Sanyo PLV-Z4 3LCD Projector Reviewed

Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<A href="http://www.audioholics.com/news/uploads/sanyoZ4projector.jpg"></A><A href="http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/SanyoPLVZ4projectorreviewp1.php"><IMG style="WIDTH: 125px; HEIGHT: 87px" alt=[sanyoZ4projector200] hspace=10 src="http://www.audioholics.com/news/thumbs/sanyoZ4projector200_th.jpg" align=left border=0></A>Sanyo is an interesting company. I mean, they make rice cookers, vacuum cleaners and massage chairs in addition to electronic AV products. I think that somewhere in the world there is a room with two guys in it from LG and Sanyo talking about how they will one day open up a market for Internet-enabled WiFi latrines. The Sanyo PLV-Z4 debuted last September and took the industry by storm. Its reputation for excellent color, contrast ratio and image quality quickly made it one of the year's top sellers in the under-$3000 category. With Audioholics publishing reviews on most of the competition, we wanted to get the Sanyo "on the record" so prospective buyers could compare and contrast against the other models we've reviewed (plus it looked cool and I wanted to chastise other manufacturers for not having a nifty automatic sliding shutter...)

[Read the Review]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
T

talannar

Junior Audioholic
So now that you've reviewed the Panny 900 and the Sanyo, which projector would you keep in your system?
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
It's just amazing... So many people are asking which projector to buy 'which is best?' they ask. Then they list off the models - Z4, AE900, HD72, IN76... I just tell them to flip a coin. There doesn't seem to be one that can really be called the best anymore. They are all awesome. The $10,000+ Sharp Z9000 of a few years ago basically produces a worse image than the currently crop of $2Kish HD projectors from both the LCD and DLP camps.

I personally have seen the AE900 and love the ease of installation, but will be seeing my first Z4 in a week or so. Bottom line is that I thought the AE900 was a little soft and with where the viewers are seated in this theater the Z4 should be ideal. I'm very excited to see it.

Great review, and it seems to show a bit of difference in attitude towards that projector after you guys having seen it set up poorly at some trade shows, etc. may have led people to believe that the projector was a good deal less than top notch - while other sites are claiming it to be the best of that price range.

Want a $2K projector? Pick one of them, it is almost impossible to go wrong.
 
B

BTT917

Audioholic Intern
I'd like to ask that in the future you also include performance results after calibrating with just the AVIA or DVE discs, instead of just the "out-of-the-box" and DataColor calibration results. Most people don't have access to anything more than the test discs, and for me I want to know how good a projector can look without having to hire an ISF tech or buying calibration equipment.

Thanks
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
BMXTRIX said:
Want a $2K projector? Pick one of them, it is almost impossible to go wrong.
I really have to agree. At this point the D5 panels seem to soundly trounce D4 panels - even those with better optics. You have to really screw it up bad to provide a bad unit, so features are starting to really play a big part. Black levels, as always, are the key with LCD; but Sony's Cineza VPL-HS51A showed that LCD is at least capable of challenging DLP in that arena as well... It's getting to be that there are a lot of really good choices on the market - and that's a GREAT thing.

As for the AVIA-only calibration... That's a good point. Basically just being able to set correct black and white levels typically makes a HUGE difference in a projector. At that point the only key is getting the right color temperature - typically the one which makes white look almost reddish in comparison to the typical default "blue" color temperature.

I may consider making my "before" be a rough calibration using the AVIA test disc. This is a great idea and gives a more usable baseline for those who aren't planning to do a professional ISF calibration.
 
C

cthomp

Junior Audioholic
Sony

Then they list off the models - Z4, AE900, HD72, IN76...

Would it be safe to say the HS51A should also be included? I have seen it
as low as $2300
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
Oh yeah, the Sony Cineza is an excellent projector. Great black levels, too.
 
C

cthomp

Junior Audioholic
Ok Clint, I am going to ask

Unlike many of us, (especially in Fairbanks, Alaska), you have seen and reviewed most of the models listed above. Given the following set-up, which one would you most likely buy? Expense is not a factor within this price range.

Room 17W x 25L x 7 1/2H (Painted dark)
Seating distance 15-20ft
Ceiling Mount projector
Good Light control (room darkening blinds, dimmers)
106" Carada Brilliant White
Dish Network HD
Primary Use- HD sports, HD/dvd movies and general dish viewing
Will purchase HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player when available

PS. I noticed you haven't reviewed the HD72 yet but I am concerned about
using it with a lower ceiling due to the lens offset and lack of lens shift.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
Optoma HD72 review is being posted this week. :)

I don't give final recommendations on anything as then we might was well just list our favorites and not do any reviews... I wrote a combined 50-some pages of reviews, just read and see which you would like to dive into. We're already telling you that you can't really go too wrong.
 
J

Johnd

Audioholic Samurai
Clint DeBoer said:
I don't give final recommendations on anything
Ah, Solomon has spoken. You could not have it any other way.
 
C

cthomp

Junior Audioholic
Thats ok!

Well, I thought I would at least try! Oddly enough there is a very good summary of this exact subject at www.projectorreviews.com for those that are interested! (Clint, Don't read it until you are done with the HD72). Summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Congrats on the new house Clint, but I can't believe that a man of your position wouldn't of had the REST of the house designed around the HT room!
 
