back to article Sony seeks mojo reboot with 147-inch 'honey-you-can't-afford-me' 4K home projector

Certain products exist to burnish a company's image rather than fatten its bottom line, and Sony's new 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector, able to project ultra-high definition video images of up to 147 inches on any wall, is a shining example. Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector Entrapped in stultifying minimalism, Fido dreams …

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  1. TRT Silver badge

    Nice. Very nice, but...

    I bet the cat will still go to sleep on it.

    1. The Corner of Moron

      Re: Nice. Very nice, but...

      .....they have a dog.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice. Very nice, but...

      A friend's girlfriend owns a cat that had a habit of lying on her old CRT monitor - nice and warm I presume. When she changed the monitor for an LCD, the cat tried once to jump on top of this too, and got surprised by the sudden decrease in landing area...

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    Title is too long

    "No more commodity products," he promised. "No more parity products. No more 'just good enough' products. We must – and we can – do better."

    I am looking forward to the next ereader then.

    1. John Sturdy
      Big Brother

      Re: Title is too long

      "No more commodity products," he promised. "No more parity products. No more 'just good enough' products. We must – and we can – do better."

      Well, they were ahead of the game in putting rootkits on commercial media releases.

    2. jjbd

      Re: Title is too long

      Here's some low-hanging fruit for him: they can improve my late 2011 Bravia right away with the decent firmware update they should have given me a year ago. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/24/sony_denies_netflix_app_to/

  3. JDX Gold badge

    I've not come across these type of projectors before, kind of neat.

    For realistic wall/viewers (like in The Hunger Games) you surely need the wall itself to be the light-source though.

    1. Justin Stringfellow

      why?

      What's the difference between a photon that's been emitted by the wall as opposed to reflected by it, then?

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: why?

        surely the reflected ones will have picked up some dirt from the wall ?

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: why?

          surely the reflected ones will have picked up some dirt from the wall ?

          Hmm, I see a paint marketing opportunity there, to go with the 24ct gold leads for the projector...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          Re: why?

          @JimmyPage - "surely the reflected ones will have picked up some dirt from the wall?"

          You have tiny flecks of dirt on your walls?

          Disgusting peasants. I'm sure Sony doesn't want your business anyway.

      2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: why?

        I guess that depends on the amount of all other photons emitted/reflect from the wall.

        In other words, if the wall is emitting photons then imaginably it might also NOT emit them, thus giving you nice deep blacks. On the other hand if the wall is just reflecting photons then the best blacks you can have in the bright of the day are going to be, well, grey at best.

        That of course does not matter if the scene being shown is full of light and does not require deep contrasts. However imagine having a virtual window to deep space ... or any geographical location in the antipodes.

        1. Pahhh
          Joke

          Re: why?

          You are right, projection will never take off.

          Right , must dash, early showing of Gravity at Empire Cinemas...

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: why?

            >>You are right, projection will never take off.

            Your attempt to be a smart alec falls short when you remember that they turn all the lights off in the cinema to get the best results. With a projector the darkest you can ever get is the ambient lighting from the wall. That means in a well-lit room, it might look pretty but it's not going to be realistic.

            1. Psyx

              Re: why?

              "That means in a well-lit room, it might look pretty but it's not going to be realistic."

              Since when has quality mattered when dwarfed by sheer mega-ness, though! :)

              1. 404 Silver badge

                Re: why?

                'Since when has quality mattered when dwarfed by sheer mega-ness, though! :)'

                Quality would be why I have a 2014 55" Samsung 'dumb' flat screen and not the 70" Vizio 'smart' version -> Samsung looks like being at a stageplay, so real, while the Vizio looks like, well, you're looking at a big honking analog TV...

                YMMV

            2. TRT Silver badge

              Re: why?

              "With a projector the darkest you can ever get is the ambient lighting from the wall."

              Well, that's a rather simplistic view. If you stand there with a light meter or a tele-photometer, or a tele-spectrometer for that matter, you could prove your point, but then I could set up a rather simple projection system whereby your instruments will report a bit of wall as being "red" and most rational observers will tell you, quite correctly, that it's actually green.

              So if by darkest you mean "lowest reflected energy" then √ but if by darkest you mean "blackest" then it's a big X.

        2. petur

          Re: why?

          Sony has some neat paint / projection screen that only reflects certain wavelengths, which makes it look (dark) grey in normal daylight, and lights up using their projector. Sadly not seen a lot of this lately :/

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhGx84jM8pY

          1. Darryl

            Re: why?

            Thing is, if you just spent 40K on a projector, surely you can afford to get a specialized screen or at least a large wall in your large house prepared to adequately reflect the image?

          2. DougS Silver badge

            @petur

            I owned Sony's special screen. They don't work nearly as well as you'd like to believe. In artificial light they're passable, but if you have even the most indirect sunlight (i.e. coming through drawn shades and reflecting off another wall) the projector image is severely washed out.

