Product Review: Sony VPL-VZ1000ES Ultra Short Throw Projector

Alice Bonasio
6 min readMay 30, 2017

Review by: Tom Atkinson at R3Digital

I’m a really picky bastard where it comes to audiovisual displays. It’s a quality that annoys friends and family, but serves me well as a film producer. So when I got Sony’s invite to check out their new Home Cinema projector I was curious to see whether they could retain 4K HDR image quality over such a large surface area.

If you’re looking for the tl;dr I was pretty impressed, but as Bilbo Baggins might say, there’s room for a little more…

The advanced SXRD™ imaging technology combined with low maintenance and super reliable 2500 lumens laser light source makes for exquisitely detailed, high contrast native 4K images with HDR compatibility. Short Throw means you can place the projector right next to a wall and the it will cast the light up and across the surface giving a large 80” (diagonal) display; those with a bit more space can place the projector 26 cm (10.2 inches) away from the wall and the screen size increases to a staggering 120”(diagonal) image. I have extensive experience projecting 4K video and have never been very impressed with any technology available outside of the cinema but I tested the VPL at full scale 120″ and am pleased to report it performed beyond my expectations in almost every area.

Projection Surface
When you spend this much on a Home Cinema projector you want the best results possible so no uneven wall or cheap roll down screen will do the job. Chatting to the Sony Rep we agreed that with extreme care and precision plastering it might be possible to create a wall flat enough to do the VPL’s projection justice but Sony and I both strongly advise that if you’re investing in such a piece of kit it’s worth using the special Sony 4K Advanced SXRD (Silicon X-tal Reflective Display) panel. This not only provides a perfectly flat surface but is engineered to reduce reflected ambient light interference providing better contrast and stronger blacks in dark but not quite blacked out environments and lets be honest, it’s pretty difficult to completely black out a normal room for day-to-day viewing.

Concealed cabling and a tasteful, modern, matt black design help the large size of the…

Alice Bonasio

Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications