Sanyo PLV-Z4000 - Physical Tour
9/2/2010 - Art Feierman
This page providing a tour of the PLV-Z4000 projector hardware is stolen from our review of the older Sanyo projector. (I've done a basic search and replace - changing everything from Z3000 to Z4000.) I've updated a couple of comments but, physically, the two home projectors are essentially identical.
Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Physical Appearance
The PLV-Z4000 is a smaller, box shaped projector. While it isn't pretty, it has rounded edges and a clean look to it. The 2:1 zoom lens hides behind a motorized door when the projector is powered down, or if you use the lens shutter to mute the video.
Looking from the front, the PLV-Z4000's manual zoom lens, has two trim rings, one for focus and the other for zoom. The front has an infra-red sensor for the remote control. Below are two screw thread adjustable front feet.
On the top of the Sanyo PLV-Z4000, you will find a traditional control panel.
On the right of the projector, when viewing from the front, is a recessed area with two lens shift dials, one for vertical, the other horizontal. Also there is a lens shift lock, to make sure your settings stay firmly in place.
On the back of the PLV-Z4000, is the input panel.
The projector vents hot air out the vents in the front, and takes in air from the vents in the rear. There are two removeable filters on the back, as well.
Shown on the right is the side of the projector opposite the lens shift controls. You can see the fan in there, and when the room is dark, a little light leaks out the side, but it's rather minor.
The nine button array is on the top of the PLV-Z4000, labeled to read, looking from the rear. The buttons are organized into three rows of three. The front most row has the power button on the right, (press once for on, twice to shut down). In the center, is the menu's Up arrow. and on the left is the Menu button. The middle row has from left to right - left arrow, OK (enter), and right arrow. The bottom row has Input (source select), down arrow, and the Info button that displays status. Above the top row, are three indicator lights for (from the left) Lamp Replace, Warning, and Power.
The input panel is located on the back, and just slightly recessed. The PLV-Z4000 has a very typical combination of inputs. It is sporting two HDMI inputs (both 1.3, with Deep Color support), plus an analog computer input (standard HD15), and the usual S-Video (DIN connector) and composite video (RCA jack). In addition there are two component video inputs (each with the usual color coded R,G,B RCA type connectors). There is also, the usual RS-232 service port, which can support controlling the PLV-Z4000 from a computer or room control system. Lastly, you'll find a power cord receptacle (Sanyo uses the "mickey mouse" three round connector), the master power switch, and a Kensington Lock slot.
Like perhaps half of home theater projectors, the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 does not have a 12 volt screen trigger to operate a properly equipped motorized screen. It's always nice to have such a feature, though few need it, and there are alternative ways to control a motorized screen (including simple remotes), so it shouldn't be a significant concern.
Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Menus
Sanyo offers a very good menu system on the PLV-Z4000.
One has to get used to the fact that many of the main menus having multiple pages to scroll through, but once you are used to that, no problem.
The first main menu is the Image menu. It consists of two pages, the first showing all the image presets (Pure Color, Dynamic, etc.). Scroll down to the second page, and there you'll be able to choose between the seven user savable image modes. Both pages are shown immediately to the right.
Note the indication of pages and what page you are on, in the lower right corner of the menu.
By the way, Sanyo, like most projectors, lets you position the menus in different locations around the screen, to best satisfy where you would prefer to see them. Myself, I like the lower right corner.
The Image Adjust menu has all the usual image and color control items, starting with the usual Brightness, Contrast, Color (saturation), and individual Red, Green, and Blue color adjustments.
The Image Adjust menu also has a second page, as shown below. Page 2 has controls for Lamp modes, Gamma, the ability to store User settings. A Reset is also found on this menu. From page 2, you can also access the Advanced Menu.
The Advanced Menu offers settings for the Dynamic Iris, and a whole host of other special features, including Auto Black Stretch, Contrast Enhancement, Smooth Motion (high frame rate), a Dynamic Gamma control, and the control to customize gamma.
When one selects an item to adjust, such as Contrast, or Lamp Control, a small horizontal bar appears at the very bottom of the screen. This way, it's rather unobtrusive, if you are playing with adjustments, and want to see their effect on the image.
