Sony to sell a 4K front projector; Epson adds 3D to its lineup

If you’re just not getting enough detail from your home-theater projector, Sony has a solution, albeit a costly one: the VPL-VW1000ES, a $25,000 4K home theater projector that has four times the picture resolution of standard high-def models.

If 3D is more your thing, Epson is adding 3D capability to several new LCD projectors in its fall lineup. Both companies announced these new products at the CEDIA trade show last week.

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Sony VPL-VW1000ESSony’s new projector—an LCoS-based SXRD model—is billed as the first 4K projector designed for the home-theater crowd; it will be sold though custom installers. According to the company, the projector’s claimed 2,000 lumens of brightness make it suitable for screens up to 200 inches (measured diagonally). Given that there’s not a lot of native 4K content, the projector has a built-in video processor that will upscale 2D and 3D 1080P content. The projector will be available in December.

Epson’s new 3D projector lineup starts at $1,600, for the entry-level Home Cinema 3010 model. A model with a wireless transmitter for sending high-def video signals to the projector (3010e) is $1,800. (We recently wrote about Optoma introducing the lowest-cost 1080p 3D projector, the HD33.) All the new Epson models have access to online content and feature a 2D split-screen mode for watching two pictures at once (or watching a movie while accessing the Internet simultaneously). Other common features include 1080p resolution and the use of Epson’s Bright 3D drive technology—which drives the LCD panels at 480Hz, double the rate of 240Hz models—for improved image brightness and less crosstalk, the company says. Both the 3010, which comes with two sets of active-shutter 3D glasses, and the 3010e, which doesn’t, will be available in October.

Stepping up to Epson’s 5010 and 5010e models—$3,000 and $3,500, respectively—gets you a bit more brightness, more sophisticated video processing, and improvements in contrast and color, plus a 2D-to-3D conversion feature. The 3D glasses have to be purchased separately with these models, which will be available in November.

At the top of the new lineup is the $4,000 PowerLite Pro Cinema 6010, which has all the features of the 5010 series plus two anamorphic lens modes, ISF calibration, color isolation, and a ceiling mount, cable cover, and an extra lamp. It also comes with two sets of 3D glasses and has a three-year warranty, one year longer than the warranties offered on the other models. Like the 5010 and 5010e models, it will be available in November.

Personally, my front projector–based dedicated home theater is where I’d like 3D, and these new lower prices have me considering one. Let us know whether a $1,500 or $1,600 price tag would be low enough to lure you into the market.

—James K. Willcox

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