(April 29, 2022) Sony has blown the doors off a rather quiet month of reveals by launching three new exciting home theater projectors. Leveraging its all-new SXRD 0.61” panel, the world's smallest native 4K 3840 x 2160 panel, Sony’s engineers have shrunken the overall size of the bread and butter models of its projector lineup. It's also officially eliminated the use of lamp-based technologies, opting for a blue laser+phosphor light source with a 20,000-hour lifespan.
"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,” said Tyler Ishida, President of Consumer Business Group, Sony Electronics Inc. “These new models showcase our continued commitment to products that provide extraordinary experiences while increasing value to the consumer with every generation.”
In a segment that traditionally features large and bulky equipment, Sony’s latest panel innovation has paved the way for the most compact native 4K-capable projectors on the planet. The all-new VPL-XW7000ES and VPL-XW6000ES are both 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the older VPL-XW915ES, and the new VPL-5000ES is 30% smaller and 35% lighter. Those kinds of reductions make for easier handling during installs, particularly considering ceiling mount applications, but also reduce environmental impacts by minimizing production and packaging materials.
Pricing-wise, Sony’s new laser-equipped offerings are competitively positioned against both JVC and Epson laser models which start at $11,000 and $4,000, respectively. Priced at $27,999, the VPL-XW7000ES is the most expensive of the trio, with the VPL-XW6000ES ($11,999) and VPL-XW5000ES ($5,999) landing in much friendlier budget territories. Those prices are slightly reduced as compared to the models they’re replacing, which include the laser-based VPL-VW1025ES and VPL-VW915ES. Sony’s also phasing out its VPL-VW715ES, VPL-VW325ES, and VPL-HW65ES lamp-based projectors.
All three new models utilize Sony’s X1 Ultimate for Projector processor which, until now, has been exclusively reserved for the company’s flagship VPL-GTZ380 model ($80,000). This processor enables unique features like Dynamic HDR Enhancer for a better HDR impact during bright and dark scenes. It also offers Object-based Super Resolution for more powerful real-time picture processing that analyses objects of each frame for enhanced High Dynamic Rendering.
The VPL-XW7000ES sports 3,200lm of brightness and a new 70mm diameter Advanced Crisp Focused (ACF) lens with an aspherical front element and floating focus system. The VPL-XW6000ES dials back brightness to 2,500 lm of brightness, and the entry-level VPL-XW5000ES delivers 2,000lm of performance. All three models achieve 95% reproduction of the DCI-P3 color gamut while offering native compatibility with HDR10 and HLG HDR. HDR10+ compatibility is notably absent, as is 3D support on the VPL-XW5000ES.
Surprisingly, all three carry HDMI 2.0b connectivity. This delivers support for HDCP 2.3, an input lag reduction mode that’s specified to deliver 27ms lag with 4K/60Hz signals and 13ms lag with 2K/120Hz signals. It does, however, eliminate support for 4K/120Hz gaming, Auto Low Latency Mode, Variable Refresh Rates, and G-Sync, each of which are key HDMI 2.1 features reserved for hardcore gamers.
Sony says the VPL-XW5000ES and VPL-XW6000ES will be available in either black or white, while the VPL-XW7000ES can only be purchased in black. Release dates are currently projected to be mid-June 2022.