            You pretty much need to put it in a windowless room, or a room where the windows are so well covered it can be dark in there in full daylight.

            Of course, if you do that, then your room is dark so you no longer need the special screen...

      3. Steven Jones

        Re: why?

        There are several reasons why a direct source of light is preferable to a diffusely reflected one, One is that the quality of the image is highly dependent on the projection surface. Unless it is specifically designed for projection with neutral qualities and, especially with projection so far from the normal, absolutely flat, the image quality will be compromised. It is very prone to colour shifts, loss of contrast etc. Indeed the contrast ratio will be severely impacted by the use of a white wall unless projected in absolute darkness as the black level will be severely compromised by reflections of ambient light,

        The second is brightness. With diffuse reflection, light will be scattered in all directions and, consequently a much lower proportion will reach the viewers eyes. With a "normal" projection onto a screen at right angles, it's possible to engineer the surface of the screen to reflect most light back to a narrower angle and therefore make the image brighter with more contrast, That's simply not possible with a painted wall and where the light is projected to arrive at such a shallow angle.

        Of course, it's possible to overcome some of this by making the projected image much brighter by using ever more powerful sources of illumination, but as those who are used to such systems will know, they are power hungry, get hot and invariably require cooling fans, which emit noise.

        There's a reason why direct emission display systems dominate in normal households over projection systems, and that is simply they are more efficient, brighter, usable in ambient light conditions and don't impose major environmental constraints. Keep these sort of systems for those that can afford dedicated home theatre spaces.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: why?

          > Keep these sort of systems for those that can afford dedicated home theatre spaces.

          pppfffffft.

          All you need is a room with a nice unobstructed stretch of wall and the ability to draw the shades.

          There's no reason the space has to be "dedicated".

          In fact, all of the dedicated media room spaces in the local McMansions all seem to be total pants.

          My "finished attic" is better than all of that oversized/overpriced nonsense.

          4K projectors are a welcome addition to the market. They are absurdly priced now but they won't always be so. These things will allow you to fully appreciate the format unlike really small TVs in spaces not well optimized for them.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: why?

            "All you need is a room with a nice unobstructed stretch of wall and the ability to draw the shades"

            Absolutely. looking at the new home designs in Oz, they all seem to include a dedicated media room, long shallow windows with huge blackout louvres, so that, even with them open, it's like feeling your way round a cave, and barely the room for a long sofa and your mega TV.

            My media room was supposed to be a games room. Nice big square room (so speaker placement was a breeze) with one clear wall and blinds for the windows, so I can have my 'media room' and still have a 'normal' room for conversation and Scrabble when there's nothing on TV (which, given this is Oz, is 90% of the time)

  4. Daz555

    Surely a reflective surface emits new photons rather than bouncing back the originals.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But...

    Given the little boxes us plebs have to live in (and getting smaller every year) pretty soon anything over 42in is going to seem huge.

    So, SONY, how about that then?

    Oh silly me. Devices like this are only for Premiership footballers, Google Directors and MP, none of whom pay sod all tax anyway.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: But...

      Or perhaps you've forgotten that not every single person in the world lives in England, where house sizes are fairly small on average?

      1. cambsukguy

        Re: But...

        and indeed Japan, where they also have famously small living arrangements.

        I am sure this is aimed squarely at wealthy Americans - and possibly up-market conference-type places.

    2. Flatpackhamster

      Re: But...

      You are entirely correct. None of them do pay sod all tax.

    3. JEDIDIAH
      Mushroom

      Re: But...

      > Given the little boxes us plebs have to live in (and getting smaller every year) pretty soon anything over 42in is going to seem huge.

      I think the whole point of this tech is that you don't need a bat cave in order to throw a large image.

      A conventional projector is what forces you to have a cavernous expanse in order for the image to expand.

  6. SMabille

    Hi,

    1) To benefit from the high resolution, you will need a proper screen. Just a "basic" painted screen surface won't be flat enough to reflect the light in an even manner.

    You can easily see a huge difference of quality between "on screen" and "on wall" projection at any resolution, but this would be like putting a very good old pure malt wisky in a diet coke....

    2) Sony already has "normal" throw 4K projectors (the VPL-VW600, VW1000 and VW1100ES) but crucially lack of support and interest from Sony in Europe.

    While the US benefits from a cheap and impressive upgrade path from the VPL-VW1000ES to VPL-VW1100ES: Mainboard upgrade, new bulb, 4K media player, Vaio tablet for $2500, Sony Europe offer the mainboard upgrade only for more than £3000.... and more importantly still has absolutely no plan for any 4K content in Europe (Video Unlimited 4K is available in the US since last summer).

    As for the recently announced Playstation Now, also an US exclusive, it seems that Sony is undecided to do any investment in the European market.

