Sharp XV-Z30000 Home Theater Projector Review

XV-Z30000 Projector - 3D Performance

The Sharp XV-Z30000 is fully 3D capable.  There is an emitter which plugs into the rear of the projector, via a very long thin cable.  I placed the emitter on top of my projector pointing to the screen. Glasses worked fine from pretty much everywhere in my roughly 22 foot deep theater, even with the signal bouncing off the screen.  Sharp’s 3D glasses I found to be rather comfortable, and they fit nicely over my glasses.  I claim a large head, and they aren’t tight.  These same glasses might be loose though on an 8 or 10 year old?

Sharp’s 3D glasses run on a lithium battery (watch style…) which they say will last 75 hours before you need a new battery.  75 hours is an awful lot of 3D viewing relative to the amount of 3D content out there vs. 2D content.   Few I would expect, would need to change the battery out in less than a year, and for many, perhaps years.

I really only spent a few hours 3D viewing using the Z30000. One movie, some segments of others and some “recorded” sports and some Guitar Center concerts off of DirecTV.

3D image quality itself was very good, as expected.  DLP’s tend to produce the cleanest 3D at this point in time, as they are essentially crosstalk free on their end.  Nor was color accuracy an issue.  I was fine watching some Tahiti 3D, and a lot of Hugo in 3D, as far as overall picture.

My issues were when trying to watch some X Games and other sports in 3D, where at about 100″ diagonal with my 1.3 gain screen, I wasn’t at all able to enjoy 3D with the amounts of ambient light I prefer on, in my room, for viewing sports with friends.  I also found movies like Alice and Tron to be a bit too dim for my taste at that size (with the room darkened).

All that makes the Sharp XV-Z30000 a lot like the vast majority of the 3D capable projectors out there over $2000 in terms of probably not being bright enough at 3D for those really into 3D.  For the much larger (based on emails I receive) groups of folks who aren’t interested in 3D, or are only casually interested (“I figure I’ll play around with some 3D, but it’s not really important”), which is to say, most folks, this Sharp projector’s 3D is just fine.  There are very few projectors that can claim any decent brightness in 3D  The Panasonic and Epson 3D capable projectors are dramatically brighter at 3D.  The BenQ W7000 is the only affordable DLP I can think of that’s significantly brighter – almost 80% compared to the Sharp even if the BenQ’s not as bright as those LCD projectors.  When it comes to brightness, most 3D projectors out there are like the Sharp, with about 1000 – 1200 lumens available, and that’s not going to get you solid bright 3D, except on screens smaller than 100″ diagonal, unless you have a real high gain screen.

Some of you (assuming properly positioning of the projector) might choose to have a 100″ or even 110″ diagonal screen for 2D, but use the motorized zoom to make a much smaller image – say 70″ diagonal for 3D.   The 2:1 zoom will allow that.  You can even use the Lens Memory feature.   A 70″ image would give you the same brightness as a projector twice as bright on a 100″ screen. Got it?

Bottom line on 3D:  The Sharp XV-Z30000 has really fine looking 3D performance, but not for a larger screen.  In that regard, figure it’s going to be similar in brightness to several other projectors in the price range; the JVC X30/RS45 and Sony VPL-HW30ES for example.  It should prove a little brighter than the Mitsubishi HC7800D, while on the other hand, the Panasonic and Epson 3D projectors are actually rather bright in 3D, and most suitable for those who really are into 3D.

Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: 2D to 3D conversion

If this Z30000 allows you to convert 2D content to watch in 3D, I haven’t found the trick yet.  I do not think it’s one of this Sharp’s tricks!

That’s perfectly OK by me.  I’m a 3D fan, but have yet to enjoy any 2D to 3D on the fly conversion by a projector. The loss of brightness in exchange for “far less than perfect” 3D doesn’t make sense to me.  The one place I think it can be fun though if you have that ability is to view your own family videos in simulated 3D.  Of course you can buy an external box to do that if it really means that much to you.

XV-Z30000 Creative Frame Interpolation - or rather: Lack thereof

That’s right, no CFI.  CFI has really become rather a standard feature on most over $2000 projectors, so not seeing it on the Z30000 really did catch me by surprise.  As mentioned elsewhere, CFI’s a nice feature which can smooth out motion a bit.  We won’t get into much detail here (look for our forthcoming Projector Reviews TV segment on CFI).  I use CFI almost exclusively for sports viewing.  Most enthusiasts would not consider using CFI on a movie, as it so dramatically can change the “director’s intent”.  That said, I find that most “kids” – teenagers, college kids, of my acquaintance, don’t seem to care one way or another.

Sharp, I’m pretty sure, sees the XV-Z30000 as a projector, first and foremost for viewing movie content, and in a proper room.  This is not your family room projector, that excels in having tons of lumens for sports and ambient lighting.  As such, having CFI is not very important to this projector’s success, or to Sharp owners appreciating the Z30000.  I agree.

To me CFI is a nice feature to have, but not a particularly important one, and for that matter, not important at all, to most.  I wouldn’t lose 10 minutes sleep over not having CFI, although it may matter a lot more to a few of you.

Let’s now take a close look at how the XV-Z30000 projector is laid out.

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