Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector Review

Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector Highlights

  • 1080p 3D for under $5000
  • Great color accuracy, post calibration, despite limited color controls
  • Slightly brighter than average in brightest mode – just barely enough for 3D on smaller screens
  • 3D uses active shutter glasses (2 pair provided)
  • Limited placement flexibility – lack of lens shift, limited zoom lens
  • Average noise levels (could be quieter) that are typical of DLP projectors
  • Unlike many 3D capable projectors, works well with most screens

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  • Basically the same 2D projector performance as the Z15000 which, when reviewed, was one of the better under $2500 projectors
  • HDMI 1.4a for Blu-ray 3D compatibility
  • Supports the “optional” HDMI 3D standard that DirecTV uses for 3D channels, some other 3D projectors won’t work with DirecTV for 3D
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Specs for Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector

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MSRP: $4999, MAP (est. street price) $
Technology: DLP, Single chip
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080)
Brightness: Manufacturer claim: 1600 lumens
Measured Brightness: “best mode”: 670 lumens, “brightest” 1195 lumens (pre-production unit)
Contrast: 30,000:1
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.15:1 Manual zoom and focus
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: est.up to 2000 hours at full power, 3000 hours in eco mode
Weight: 12.8 lbs. ( 5.7 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Year Parts and Labor, with 90 day lamp warranty

View full specifications and data sheet: Sharp XV-Z17000

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Sharp XV-Z17000 Special Features

3D Projector features

The Sharp 3D, XV-Z17000 accomplishes it’s 3D mode by using alternate frames and active shutter glasses, as do virtually all single chip DLP projectors with 3D, and, for that matter, most LCoS projectors as well. (We’re all still waiting for a conventional LCD 3D projector, but there are some issues – LCoS (also liquid crystal) seems to be the better choice so far.

The primary problem with the Sharp Z17000′s 3D, is the same problem that plagues, probably all 3D solutions out there to some degree, and that, folks, is a lack of brightness. (As far as I’m concerned almost all 3D movie theaters are too dim – wachable, but too dim.)

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Like any projector relying on active matrix glasses, essentially less than 25% of the light makes it you your eyeballs. That’s right, a projector capable of putting out 1000 lumens, will look a touch dimmer doing 3D, than a 2D projector with only 250 lumens! Basically, projector manufacturers need to really up the brightness, or we home theater projector fans are going to end up very limited in screen size. But seriously, this Sharp projector is a little thin on lumens on a standard 100″ diagonal screen. It should look pretty good on something small for a projector – say, an 82″. Or, it can probably look great on the right, bright screen surface, but I’m still awaiting the arrival of several new screens.

But, keep in mind, only a small percentage of your viewing will be 3D, and I think those of us buying this year, will have to, to some degree, accept that we’re likely to be a little underpowered when watching 3D, though just fine with 2D.

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Over all, the Sharp’s 3D looks pretty good. Definitely some crosstalk (there always is) type “noise”. Let’s face it, 3D content, be it Avatar in IMAX or The Universe (in 3D) at home, the 3D image is not as smooth and transparent as 2D. Whether it’s the brain, the projector, the content, or magic, 3D is rough around the edges. But, it’s still really cool to watch!

My 3D viewing of the Sharp has been fairly extensive – relative to my limited library. I’ve viewed just a bit of the education and scientific content I have that I play from a PC with a 3D player, plus I have Monster House, Universe, and Alice in Wonderland. I’ve watched the last three, all the way through with the Sharp projector, and then some..

Animation is usually great in 3D, and Monster House looked very nicely 3D. Animation can be telling, but it almost always impresses, making it tough to really judge projectors with it. Universe (check out those astroids flying by, or the rings of Saturn), is killer content. Friends with 0 interest in such things have watched the entire episode on the Sharp. In fact the weakest experience was Alice in 3D. First, Alice isn’t exactly serving up Avatar quality 3D, it seems Alice’s 3D is more of an afterthought. Also significant is that a lot of Alice consists of dim scenes, and dim scenes on a 3D projector that could use more lumens, means really dim. Fortunately this Sharp isn’t one of the really dim ones. We were able to put more than 1100 lumens out for 3D, so likely about 250 lumens made it to our eyes. Again, that wouldn’t be bright on a 100″ screen, but should do the job. We’ll be talking about screen options elsewhere in this review.

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