Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector Review

Time for a summary of the Sharp XV-Z17000 projector’s pros and cons and capabilities. Of course while we refer to the Z17000 as a 3D projector, most everyone buying it will be primarily watching in 2D. After all, while lots of 3D content is coming, it only makes up a tiny percentage of the 2D content universe.

Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector - The Bottom Line

Click to enlarge. SO close

This Sharp XV-Z17000 is our first “mid-priced” 3D home theater projector that we’ve had a chance to review. Up until now, we’ve looked at generally low cost 720p projectors that are 3D capable, and we plan to review the first of the boxes that will give most of those projectors compatibility with Blu-ray 3D discs. We also tackled the $15K LG CF3D, and we have the $12K JVC RS60 here as well.

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Since the Z17000 projector is our first 3D projector in its price range, it really is hard to determine how it will stack up to the competition, such as the similarly priced JVC RS40, the forthcoming Mitsubishi HC9000D, and so on.

Well, despite the difficulty in such decisions, it has been decided that the Sharp XV-Z17000 projector deserves our Hot Product Award.

First of all, we already know it’s a very nice 2D projector, with excellent skin tones and over all, a most impressive picture quality including some really good black level performance. (Of cousre, it’s true that the older Z15000 only sells for about $2000, but, then again, the premium for 3D is pretty high for 1080p these days). This Sharp projector actually delivers a very watchable 3D solution, and does so with adequate brightness. That’s no small feat considering less than 1/4 of the 2D brightness remains for 3D viewing, when using active shutter glasses.

The 3D picture quality really is over all good, within the understanding that 3D in the home, and in theaters is still a bit rough around the edges. As noted previously, the brightness in 3D is adequate, which is about as good as it gets right now, without spending the big bucks. Finally it seems to be very compatible with a variety of 3D sources and content.

While I complain about limited brightness, with this and other 3D projectors, choosing the screen wisely, owners should be able to enjoy reasonable brightness for movie viewing, assuming you don’t go with too large of a projector screen.

Really good 3D compatibility for a 3D projector is also extremely important. One lesson learned just last week, is that not all 3D content plays on every projector. Seems now – February ’11, the JVC 3D projectors – all of them, are incapable of playing the 3D content delivered by DirecTV. That would be a big “oops”. That’s right – you would have missed the Winter X Games, the BCS game, soccer, and all kinds of concerts and other high quality visual programming.

As more content rolls out in 3D, such a content from Travel HD, Smithsonian HD, ScyFy HD, and of course, History HD and Discovery HD, then be aware that unless JVC expands it’s list of compatible formats it supports, or DirecTV decides to add a format that JVC already supports, JVC owners may end up without anything HDTV to watch – at least with DirecTV. (I don’t expect this to be a long term issue.)

The more important point, is, that this Sharp XV-Z17000 works with DirecTV. DirecTV has three 3D channels so far, and I’ve recorded, and played back/watched content from all three, rather successfully with the Sharp projector, not to mention enjoying the content! I wish there was some way to convey how that 3D looked, but I’m sure that will occur in the near future. Perhaps all our future iPads, and phones, game players, laptops and pc’s and who-know-whats will have auto-stereoscopic 3D – no glasses. But that time isn’t yet.

Meantime, getting back to this summary of the Sharp XV-Z17000 projector,

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