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

In my own personal search for my first 1080p projector, I managed to get a close look at seven (with “variations”, nine) of the new under $10,000 1080p projectors. The Sharp XV-Z20000 and, also, the SIM2 D80 (which is sold through high end local home theater shops), were the the two obvious models I didn’t get to. Technically the Sharp XV-Z20000 is $11,999 MSRP, but since it’s MAP (minimum advertised price) is $9999, we consider it a sub-$10,000 projector.

I’ve had the XV-Z20000 here for more than two weeks (longer than usual, but I spent 4 days at the Infocomm tradeshow), and have had plenty of time to work with it, and watch it in action. The “short of it” is that the XV-Z20000 is excellent, it has especially good black levels, roughly average brightness, and rich saturated colors.

In other words the XV-Z20000 comes standard with plenty of “wow” factor.

I’ll start off this way. If you are looking for the best sub-$10,000 1080p home theater projector, the XV-Z20000 is certainly a contender. It is also about the most expensive.

From the very start, I was impressed with its sharpness. It definitely is a touch sharper than the JVC RS-1 that I purchased a few months ago. Is it a significant amount of difference? No, but it’s there none the less. I describe the JVC as about average in sharpness for a 1080p home theater projector.

I see the Sharp as the JVC’s toughest competitor. Each has several advantages, which will get discussed in this review. Most notably, though, the JVC is nearly flawless out of the box. And that’s a good thing, because, for those who love to adjust and play with their projectors, the JVC, offers relatively basic adjustment capabilities.

By comparison, the Sharp XV-Z20000 is a “tweaker’s” dream. It is just dripping in controls, allowing for fine-tuning of just about everything. This will get covered in the General Performance section.

The gorgeous image above (click on it for a larger image), is from The House of the Flying Daggers, on Blu-Ray DVD, 1080p.

Out of the box performance of the Sharp projector isn’t quite as good as the JVC and a couple of others, including the Mitsubishi HC5000, and Panasonic PT-AE1000U, in that its color temperature is a bit off (easily corrected), and in a couple of its higher quality modes, green measures a touch too strong. In fairness to the Sharp, it is close enough that most would never notice. I was truly impressed with the overall picture from the very time I fired it up in my testing room.

Placement flexibility of the XV-Z20000 is somewhat limited, due to the Sharp’s zoom lens having a relatively narrow range. Vertical lens shift is pretty good (it lacks horizontal lens shift, but that’s not an issue for most). In this regard, it is typical of DLP projectors, when compared to the LCD and LCOS projector competitors. Overall, however it is far more flexible than the Optoma HD81, and has the edge on the BenQ DLP projectors, the W9000 and W10000.

But, enough of the competition for now, more later.

OK, let’s get started!

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