Sanyo PLV-Z4 Home Theater Projector – Who Should Buy?

The Z4 offers the single most flexible design of all the home theater projectors mentioned in this review, in terms of where you can place it in your room. Like the Panasonic, it offers a 2:1 zoom lens, with most home theater rooms or family rooms you can place the projector in any one of these locations:

  • Near the middle of the room, on a table, placed about even with the bottom of your screen or slightly lower. Yes, you can shine on a wall, but you’ll be amazed at the improvement with a proper projector screen.
  • In terms of distance, you could place it further back, all the way to the back wall of the room, unless you have a very long room, and a very small screen.
  • You can mount it on a shelf on the back wall (in most rooms) with the Z4 mounted on a shelf located vertically anywhere from about a foot and a half below the bottom of the screen to an equal amount above the top edge of your screen.
  • Or, you can ceiling mount the Z4, probably from the middle of your room to the back.

Again, it is the most flexible of any projector in this class that we have looked at. The Panasonic PT-AE900u is similar overall, but with less range on the lens shift (you can position the projector only from slightly below the bottom of the screen, to slightly above the top). Tthe Epson has even more lens shift range, both higher and lower, but sports a zoom lens with only a 1.5:1 zoom, so may not be placeable as close or as far away from your screen as you might prefer.

The DLP projectors, by comparison, are much more limited, so, in chosing them, you pretty much have to place them where they are designed to be placed. If your room can’t handle that restriction, you can’t use that DLP projector. In this price range, the DLP projectors do not offer lens shift, at all, and their zoom lenses are mostly in the 1.2:1 or 1.3:1 range. But then that’s fair, as DLP has traditionally laid claim to the advantage in image quality.

Inputs: The Sanyo PLVZ4 comes well equipped, with a single HDMI (digital) input, two component inputs, the usual S-video and composit video, a separate computer input, plus, an RS-232 for control. This is about as good as it gets. In fact that is virtually identical to the Panasonic projector. I would have preferred seeing 2 HDMI inputs, but none of the projectors in this class offer that.

So, overall, the PLV-Z4 is as well equipped in terms of inputs as any other projector near its price. No downside here compared to the competition.

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