Sony is a leader in commercial Digital Cinema, having over 9,000 4K projectors already installed. Its studies show that when sitting at/near three times the picture height, 4K's significantly higher resolution and pixel density is demonstrably better. Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony Electronics' Home Division, commented, "It will allow them to become totally involved in the viewing experience and much closer to the action on the biggest home theater screens, with images that deliver considerably more detail and fewer artifacts."
The projector features 2,000 ANSI lumens, delivering twice the output of previous Sony home models, and allowing it to drive screens up to 200 inches in size. Additionally, it features install-friendly options such as dual triggers, a 2.1 motorized zoom, longer throw distances, RS-232, and IP control interfaces.
On top of the higher resolution, the projector also supports 3D, anamorphic 2D and 3D, native 4K, and includes the new Sony Super Resolution 4K "upscaler" allowing users to experience their existing collections like never before. While the Blu-ray spec—and HDMI—support 4K, Sony stated that current Blu-ray players would be unable to play native 4K material and would need to be updated much like when consumers migrated to 3D content playback.
"With its truly advanced resolution, the new VPL-VW1000ES 4K home theater projector delivers on the promise of the future of home entertainment, today," Abary added. "It proudly showcases Sony's commitment to innovation, quality, and design."
The VPL-VW1000ES is part of Sony's ES line-up that, available exclusively to custom installers and features Sony's three-year Elevated Standard warranty. It is expected to ship by the end of the year, at a retail price "under $25,000."