Sanyo PLV-Z3000 - Competitors
How does the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
This section compares the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 home theater projector to the competition. Here you will find our impressions of the Sanyo projector as it stacks up to existing projectors we have reviewed, and a couple that are about to ship, and not yet reviewed.
PLV-Z3000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB
The Epson Home 1080 UB projector won't be around much longer, with the replacement Home Cinema 6500 UB expected to ship in the next few weeks. Last year the 1080 UB definitely owned the title of best black level performance of any projector under $3000 street price. The Epson definitely maintains an advantage in this regard, compared to this Sanyo projector. While the specs would make you think the Sanyo would have better black levels, the Epson still has a significant advantage. Yes, the Sanyo is closer to the Epson, and other ultra high contrast projectors in terms of black levels, than the more entry level 3LCD projectors, or any of the affordable 1080p DLP projectors.
The Epson also has the advantage of being brighter, in both best, and brightest modes, than the Z3000. The Epson also calibrates easier. Although the Epson also pushes the green a bit, it is less evident, and doesn't exhibit the slight yellow/green shift that the Sanyo has.
The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 projector, on the other hand, is noticeably quieter in operation (possibly being even quieter in full power, than the Epson in low power). The Sanyo projector is also a touch sharper in terms of image.
Both models of projectors produce a bright, dynamic image in brightest mode for excellent HDTV and sports viewing with some ambient light present.
The PLV-Z3000 also has great shadow detail, whereas the Epson is a little weak in that regard.
Sanyo offers a three year parts and labor warranty, with fast repair, compared to the shorter two year parts and labor warranty from Epson, although the Epson includes an overnight replacement program for both years of its warranty.
Finally, the Sanyo offers the 120 fps abilities with creative frame interpolation, which the Epson lacks (but its replacement offers).
As a closeout, the Epson will cost you a little less, while they are still around.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Mitsubishi HC5500, HC6500 and HC7000
The Sanyo is available online, only the lowest cost of the three Mitsubishi projectors - the HC5500 is available online. The other two, the HC6500 and HC7000 are local dealer only, and significantly more expensive.
The Sanyo easily wins the black level wars against the HC5500 (and probably slightly compared to the HC6500), while the HC7000 bests the Sanyo Z3000. The HC5500 is at the low end of black level performance among 1080p projectors, while the Sanyo is well better than average!
On the other hand, the HC5500 has far more brightness in best mode (almost double), but isn't as bright (about 300 lumens less) in brightest mode.
That makes the Mitsubishi HC5500 a better choice for movie viewers that want a larger screen, but aren't perfectionists when it comes to black levels.
The Sanyo may be have a sharper than typical image, but the Mitsubishi's are even better still. Sharpness, however is close enough to be a non-issue for most.
The Mitsubishi HC7000 is pretty much a better projector in just about every area, except shadow detail, and it probably only loses there, because the Sanyo is spectacular in this regard. Had Sanyo mustered up slightly better black levels, their shadow detail likely would have been closer to the Mitsubishi.
Image above: From Casino Royale, Mitsubishi HC7000 (left), Sanyo (right)
The HC6500 compared to the PLV-Z3000 is interesting. The HC6500 was long gone from my testing room, by the time the Sanyo arrived. The Mitsubishi HC6500 had very good shadow detail for one of the non - ultra high contrast projectors. All considered, the Sanyo likely bests the HC6500 in black level performance, but not by much.
None of the Mitsubishi projectors support 96 or 120 frame per second modes, unlike the Sanyo Z3000. The HC7000 has 48 fps support, but no creative frame interpolation, so the Sanyo has the advantage in this area.
The HC6500 is a brighter than average projector in best mode, with almost double the PLV-Z3000 projector's lumen output. The Sanyo has the advantage in brightest mode.
Other than being similar in intent (ultra high contrast for better black levels, and fast frame support), the Sanyo, and the HC7000 really aren't competitors due to the much higher price of the HC7000.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z700
This is easy. You get better black levels, up to 120 fps output, and creative frame interpolation from the top of the line PLV-Z3000.
Both projectors are similar in brightness.
Bottom line: Get a better overall image with the Z3000, and less motion blur, but overall, these two projectors are pretty much identical, including brightness. If you are image performance oriented, the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 will be worth the extra $500 or so.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. BenQ W5000
Here Sanyo's PLV-Z3000 3LCD projector takes on a really very good, low cost DLP projector. It was our Best in Class, Runner-Up winner, last March. At that time it was in a more expensive category. Selling for $3000+.
The Sanyo wins the placement flexibility game, with a 2:1 zoom vs. the BenQ's 1.2:1 zoom. Both projectors offer vertical lens shift, although the Sanyo has more range (and it has horizontal lens shift).
The BenQ has an exceptionally sharp image, even better than the Sanyo, and is far brighter in best mode especially if you don't keep the manual iris mostly closed (its default). Even without TI's Brilliant Color, the W5000 can put out 670 lumens in best mode.
The projectors are similar in brightness, in brightest mode, with the Sanyo having a slight edge.
The BenQ calibrates better, resulting in slightly better color accuracy and balance.
