SXRD™ 4K Ultra HD projector (2017 model)
Our take on the Sony VPL-VW385ES by Crutchfield's Steve Kindig
Big screen viewing begs for 4K detail
A projector system demonstrates 4K's superior picture detail more forcefully than any 4K TV because the screen can be so much bigger. A 55" or 65" TV image is impressive, but a 120" image from a 4K projector like the Sony VPL-VW385ES is something more — it's truly immersive.
Although the VPL-VW385ES is not inexpensive, it's one of the most affordable true 4K projectors available. What do I mean by "true"? I mean that the 'VW385ES's picture has 8.8 million pixels, to accurately reveal the tiniest details and subtlest textures in 4K sources. By comparison, "4K-compatible" models typically have around 4 million pixels. Full 4K creates that 3-dimensional "looking-through-a-window" sense of realism.
Sony's powerful Hollywood-honed video processing
The VPL-VW385ES's 4K Ultra HD projection system has four times the detail of 1080p.
Recently, I got to tag along with a group of Crutchfield's advisor trainees on a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of the just-opened Alamo Drafthouse Cinema here in Charlottesville.
Tech-wise, the heart of the multiplex is a large second-floor hallway where the projectors live — all Sony 4K models. The VPL-VW385ES is based on the same 4K Digital Cinema SXRD™ technology used in Sony's $40,000 professional projectors.
In addition, the VPL-VW385ES's powerful Reality Creation video processing is based on Sony's ten years of experience upscaling movies to 4K in thousands of theaters worldwide. You can select the amount of Reality Creation processing to be applied. The benefits are easily visible on everything from Blu-ray discs to streamed Netflix® movies to satellite or cable TV feeds.
How do you improve on 4K? Add HDR.
Our eyes can see a much wider range of contrast and color than current TVs can display — even most 4K Ultra HD models. So, while 4K provides more pixels, TV makers are introducing new technologies to deliver better pixels that produce more vivid, colorful, and lifelike images.
The most important of these technologies is HDR (High Dynamic Range), which significantly expands the picture contrast range with both deeper blacks and brighter highlights. HDR gives colors more pop, too. The VPL-VW385ES can deliver much more dramatic HDR effects than Sony's lower-priced VPL-VW285ES thanks to its dynamic iris. By precisely — and instantly — controlling the lamp's light output on the fly, the 'VW385ES can optimize both dark and bright scenes.
A growing amount of streamed video content encoded with HDR information is already available, and Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs have really taken off. The VPL-VW385ES has two Ultra-HD-ready HDMI inputs so you can connect a 4K disc player and a 4K streaming media player and enjoy unprecedented picture quality.
Go with the Motionflow™
The larger the image, the more challenging it is to maintain a smooth, clear picture during fast-paced onscreen action. Sony's Motionflow is one of the most sophisticated and refined blur-reduction technologies available. Several presets, ranging from aggressive to mild, make it easy to reduce motion blur and judder on HD content without introducing the dreaded "soap opera effect."
Flexible setup for rooms large and small
Professional installation is a popular choice for projectors in this price range, but Sony designed the VPL-VW385ES for easy setup. It features a powered zoom lens and powered lens shift for adjusting the image either horizontally or vertically, to allow for off-center projector placement. Sony recommends a maximum screen size of 300", but you'll also get amazing results with screens sized 100" or less.
Out-of-the-box picture settings are so spot on — especially the Reference picture mode — that you'll be tempted to leave them as-is. But if you like to tweak, you can fine-tune brightness, contrast, and color to suit a wide range of rooms, screens, and video sources.
For the best picture quality from this 4K projector, we recommend using a 4K-rated projector screen.
