Sanyo PLV-Z4 Projector Review: Overview

Sanyo’s PLV-Z4 projector easily outperforms it’s predecessor, the PLV-Z3. There are many technological enhancements and they combine with improved image quality, earning the Sanyo PLVZ4 projector a Hot Product Award.

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Combine this with the rear fan intakes and an exhaust on the right side (looking from the back), that throws the air out to the right and forward, this also allows the Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector to be easily shelf mounted, thus negating a big advantage the last generation Panasonic had over the older Z3, since the Z3 had a far more limited range.

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Looking at the left size (from the back), are the new lens shift controls (originally on the front on the Z1, Z2, and Z3). The horizontal and vertical lens shift offer exceptional range (especially the vertical). The wide range lets users position the projector anywhere from half a screen height below the bottom of the screen, to half a screen height above the top of the projector screen. This pretty much means that you can forget about needing digital keystone correction (that degrades the picture quality).

If you have a low table, or are ceiling mounting the projector in a room with a high ceiling you will appreciate this wide range to the projector’s lens shift. Myself, I have a 19.5 foot high ceiling, and despite a fairly high mounted large (128″ diagonal) screen, my current BenQ PE8700+ projector has to hang down more than 5 feet from the ceiling. By comparison, if I mounted this Sanyo Z4 in my room, I could mount it within 1.5 feet of the ceiling, making it less obtrusive.

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QuickTip: The Sanyo Z4′s likely #1 competitor, Panasonic’s PT-AE900u projector, also has lens shift, but with only a 63 degreee range (vs 100% on the Sanyo projector). As a result, although the Panasonic projector can also mount anywhere between top and bottom of the screen, it can only be extended slightly higher or lower than the screen; (on a 100″ screen about 8″-10″ either way). The Panasonic PTAE900u is therefore, definitely not quite as flexible as the Sanyo, in the lens shift aspects of projector placement. Of course few buyers will need that extra lens shift .

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range, but for those that do, this might tip them in favor of the Sanyo Z4 home theater projector over the Panasonic PT-AE-900u projector. By comparison, the BenQ PE7700 (a DLP home theater projector), lacks lens shift, so the correct mounting has the center of the lens even with the top of the screen (ceiling mounted), or even with the bottom of the screen (table mounting).

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New for the Z4 home theater projector is the lens shift lock, to hold the lens shift settings firmly in place. The older Z3 (and possibly the Z2, and Z1) projector had a problem with the lens shift – shifting! Imagine getting it set up perfectly, hanging from your ceiling only to have the lens shift change. I’m glad to see that Sanyo has addressed this occasional problem with the shift lock.

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OK, to the top of the Sanyo projector. A simple control panel consists of a large power switch and three warning lamps (Replace lamp, Warning, and Power) Below them are a pad with Menu, Input, four arrow keys and “OK” (Enter) in the center of the 4 arrow keys.

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That takes us, finally, to the back panel, with all the inputs. The Z4 projector, again, has improved upon its predecessor.

From the left, is the HDMI connector (digital video interface), and next to it an analog computer input (HD15 connector). Then come the standard S-video and composite video inputs, and next – a pair of component video inputs (the highest quality analog inputs).

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Lastly, is a service port (RS232) for remotely controlling the projector and its many functions.

Time to see how the Sanyo PLV-Z4 home theater projector performs in terms of that all important Image Quality.

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