The BenQ W5000 is a solid choice, and probably the best lower cost DLP in overall performance. I favor it, despite the Sanyo having the better black levels. Oh, it has more audible noise (not surprising for a DLP projector). The Sanyo, though, has the better warranty, and quieter operation. Many enthusiasts favor the feel of a DLP image, and the BenQ offers that. Again, all those "newer features" favor the Sanyo, not just the up to 120 fps, and creative frame interpolation, but also the not that new of a feature - a dynamic iris, which gives the Sanyo the black level advantage, although not a great one.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB
The Home Cinema 6500 UB, is likely to be a cut above the Sanyo, overall. That's OK, as it will likely command at least a $600, and possibly $800 higher price, so the Epson may well cost a third more than the Sanyo projector.
The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, claims to have even better blacks than the 1080 UB it replaces, which means it should easily best the Sanyo. It is likely to be brighter in both best and brightest modes, by up to 25%.
Like the PLV-Z3000, it supports 96 and 120 frame per second, and has creative frame interpolation. Unlike the Sanyo, this Epson does not support an anamorphic lens. The more expensive, otherwise almost identical Pro Cinema 7500 UB does.
This new Epson is claiming to have a slightly sharper image than the 1080 UB, which was strictly average of the 1080p projectors. If this is true, it may well be as sharp as the Z3000.
With a new cabinet, the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB, is likely to be a little quieter than the older 1080 UB, but probably still noticeably noiser than the Sanyo (purely a guess).
Warranty differences, are Sanyo's 3 years, vs. Epson's two years, but with overnight replacement. I'd say each warranty has advantages, but are roughly equal in overall value.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6100
The Epson Home Cinema 6100 is the new base 1080p model, (replacing the Home Cinema 1080), and it lacks the higher contrast/black levels, the 96/120 fps support and creative frame interpolation. Thus, this Epson, from a technical standpoint is not the direct competitor - the 6500 UB is.
That said, this Epson, claiming merely 18,000:1 contrast (vs. the Sanyo's claimed 65,000:1), may well come close to, or even match the Sanyo's black levels.
The Epson is even less expensive, with a MAP of only $1999. Other than those "newer" features mentioned in the vs. Home Cinema 6500 UB, it should be very similar to the 6500 UB, and that includes how it compares to the Sanyo projector.
We haven't received our Home Cinema 6100 review projector yet, but still hope, and expect to have it reviewed by year end (2008). If we don't get it done by then, it will most likely be that the Home Cinema 6500 UB arrives first or at the same time, in which case the UB is the priority.
PLV-Z3000 vs. InFocus IN82
The InFocus IN82 is a phyically larger DLP projector. It really isn't a direct competitor in almost any way, as it is far brighter, lacks the better black levels of the Sanyo, and has very limited placement flexibility. The IN82 will appeal to those looking for larger screens, and a DLP feel, but who won't mind the more average black level performance. The InFocus black levels though are achieved without a dynamic iris, so are consistent. Like most 3 LCD projectors, the Sanyo's dynamic iris is at its most effective on a very dark scene with no bright areas. If you have a mostly dark scene but with significant very bright and white areas, the dynamic iris becomes mostly ineffective.
Most likely, as you put together your list of what's important, only one of these two projectors would end up on your list, as they are very different.
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Each year, it seems Sanyo and Panasonic like to slug it out. This time around, it is the Sanyo, that is the brighter of the two projectors in "brightest" mode, which is a change of pace. In best mode, the Panasonic is still slightly brighter than the PLV-Z3000, which is typical.
Both projectors offer high frame rates, and creative frame interpolation to minimize motion blur. Both have similar placement flexibility, extensive preset image modes, and lots of user savable memory modes.
The Panasonic calibrates easier, and provides more precise 6500K tracking though its grayscale range from white to dark gray. Its skin tones are really excellent, lacking the slight yellow/green push found with the Sanyo PLV-Z3000
The Panasonic also offers its anamorphic lens emulation capability, which saves big bucks for those wanting to go 2.35:1 screen for watching Cinemascope (most) movies, without letterboxes at top and bottom.
The Sanyo has its list of advantages as well. It comes with a better, longer warranty - three years, compared to Panasonic's one year (but often Panasonic offers free second year of warranty by mail-in rebate). Even with that, though, the Sanyo has the distinct advantage in warranty.
The Sanyo is physically smaller, and while not a pretty projector, so to speak, it is physically more attractive than the Panasonic which has a more industrial look.
The Sanyo also offers a just slightly sharper image.
The Sanyo needs to be unmounted to change out its lamp, while the Panasonic does not.
The Panasonic's zoom and focus are motorized (allowing for their anamorphic lens emulation), while the Sanyo is manual. That's not a big deal unless you are going "pseudo anamorphic", where the Panasonic lets you save and recall different lens zoom settings.
I definitely have to give the advantage to the Panasonic for those really into movie performance. I think the slight black level advantage of the PT-AE3000, plus it's more dynamic looking dark scenes.
On the other hand: I definitely favor the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 for watching sports, and general HDTV, etc. as it has more pop, and wow factor in brighter scenes, when compared to the Panasonic.
In other words, as expected, it isn't a clear cut choice.
One last thought, I do think the Panasonic is the slightly better overall projector between the two, but, when it comes to an individual's specific room setup and viewing preferences, the Sanyo will earn the business of a good percentage of those shopping between these two, and I think that would still be true if they were both at the same price point. With the Sanyo being about $400 less expensive at the time of this review, that will sway even more folks. When considering selling price, I'd say the two are about equal in terms of price/performance.
NEXT: Sanyo PLV-Z3000 warranty