- Ultra High Definition home theater projector
- High Dynamic Range (HDR 10 and HLG) for extremely wide contrast and high brightness levels with HDR content
- widescreen 16:9/17:9 aspect ratio (can also display 4:3 material)
- 3 SXRD panels with Full Digital Cinema 4K resolution (4096 x 2160 pixels each)
- recommended image size: 60" to 300"
- light output: 1500 ANSI lumens
- Advanced Iris3 dynamic iris for outstanding picture contrast and black levels
- 200,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
- Reality Creation upscaling improves high-definition video sources to near-4K quality
- TRILUMINOS™ Display technology for a wider color range
- 10-bit processing enables over one billion colors
- Motionflow™ XR frame interpolation for improved motion clarity on HD sources
- auto calibration uses a built-in color sensor to maintain color accuracy
- 3D-ready with built-in RF emitter (active 3D glasses sold separately)
- 2.1X powered zoom/focus lens (standard-throw)
- lens shift image adjustment (powered, horizontal and vertical)
- Picture Position Memory makes it easy to store settings for multiple movie aspect ratios for easy recall
- 2 HDMI 2.0b inputs
- Ethernet port supports network monitoring and control protocols
- USB input for firmware updates
- RS-232C port for external control of the projector via compatible computer or third-party control device
- two 12V trigger outputs for controlling a motorized screen or other device
- detachable power cord
- 225-watt UHP lamp (lasts up to 6000 hours in Eco mode)
- ultra-quiet cooling fan (26 dB)
- illuminated remote control
- can be placed on a tabletop or ceiling-mounted (mounting bracket sold separately)
- 19-1/2"W x 8"H x 18-1/4"D
- weight: 31 lbs.
- warranty: 3 years parts & labor carry-in service (90 days on lamp)
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- Note: projectors don't include any type of built-in TV tuner, but they can display signals from an HDTV tuner, satellite receiver or cable box
What's in the Box:
- 4K Video front projector
- 8' AC power cord
- Remote control (RM-PJ28)
- Two "AA" batteries
- Lens cap (installed)
- Operating Instructions on CD-ROM
- Quick Reference Manual
- Warranty Sheet
Features and Specs
|Resolution (pixels)||4096 x 2160|
|Approximate Lamp Life||2000-6000|
|Brightness (in ANSI Lumens)||1500white/1500color|
|Vertical Lens Shift||Yes|
|Horizontal Lens Shift||Yes|
|Vertical Keystone Correction||No|
|Horizontal Keystone Correction||No|
|Parts Warranty||3 Years|
|Labor Warranty||3 Years|
|Type of Warranty Service||Carry-in|
|Total Video Inputs||2|
|Wireless HDMI Input||No|
|Component Video Inputs||None|
|Composite Video Inputs||None|
|USB Media Port||No|
4K SXRD Technology: The advanced SXRD panel technology featured in Sony's VPL-VW385ES digital theater projector delivers native 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution images, with more than 4x the detail of Full HD. Fine details are wonderfully clear and natural, without jagged edges or visible pixels. Latest SXRD panels deliver even better contrast, as well as native 4K resolution. With SXRD projection, you'll see rich, inky blacks, clear cinematic motion and smooth images. Improvements to the reflective silicon layer now mean even better light control, for precisely delivered shadows and blacks
- Native 4K Resolution: With more than 4x the resolution of Full HD, native 4K offers 8.8 million pixels (4096 x 2160) for a picture that is incredibly lifelike, which is why it is the resolution defined by the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) for theater distribution. See corner-to-corner clarity and watch movies from much closer than you would in Full HD.
- 4K Reality Creation Upscaling: Sony's exclusive Reality Creation technology analyzes images right down to the pixel level. It then employs pattern-matching algorithms developed over years of movie production to enhance crispness even without increasing digital picture noise. It also upscales existing Full HD Blu-ray DiscTand DVD movies to near 4K quality
Dual HDMI 2.0b Inputs: The Sony VPL-VW385ES is outfitted with two HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI 2.0b inputs to connect your high-definition and ultra-high definition sources; such as Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray player, Satellite/Cable receiver, game system, or AV receiver. In addition, the HDMI inputs can be used to connect a PC to this TV. The HDMI inputs will accept 4K/60Hz (including HDR), 1080p (24/60Hz), 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i signals.