    Such a shame to see a good brand loosing so much over here by lack of management, vision and/or investment.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      It's hardly surprising they would trial PS Now in the US first - there are a handful of dominant ISPs, more advanced broadband, very large population centres, billing is easier and they only have to support one language both in the service itself but also in the content they offer through it.

      It'll come to Europe eventually but clearly the effort is that much harder.

    2. cambsukguy

      why can't anyone seem to spell losing anymore - or lose for that matter?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        @cambsukguy

        I think because chose and choose versus lose and loose tends to confuse people. If you were a bad speller, which of those would you think should rhyme?

  7. seven of five

    Want

    Must sell car. Wife. Kids.

  8. Arnold Lieberman

    Crappy PR picture

    In the real world, the picture is going to suck in a room like that - too many white walls, and have you seen the cost of top-notch projector screens?

    1. Joerg

      Re: Crappy PR picture

      A 120" top-notch projector screen can be bought in the $1,800 - $2,600 price range.

      Anyone buying a $30,000 - $40,000 projector surely could buy a $10,000 screen anyway.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Crappy PR picture

        Just a thought - however top notch your projector screen, it's going to be designed to reflect light hitting at 90 degrees, isn't it? How well would a normal projection screen work when the image is being thrown from below at such a shallow angle?

        Don't know, just hoping there's a commentard more knowledgeable than me on these matters (shouldn't be hard!)

    2. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Want

      Understandable-> wait til you see it in person though, hate to see you lose half your stuff in the divorce for a crappy picture quality.

      ;)

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Want

      or make company think it needs to buy one (With a bigger board room to properly fit it in)

  9. The Corner of Moron

    OTT maybe, but still very cool.

    4K is not only good for video but exceptional for still images.

    Imagine having a high quality projection of your favourite artwork sitting on your wall and having it change to another painting every hour or so.

    Like one of those crappy digital photo frames only waaaaaayyyyy cooler.

  10. Tim 11

    dark colours anyone?

    the basic problem with any wall projection is that the darkest colour it can project is, well, white

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: dark colours anyone?

      (1) Colour is not a function of wavelength or the composition of light from a point source, but a construct of the brain derived from areal integration of received light. Have you ever noticed how a grey CRT screen can reproduce a full black?

      (2) Not if you turn the lights off.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        (2) Not if you turn the lights off.

        Yeah, one often wants to stand in a pitch-black room looking "out of the window" at a day-time scene. That's not at all weird.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: (2) Not if you turn the lights off.

          "Yeah, one often wants to stand in a pitch-black room looking "out of the window" at a day-time scene. That's not at all weird."

          In that case, I suggest a window would be a cheaper option.

          1. Don Dumb

            Re: (2) Not if you turn the lights off.

            "In that case, I suggest a window would be a cheaper option."

            Depends on the wall perhaps, load bearing walls in large buildings might be a little pricely. I can genuinely see this being attractive to those with internal walls (block of flats maybe). Have a 4K webcam stream from somewhere nice, project onto the wall. Although in a few price generations maybe. It's a bit silly but still looks cool.

            1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

              Re: (2) Not if you turn the lights off.

              That is actually not bad idea, as long as the colour temperature and intensity projected from such window (more precisely, reflected by the wall) compares well enough against the real thing (actual window). I guess that would require really, really strong lamp - or lasers and special screen?

    2. Ben 47

      Re: dark colours anyone?

      Pretty sure no matter what it's own colour by the absence of a light being shone on a wall, you will perceive it as black.

      The issue is whether you can keep light 'leaking' out from those areas you do want to project onto, to those areas you don't

      1. Psyx

        Re: dark colours anyone?

        "The issue is whether you can keep light 'leaking' out from those areas you do want to project onto, to those areas you don't"

        If you can afford the TV, you can afford thick curtains, I'd suggest.

  11. Fuzz

    noise

    And how much noise do the fans make keeping it cool?

    1. Psyx

      Re: noise

      Less than the fucking brilliant surround-sound system that anyone who could afford one would have.

  12. Martin
    FAIL

    This new vision...

    ...creates a brand-new sensorial and atmospheric experience that utilizes space, space itself.

    As marketing bollocks goes, that is pretty awesome. Sensorial, eh? You can smell it and touch it too?

  13. MJI Silver badge

    Trying to compete on price

    Really hurt them, I hope this is a return to premium products at a reasonable price.

    Yes I do consider £1500 a reasonable price for a good LCD TV, compared to say £500 for a rubbish one.

    I also still perceive Walkman to be better than IPod, yet they are cheaper. I have always felt you get what you pay for with Sony, pay too little you get little, pay a decent amount you get a decent product.

    If you want to see engineering and design, go back to 1983 and look at their top of range VCR, everything built for quality, even the 4 year later top end VCR did not have the fine reel control of its predecessor (I own the portable version of the first and I do own the 1987 VCR).

