Sony’s 4K HDR X930/940E TVs and HDR 4K Projector Promise New Levels of Picture Quality at CES 2017

by on January 4, 2017

Stephan Jukic – January 4, 2017

Probably the two biggest news makers from Sony’s showing at CES 2017 in Las Vegas were the company’s new 4K OLED TV with Dolby Vision HDR that we’ll be covering in detail shortly and Sony’s new HDR 4K Blu-ray player, which we already covered here. But these weren’t all that Sony unveiled.

The consumer technology market leader also pulled a new line of 4K HDR LCD TVs and a new 4K HDR projector out of its hat, and both of these product lines are looking very interesting indeed.

Starting with the new LCD 4K HDR TVs, Sony has basically unveiled the successors to its 2016 line of XBR-D televisions with premium HDR technology. The 2016 models consisted of the X800D, X900D, X850D and X930D/X940D editions with full HDR display and assorted other premium Sony 4K technologies. Now, for 2017, we have a so-far limited release of two series successor models called the X930E and X940E. These are obviously the 2017 replacements for the X930D and X940D TVs but despite a somewhat similar appearance to their older cousins, these new models come with an array of technologies that apparently makes them much more like the late 2016 ultra-premium Z9D 4K HDR TVs that Sony also started selling. The X930E/X940E TVs do however come in the same size ranges as the X930/X940D models. This consists of 55 and 65 inch X930E models and a single huge 75 inch X940E model.

The Sony X940E HDR 4K TV with Dolby Vision

The Sony X940E HDR 4K TV with Dolby Vision

Upping the ante even further, the X930E/X940E models come with a new Sony backlight technology called Sling Backlight Drive+ and a grid-array full-array LED backlighting system that is said to allow for a much better level of local dimming than was the case with the X930D in particular since it was an edge-lit 4K TV model. Sony has also given these new XBR-E TVs a boosted level of local dimming/brightness control and obviously enough, they come with high dynamic range included. However, in a new twist that we consider to be particularly great, Sony has finally opted to place both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards in the new 2017 models. This is an addition that also applies with the company’s OLED 4K TV and it fundamentally means access to a wider range of high quality HDR content from more sources. Dolby Vision is particularly robust for high quality High Dynamic Range so we’re really looking forward to seeing how the X940E and X930E deliver on this high level HDR spec.

The X930E/X940E TVs also come with Sony’s much more advanced and powerful Processor X1 Extreme processing engine. Sony claims that this engine (which is also found in the Z9D TVs) delivers 40% more power than its predecessor in the 2016 XBR-D TVs and as a result, non-4K content can be much more accurately upscaled to 4K resolution while even non-HDR content can be reprocessed for HDR video quality insertion. Android TV is once again the case in the 2017 televisions.

These new XBR Bravia TVs don’t have pricing details attached to them yet but we’re pretty sure that they’re going to cost a bit more than the XBR-D models did upon their release in early 2016.

Moving along, we come to Sony’s new 4K HDR projector for 2017. This is the VPL-VZ1000ES Shor-Throw and while it’s bloody expensive like all of Sony’s 4K home theater projectors, this newest model offers the sort of specs and features to justify a lot of its high price tag. Most importantly, it offers true native 4K resolution and enhances this further still by including full HDR display capacity for all major sources of ultra HD HDR content. The VZ1000’s brightness is also pretty good, coming in at a fairly standard high quality 2500 lumens that allow for an extremely vibrant level of color rendering on a display space of up to 100 inches from only 6 inches away from a wall. Like Sony’s previous Short Throw projector from way back in 2014, the VZ1000 is a largish elongated model that is designed for placement on the floor along the bottom edge of a projection space. From here it throws its projection upwards instead of horizontally.

The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES HDR 4K Short Throw projector

The Sony VPL-VZ1000ES HDR 4K Short Throw projector

As Sony’s own president and chief operating officer, Mike Fasulo, has said of the VPL-VZ1000, it’s particularly well suited for projection in compact spaces where ceiling mounting from the middle of the room is impractical: “The VPL-VZ1000ES Ultra-Short Throw projector is a real game-changer. Everyone wants a larger screen, but not everyone can find the space for it. Sony enables the best of both worlds with this new generation of ultra-short throw projectors. Now, it’s possible to project a 4K HDR quality 100-inch or even 120-inch display in your family room without the need for a dedicated media room.”

The VZ1000ES is however quite heavy at 77 lbs and it’s going to cost a fortune at $25 thousand dollars when it goes on sale in April. This price may be steep but Sony’s projectors are among the only native real 4K resolution models on sale for the consumer market today. Most rival machines deliver HDR and can read native 4K content sources but lack true 4K projection resolution. In a display device that creates an image of over 100 inches in size, the extra resolution does indeed make a difference. One other thing we can say from our ownexaminations of the Sony native 4K projector models we have so far reviewed is that for all the dollars they’ll cost you, they absolutely deliver on stunning theatrical digital picture quality that’s hard to beat.

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