- HDCP 2.2: HDCP 2.2 is supported only by the projector's HDMI 2 input. HDCP 2.2 is short for "High bandwidth Digital Content Protection" and is used for 4K video copyright protection for compatibility with Ultra HD Blu-ray players and 4K Satellite/Cable providers.
- High Dynamic Range (HDR): Get the most from your projector when viewing new UHD Blu-ray and streaming services with High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR video offers a vastly expanded brightness range to deliver far more realistic, high-contrast images and brilliant colors. Compatible with both HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) formats, the Sony VPL-VW385ES home projector reproduces color and contrast faithfully to creators' intentions.
Note: The projector does not offer any analog video inputs.
Color Technologies: The Sony VPL-VW385ES incorporates Triluminos Color, Wide Color Gamut (BT.2020), Deep Color, & x.v.Color technologies for perfect color and smooth gradation.
- Triluminos Color: Discover true-to-life colors and tones with Triluminos color technology. The VPL-VW385ES incorporates Triluminos color, reproducing more tones and textures than a standard projector system. Hard-to-reproduce crimson reds, aqua blues, and emerald greens are displayed beautifully, so landscapes and seascapes look more vivid. Faces also look better with skin tones more faithfully reproduced.
- Wide Color Gamut (BT.2020): The BT.2020 color standard delivers a much wider color gamut and represents about 75% of the total visual color spectrum, while the current Rec. 709 color standard selected as the color space for HDTVs and early generation 4K Ultra HDTVs covers only 35% of the total visual color spectrum.
- Deep Color: The projector also supports Deep Color which allows the color depth of video signals passing through HDMI to be raised. The number of colors that could be expressed by 1 pixel was 24 bits (16,777,216 colors) with a standard HDMI jack. However, the number of colors which can be expressed by 1 pixel is 36 bits with a Deep Color enabled HDMI jack. Since the gradation of the depth of a color can be expressed more finely with more bits, continuous color changes can be more smoothly expressed.
- x.v.Color: The 4K projector also supports x.v.Color, offering a wider color range than the current broadcast standard. For the x.v.Color feature to be useful, the entire video production chain must be compatible (camera-editing-format-player-display).
MotionFlow 120Hz & True Cinema 24p: Whatever you're watching, you'll enjoy a silk-smooth on-screen look in fast-moving action sequences with MotionFlow 120Hz. This innovative technology creates and inserts extra frames between the original frames by first comparing key visual factors on successive frames, then calculating the split second of missing action in the sequences. True Cinema 24p mode mimics true movie projection for cinema purists.
225W High Pressure Lamp (1500 Lumens): The Sony VPL-VW385ES employs a 225W high pressure. Enjoy up to 6000 hours of watch time (in low mode) from this long-lasting mercury lamp. This means fewer lamp swaps, simpler maintenance, and lower running costs. The Sony VPL-VW285ES video projector outputs 1,500 lumens of white light and 1,500 lumens of color light (ANSI rating) for a bright and dynamic picture.
Note: When replacing the lamp, use Sony's LMP-H220 Projector Lamp (sold separately). The air filter is supplied with the LMP-H220 Projector Lamp.
Advanced "Iris3" Dynamic Iris: With Sony's Advanced Iris3 technology, the light output can be adjusted frame-by-frame, allowing the projector to achieve an incredible 200,000:1 dynamic contrast. Dark scenes reveal all their shadowy details, without any compromise to the projector's performance in bright scenes, for truly captivating images.
Motorized Lens: The Sony VPL-VW385ES features a F3.0-F4.0 lens with a focal length of 21.7mm to 44.7mm. Installing the VPL-VW385ES is easy with its motorized lens and wide throw distance range. The 2.06x powered zoom lens and a wide lens shift range provide further installation flexibility and remarkable performance in nearly every screening room. The Sony VPL-VW385ES video projector can produce a 4K image that is adjustable between 60" and 300". The projector's adjustable lens provides a wide range of placement possibilities for a given screen size.
|Screen Size||Throw Distance|
|80"||91" - 187"|
|100"||115" - 235"|
|120"||138" - 282"|
|150"||173" - 353"|
|200"||231" - 472"|
Note: Check out Sony's Projection Simulator App (for Apple iOS 6.0+ and Android OS 4.0+) to help you choose the right screen size for your preferred viewing distance and projector location, plus get other helpful installation tips.
