Sanyo PLV-Z3 – Overview

This is a home theater projector, and it is intended to be used in a near dark room. When you run the modes that maximize contrast, by relying more on the electronic iris, you start running out of brightness. Based on the machine’s overall brightness, I would recommend that the screen size not exceed 100″ diagonal unless you have near black conditions with dark walls, or go with a screen that provides gain, such as the Firehawk or a Studiotek with a gain of 1.3.

For handling the highest quality sources, the Sanyo Z3 has component video inputs and also HDMI the new digital video standard. (HDMI can be thought of as a superset of DVI which has been around for several years, and is found on most home theater projectors. The HDMI interface will handle signals from cable boxes, satellite receivers, some of the best DVD players, etc, that have DVI output.

The Z3 offers a zoom lens with very typical characteristics. The range is 1.3 to 1, or 30% adjustment. If you select a 100″ screen the projector will need to be from just under 10 feet to just over 13 feet. This should work well on a table or ceiling mounting, and if your room is not too long, but almost square, you may be able to place the projector on a shelf in the rear of the room.

One real plus of the Z3 is optical lens shift. This allows you to maintain a rectangular image even if the projector is placed somewhat above, or below the screen. Few home theater projectors under $8000 offer this feature, and some that do, such as the Z3′s competitor, the Panasonic, have a much more limited range, which doesn’t help, if you need the projector down low, below the bottom of the screen, or ceiling mounted – above the top of the screen. The Z3 has enough range to help out in these scenarios, making proper setup viable when others won’t work.

Let’s take a look at the physical attributes of the Z3.

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