Posted on March 12, 2006 Art Feierman
In November of 2005 we first reviewed Sanyo’s PLV-Z4 projector. Although Sanyo never discontinued the year older Z3 model, but rather kept it in the line, at a lower price, the Z4 represented a rather dramatic improvment in both image quality and general performance over the Z3. Just as the Sanyo Z3’s biggest direct competitor was the discontinued Panasonic PT-AE700u, so the PLV-Z4’s most direct competitor is the Panasonic PT-AE900u.
We awarded the PLV-Z4 a Hot Product Award for providing an exceptionally sharp image with good depth, at this very reasonable price point. Also contributing, are excellent ergonomics, including optical lens shift with exceptional adjustment range, and a 2:1 zoom lens for easy placement. Coming standard with a 3 year warranty also didn’t hurt!
There are other, new contenders to be considered in this March 2006 update. They include: A recently upgraded BenQ PE7700 (previously the best selling DLP projector in the under $2000 price range), the new Optoma HD72 (another just under $2000 street price DLP projector), as well as more expensive projectors from Epson – their Cinema 550, InFocus (a soon to be released InFocus IN76 DLP projector), and a couple of others, including (also significantly more expensive), HC3000 from Mitsubishi, and Sony’s HS51A (called HS60 in Europe). I may have missed a couple, but these should be the major competiton.
My goal is not to provide the lowest projector prices for you at this time, as they constantly change, but rather to help put in perspective, how this Sanyo projector – or the Z4 as many call it – is priced compared to the competition.
In answer to Panasonic’s significant (first $200), now $400 mail in rebate, Sanyo earlier this year launched a free lamp promotion (about to start it’s 3rd consecutive month). As most lamps are $400, a piece, we consider that an effective $400 reduction to selling price. The Panasonic, notwithstanding, tends to sell for $100 to $200 more than the Z4 at most places, but they also provide a “$300 Blockbuster rental card”. (My understanding is that it is good for 40 rentals. – who pays $7.50 a rental?) That has a lot of value for some and little or none, for other buyers. So the bottom line, is that depending on how you feel about Blockbuster rentals, these two projectors are priced about the same after factoring in the deals.
You could therefore say that the net price of both of these projectors is mostly around $1500 – $1700. By comparison the two hot DLP projectors, the BenQ PE7700 and the Optoma HD72, are likely to cost between $200 and $400 more (they have no rebates) than the Sanyo Z4.
Epson uses a different pricing strategy on their Cinema 550, and have not reduced the pricing since launched in December. At this time, the Epson is sufficiently more expensive to not really be a direct competitor, for the PLV-Z4, at least price wise, as most dealers seem to holding to a $2499 price. That’s a hefty additional amount.
The Sony VPL-HS51A, is also a step up in price – with most dealers commanding more than $2500 and some around $3000. None-the-less, the Sony is included here as an excellent 3 panel LCD projector, of the same resolution as the Z4.
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