Installation Adjustments: During the initial setup, or subsequent adjustment, these features help optimize performance and offer placement flexibility.
- Lens Shift: Lens Shift lets you raise, lower, or reposition the projected image without changing the angle relationship between the projector and the screen. It also reduces the need to physically move the projector horizontally or vertically to fit the image within the borders of the screen. This projector has a vertical lens shift of +85% -80% and a horizontal lens shift of +/-31%.
- Image Flip: Flips the image vertically or horizontally.
- Blanking: Allows you to adjust the displayable region within the four directions of the screen.
- Panel Alignment: This feature allows you to adjust the gaps in the color of characters or the picture.
Note: Sony does not offer Keystone correction for this projector because it degrades the image. When applying the digital process of keystone correction to an image it uses compression and scaling to manipulate the shape of the projected image so the number of individual pixels used is reduced, lowering the resolution and thus degrading the quality of the image projected.
Picture Position Memory: You can store lens, zoom, and shift settings for up to five screen formats for easy recall. Picture Position Memory remembers key settings so you can quickly watch movies in the ideal format. Match aspect ratios, including 16:9 and Cinemascope, and store these settings in the projector.
Picture Calibration: Quickly calibrate your picture to the type of content you're enjoying with a variety of adjustments.
- Aspect Ratio: You can select an aspect ratio best
suited for the video signal received. Choose from the following -
- 1.85:1 Zoom: a 1.85:1 aspect ratio picture is displayed in its original aspect ratio, enlarged so that black bands do not appear at the top and bottom of the screen
- 2.35:1 Zoom: a 2.35:1 aspect ratio picture is displayed in its original aspect ratio, enlarged so that black bands at the top and bottom of the screen are as small as possible
- Normal: input video is displayed in its original aspect ratio, enlarged to fill the screen; this mode is suitable for viewing 1.78:1 (16:9) and 1.33:1 (4:3) video
- Stretch: displays video that has been squeezed to 1.33:1 (4:3) as 1.78:1 (16:9) aspect ratio
- V Stretch: this is the most suitable mode for using a 2.35:1 screen to view 2.35:1 video with a commercially available anamorphic lens
- Squeeze: with this setting, 1.78:1 (16:9) and 1.33:1 (4:3) video will be displayed in their correct aspect ratios when you use a commercially available anamorphic lens
- Picture View Mode: You can select the picture viewing
mode that best suits the type of video source or room
conditions. You can save and use different preset modes for 2D/3D respectively.
- Cinema Film 1: picture quality suited to reproducing the highly dynamic and clear images typical of master positive film
- Cinema Film 2: picture quality suited to reproducing the rich tone and color typical of a movie theater
- Reference: picture quality setup suitable for when you want to reproduce faithfully the original image quality, or for enjoying image quality, without any adjustment
- TV: picture quality suited for watching TV programs, sports, concerts, etc
- Photo: ideal for projecting still images taken with a digital camera
- Game: picture quality suited to gaming, with well-modulated colors and fast response
- Bright Cinema: picture quality suited for watching
movies in a bright environment, such
as a living room
- Bright TV: picture quality suited for watching TV programs, sports, concerts, and other video images in a bright environment, such as a living room
- User: adjust the picture quality settings manually to suit your taste then saves the setting; adjust brightness, color, hue, color temperature, sharpness, and noise reduction
- Picture Quality: You can easily adjust the picture
quality that suits your taste by selecting the adjustment.
items with the remote control. The adjusted data can be stored in each calibrated preset.