Last edited:
R

ReVuR

Audiophyte
Clint DeBoer said:
Optoma HD72 review is being posted this week. :)

I don't give final recommendations on anything as then we might was well just list our favorites and not do any reviews... I wrote a combined 50-some pages of reviews, just read and see which you would like to dive into. We're already telling you that you can't really go too wrong.
Amen, Clint,

I have to agree completely, I tried to put the strengths and weaknesses of four under $2K machines in perspective, in a single article (900u, Z4, HD72, PE7700 and even mentioned a few more expensive ones (HS51A and Epson 550). From there, there are links to the individual projector reviews that go way more in-depth.

I think cthomp already mentioned it, but here's a direct link to the comparison article for those that might find it helpful:
http://www.projectoreviews.com/HomeTheaterReviews/HTprojectorComparison_under2000.asp

There is no best projector for everyone, and as you have pointed out, any of these does one fine job for the bucks... -art
 
K

kkrambo

Enthusiast
I got my Z4 just in time for the super bowl and I'm very satisfied with it.

HD programs are awesome. DVDs are superb. But standard definition television programming is maybe a little underwhelming. Regarding SD, I suppose its not the projector's fault entirely -- SD resolution wasn't meant to be blown up so big. But beyond the low resolution I also get some jaggies with SD programming. The SD jaggies are much worse when I use the HDMI input so I've been using the component input more. HD looks awesome on both HDMI and component.

I'm using the projector in my basement, which I recently finished specifically for a home theater. I have the projector mounted on a back-wall shelf, about 16 feet from the screen. My screen is about 7' wide or 96" diagonal. I made the sceen using drapery black-out lining for under $40.

This is my first projector and I wasn't sure what to expect for brightness so I installed a dimmer on the can ceiling lights. When watching movies in one of the "cinema" modes we dim the lights relatively low. But I was pleasantly surprised that the projector is fairly bright in the other image modes and we can watch TV with the lights at or near typical brightness. A lot of sunlight would definately wash out the image but night-time TV viewing with the lights on is no problem.

I don't believe my Z4's power cord has the transformer the reviewer mentioned. There is one of those cylindrical ferrites that you find on monitor cables. And there is a proprietary plug. But I believe the transformer is internal to the projector.

I recommend an 18" deep shelf for the Z4. It would be hanging over the edge of 16" shelf.

I occassionally notice the projector's fan change speed while we're watching something (sitting about 6-7' away from the projector) . I suppose the fan is controlled by an internal temperature sensor. But overall the fan is quiet and not a significant distraction.

I start to notice the screen door effect about 6' away from the screen (about 1x the screen width). But even then it is not much of a distraction. As I move closer to the screen, I am bothered more by being too close long before I am bothered by the screen door effect. SDE is not noticeable from our normal viewing distance of 10-12'.

I'm very pleased with the Z4. Now I just wish there were more HD programming on TV.
 
Last edited:
L

Lambinator

Audiophyte
Ditto - just hooked up my Z4 tonight - first picture I've ever had larger than 26". I didn't know what to expect, but I can say WOW! Great brightness, plenty of adjustments, and excellent DVD picture. Regular TV looks jagged at times, but I found not going widescreen (use normal mode) and reducing the size of the screen to 96" at 16' does the trick. Projecting on a flat white wall for now - contemplating a Draper fixed screen. Not sure how much improvement I would see. Currently running everything through S-Video right now - new V2600 receiver will be here in a few days and will hook up to HDMI, as well as get HDTV installed. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
 
K

kenc3dan_av

Audiophyte
Discrete power on and off?

You mentioned in the review that it had discrete buttons for each of the inputs. This is cool but does it seem to have a discrete on and a discrete off IR code that it can receive? This would really be great.
Thanks!
First time poster,
Ken
 
K

kkrambo

Enthusiast
The Sanyo remote that comes with the Z4 has a power toggle button, not discrete on and off buttons. However, I have a Logitech Harmony universal remote and there are discrete power on/off codes (in addition to power toggle) in Harmony's database for the Z4.
 
krabapple

krabapple

Banned
I set up my Z4 last night and ran some basic white level/black level/saturation/hue calibration with the consumer Avia disc, with the Z4 in Pure Cinema/Low2 mode; it looks pretty good! I have a few questions, though

1) in the review HQV bench test results, there are two columns labelled 'L1'.
What are these and why are there two of them? (It would be good if Audioholics could provide a guide to reading its bench test results chart -- I couldn't find one on the site)

2) My DVD player can toggle between interlaced and progressive (deinterlaced) modes; the Z4 also has a deinterlacer. What would be the best test pattern to compare the two deinterlacers with?
 
krabapple

krabapple

Banned
Thanks. I still don't get what the L1 (and L1 Pass/Fail) columns are, and why they are shown twice , with different performance. What does that mean? Video and computer-type sources, versus Film? I don't see anything about 'L1' in HQV's benchmark document or the audioholics page either.
 
krabapple

krabapple

Banned
absent a response, a tentative guess -- L1 = HDMI connection; the other is component? Am I getting warmer?
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top