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

In this regard, the Sharp XV-Z20000 is about as good as it gets. No issue at all. There is the usual tiny amount leaking out the lens, but not visible at all unless the image being projected is all black.

Sharp XV-Z20000 Audible Noise Levels

OK, you’ve been thinking that overall, the Sharp has no real weaknesses. Wrong!

While the XV-Z20000 is only moderately quiet in its eco-mode, it definitely is not quiet in its Bright mode. I’d have to say it is the noisiest of the 1080p projectors in Bright mode. Those who demand a virtually silent projector, are not going to be happy with Bright mode, and those who are the most noise adverse, may not even be satisfied in eco-mode. Officially, Sharp quotes 31db in eco-mode (and no spec for Bright mode, but, assuming the 31db is correct, I’ll put Bright mode at 35db). Most of the competition is in the 26-28db range in low power mode, and some much quieter still (down to 20db). Sadly, most of the other 1080p projectors are quieter in full power mode, than the Sharp in low power. The quietest of all the 1080p projectors so far, is the Mitsubishi. I would guess that it would take four or five of them in their bright lamp mode, to make as much noise as one Sharp in eco-mode.

The Sharp projector is a large box, which normally makes it easier to keep the noise down. In general, the DLP projectors are the noiser ones, (for reasons we won’t get into here), but the BenQ’s (not quite as big) are definitely quieter, and even the very small Optoma HD81 DLP is quieter, as well.

Mind you, we aren’t talking LOUD, but on very quiet scenes hearing the fan is not going to be difficult at all. Of course the fan noise is steady so it tends to drop out of your conciousness, but there are plenty of people who want to keep the noise under 30 db, and lower, especially those ceiling mounting where the projector is almost overhead.

Sharp XV-Z20000 Projector Brightness

Projecting almost 110″ diagonal on my Firehawk was not a problem in Movie 1 (best) mode, and with the overall great black levels, kicking up the iris to medium should let the Sharp do a respectable job on a screen approaching the size of mine (128″). There seem to be dozens of possible combinations, of features that will provide different brightness measurements, but I’ll concentrate on the key ones.

Overall, the XV-Z20000 would be considered just average in brightness among the 1080p projectors tested so far.

Since I watched most of the DVD content in Movie 1 mode, I’ll start there:

With Lamp on Bright, Iris in HC (high contrast) the darkest iris setting, the Sharp measured a mere 258 lumens. Drop the lamp into low power, and the lumens drop to 204, a drop of 21%. That difference of 21% should be fairly consistant in the different modes. The Sharp manual indicates a 20% drop.

For all the other measurements, the lamp is in Bright mode, so decrease by 21% for Eco-mode.

Switching the Iris into the Medium mode, nicely increases lumens without any significant change in the excellent black levels. Lumens however now measure 367 lumens (that’s less than half of the JVC RS1 in it’s best mode).

Switching the Iris to Bright, and bingo, now the lumens pour forth. Still in Movie 1, lumen output is 873 (which is just a handful of lumens short of the brightest the JVC can do.)

Movie 2, is just slightly brighter, (but has a touch less natural), and a bit more dynamic look. Movie 2 is better if you have a little (very little) ambient light to deal with. Lumens rise (Iris in high contrast) to 298 lumens. Because Movie 2 mode has that little extra “pop” to the image, many people will prefer it, both for the “pop” and the extra lumens. Despite my comment of “a touch less natural”, keep in mind I am still talking about an excellent overall image.

Moving to the Brighter modes for non-movie watching (Iris on Bright):
Dynamic 886 lumens
Natural 879 lumens
Standard 881 lumens

I should note that those differences are less than my metering system can accurately determine. The bottom line, is that all three modes are basically identical in brightness, but each has different other characteristics.

You can easily compute the brightness for the Medium and HC Iris settings for these three presets, as it seems to be the Iris, that is the key determining factor. All Picture modes, as you can see, are within just a couple of percentage points of each other – 873 to 886 lumens.

The good news is that, thanks to excellent black levels, the Sharp seems brighter than other competing projectors with fairly similar lumens, such as the Mitsubishi, or BenQ (depending on modes).

And that brings me to TI’s Brilliant Color setting, which I mentioned earlier. Kick that in, and while the image is a somewhat less natural than without it, the Sharp looks like it just took some steroids. The overall effect is that your projector cuts through ambient light a bit better, or simply has more “pop” and wow. Many will just like this setting. Those after the most realistic, will not. If you are already dealing with more than a minimal amount of ambient light, however, by all means, turn it on. It helps!

Sharp XV-Z20000 Lamp Life and Replacement

Sharp rates the lamp life at 2000 hours, whether in Bright mode. The XV-Z20000′s lamp life rating increases to 3000 hours in Eco-mode (about 20% less bright).

Sharp XV-Z20000 Projector Screen Recommendations

Once again, when you have a projector with really great image quality performance, the projector screen decision is more about the room than the projector.

Projecting about 110″ diagonal onto my Firehawk G3 (high contrast gray) screen, the image was downright beautiful. An excellent match, although no lumens to spare. My walls are still off white (not much longer), so I would say with a dark walled (and ceiling/floor) environment, you could go with a slightly larger screen, but I don’t think I would recommend more than the 110″ with lighter walls.

In my testing room the Sharp was just brilliant when filling most of my 1.3 gain Carada Brilliant White. That screen, the classic Stewart StudioTek 130, or similar screens, would be great choices, for most rooms with no ambient light issues. Again, the Sharp is just going to look great on almost any good screen, if there are no ambient light issues, and you don’t pick a screen/gain, combination that doesn’t have the horsepower to fill properly.

Now, personally, I like a brighter image than many, but I try to keep my recommendations in line with typical users. I would say that if you are considering a larger screen – say 123 or 130 inches, than I would have to suggest a high gain screen in the 1.8 to 2.3 range. That will give you the brightness needed, but, at the same time, it will dramatically narrow your viewing cone. You’ll want to sit as close to dead center as possible, and Never, outside the left and right edges of the screen. You’ll also have some hotspotting and visible corner brightness roll-off with those high gain screens.

Another alternative, of course is one of the “ambient light capable” screens, like the Screen Innovations Visage, that I reviewed almost 2 years ago. (I’ll be reviewing the dnp SuperNova screen soon, it is similar but offers a further improved surface.) The downside to these screens (Gain 2.0, contrast 10:1+), is that they are expensive, at least compared to mainstream brands like Da-lite, Draper, or the Carada and Elite screens. Their prices for fixed wall screens are even higher than Stewart screens like the Firehawk, and are typically over $3000 for a fixed wall screen.

Bottom line, find the right screen for your room, and the gain you need to fill it, and the Sharp should be most happy.

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