Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector - Physical Tour
A year and a half ago we reviewed (and liked) the Sharp XV-Z17000's predecessor, the Z15000. Most of the information below has been lifted from the older projectors review, but, there are some additions and changes dealing with the Sharp XV-Z17000 projector's additional features. Of couse, the Sharp XV-Z17000 is a 3D projector as well as 2D, so there are extra items discussed - menu items, new buttons on the remote.
2/5/2011 - Art Feierman
Sharp XV-Z17000 Projector - Appearance
The XV-Z17000 is finished in a shiny black, with a silver lens barrel. Basically its a medium sized boxy projecto, but less tall than most.. Fortunately, black is the "color" you want for a plain looking projector. I don't think there's any chance that this Sharp projector will win any design awards. But it looks nice, and fairly clean (too many warning messages...)
The Sharp projector case design is one that they also use for business and education projectors It sports a couple of features not normally found on home theater projectors. One such is the recessed handle on the left side (looking from the back). Another feature is the auto keystone correction, and there are some fancy image rotating features as well. You aren't likely to use any of those, but, they are there.
Looking from the front, the manual 1.15:1 zoom lens is near the right side and recessed. Focus and zoom are done by rotating the appropriate rings on the lens barrel. It's a bit tight in there for those with big hands, but, hey, if you are ceiling mounting, you only have to set the zoom and focus one time. Meantime, that 1.15:1 means minimal placement flexibility. Further, the throw of the projector is short. I had to slide the table I use for viewing in the main theater, closer to the screen than I've had to with any of the other 4 home theater projectors reviewed since the move to the new room.
There's a sliding door that will close to cover the lens. The projector cannot be powered up with the door close!. I think the lens door is mostly a waste, for most people who buy the XV-Z17000, and mount it. I say that because it is manual. I just can't imaging people stretching or getting out a step ladder everytime you power up or down, though maybe if you are going away on a vacation. So, while the door when closed will keep dust and spiderwebs away, few will bother, it's just too inconvenient. Of course very few projectors have doors to begin with, so no real loss although two real competitors, the Sanyo PLV-Z4000 and their low cost Z700 do have motorized doors that close when you power down.
When the lens door is closed (again, which means power is off), the door to replace the lamp is accessable. It is in the front center, covered by the lens door when the lens is exposed. You can see all the small warning type on the door.
There is, of course, a front infra-red sensor for the remote (one in the back, too). The two drop down front feet are controlled by releases on each side of the projector just back from the front.
The XV-Z17000's control panel is located on the top, and the inputs are on the rear.
XV-Z17000 Control Panel
It's a pretty typical control panel. The usual three indicator lights: Power, Lamp, and Temperature, located toward the left (looking from the rear). Next is the power switch - once for On, twice to power down. Next comes four buttons: Auto/keystone correction (you really don't want to be using keystone correction if possible), Resize (aspect ratio), Picture mode (ie. Dynamic, Movie 1, etc.), and the Menu button. To the right is the usual menu navigation controls, up/down/left/right in a round configuration, with the Enter button in the center. To the lower left of the ring, is the Return button. The Up arrow button doubles as an Input selector, when you are not in the Menu mode.
That takes us to the back of the XV-Z17000, where the inputs are located. It's the same layout as the older Z15000. Looking from the back, left to right: An RS232 for command and control (room control system or PC, to control the projector), next are the three color coded RCA jacks for the Component video input. To their right, is the computer input (a standard HD15 computer display connector) which can alternately be used as a second component video input. Then comes the two HDMI 1.3 inputs, and finally, the obligatory S-video and composite video inputs.
Unlike a number of competitors, this Sharp does not have a 12 volt screen trigger to raise or lower a motorized screen automatically as you power up or off, the projector. Fortunately, these days, that's not critical as most motorized screens (or masked ones), are available with a standard, or optional remote control to control them. Wiring from a screen to a ceiling mounted projector is extra work many would prefer to skip, regardless.
I like the Sharp menu system. Almost everything is on the first main menu (Image). Clicking on Advanced (highlighted) option which is 2nd from the bottom when you open the Image menu adds a number of extra controls.
