Sony shows off new 4K projectors at CEDIA, but high-res audio demo steals the show

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Souny announced today at CEDIA Expo three new home theater projectors and offered demonstrations of its new high-resolution audio technology along with some video demonstrations powered by it’s new, “more affordable” VPL-VW600ES projector. 

Sony explained that it is offering an update program for owners of the VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector it launched two years ago. The chipset will be updated so that the projector will be HDMI 2.0 compliant. Owners will also get one of Sony’s FMP-1 4K media players as part of the deal. 

The VPL-VW1100 ES replaces the aforementioned model this year and comes in at a pricey $28,000 with 4K media player included. The less expensive VW600ES will come in at $15,000, although adding on a 4K media player will cost an extra $1000. We came away fairly impressed with the performance of the VW600ES, with 4K native content looking bright and vibrant as expected, and even upscaled 1080p looked solid, though it is always tough to make a qualified evaluation over 2 minutes worth of video footage.  

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What was much more clearly impressive, however, was Sony’s demonstration of its recently announced $2,000 HAP-Z1ES media player. The media player piped a DSD version of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” (a track we’ve heard countless times on countless systems) and a FLAC version of John Mayer’s “Paper Doll” through Sony’s flagship STR-DA5800ES receiver, which drove a pair of Sony’s top-of-the-line SS-AR2 ($20,000/pair). 

Considering the audio system was comprised of Sony’s cream of the crop, we expected the system to sound very good. But even with that taken into consideration, we thought the demonstration was extremely impressive. The lack of compression on the Herbie Hancock tune was apparent, and John Mayer sounded less nasal-ly than ever before. We look forward to checking out the “Z1” for a full review later this year and will pass along more detailed (and qualified) comments. For now, we’re just pleased to see Sony taking a serious tone with regard to high-res audio. 

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