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New Sony 4K projector hits 10,000 lumens for ‘OLED-like HDR’

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has unveiled a new range of laser and bulb projectors for 2020, including a flagship model that boasts a 10,000 lumens brightness.

We usually expect 3,000 lumens from more premium projectors, making the new VPL-GTZ380 an ultra-bright entry into the market. Sony's Digital & Home Cinema product manager, Christopher Mullins, says the model “will change the way projection is viewed.”

“It’s a true HDR projector,” Mullins adds, “at twice the brightness of our previous flagship”.

With 100% of the DCI-P3 color space on show, too, for expanded color accuracy – rather than the 97% we usually see on flagship models – it's clear that Sony is keen on maxing-out the specs of this new beamer.

(At 50kg, it’s a pretty heavy projector, too, so we don’t recommend installing this into your ceiling without professional help.)

10,000 lumens equates to around 600-700 nits on a TV display, meaning, adds Mullins, that you’re getting “the same brightness you’d get on an OLED panel – but on a 4-5 meter screen”. He also says we can expect “tonal blacks in deep shadows”, with a focus on contrast and resolution alongside the high brightness stats.

“There are projectors out there that offer high lumens but not the contrast performance,” Mullins tells us. “SXRD [Silicon X-tal Reflective Display, a LCOS technology used by Sony] is eight times the contrast of a DLP [digital light processing] panel.”

Ultimate champ

Brightness isn’t the only trick up Sony’s sleeve here, either. The remarkable X1 Ultimate processor used in Sony’s high-end Bravia OLED TVs has been put to work too, with a modified projector-ready chip to elevate the images on display.

“It’s an optimized chipset for projectors, but we used a lot of technologies used in our TVs too,” says Mullins.

The X1 Ultimate – in Sony’s TV range at least – is known for best-in-class upscaling and superb motion handling, and we hope/expect that to translate to this new projector range.

Sony's VPL-GTZ380 projector hits 10,000 lumens

Sony's VPL-GTZ380 projector hits 10,000 lumens (Image credit: Sony)

Only the flagship model – available in late 2020 – is getting this chip, though, with the other two models making use of a more standard X1 for Projector chip.

The other models (available starting today) include the VPL-VW790ES, which replaces the VPL-VW760ES. At £12,000, it’s less pricey than the flagship, and only outputs at 2,000 lumens, though still with a laser projection system and native 4K.

There’s also the VPL-VW590ES, which is a lamp projector, so won’t quite have the fast on-off function or the same shelf life as its laser siblings (given that lamps degrade faster). This latter model is, however, the first Sony lamp projector to get a Digital Focus Optimizer function, which Mullins says will compensate for the optical blur of the lens.

All three new models make use of a dynamic HDR enhancer for “optimized frame-by-frame enhancement for HDR”, to ensure that blacks stay black and bright objects can stand out against their background, without increasing video noise.

Get an HDR projector for a true home cinema

Get an HDR projector for a true home cinema (Image credit: Sony)

Project your legacy

Mullins is quick to point out that Sony made the first-ever native 4K projector way back in 2011, positioning its home cinema arm at the forefront of innovation in the sector.

It’s increasingly a crowded market, though, especially after the flurry of projector announcements during IFA 2020. Samsung, for one, made headlines with the world’s first HDR10+ projector, the Premiere, which couples 4K HDR projection with dynamic scene-by-scene metadata, Samsung’s brilliant Tizen OS, and some hefty audio capabilities.

The new LG CineBeam HU810P projector, meanwhile, boasts a 300-inch projection – with the option to adjust the image size to as little as 40 inches.