The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Sanyo PLV-Z3000 home theater projector – loaded with features

OK folks, I’m just back from LA, where Sanyo was showing off their PLV-Z3000, their flagship home theater projector, and of course their other two recently announced models, the PLV-Z60 and PLV-Z700.

While I only really trust my judgement when viewing a projector in my environment with the content I choose, it’s still nice to see projectors demo’d in pitch black rooms in tradeshow booths. Sadly, Sanyo had a hotel ballroom and low lighting – more than anyone would normally have on for movie watching. As a result, I didn’t get much of an idea about the Z3000. (I have the other two Sanyo’s here, right now for review.)

So, here’s a basic summary of the PLV-Z3000. First, yes MSRP is $3295, but MAP, which pretty much sets the “high” price, looks to be $2995 or $2999.

The PLV-Z3000, like several other new 3LCD projectors, is really loaded with image enhancement features. Consider: The PLV-Z3000 supports 14 bit color processing, HDMI 1.3 with Deep Color support, and x.v. color handling (no content yet, but coming). It’s got frame interpolation for a smoother better picture when there is a lot of fast moving action on the screen, and so on.

And it claims a stellar contrast ratio, thanks to new LCD panels and a new dynamic iris. How high, you ask? 65,000:1.

The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 is scheduled to ship in early December. As Sanyo put it today. We’ll get them in, in time to get them to dealers, and the dealers will have time to get them to their customers, before Christmas.

Bottom line: The PLV-Z3000 has just about every feature found on all of the other projectors it competes directly with. Not every one, but, then, none of them have every feature found on the others.

Basically what this translates to is an interesting battle between the four major Japanese companies that dominate home theater projectors: Epson, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, and Sanyo. I’ll discuss further in my next blog! -art

News And Comments

  • Ephraim

    Art, can you provide a more prominent link to the blog from your website?

    ***************

    Well, at yours and others suggestions I did move it up to the top of the left column on the homepage.

    I’ll also be adding a link on the far left column, so that the blog will be accessible from every page on the site. -art

  • Seraj

    The PLV-Z3000 is supposedly priced $2399 for preordering. Wonder if there would be any rebate…and quality bumped enough to justify 800$ price premium over PLV-Z2000.

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    The Sanyo Z3000 has all the goodies. It is likely to be very much like the Z2000, except for much better black levels, and creative frame interpolation. The black levels may well make it worth the difference in price. The creative frame interpolation does help, but I still don’t consider it a major factor. I’ve been staring at the Panasonic with creative frame turned on, side by side, with other projectors, and I can see what it’s doing, but it doesn’t, to me, register as a significant improvement. I suspect, though, like rainbow effect, motion blur is more noticeable by some, than others. I’m even wondering if there’s a correlation. Do people, such as myself, who are rainbow sensitive, less sensitive to motion blur? More sensitive? or No correlation?

    We shall see. -a

  • Seraj

    Thanks Art!
    I will awaiting your PLV-Z3000 review. I am holding my projector purchase till I have seen at least Sanyo and Epson’s next gen reviews.

    I was playing with PLV-Z2000 and projecting 190″ diagonal image in a light controlled room and I was quite impressed. But reading some reviews elsewhere I found that after a few months, the light output decreases considerably to enjoy a 190″ inch screen.
    Is it true? Do I need to go for a high brightness projector? How much brightness would you recommend and most importantly would PLV-Z3000 would be upto task according to your best guess?

    As alaways thanks a lot and I appreciate your valuable work!

    -Seraj

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    Greetings Seraj,

    190″ diagonal? Wow! I trust you have a real high gain screen. With a normal 1.0 gain screen, even in brightest mode, that projector probably can’t hit the 12 ft-lambert minimum for brightness as specified by the SMPTE for movie theaters, and often used as a reference in the home.

    Yes, lamps get dimmer over their life. Over the rated life, figure up to a 50% loss in brightness. My own JVC RS1 now has almost 1500 hours (2000 rated) (all with lamp on high), and is off just about 25%, but others report even faster drop offs (will vary by a number of factors, including how conservative the manufacturers choose to rate their lamp life.

    When I talk about screen sizes, in my screen recommendations, I really try to figure how a projector would do at 50% of the rated lamp life (1000 hours out of 2000 rated, for most projectors). I figure that gives people a good idea. So, when I say a projector can handle a 100″ screen, that typically means that it can, brand new, can handle about 120″ diagonal, but by 2000 hours, the same brightness might require only a 90″ screen. I like to have more than the minimum 12 ft-lamberts for movie viewing, so I figure most folks will find my size recommendations for the various screens to be satisfactory. Hope that helps.

    Assuming you were viewing the Z2000 in one of its brightest modes, you’ll probably want to look more towards the Epson 6100 or 6500 UB, as they will probably be the brightest of the lower cost home theater projectors in “brightest mode”, although the InFocus IN83, or Optoma HD81-LV, are a further step up in brightness (and price). -art

  • thedre

    I have the Sanyo PLV Z2000, and am extremely happy with it. It’s shoots out around 14 feet on a 72 inch white screen, and I watch it around 12 feet. Just at the point where I cannot see the fine pixels…which I think is the best way to watch front projection. My only issue is getting deep into color correction. Well, there are really two issues. With C.C., let’s say I’m watching Mad Men on Blu-Ray, and I notice that in the shadows of people’s faces it heats up with too much off color yellowish murk..you can sometimes see it in the shadow areas of the interiors. So, that means I want to adjust color in those gamma areas, and not overall. (When I worked in a one hour photo lab in the eighties, we calibrated each film type with three negs…one over,one normal, and one under exposed neg…and that eliminated getting blue in the shadows, etc. So, I’d like to know more about how to mange this. Similarly my other problem is sometimes the black that people rave about shows up when you don’t need it…In the shadows of peoples faces, etc., when you know it’s overdone. I mess around with gamma settings, brightness and contrast to mess with this issue, but I still see an artificial black pumping into these regions that looks a bit forced. I have to say, that when I had the earlier 720 model from sanyo, I never saw this. So, increased black levels are not always the best thing…only when there are really real black in the source material. So, the projector does not always make the best judgement. And can someone tell me what lens iris number works the best for them? Not the speed of lens iris correction, but the general opening level…I have a very hard time seeing differences in the settings…or really understanding what’s happening. And wouldn’t it be nice for Sanyo to really explain Gamma and the difference between it and brightness? thanks for reading…