Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector Review
A detailed review of the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 1080p home theater projector.
This review has just been posted. Significant changes and additions have already been added to this Sanyo Z3000 projector review, regarding brightness, color modes, and color accuracy.
12/7/2008 - Art Feierman
Sanyo PLV-Z3000 Projector Overview
Very interesting! The PLV-Z3000 projector, since it is overall similar to other Sanyo home theater projectors, going back several years, in terms of general look and operation, carries through on much of what we have written about before. I had a number of expectations going into this review. While many of those expectations were fulfilled, there were also some surprises.
Let's start with a quick overview. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 is a 3 LCD based home theater projector. It is Sanyo's top of the line 1080p projector, the other, is the already reviewed, lower cost PLV-Z700. As their top of the line projector, the PLV-Z3000 has the latest Epson inorganic LCD panels for better contrast and black level performance. Like other current and previous Sanyo projectors, the PLV-Z3000 has excellent placement range, featuring a manual zoom lens with a 2:1 throw ratio, and plenty of vertical and horizontal lens shift.
Traditionally, Sanyo projectors tend to be lower than average in brightness, which in general, translates to working best with screens smaller than 110 inch diagonal. There was a surprise here. The Sanyo Z3000 was about as bright as expected in "best" mode, but was brighter, and did a much better job than anticipated, in its "brightest" mode.
A significant thing about the Sanyo Z3000 is that it is the least expensive of all the ultra high contrast" home theater projectors. There are several other 1080p projectors that sell for less, but they are all the entry level models - from Sanyo, Epson, Mitsubishi, Optoma, BenQ, and so on.
In terms of pricing, the Z3000 has a MAP (minimum advertised price), of $2399, which is $100 less than the closest competition, which is the Panasonic PT-AE3000 projector. However, at least for the immediate timeframe (and rebates are quite often renewed, month after month), there is also a $200 mail in rebate, bringing MAP based street pricing to $2199. That puts it $300 below the Panasonic projector.
That makes the Panasonic almost 15% more.
The Sanyo's key special features, which will be discussed below, include creative frame interpolation with support up to 120hz (120 frames per second).
PLV-Z3000 Projector Highlights
- Lowest cost of the "very high contrast" 1080p projectors
- Sharp image
- Creative frame interpolation for reducing motion blur, with 120 frames per second maximum frame rate
- Good, post calibration color accuracy in best modes, but with a slight shift toward yellow/green
- Excellent placement flexibility
- Below average brightness in best mode for movie watching
- Reasonably bright in brightest mode, with better than most color accuracy
- Excellent placement flexibility
- Longer than average warranty
- Full support for HDMI 1.3b with 24 fps, Deep Color, and CEC (control)
- Decent "out of the box" color accuracy - at least average, but needs work
- Although not particularly easy to calibrate, the end result is very good
Specs for Sanyo PLV-Z3000
MSRP: $2499. MAP: $2399 (there is an additional $200 mail in rebate, at the time of this review (basically when the Z3000 first shipped)
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Zoom Lens ratio: 2:1
Lens shift: Vertical and Horizontal
Lamp life: Sanyo does not publish lamp life, industry average is 2000 hours at full power, 3000 hours in low (eco-mode).
Weight: 16.5 lbs. (7.4 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Year Parts and Labor
Just about every home theater projector has a special feature or two. The PLV-Z3000 projector has the most recent, full HDMI support, although that is found on most new projectors. The most noteworthy special feature is creative frame creation, and 120 frame per second display capability.
PLV-Z3000 Creative Frame Interpolation
The newest "in" feature is Creative frame interpolation. So far only a handful of projectors have it. In addition to the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, the Panasonic PT-AE3000, and the two Epson projectors - the Home Cinema 6500 UB and Pro Cinema 7500 UB offer this ability (at least among the under $10,000 projectors).
Creative frame interpolation starts (for movies) with the original 24 frame per second speed that the film was shot at, and increases the number of frames to 96 (4x) or 120 (5x) fps. When working with 1080p 30 or 60 fps content (1080p, 1080i), it typically increases the frame rate to 120 fps.
The idea is to eliminate forms of motion blur caused by the original content being created at too slow a speed (24fps or 30fps). Simply repeating frames (like the Mitsubishi HC7000 (24 to 48fps), doesn't really accomplish much. What Sanyo and the other three do, however, is go a step further. The Sanyo looks at the original frame one, and then frame two. Image processing identifies "objects that are moving, and creates 3 new frames - we'll call them 1a, 1b, and 1c, to be inserted in between frame one and two. In each of the new frames the moving objects are recreated in positions between frame one and two.
Consider a plane flying from the left side of the screen to the right. Let's assume in frame 1, it's at the left border, and in frame two, it's at the 1/4 point by frame two. The Sanyo's creation of frame 1a, will have that plane placed 1/3 of the way between frame 1 and 2, the next frame, half way in between, and frame 1c, 2/3 of the way, then finally frame two appears.
Now there's more data, with computed data points, emulating what the movie might have looked like if shot at 96 frames per second to begin with.
It's a feature which I find to have little effect in movie viewing, unless you are sitting there looking for it. I actually find it to be of greater use for fast moving sports. This is due to the idea, that with film, the director knows the limitation of 24 fps, and adapts - in terms of the speed of pans, and how the camera tracks moving objects. With sports, its simply, the more speed, the better.
Full HDMI 1.3b support
The Sanyo is "up to date" with support for Deep Color (coming) with its larger color palette, x.v. color with its wider color gamut, and CEC (Consumer Electronics Control (protocol).
Dynamic Image controls
Like many projectors, there are a number of image enhancement features. While it can be argued that many such features may add something to the image, ultimately, these controls are modifying the original image, and therefore, the final result may no longer be what the director intended.
Most of today's projectors have a number of such controls. In the case of the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, that includes Dynamic Gamma, a dynamic iris, lamp dimming, and several others. It's impossible for a reviewer to observe all the combinations, as they all interact.
We discuss some of the effects of many of these features in the Performance section, under Brightness. You will see that lamp dimming, dynamic vs. fixed iris, and iris manual settings all have significant impact on brightness (as well as the final image).