Sony Unveils 3 4K Projectors, 48-Inch 4K OLED Master Series TV
Gearing up for next week’s virtual CEDIA Expo, Sony Electronic’s custom integration department announced Tuesday two new high-performance 4K home theater projectors, a new Pro-level flagship 4K SXRD projector and a 48-Inch Master Series 4K OLED TV for the 2020 lineup.
Sony’s new 48-Inch Master Series 48A9S ($1,898 UPP) is the company’s latest 4K OLED TV, bringing a smaller screen size to the technology class that has ranged between 55- and 77-inches in past Sony lineups. The set is available online for pre-order now.
The front home theater projectors include two 4K ES series models in the VPL-VW715ES ($9,998 UPP) (available in black or white versions) and VPL-VW915ES ($19,998), joining the new Pro-level flagship VPL-GTZ380 (price to be announced).
All are based on Sony’s triple-chip SXRD (LCoS) microdisplay technology with true native 4K resolution (4096×2160 pixels). The VW715ES and VW915ES replace the VPL-VW695ES and VPL-VW885ES, respectively, in the Sony lineup, and are based on lamp and laser light engines, respectively. Both models are due to hit authorized custom integration dealers this month.
Sony Master Series XBR-48A9S 4K OLED TV
Key features in the Sony Master Series 48A9S include: Sony’s X-Motion Clarity (120 Hz refresh rate) technology to digitally enhance fast-moving images to reduce blur; HDR support for the HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision profiles, Sony’s Triluminos Display color and texture processing, built-in Acoustic Surface sound system that uses the ultra-thin OLED display panel as a sound resonance source, 4K X-Reality Pro upscaling and image processing engine; DCI-P3 wide color gamut support and enhanced brightness and contrast.
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The television is outfitted with Sony’s top-line Picture Processor X1 Ultimate that has the power to analyze content to bring out the OLED’s contrast with pure blacks, peak brightness, and natural colors, Sony said. This drives a pixel contrast booster enabling each pixel to be individually controlled and enhanced to augment color and contrast in bright areas to produce lifelike shades and hues with more depth, finer textures, and deep and detailed black levels.
Object-based HDR remastering happens in real time to detect hundreds of individual on-screen objects and intelligently upscale everything to near-4K HDR quality.
The set also embeds the Android TV v. 9 (Pie) smart TV operating system with greater customization and snappier response than previous versions, as well as built-in support for Google Assistant. Also supported is volume control via Amazon Alexa voice control and Apple HomeKit to integrate an Apple iOS mobile device with the TV for more diverse smart home management.
For gaming the Sony Master Series 48A9S 4K OLED TV includes a dedicated Game Mode that supports “faster, smoother, more responsive video gaming,” apparently without the support of new HDMI 2.1 gaming features.
As with previous models, the Master Series 48A9S is IMAX Certified and also features Netflix Calibration support and Calman AutoCal from Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software.
The A9S uses a one-slate design, in which the screen meets the edge of the TV to help blend into the room decor. This includes a flush surface and narrow aluminum bezel along with integrated cable management that easily hides wires in the TV and mounting structures.
The Acoustic Surface Sound system is further enhanced with support for: 2-channel LPCM, 48 kHz, 16 bits; Dolby Audio, and DTS via optical out; Dolby Audio & Dolby Atmos support; Acoustic Auto Calibration; Clear Phase; Auto Surround DTS Digital Surround; Standard, Dialog, Cinema, Music, Sports, and Dolby Audio sound modes; S-Master Digital Amplifier S-Force Front Surround; Voice Zoom and support for both Audio Return Channel (ARC) & new enhanced ARC (eARC) on HDMI 3.
The set’s 4 HDMI inputs supports DCI 4K input signals (4096 x 2160, 24p, 60p) up to 18 Gb/s via HDMI. Forthcoming new 4K/120 Hz signals are not supported, so no High Frame Rate feature support. Sony did not specify support for the new HDMI 2.1 gaming features including ALLM, VRR (nor FreeSync or GSYNC).
The set also does not specify an internal tuner for new NextGenTV (ATSC 3.0) broadcast signals, like the recently released X900H Series 4K LED-LCD TVs (legacy ATSC 1.0 only).
New Sony ES Series Native 4K SXRD Projectors
Meanwhile, both new Sony ES family front projector models incorporate Sony’s new X1 Processor for Projectors, which is said to perform more detailed analysis and HDR enhancement power than the previous models. This Dynamic HDR Enhancer delivers a contrast ratio of 350,000:1, and “analyzes HDR elements of a picture scene-by-scene to deliver the best contrast performance when viewing HDR content, making the bright scenes,” Sony said.
HDR images are said to appear brighter while dark scenes appear darker, and “the dynamic range of contrast and brightness is further expanded by linking the light source and iris to further calibrate lighting output.”
However, neither model apparently supports advanced HDMI 2.1 gaming input features like VRR, or high frame rate (4K/120Hz) input.
The VPL-VW715ES is based on bulb-type lighting with up to 1,800 lumens of brightness. The VPL-VW915ES uses a laser light engine. The VW915ES’s laser engine is said to produce up to 2000 lumens of peak brightness and has a 20,000-hour estimated life span.
The laser lighting system is said to produce more consistent brightness and color over the life projector, and enables turning the projector on and off without waiting to warm up or cool down.
Both models include dual 4K/60p HDCP 2.2 HDMI inputs with 18Gbps bandwidth support, but Sony claims the models offer low latency input lag reduction that produces “faster response time for gamers,” without specifically referencing Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM).
Both the VPL-VW715ES and VPL-VW915ES include Sony’s Digital Focus Optimizer technology. This provides digital focus correction to any corner softness that might result from any possible less-than-perfect lens optics.
Sony Flagship VPL-GTZ380 Native 4K SXRD Projector
Sony’s new flagship VPL-GTZ380 (pricing to be announced) 4K SXRD Sony Pro-level projector produces 4K (4096×2160) resolution from three 0.74-inch native 4K SXRD chips. It features a new more powerful “Z-Phosphor” laser light engine than the VPL-VW915Es, with a dedicated red laser that is said to produce better red saturation along with the blue laser/dual phosphor system. It is capable of 10,000 lumens of peak light and color brightness output, Sony said, to help reject ambient room light and support very large screen applications. It is said to deliver 100% of the Digital Cinema Initiative’s DCI-P3 wide color gamut without having to dim the image or color volume.
This model also employs Sony’s new X1 Ultimate For Projector processor which is powerful enough to drive Sony’s advanced Digital Contrast Optimization, Object-based HDR remastering and Object-based Resolution processing.
The projector is said to be capable of a 16,000:1 contrast ratio using a new reflective silicon layer with better light control to render more visible dark shadow details surrounding the perimeter of pure black areas of the picture.
Specifications indicate the projector will accept up to 4096/120p input signals with the caveat that an “optional license, LSM-120P1, is required to accept the signal.”
The “compact” Pro-level projector measures 22.05 x 10.32 x 29.92 inches.
U.S. pricing on the GTZ380 was not announced but is expected to be in the $80,000 range, lenses are extra.
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By Greg Tarr
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