Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector Review

The XV-Z15000 projector is one of the very best of the under $2500 home theater projectors around. Of course no one projector is “best” at everything, and rarely, best at most things.

The Sharp XV-Z15000, however, is a very well balanced performer. And, like many DLP projectors in particular, its picture quality consistently looks good. After Mike calibrated the projector, I spent a lot of time viewing it on the usual Blu-ray (and standard DVD) movies, general HDTV content, and lots of sports (mostly NBA playoffs, but also my stored football on DVR for outdoor sports).

Color was extremely good, with very good skin tones. Many of you will have noticed the ultra-high contrast ratio of 30,000:1. The XV-Z15000 delivers, with black levels approaching or equaling the best of the LCD projector competition. Of the immediate 3LCD projector competition (Epson, Sanyo, Panasonic), only the Epson has a slight edge in overall black level performance. The Mitsubishi HC7000 just might beat it, but it’s far more expensive, so not a direct competitor.

Sharp XV-Z15000 Projector Overview

The XV-Z15000 projector is one of the very best of the under $2500 home theater projectors around. Of course no one projector is “best” at everything, and rarely, best at most things.

The Sharp XV-Z15000, however, is a very well balanced performer. And, like many DLP projectors in particular, its picture quality consistently looks good. After Mike calibrated the projector, I spent a lot of time viewing it on the usual Blu-ray (and standard DVD) movies, general HDTV content, and lots of sports (mostly NBA playoffs, but also my stored football on DVR for outdoor sports).

Color was extremely good, with very good skin tones. Many of you will have noticed the ultra-high contrast ratio of 30,000:1. The XV-Z15000 delivers, with black levels approaching or equaling the best of the LCD projector competition. Of the immediate 3LCD projector competition (Epson, Sanyo, Panasonic), only the Epson has a slight edge in overall black level performance. The Mitsubishi HC7000 just might beat it, but it’s far more expensive, so not a direct competitor.

For those of you who hate “maintaining” a projector,( i.e., changing filters), this Sharp, as a DLP, offers a sealed light path, and no filters to change. A sealed light path is a good thing, but no filters – is questionable. I prefer even DLP projectors to have a filter that gets changed infrequently – say every 1000 hours (i.e., BenQ). If you’ve ever looked inside an electronic device such as a desktop PC, after a couple of years, dust covers everything. The more dust, the harder to dissipate heat. While it shouldn’t be considered a real problem, I’d still rather see all projectors have filters.

The Sharp XV-Z15000 has a dynamic iris to achieve its best black levels. While the iris’ action is more noticeable than some of the very fast irises, it does perform rather smoothly. You will be able to spot the iris operating on some transitions between scenes, and even within scenes when there are quick brightness changes. That said, I found that it wasn’t likely to be annoying, unlike a couple other dynamic iris projectors in the same price range.

This Sharp projector is designed for ceiling mounting (or placement on a table top). There is no way to place it on a rear shelf, due to lack of lens shift, and a relatively short throw zoom lens, with very little (1.15:1) manual zoom lens. With a placement range of 10.4 to 12 feet for a 100″ diagonal screen, it is likely to be mounted just in front of your seating.

All considered, the XV-Z15000 is the kind of projector that once properly installed, will be thoroughly enjoyed by its owner. Just keep in mind that if you are a highly critical enthusiast, or even more demanding – a purist, this projector probably isn’t your cup of tea. By the same token, I’d have to say it’s an excellent starter 1080p projector. I believe many that buy it as their first projector, will really love it, probably get hooked, and be in the market for a more expensive/better projector down the road. In other words, its picture quality is more than good enough to hook people, and make them want to raise their standards. Not because it is weak, but because after watching the XV-Z15000, and enjoying it, the question becomes something like: Wow, this is great – I wonder how much better the viewing experience will be if I upgrade in a couple of years to a much better home theater projector.

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