Re: Sony VPL-VW600ES 4K Projector
An other “big fly in the ointment” is that the Sony SXRD panels “self destructs”. After a few hundred hours its black-level is raised quite a lot, the gamma is totally off, and on/off contrast is reduced to half the contrast of a new projector.
The problem is an issue I have observed in a lot of Sony projectors. After a couple of hundred hours, that gamma starts changing quite drastically in the low end of the grayscale, as the projectors black level i raised. Often a default gamma of 2.2 vil measure below 1.8 from 0 to 30-40 IRE, and from there and upward it measures a somewhat correct 2.2. The impact on picture quality is poor black-level, and severe loss of contrast. This is not unique to VW300/350/500/600/1000/1100, but is observed in all Sony projectors. It seams like the optical engine deteriorates over time, with lower light output in the bright end, and at the same time light output in the dark end is raised quite a lot. Often I have to recommend customers with HW projectors to by a video processor, to be able to calibrate a somewhat linear gamma. This will unfortunately not solve the problem with raised black level, its gamma correction only. I usually measure between 6-7000:1 native on/off contrast on the VW1000/1100, and after less than 1000 hours operation, the contrast is refused to less than 3000:1, often as low as 2300:1. All my clients have sold their Sony 4K’s, as Sony offer no solution or repair.
Sony has developed a software for calibrating multipoint gamma in their premium projectors, called “Projector Calibration Pro”. I tried to correct some of this issues with the Sony Projector Calibration Pro software, but it didn’t work. The reason for this is that their gamma equalizer isn’t working properly. When calibrating gamma, adjustments done at one point in the gamma equalizer, is affecting the points over and under the one that is being adjusted. That way, it is impossible to obtain a linear gamma. I also encountered quite a lot of color banding when using the gamma equalizer.
To make this tool work, engineers have to look at the width off impact each adjustment point affects. This needs to be perfect, so that each adjustment point reaches the next adjustment point, but with no overlapping. Getting this perfect is mandatory to be able to calibrate gamma without generating banding.
I would also like to have a 21-point gamma adjustment possibility. Todays software can chose between 10-point and 64-point. 64-point is very time-consuming, and 10-point is a bit imprecise. One of the reasons I would prefer a 21-point scale, is that most high-end test pattern generators have 21-point patterns as maximum. This has been reported back to Sony engineers, but there still is no updated calibration tool. If it indeed worked perfect, it would of course not recover the loss of on/off contrast, merely correct gamma.
The reason I write this, is so that you guys don’t end like I did, recommending a projector that turns out to self-destructs within a short timespan. It does not seem to be any improvement in the upcoming 2016 models either, since they use the same panels as the 2014/2015 models. The newest full-HD panels (for example the HW55) deteriorates much slower than the 4K panels.