Sharp XG-P560W 3-chip DLP Projector Review
Sharp XG-P560W: Setup and Image Quality
As you might expect from a dual-lamp design, the XG-P560W took some time (about one minute) to fire up and reach its full output level. It should also be noted that if you turn off one of the lamps during projection, it will take quite awhile before you are able to turn it back on again, as it needs some time to cool before being restarted. The setup of the XG-P560W is greatly simplified by its power zoom focus and lens shift being accessible from the remote. In just a few minutes, you can have the image perfectly aligned with the screen and tightly focused. These adjustments have an additional benefit in minimizing, if not eliminating, the need for keystone correction. While the XG-530W offers digital keystone correction as another remote controlled feature, you’ll get the best image quality by avoiding its use, as keystone correction always adds some degradation to the picture quality and uniformity.
Once warmed up and lined up with the screen, the XG-P560W syncs to the video source fairly quickly and displays an excellent image right out of the box. Typically, LCD projectors have an advantage over DLP projectors when it comes to having rich, well-saturated colors. With the 3-chip DLP approach of the XG-P560W, this advantage is eliminated. In fact, colors were actually more accurate than many LCD projectors, which tend to oversaturated greens, in particular. In addition this Sharp projector is capable of superior contrast and black level performance compared to LCD projectors.
The image above was taken with the room about as bright as I can get it, with the shades wide open on all the windows on the wall to the right of the screen. This smaller picture gives you an idea of the room lighting. That’s a large picture window that you can see part of. It faces south, and the sunlight is pouring into the room hitting the floor and back wall. The shades are also open letting light come in from the glass french doors.
There are a number of setup options in the on-screen menu for each of the four picture modes (Standard, Presentation, Movie and Custom). In addition to the usual setting, there are a number of color temperatures available and a full-featured color management system (C.M.S.) that allows you to dial in the colors any way you want. For the professional, the gamma curve can be adjusted in Custom mode through the use of Sharp’s Gamma Manager software, available from their website.
As convergence can be an issue with any 3-chip projector, I started by hooking up my Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player to the XG-P560W and displaying some convergence test patterns at 720P. Convergence was pretty good across 3/4 of the displayed image, but the right side quarter was off by more than a pixel. Unfortunately, there is no way to adjust convergence on the XG-P560W (possibly in the service menu?), so there was nothing that could be done.
Connecting my laptop to the XG-P560W via its standard computer RGB input, I brought up my usual text spreadsheet to see how the projector handled different resolutions. Starting with the XG-P560W’s native resolution (1280 x 800), small (8 pt.) text was sharp and very readable on a 100” diagonal projected image. This was also true of the spreadsheet’s white text-on-black and yellow text-on-dark blue backgrounds as well. Sharp states that the XG-P560W has a maximum resolution capability of 1600 X 1200 (over analog RGB) with their Intelligent ImageACE resizing feature. This proved to work quite well, displaying the spreadsheet without significant artifacts. However, with higher than native resolutions, the misconvergence of the right side stood out more with text-based sources. Viewing photographic images form the PC with the XG-P560W was quite good. The solid image sharpness and accurate colors made for lifelike displays.
The XG-P560W can accept resolutions of up to 1080p via it HDMI or DVI inputs. Going back to my Oppo Blu-ray player, I tried a few Blu-ray movies and test disks at 1080p output. The compression scheme of the XG-P560W added a noticeable softening to the picture, as well as some unwanted artifacts. Switching the output of the Oppo to 720p or viewing DVDs resulted in a much better picture that looked both sharp and natural. The relatively low contrast ratio and grayish blacks do not make the XG-P560W a good candidate for regular movie viewing, compared to dedicated home theater projectors, but if you need a bright picture with natural colors (like viewing daytime sporting events), the XG-P560W does an admirable job. Also, unlike many projectors, its built-in speakers did a decent job of providing listenable sound for those not too far from the projector.
I mention elsewhere that thanks to the excellent color and overall picture quality, that this projector is targeted to users and environments demanding the best picture quality. I mention for example large sports bars, and Las Vegas or Atlantic City sports books. Here’s another image of that football game above, but with a bit less ambient light. This is about what you would expect if using rear projection, and an image size in the 10 – 15 foot diagonal range (rear projection defeats most ambient light):
Consider that one advantage of a 3 chip DLP projector compared to a 3LCD projector is the better native contrast, and with it, better black level performance. As a result, while the “blacks” aren’t a match for a high performance home theater projector, they are comparable most single chip DLP business projectors, and noticeably better than business commercial 3LCD projectors which typically have only half to 1/4 the contrast ratio of the Sharp XG-P560W. The combination of excellent color and very good black levels are a key strength of commercial 3 chip DLP projectors and one reason why they tend to run about twice the price of their 3LCD counterparts, and why those demanding superior picture quality will pay the difference.
Common among multimedia projectors, there is a movable electronic zoom that allows the user to zoom in on a particular section of the screen. This can be very handy for pointing out details in photos or charts. You can also freeze or blank the displayed image via a button on the remote. There is also the ability to display a company logo or other picture during start-up or blanking.
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