- Reality Creation: adjusts the detail and noise processing of images; the texture and detail of the picture become sharper. while the noise (picture roughness) becomes less prominent
- Cinema Black Pro: increase the brightness in order to project brighter images or decrease the brightness in order to enhance blacks
- Clear White: emphasizes vivid whites
- Color Space: converts the color space best suited for your video content
- Color Correction: Adjusts Hue, Saturation or Brightness of the selected color - Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta
- Contrast Enhancer: corrects the level of bright and dark parts automatically to optimize contrast according to a scene
- Smooth Gradation: smoothes the gradation of the flat parts of images
- Gamma Correction: adjusts the response characteristics of the tone of the picture
- MPEG Noise Reduction: reduces block noise and mosquito noise, in particular in digital signals
- Input Lag Reduction: reduces the delay of the display for a video
Built-in Auto Calibration: After extended periods, color can be automatically calibrated to the original factory condition. There's no need for extra calibration equipment or cameras; a built-in color sensor stores all the necessary information.
3D Ready: The VPL-VW385ES has a built-in 3D transmitter that supports 3D video in a variety of formats, and can even simulate your 2D movie classics to high-quality 3D immersive video. The optional glasses (TDG-BT500A, sold separately) use an industry-standard RF connection, making it easy to upgrade to a 3D theater experience.
- 3D Adjustment: You can adjust the depth of the 3D image to your personal preference, as well as set the image brightness when using the 3D display mode.
- 2D-to-3D Conversion: To ensure that you can enjoy 3D any time you want, Sony has incorporated 2D-to-3D conversion, which allows you to watch your favorite 2D movies, TV programs, or games in virtual 3D.
Mounting Options: The VPL-VW385ES can be placed on a table top or ceiling mounted (mounting bracket sold separately). The projector has two adjustable rubber feet to angle the unit when projecting from a table. There are three 5mm threaded inserts that allow you to use a projector ceiling mount (sold separately) to mount the unit from your ceiling.
Remote Control w/ HDMI-CEC: The supplied IR remote allows you to wirelessly control many of the projector's functions. In addition, HDMI Control allows the communication of control information among connected HDMI components in your system.
- By turning on or playing back the connected equipment, the projector will turn on and the input setting will switch to the terminal of the connected equipment automatically.
- By turning the power of the projector off, the power of the connected equipment will also turn off automatically.
- By changing the language setting of the projector, the language setting of the connected equipment will also change to the same language automatically.
Custom Installation Inputs: The Sony VPL-VW385ES features an IR remote input, dual 12V triggers, RS-232 port, and LAN jack for custom installations and applications.
- IR Input: The video projector has a 3.5mm minijack input for use with an external IR receiver (sold separately).
- 12V Triggers: Use the 12-volt triggers outputs (3.5mm) to trigger on a motorized screen and other components.
- RS-232C Port: Seamlessly integrate the VPL-VW385ES into virtually any major automation system via the bi-directional, industry-standard RS-232C connection.
- RJ-45: The RJ-45 (LAN) port supports network monitoring and control protocols (SDAP, SDCP, DDDP).
Power Saving Modes: If no signal is input for 10 minutes, power is turned off automatically and the projector goes into standby mode.
Whisper-Quiet Fan: Due to the VPL-VW385ES advanced air discharge system, Sony's whisper-quiet fan emits only 26db during show. time. Plus, having a front air intake and exhaust allows the VPL-VW385ES to be positioned near a wall without having to worry about cooling issues.
USB Port (Software Updates Only): You can download files to update the software of the unit from Sony's Online Support Site. Simply copy the downloaded files to a USB thumbdrive, then insert the USB thumbdrive into the USB port of the projector and perform the update.
Warranty: The projector is covered by a 3-year parts and labor warranty, while the lamp is covered for 90 days.
Our Product Research Team
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Why did you buy this?
good value for money [ John Oct 16, 2017 ]
Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.
Get a 4K projector with a laser light source, for bright, vivid images and no lamp to replace.
The Sony VPL-VW885ES offers these features:
Z-Phosphor laser light source produces ultra-pure light for crisp images
light output: 2000 lumens
real-time laser light control adjusts light output for infinite contrast
laser diode light source lasts up to 20,000 hours
both HDMI inputs have 18 Gbps max. bandwidth