Sony VPL-VW885ES Demo at CEDIA 2017

vpl-vw885es

Sony’s booth included a blacked-out theater in which the company was demonstrating the VPL-VW885ES, one of the stars of CEDIA 2017. This bad boy is a true 4K HDR projector with laser-phosphor light engine and a light output of 2000 lumens for a list price of $25,000. That’s a lot, to be sure, but it’s $10,000 less than the comparable JVC DLA-RS4500, which boasts essentially the same specs (except for a specified light output of 3000 lumens).

The demo screen was a Stewart StudioTek 130 (165″ diagonal, 16:9, 1.3 gain). Three sources were used: a Dish Hooper3 satellite receiver, a Sony UBP-X1000ES UHD Blu-ray player, and a Kaleidescape Strato 4K movie server. The 7.3.4 Dolby Atmos sound system included five Sony SS-NA2ES speakers in the front LCR and side-surround positions, six SS-NA5ES speakers in the back-surround and four overhead positions, and three SA-NA9ES subwoofers. A Sony STR-ZA5000ES AV receiver provided nine channels of amplification, with another amp for the extra two channels.

As we entered the room, the system was showing four sports channels in a quad-split arrangement on the screen, each in 1080p resolution, from the Dish Hopper3. Once the demo got going in earnest, we watched a native-4K nature program called Peru, which was played from a USB stick plugged into the X1000ES. The colors were gorgeous with great contrast.

Finally, we watched a clip from Spider-Man: Homecoming in 4K/UHD HDR played from the Strato. The colors and detail were exceptional, but I thought the black level wasn’t all that great—not bad, but not great.

I saw this demo on Thursday. The following Saturday, I saw an actual side-by-side comparison of the VW885ES and the JVC DLA-RS4500 on identical screens at the AVS Forum meetup. Sony didn’t play a clip that emphasized black levels during that event, so I can’t make a direct comparison of that particular performance criterion. In any event, the Sony VPL-VW885ES is no slouch in any way, and I hope to spend some quality time with it.