Sharp XV-Z20000 Home Theater Projector Review: 1080p DLP Projector – Overview

The XV-Z20000 puts a great looking image on the screen and that’s what it’s all about. It certainly is serious competition for the JVC DLA-RS1, which took top honors in our 1080p comparison review article just a couple of months ago.

For those considering the Sharp and the JVC for their homes, look for a direct comparsion review to be published in a couple of weeks (mid-July, ’07), putting these two excellent projectors head to head, comparing features, benefits and performance.

But, getting back to the XV-Z20000: The Sharp is the most expensive of the 1080p projectors reviewed so far, yet it yields sufficient performance to be seriously worth the extra cost to a significant number of potential buyers.

With a MAP (minimum advertised price) set at $9999 by Sharp, most online dealers will be selling it for around that price or less. This should give it a street price about $2500 to $3000 more than the next most expensive 1080p projectors we have reviewed (the JVC RS1, and the BenQ W10000.)

Most significantly it produces excellent, film-like images, certainly competitive with the two LCOS projectors – the RS1 and the Sony Pearl, and in doing so, it provides exceptional black levels – a bit better than the Sony, and almost the equal to the JVC. Its black level and shadow detail performance goes beyond the rest of the projectors, including the Optoma, BenQ, and Panasonic, all of which are very film-like as well. As a result, those seeking highest quality overall image reproduction, can easily rationalize the much higher price of the XV-Z20000.

I’m jealous. I love the wide range of image controls, that he XV-Z20000 offers. That makes it the projector in the group with the highest quality image that offers adjustments that will satisfy the “tweakers”. The Sony Pearl comes close in both controls, and image quality, but ultimately can’t quite match the black level performance, as it relies on a dynamic iris that works great on some scenes, but not on others.

The Brilliant Color option, is a typical and very nice touch. Click it on, and images look more dynamic – more wow, without a great loss of overall naturalness.

I’m not going to go further into my usual “how does it compare with this, or that projector” that is usually found in the summary. Instead, I’ll recommend to you our 1080p comparison (which is missing the Sharp projector), and combine that with the upcoming JVC RS1 vs Sharp XV-Z20000 comparison, to address all of those issues.

Sharp XV-Z20000: Pros

  • Excellent overall image quality in “best” modes
  • Excellent black levels, and extremely good shadow detail
  • High contrast, without relying on a dynamic iris
  • Extremely sharp image
  • Excellent Color Management Controls – a hobbiest’s delight, offers very practical, and effective options
  • Average brightness overall, but able to tackle screens of 110″ and possibly larger in best modes, with medium Iris, thanks to great black levels
  • Very, very, good out of the box performance
  • Very good black and white film handling, with neutral grays
  • Excellent remote control
  • Aspect ratio support for anamorphic lenses
  • Good aspect ratio support, including Smart Stretch
  • Great menus
  • 2 HDMI inputs + DVI-I (for a max of 3 digital inputs)
  • Lamp replacement without unmounting projector
  • Warranty comes with 1 year of “In-Home” service
  • 12volt screen trigger
  • Really good looking projector (physically)
  • Overall ease of setup and use
  • Wow factor – everything it projects, looks great

Sharp XV-Z20000: Cons

  • Noisy – loudest projector in class, is noisier in low power (eco) mode than most projectors are in full power (bright) modes. This will deter some buyers
  • Best modes are not overly bright
  • Limited zoom range
  • Falls a bit short of it’s brightness claims
  • Limited user memory options
  • HDMI 1.2, not 1.3 (only a couple of projectors with 1.3 are currently shipping as of this writing)
  • One year parts and labor warranty is shorter than most
  • Price (most expensive in it’s class – so far)

Sharp XV-Z20000: Typical Capabilities

  • Lamp Life
  • Good manual overall, but thin on descriptions of key adjustments
  • Overall, (best, middle and brightest modes considered) about average in brightness
  • Vertical lens shift – manual, and barely average in its range

Review continues below this advertisement.

Sharp XV-Z20000 Summary:

If you’ve got the bucks to spend, the XV-Z20000 is a serious product, for serious viewers. Equally at home for watching movies, or TV/HDTV/Sports, the Sharp produces vibrant images within the limits of its average brightness. Overall picture quality could only be described as great.

In reality (as I define it), the Sharp has two signficant weaknesses – audible noise levels, and limited zoom lens range. The warranty is also short, but I like the “In-Home Service” – a real plus, and extended warranties are available.

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