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Sony Readies 4K Blu-ray, UST Laser Projector

In addition to unveiling nine more 4K LCD TVs, Sony also released more details about its first 4K Blu-ray player and a native-4K ultra-short-throw projector.

4K Blu-ray: The company’s first 4K Blu-ray player hitting the market will be the $299-suggested UBP-X800, in stores in March and followed by the specialist/installer-dedicated UBP-X1000, as yet unpriced.

Both models feature multichannel SACD and DVD-Audio playback, HDR 10, 3D Blu-ray and BD-ROM playback, and dual HDMI outputs, which can be used to send video content to two displays. One HDMI output can also be used to send audio to AVRs whose older HDMI inputs and outputs don’t pass through 4K or HDR content to a display. Information on whether it could be upgraded to add Dolby Vision was unavailable.

Both also feature Wi-Fi, wireless multiroom audio technology, streaming 4K video services, and ability to play high-res audio from USB sources up to 192kHz/24 bits and, with a firmware upgrade, DSD 11.2MHz (DSD 256).

The players’ proprietary HDR to SDR conversion maps content to the display capabilities of non-HDR 4K TVs, delivering a wider dynamic range and color volume than competing 4K players that simply strip HDR metadata from a video stream, the company said. The players also let consumers adjust the level of conversion.

See also: Sony’s Hirai Highlights ‘Objects Of Desire’ Plan

Via standard HDMI EDID (Extended Display Identification Data), both players enable the display of a 4K disc on a 1080p display, the company added.

Integrated Bluetooth streams audio to Bluetooth headphones.

Through June 30, purchasers are eligible to receive two 4K Ultra HD discs from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, including recently released titles.

The installer-focused 4K player will add optional rack-mount ears, RS-232 and IP control for integration with major home-control systems, including Control 4, Crestron, Universal, Savant, AMX, and others.  The Ci model also adds a web app, which enables programming via a PC or tablet, and integration with ihiji, the Cloud-based network-management service used by custom installers for remote maintenance. 

UST 4K Laser Projector: The VPL-VZ1000ES native-4K UST projector, due in April at a suggested $24,999, and the current $50,000 VPL-GTZ1 model are also targeted to installers. Both ES-series models are positioned as bright enough for use in living rooms, not just darkened home theater rooms, giving more consumers the option of viewing images larger than what most flat-panel TVs can deliver, said product marketing manager Andre Floyd.

See also: Sony Making Some Audio Noise

The UST projectors are also positioned as delivering a large image in small rooms, in locations with high ceilings and, because they can be used with screens that drop down from the ceiling, in rooms with many windows.

The new model projects pictures between 80 and 120 inches, whereas the current model delivers 60- to 147-inch pictures.

The latest model is also 25 percent brighter at 2,500 lumens, adds HDR 10 and HLG HDR, and adds electronics lens shifting. The latter lets users move the image up or down by up to 6 percent so they don’t have to physically raise the entire projector to reach the bottom of a projection screen. The image can also be shifted horizontally by up to 3 percent.

The new model, at 36.4 by 19.5 by 8.7 inches, is 40 percent smaller than the current model, thanks in part to a shorter light path and smaller lens.

The new model must be placed between 2 and 10 inches from a screen or wall, while the current model can be placed between 0 and 7 inches from a wall or screen. Both models deliver a 179-degree viewing angle, and both can be ceiling-mounted.

For the VPL-VZ1000ES, Salamander is developing a floor-standing cabinet with a recess into which the projector can be placed and mounted flush with the cabinet top. The cabinet also features locations for a center-channel speaker and AV components.