Sony unveils ultra high-definition 4K projector

[From Time magazine’s Techland blog, where the post includes additional information; the full Sony press release, which includes the claim that the product will “provide entertainment enthusiasts with a more immersive, engaging visual experience,” is here]

Sony Unveils Ultra High-Def 4K Projector: So Long 1080p!

By Matt Peckham on September 8, 2011

You’ve finally picked up a monster-sized high-definition 1080p flatscreen for your entertainment center, you’re plowing through your Blu-ray stacks of Lost or Friday Night Lights or Breaking Bad at a crisp, eyeball-thrilling 1920 x 1080 pixels, and then you see this: Sony’s launching a projector that’ll run at 4K, or 4096 x 2160 pixels.

Wait, what? 4096 wide by 2160 high? Isn’t that some kind of digital cinema format? Why yes, yes it is. In fact it’s the high-end of digital cinema formats. Most use 2K, or 2048 x 1080 pixels, only a tick better than your increasingly standard home theater’s 1080p, so 4K’s pretty much cutting edge. Films shot in 4K are fairly recent, too—think District 9, Knowing and The Social Network.

Meet Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES 4K, but don’t worry, you probably can’t afford one. Sony says it’ll ship this December for just shy of $25,000 (including installation). But oh what you’d enjoy if you had that sort of disposable income: a home theater front projector capable of displaying four times the resolution of HDTV.

“In similar fashion to our industry leading 4K Digital Cinema projectors, our new VPL-VW1000ES 4K home theater projector has been created to not just meet but exceed the needs of the most discerning and demanding home entertainment enthusiasts,” said Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Home Division, in the press release. “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 VPL-VW1000ES delivers 2,000 ANSI-lumens of brightness, and Sony says that makes it suitable for screen sizes of up to 200 inches diagonally. No, that’s not quite movie theater-gargantuan, and it’s surely not IMAX capable (roughly 52 by 72 feet), but 200 inches? Anyone have over 16 feet (diagonally) of wall space to spare?

Sony says the VW1000ES also uses a new SXRD 4K panel to produce deeper blacks, and paired with Sony’s Iris3 tech, the projector can achieve 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast.

Say you do have the coin for one of these. What’re you going to watch on it? Sony’s included something it calls a “Super Resolution 4K” up-scaler that “dramatically enhances 2D and 3D 1080P content.” Yep, it’ll handle all your 2D and 3D anamorphic Blu-ray movies, too.

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.


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