    Basically Kaz needs to bring back the premium feel of the 1970s and 80s before their descent into cheap crud and people will buy it again. Just think how many ex Trinitron owners have a Bravia, I bet it is not 100%.

    I am still sad that Pioneer cut back on its ranges, and I am still worried that Panasonic may take the cheap road to junk. We need premium consumer level kit, so stop always chasing the cheapskate.

    Before people mention PS4 prices, the PS4 is the cheap fix to get you hooked into the games where the profit is made.

    1. King Jack

      Re: Trying to compete on price

      They need to knock the proprietary formats on the head. Memory stick? ATRAC for music? Why? to gouge customers. That is why Sony stuff stays on the shelf.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Formats

        Someone needs to invent the formats. Sony develop good ones but they often do not take off.

        ATRAC is good, better than MP3, worked very well with Minidisc.

        Memory stick is OK, there are a lot of card formats anyway, best thing about MS is it is easy to hold.

        Betamax was first to market, and was technically better than the opposition and is what got me interested in Sony kit in the first place.

        Formats developed with other companies however. Do you use CD? DVD? DV/MiniDV/HDV? BluRay?

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: Trying to compete on price

      The Xperia waterproof phone seems pretty good too, camera better than anything except Nokia and waterproof, although in a scary, block-the-holes-and-keep-the water-out way.

      I would be worried every time, especially after the warranty period (I wonder how they know you have taken it too deep, pressure markers perhaps, presumably, a salt water detector is simpler).

      For Android users it seems a far better proposition than a Samsung, looks nicer to me too - not plasticky.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    4K will wind up like 3D, another stupid gimmick that'll eventually die in the end.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Too right! And those ultra-expensive "XGA" monitors, too! Like anyone has enough video memory to run 1024x768 in more than 16 colors anyway!

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      I think 4K is here to stay on the basis that it's very useful for computers and costs of scale make it more efficient to manufacture one type of panel for all uses.

      I know you might think that antialiasing solves the resolution problem because you can no longer see the pixels, but it's effectively a high-pass filter. You lose detail and things don't look sharp. Compare any of the first generation tablets to the modern lot, even at a distance.

  15. Joe Harrison

    147 inch eh?

    Just right for watching the snooker.

    1. Tom_

      Re: 147 inch eh?

      Yeah, but you have to position it EXACTLY the right distance from the wall.

      Otherwise you risk ending up with a 148, which is clearly cheating.

      1. Don Dumb
        Headmaster

        Re: 147 inch eh?

        "Otherwise you risk ending up with a 148, which is clearly cheating."

        I hate to do this, but the maximum score in Snooker can be higher than the 147 maximum break.

        From wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_break#Breaks_exceeding_147 - "A break higher than 147 can be achieved when an opponent fouls and leaves the incoming player snookered on all 15 reds. The player can nominate one of the other colours as a red, known as a "free ball", which carries the same value as a red for just that shot. By potting the free ball followed by a colour, then the reds with colours and the colours up to the pink or black, the player can compile a break of more than 147."

        I now need to wash the revolting pedantry off, as I clearly have too much.

        1. Tom_

          Re: 147 inch eh?

          Even knowing that, it was more fun to say 148.

          1. Don Dumb

            Re: 147 inch eh?

            I know, I thought your comment was funny. I just couldn't help myself (hangs head in shame)

  16. TheOtherHobbes

    How much is the dog?

  17. EPurpl3

    How can you not want one... for free :D

    Really, I would buy one for 1000

  18. phil dude
    Linux

    excellent for scientific visulisation...

    Imagine a wall with 27 of these, like one of the national lab ones! 100 megapixel image ;-)

    P.

    1. Pookietoo
      Facepalm

      Re: Imagine a wall with 27 of these

      It would be a wall with floating sideboards.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: Imagine a wall with 27 of these

        Come to think of it, I would like such a wall for IT operations. Even if it was just one or two such screens - with the right software (i.e. custom system monitoring GUI) it might even pay for itself!

  19. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    No more 'just good enough' products

    Start with no more DRM at all, then we can start talking.

  20. Pahhh

    This thread taken some strange turns

    This thread taken some strange turns. Lots of debate on the merit of direct light against reflected projected light.

    The debate would have merit if we were talking about 80" TVs. But we are not, we discussing 147" screen which to my knowledge there isnt a LCD/OLED/Plasma/etc equivalent home 4k screen.

  21. Chris Evans

    Toture!

    "Imagine being an avid surfer," it would torture!

    Surfers want to surf not look.

  22. AdrianInExile

    2000 Lumens? I wondered why there was no window in the room......

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For that short throw, you'll require a very *flat* wall...

    ... else you'll get quite a distorted image.

    You might even need to hire a Japanese plasterer - British walls are rarely very flat.

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