Sony VPL-VW675ES 4K SXRD Projector Reviewed

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 Sony VPL-VW675ES 4K SXRD Projector Reviewed

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Measurements
Here are the measurement charts for the Sony VPL-VW675ES projector, created by AVICAL using Portrait Displays' Spectracal CalMAN software. These measurements show how close the display gets to our current HDTV standards. For both gray scale and color, a Delta Error under 10 is considered tolerable, under five is considered good, and under three is considered imperceptible to the human eye. Click on each photo to view the graph in a larger window.

Sony-VW665ES-gs.jpgSony-VW665ES-cg.jpg

The top charts show the projector's color balance, gamma, and total grayscale Delta Error, below and after calibration in the Reference picture mode. Ideally, the red, green, and blue lines will be as close together as possible to reflect a neutral color/white balance. We currently use a gamma target of 2.2 for HDTVs and a darker 2.4 for projectors. The bottom charts show where the six color points fall on the Rec 709 triangle, as well as the luminance (brightness) error and total Delta Error for each color point. The VPL-VW675ES's pre-calibration measurements are quite accurate: The maximum grayscale Delta Error is just 4.28, the gamma average is 2.2, and the color balance is pretty tight. The post-calibration numbers are even better, with a more theater-friendly gamma of 2.45 and a max grayscale Delta Error of just 1.72. The Sony has excellent color accuracy for HD/Rec 709 content, with all six colors coming in well below the DE3 target.

David Abrams of AVICAL noted a flicker when the Sony lamp was in low mode, so he only performed his brightness measurements in the high lamp mode. The Sony is capable of very good light output, serving up a maximum of about 49.7 foot-lamberts on a 100-inch, 1.0-gain screen.

Sony-VW665ES-p3.jpgRegarding UHD color reproduction, the chart to the right shows the VPL-VW675ES's color points within the DCI-P3 triangle. No display can currently do the larger Rec 2020 triangle of the UHD spec, so we currently use the theatrical DCI-P3 color gamut as our target. The VPL-VW675ES doesn't come as close to the DCI-P3 targets as other projectors and TVs that we've measured, with green being the furthest off the mark with a Delta Error of 7.66.

The Downside
The VPL-VW675ES does not support the Dolby Vision HDR format, but I don't know of any projector that does at this point. The lack of an 18-Gbps signal path limits the VPL-VW675ES, in that it cannot accept a full 4K/60p 12-bit 4:4:4 signal. Instead, 4K/60p signals are limited to 8-bit, and the projector won't let you select the BT.2020 color space when you send it a 4K/60p signal. While there is a lot of discussion about this limitation on various online forums, with the material available today, the actual impact will be minimal. Most UHD BDs have a native resolution of 4K/24p. (One exception is Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; you can read more about it here.)

I had some limited viewing opportunities with JVC's Procision pixel-shifting projectors, and my subjective comparison is that they had better black levels and shadow detail. However, Sony has the advantage with 4K detail, due to its native 4K resolution. Although well-implemented panel shifting can create a great-looking image, a well-implemented 4K native panel will be sharper.

Comparison and Competition
There's not another native 4K projector near the Sony VPL-VW675ES's price range. JVC's Reference DLA-RS4500 native 4K laser projector, for example, costs $35,000. Instead, the closest competitors in price are pixel-shifting projectors--i.e., 1,920-by-1,080 projectors that use pixel shifting to simulate a 3,840-by-2,160 image. JVC's DLA-X970R ($9,999) has a well-earned reputation of being one of the better performing of this group (our own review is coming soon). It features an 18-Gbps signal path that can process 4K/60p 4:4:4 signals (something the Sony cannot do), it has a higher rated brightness and contrast, it gets closer to P3 color, and it too supports the Hybrid Log Gamma HDR format. Based upon my limited viewing of the JVC, its black levels and contrast best the Sony, but it gives up a little bit of detail in comparison.

Epson's Pro Cinema 6040UB ($3,999) is another pixel-shifting projector that impressed our editor Adrienne Maxwell with its 2,500 lumens, 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and support for HDR and DCI-P3 color. Epson also offers the $7,000 HDR-capable LS10500 pixel-shifting model with a laser light source.

Conclusion
Sony's VPL-VW675ES provides excellent real-world performance with both 4K and lower-resolution sources. Early in my time with the projector, I was limited to 1080p (and less) sources, and the Sony's upscaling provided a slight increase in apparent detail--but what really impressed me was the increased brightness that made the image watchable even in a moderately well-lit room. Of course, if 1080p is the highest resolution you plan to watch, then you won't exploit the Sony to its fullest potential. (There are plenty of good, lower-priced 1080p projectors from which to choose.) When the lights went out in my light-controlled room and the VPL-VW675ES was fed a 4K HDR signal, the image was incredible. Compared with 1080p Blu-ray, the increased sharpness and detail made for a more dimensional picture. The increased shadow detail of the HDR discs added to this increased sense of depth through the Sony VPL-VW675ES. On the other end of the spectrum, the HDR images did not "pop" as much on the bright end as they will with a flat-panel TV.

The Sony VPL-VW675ES is an excellent projector that will provide extremely good images with less than 4K sources and spectacular images with 4K HDR sources. Yes it is expensive; you can buy a pixel-shifting projector for a fraction of the cost, but the Sony will be able to extract more detail, which will be noticeable on a larger screen. If you are looking for a true 4K, HDR-capable projector, you would be hard pressed to find one that provides a better-looking image than Sony's VPL-VW675ES.

Additional Resources
• Check out our Front Projectors category page to read similar reviews.
• Visit the Sony website for more product information.
Sony XBR-65Z9D UHD LED/LCD TV Reviewed at HomeTheaterReview.com.

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HTR Product Rating for Sony VPL-VW675ES 4K SXRD Projector

Criteria Rating

Performance

4.5

Value

3.5

Overall

3.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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