Sanyo PLV-80 Widescreen Projector – Overview

The first picture (right) is the opposite side of the room to indicate lighting. In a couple of the images you can see the front two recessed lights are on, but the walls look almost completely dark. That’s because the exposure was set to best capture the projected image.

The next two images are Hi-Def from D-VHS tape at 1080i resolution. The first one of the Philadelphia boathouses is with lights in the testing room off, the second, the same fram with full lights on.

As you can see, even the image with lights on still looks very good (and the room is bright enough that you can comfortably and effortlessly read a paperback novel with really fine print).

Next is an image with room lights on, where you can see the walls/ceiling around the screen. The lights are full on, but the exposure as mentioned above, makes the room look dark. Look how good this image from the Grand Canyon looks.

I think by now I have made my point that the Sanyo PLV-80 can handle a decent amount of ambient light and still be a great solution for bright images associated with watching sports, typical TV, or for that matter gaming like X-box, PS2, etc.

Lets take a break from that now, and look at some of the image quality shots. Please note, I only had access to the Sanyo PLV-80 projector, for 3 days, and since I do not consider this a perfect movie watching device, I did not prioritize, or get around to calibrating the PLV80. So these images from DVD movies are all shot in Cinema mode, but all other controls are at default settings (brightness, contrast, RGB colors, gamma, etc.).

Flesh tones are very good for “out of the box” no adjustments, and should easily be further improved. You can tell from the last image – of Gandalf – that there seems to be a slightly greenish blue cast to the image (easily correctable).

Black Levels and Shadow Detail

Where the Sanyo comes up short is in black levels. Blacks come out a dark gray that is very noticeably lighter grey, than you find with the home theater specific projectors. As a result, you will notice the difference. In star scenes. Instead of black, or something very close to it, you have a visibly brighter background.

Despite the more limited ability to do blacks, the Sanyo still shines on most scenes. Consider the Chrysler building above. Any suble loss of detail in shadow areas that are hard to see, seems rather minor compared to the exceptionally bright and saturated overall image.

Because of the much higher threshold of black, more near blacks are lost in the background than are with better suited pure home theater projectors, but only in a fully darkened room. If you have even a small amount of abient light reaching the screen, a projector with much higher contrast and blacker blacks, will lose most of its advantage.

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