Immediately below is one such individual control:
The other major menus include the Screen menu, which includes aspect ratios among other controls, the Input menu, which, of course lets you choose between your various sources.
There is also a Settings menu, which as 3 pages of items, the first page of which is shown to the right. Note the Advanced menu option. If that is turned off, the Advanced menu is not accessable from the Image Adjust menu page 2.
The Settings menu primarily deals with physical aspects of the projector, (ceiling vs. table), menu location, options for the HDMI inputs, high altitude fan mode, and a lot more.
All considered, I really do find the Sanyo PLV-Z4000's menu system to be one of the best ones around. Type size is small but reasonable, easily read from normal seating distances. The overall menu is relatively small, so it doesn't block too much of the image when viewing it, and it defaults to partially translucent mode.
A very good implementation by Sanyo, and a huge improvement from their menu systems of just a few years ago (which drove me crazy).
Sanyo PLV-Z4000 Remote Control
I really like this Sanyo remote control, with its bright red backlit buttons. The top half of the remote has different sized round buttons, as well as the usual four arrow key configuration for menu navigation in a round configuration with a center OK (enter) button. On the top right is the power button (once for on, twice for off), and the backlight button is on the top left. The light stays on for about 10 seconds after you hit the button, which is a very reasonable amount of time (I hate remotes where the light's out by 3-5 seconds).
Next is the Menu button (left) Reset (center), and Back (for navigating) on the right.
I really don't like seeing a Reset button on a remote control, there's always the chance to wipe out important saved settings, even if there is a confirm yes/no. Better to leave such things to the menus.
The last two round buttons are the Screen button (Aspect ratio) on the left, and Info button on the right.
In the lower half of the remote are a whole lot of rectangular buttons. Down the left side are seven, one for each of the different inputs (HDMI1, compoenent video, 1, etc.) To the right of the first of those inputs are two buttons, one for selecting between the preset modes (Pure Cinema, Dynamic...), and the other for any of your user defined saved modes.
Next down the center and the right, are a number of buttons for direct access to image controls, including Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature, Color (saturation) sharpness, etc.
Finally, further down, are buttons for freezing the frame, displaying a user inserted "logo", the video mute (the lens door closes), and Lamp control.
All considered, an excellent remote. It has a logical layout, good spacing, bright light, and good range. Hard to find anything to complain about (ok, except the Reset button).
PLV-Z4000 Lens Throw
The PLV-Z4000 can be placed as close as 9.8 feet, or as far back as 20.0 feet from a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen (as measured from the front of the lens). This provides about as much placement range as is found in any home theater projector. If you plan on a different sized screen, you can use these numbers to calculate the appropriate distances. A 90" screen, for example, would have distances 90% of those listed above for a 100" screen, and so on.
This is about as much placement range as any home theater projector offers, and allows plenty of flexibility regardless if you are ceiling mounting, rear shelf mounting, or placing it on a table.
PLV-Z4000 Lens Shift
Lens shift allows you to place this Sanyo projector below the bottom of the screen surface, above the top, or anywhere in between. For a 100 inch diagonal screen, the projector - as measured from the center of the lens, can actually be up to 24.5 inches above the screen surface, or down to an equal amount, below the bottom. This assumes you are not using horizontal lens shift (most don't). If you do need some horizontal lens shift, it will reduce the range of the vertical lens shift.
The combination of wide range zoom, and lots of lens shift, make the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 equally flexible, regardless of the type of placement you choose.
The PLV-Z4000 will support anamorphic lens and motorized sled. It has the necessary aspect ratio for using an anamorphic lens. It does not have any special anamorphic features such as those found in the Panasonic PT-AE4000U (emulates an anamorphic lens - with minor limitations), or the Mitsubishi HC7000 which can work with an anamorphic lens, without needing a motorized sled. As this is not an overly expensive 1080p projector, I don't expect many owners to even consider an anamorphic lens and sled. After all, a lens and sled will normally cost more than the Sanyo!