Sanyo PLV-Z3 - Layout
The first and most obvious feature of the Z3 (available in Silver or Black) is the fold down hinged door protecting the lens and front controls. For those putting the projector in a "multi-purpose room, on a shelf or table, this allows the projector blend in better when not in use (instead of staring at a dust gathering lens, and lots of controls). Opening this door also activates power. The projector cannot be turned on, with the door closed. Once open, you can see the lens and (facing the projector, to the right above, the horizontal lens shift and to the right, the vertical lens shift controls. These allow you to move the picture up or down, left or right, to get a rectangular image where you need it based on projector and screen location. There are two adjustable feet in the front, although the drop controls are on the side.
Both lens shift controls are rotating wheels, easy to use. The lens itself has a focus ring and a zoom ring. The zoom lens offers a 1.3:1 ratio pretty typical of home theater projectors. In addition there is the aperture control. This allows you to stop down the lens, diminishing brightness, but impressively increasing contrast, to meet Sanyo's best, 2000:1, which rivals most DLP projectors.
Lastly, there is an infra-red sensor for operating the remote control.
As you can see in the provided image, the top of the Sanyo Z3 projector has a full control panel with arrow keys, enter, input (source) select, etc, along with some indicator lights. The power switch is the large clear plastic triangle closest to the front of the projector.
The back panel is particularly impressive for a low cost home theater projector. In addition the Sanyo Z3 boasts an HDMI interface (which handles digital video and is the newest standard (and compatible with DVI), for the pure digital signals from your HD cable box/satellite tuner, and a few (mostly high end) DVD players. In addition there are 2, not 1, like everyone else, component video inputs. This is a real plus if you don't have an AV receiver with component video switching. You may want to bring in component video from DVD, cable/satellite, even some of the newer game machines like Playstation 2 and X-Box, which can do component for the highest quality picture they are capable of. (it makes a difference on the big screen).
There's more. There is a separate computer input (thank you) - half the home theater projectors out there either don't offer one, or do it thru a DVI-I connector, which you almost certainly would want to use for HD cable or satellite. What is no surprise, of course is the S-video and the composite (RCA) inputs, and there is also an RS-232 for control. (very important if you plan to use a room/system controller, like Crestron, AMX, Control4, etc, to control projector, screen, etc.
Without a doubt, the Sanyo PLV-Z3 offers more input flexibility than any other home theater projector near its price point. Combine that with the lens shift, and you have a projector that will do what you want/need it to do in terms of setup and ease of use.
Let's look at the Z3 projector's remote. First of all it is fully backlit. The menu button is easy to find on the top left right next to the Light. The arrow keys for navigation are easy to find in the dark once you are familiar with the remote. Aspect ratio and choice of image settings are just below the arrow keys.
Below that point are the smaller buttons with separate buttons for each input on the left, also, there are separate buttons for each programmable user setting.