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Sony ushers in the 4K home theater with VW1000ES projector

sony vw1000es 4k projector cedia 2011

Don’t get too comfortable with your Blu-ray collection. Not content to let lowly home theater owners wallow in 1080p while digital cinemas deliver full 4K resolution, Sony has hit its commercial projectors with a shrink ray to produce the first 4K projector suitable for the home: The VPL-VW1000ES.

Sony used the opening of the annual CEDIA installers show on Wednesday to showcase its new top-of-the-line consumer projector, which bears its Elevated Standard (ES) branding and throws a full 4K picture: 4096 x 2160 pixels. That’s the same resolution used in high-end digital cinemas, and more than four times the resolution of a 1080p picture.

sony vw1000esOf course, this naturally raises the question: Where exactly will 4K content come from? Sony Pictures has more than 60 theatrical releases shot in native 4K resolution, but the means of actually transferring all that data to consumers simply doesn’t exist yet. Sony reps claim the company is in talks with the Blu-ray Disc Association to iron out a standard compression scheme for squeezing 4K movies onto discs, and has already promised a 4K release of the next Spider-Man movie, but the July 2012 release date for that flick should be telling: Sony won’t yet talk timelimes on when 4K movies could hit shelves.

In the mean time, the VW1000ES does include a 4K upscaler, which Sony claims will boost exist 1080p content to new heights, and plenty of still images exist at 4K (12.7-megapixel) quality. The new projector will boast 2,000 ANSI lumens, which Sony claims is enough to throw a screen up to 200 inches, and offer a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio thanks to the company’s Iris3 technology and latest SXRD panel. Naturally, all the bells and whistles for home integrators like dual triggers, RS232, and control over IP will also make it in as well, and 3D is a given.

sony vw1000esSony will launch the VW1000ES in December at a price it hopes is “under $30,000.” Don’t worry, you’ll make it all up in all the movie tickets you don’t have to buy.

Sony offered a comparison of 2K versus 4K images on a digital cinema projector at its demonstration, but we haven’t actually had a chance to spy images from the VW1000ES in person yet. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll have a chance to drop by Sony’s demo theater and check it out in person.

Update: Alternate sources suggest the price point on the VW1000ES could be “under $25,000″)