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.

Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector review: Overview

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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.

With the addition of Sanyo Z4 review, there are now 3 current projector reviews posted on our website for projectors that are selling (online) between $2000 and $2500, that have earned a Hot Product Award.

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The Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector, the also brand new Panasonic PT-AE900u home theater projector, and the oldest of the projector reviews – the BenQ PE7700, the only DLP projector of the three. In addition there will shortly be a 4th contender, from Epson, with their new Cinema 550 home theater projector.

There is no perfect under $3000 projectors, but this new crop steps up the quality a notch. Last year’s hot $4000 DLP projectors are now down around $2000 – $2500. They were better than last year’s $2000-$2500 LCD projectors and commanded the higher price. Now they have fallen in price to compete with this new generation of LCD projectors, that are now competitive in picture quality. In that old $4000+ DLP price range there now are DLP projectors with the newer Darkchip3 technology that are a real step above the older DLP’s. Bottom line, you can get more for your money today at $2000-$2500, than last year, but if you still have $4000 or so to spend there’s a new crop of DarkChip3 projectors there, that are still a step up in quality.

First the basics: The Sanyo PLV-Z4 projector is rated 1000 lumens – up 200 from the older model. It now claims a dazzling 7000:1 contrast ratio, accomplished by multiple tricks of technology.

QuickTip: The current LCD technology really can’t do 7000:1 or anything close and still produce any significant brightness, so Sanyo, Panasonic, Sony, Epson and other LCD based home theater projectors rely on other technologies to enhance contrast, in order to come close to the naturally higher contrast that DLP projectors take for granted. This normally includes computer “AI” (artificial intelligence), to vary adjust the image frame by frame to improve shadow details, and highlight details. This works well in some cases, but in other areas it can be relatively ineffective.

The Sanyo PLV-Z4 employs two types of iris’s to enhance contrast. The first stops down the lens (increasing contrst) and the second one works on the lamp brightness. Together, with the type of creative contrast measuring that LCD projector manufacturers apparently love, and voila’, you have 7000:1, and also an extremely wide range of brightness.

And it looks like the new Z4 is ready to slug it out with Panasonic’s new PT-AE900u projector, and BenQ’s PE7700 for dominance of projectors in the $2000 – $2500 selling price space (online pricing).

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Picture quality is improved, contrast and shadow detail is improved, and missing are some of the imperfections that degraded the Z3′s image quality when compared to similar resolution DLP projectors.

In this section we’ll start with a tour of the physical layout of the Sanyo Z4 projector.

Looking at the Z4 projector from the front, first there is a lens cover. Pressing the power on, has the lens cover slide out of the way, exposing the the large 2:1 zoom lens.

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This zoom lens, allows tremendous placement flexibility of the projector. Zoom and focus are accomplished by turning the inner and outer ring of the lens respectively.

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