The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Sanyo PLV-Z60 720p Home Theater Projector – A First Look

So far, not a whole lot of surprises with Sanyo’s PLV-60 which started shipping a few days ago. First a brief description:

The PLV-Z60 is a 720p home theater projector, that uses 3LCD technology. It’s got an MSRP of $1295, and comes with a better than most, three year warranty.

This Sanyo projector replaces Sanyo’s very popular PLV-Z5, and is physically very similar. It is also similar in general performance, but better in several ways. It seems to be a little brighter, a very good thing since the Sanyo projectors have traditionally been below average in brightness, and therefore not suitable for larger screen sizes.

Our sample unit seems to be a late pre-production version. It exhibits uneven background, with color shifting slightly pink to the left and more toward blue-green towards the right side. The upper right corner is definitely blue, and a bit brighter than the rest of the screen.

This is not unusual in pre-production 3LCD and also in three chip LCoS projectors.

Sanyo is shipping out a 2nd projector (full production) today, so I should be able to get a good look at it, compared to the first one. I expect no problems with Z60 #2.

The PLV-Z60 is basically just an improved PLV-Z5, with slightly better contrast and black levels. Out of the box color in best mode – Pure Cinema is pretty good. The other modes, however, really need at least a basic calibration, as they all have color temperatures from the mid-7500K to over 9000K, definitely too “cool” (blue) relative to the ideal 6500K.

Placement flexibility is the same as the Z5, with a 2:1 zoom, and lots of lens shift (vertical and horizontal).

The PLV-Z60 claims to be 100 lumens brighter, I believe, than the Z5. This may well be the case, but that won’t change the fact that the Z60 is not a bright projector.

I’ve always liked the Sanyo Z projectors, but brightness is not their strong suit – whether best mode or brightest mode. Once again, like other Sanyo projectors, it’s going to be happiest (as will you) with smaller to mid-sized screens. With typical non-high gain screens, you’ll probably want to keep screen size to 100″ or less. If you’ve got dark walls, and great lighting control, and a screen with some gain, you might push up to 106″ or maybe 110″ diagonal, but, in most cases, for best mode, 110″ would really be pushing it. Of course Sanyo offers three Cinema modes – the best – Pure Cinema, is the least bright. Users can sacrifice a little performance in black levels and use calibrated (needed) versions of Creative Cinema or Brilliant Cinema. If you are happy with those, then 110″ diagonal becomes very doable.

That’s about it. I should have posted this 48 hours ago, but never did. Review will be finished this evening (probably late). Hang in there! -art

News And Comments

  • Scott

    Hi Art,

    I asked you a while back about the X10, you also recommended the W5000. I ended up going the cheap route and upgraded from an IN72 and got the deal on the Planar PD7130 for $599, which may end up being a PD7150. I know you had the chance to review a pre-production model of the 7060, but have you seen the 7130, or 7150 in action? Do you think that is a wise choice, being I only have a 480p projector right now anyway? I respect your reviews, knowledge and opinion.

    Thanks, Scott

    Greetings Scott,

    Hard to comment on a projector I’ve never worked with. On the other hand, the price is obviously right. Afterall, it’s got to be the least expensive 720p deal at that $599 price tag. Enjoy.

  • Greg Shafer

    Hello Art,

    I will first say that your website and reviews are spectacular! You provide a tremendous service for us regular folk who are not able to demo many projectors. Your emphasis on technical aspects of the reviews is also much appreciated. Thank you. Anyway, back to my question. I recently purchased a PLV-Z60 and I am curious about the 24 fps capabilities. I realize that your website/blog is not a Sanyo tech support but I thought I would get your thoughts. In fact, I am waiting for service reps from Sanyo and Panasonic to get back to me. I have a Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-Ray player connected to the Sanyo and when I go to choose 24 fps it will not allow me to do it. Is there some sort of special setting the Sanyo requires in order to enable 24 fps? I have noticed other reviews of this projector tout the 24 fps cababilities of this projector and I thought I’d run it by you.


    Greetings Greg,

    I’m just not sure. I use PS3′s in both rooms. I switched them over to 24fps a long time ago, long before I reviewed the Z60. What are you sending across – 1080p 24fps? I don’t know if your player can send 24fps at 720. It’s likely I was feeding a 1080p 24fps to the projector. If you are outputting at 720p, that might be the cause. Either the projector or the player has to down-scale to 720, but one might work, not the other. Let us know how it sorts itself out. Sorry I couldn’t help -art

  • Greg

    Thanks, Art. I am able to switch the player to a 1080p signal, it just won’t allow me to send 24 fps. I am still waiting for responses from Sanyo and Panasonic. I’ll let you know what I hear from them. I was also wondering about the cinema modes. I see that you mention Pure Cinema as the best. Is that only because the gray scale is closest to D65 without adjustment, or are there other factors? I have noticed that when the projector is in Creative Cinema the gamma tracks a little bit more consistent (more linear on the log graph). It seems that Pure Cinema increases from the low end to the high end. For example, it starts around 2.1 at the low end of stimulus and increases to about 2.6 near 80%. Creative stays much more conisistent throughout and only fluctuates between 2.3 and 2.45. I was just curious if your measurements showed that as well.