There's the usual image controls, such as brightness, color (saturation), Contrast, Tint, and Sharpness. In addition there are the two individual color controls for Red and Blue in the basic Image menu.
The lamp brightness control as well as both iris controls (one a manual iris with a choice of High Contrast or High Brightness, the other, is the off on, for the dynamic iris.
In the photo of the Image menu to the right, Advanced has already been clicked on, revealing the gamma control, the two CMS controls, Detail Enhancement and others, so they are all nicely on one menu.
Clickin on the Picture Mode, gives you a pull-down menu alongside the main menu, with the various picture modes (Movie 1, 2, Natural, Dynamic, etc.).
As noted elsewhere, the Sharp doesn't have a full set of color controls (R,G,B), with only Red and Blue, and further, one general control instead of the usual two (gain and bias, or whatever the different manufacturers choose to call them.)
Also shown here, is one of the CMS (color management system menus, accessable from the Advanced Image menu.
Sharp XV-Z17000 Remote Control
I'm still not happy. I can remember the last time I encountered a home theater projector without a backlit remote control - at least one that sells for more than $999. That's right, the last one, was the review of the older Z15000. Most disappointing!
On the positive side, the range is very good, no problem getting a good bounce off of my screen, with a total distance of 20+ feet (remote -> screen -> projector). The Sharp Z17000 remote is identical to the older projectors, except for sporting two additional buttons at the bottom. One brings up the 3D menu, and the other turns on 3D operation.
As to the other controls, the Sharp remote control has lots of buttons, is pretty well laid out, but buttons are a bit close together and in rows, without using a lot of different shape/sized buttons to make finding the one you like easy, in the dark.
The XV-Z17000 projector has separate controls for power on, and off, it has discreet controls for the different inputs, and a lot of buttons that let you bypass the main menus and take you right to the individual controls.
Among those, you can select the Picture mode button, there are separate buttons for controlling both irises, there's even a digital zoom feature (a business projector hold-over, no doubt).
The menu navigation consists of the four arrow keys in a round configuration, with the Enter button in the center, and the Return (some would call that an Escape button) below to the left.
The small Menu button is on the right below the arrow keys. Nearby, the lamp brightness control (Eco-Quiet), and aspect ratio, as well as an Input button.
Sharp XV-Z17000 Lens Throw
The manual lens is very limited. It is only a 1.15:1 zoom ratio, less than even the most common 1.2:1 found on most DLP projectors, and a tiny amount of adjustment compared to any 3LCD or LCoS projector competitor (all but one have at least 1.5:1 and most have 2:1).
This doesn't give you much placement flexibility. For a 100 inch, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, you can place the projector (measured from front of lens) as close as 10 feet, 4 inches but only as far back as 11 feet, 11 inches - that's just 21 inches of flexibility. By comparison, the most flexible projectors (Epson), on the other extreme, about 11 feet of placement flexibility, from closest to furthest, compared to the Sharp's roughly foot and a half.
Perhaps of greatest note, the throw itself is short. The Sharp projector will place about as close as most other projectors, but even at its furthest, it's only inches behind the closest for most projectors.
Ceiling mounted you will be mounting close. Consider that when selecting your screen type. For example, let's say, budget allowing, you want a Stewart Firehawk. There are two versions, the more popular Firehawk G3, and the Firehawk SST. The SST would be for you. For the same 100" screen that allows the Sharp to be only 11 feet and change away, the Firehawk SST is for placement of the projector less than 15 feet back. The G3 would have more roll off to the sides and corners, and would not work as well. That's an example, be careful when choosing screens. Also, remember, some screens work better for 3D, than others, so check out our projector screen recommendations.
The XV-Z15000 lacks adjustable lens shift. As with all projectors without lens shift, it has a certain amount of lens offset. (Without some lens offset, it would have to be placed straight back from the dead center of the screen (vertically).
While many DLP projectors have a lot of lens shift, and therefore may not work in low ceiling rooms or even a typical eight foot ceiling with a larger screen, that's not the case with this Sharp projector. For a 100 inch screen the center of the lens needs to be just a fraction less than 8 inches above the top of the screen surface. Many other DLP projectors require placing them 16 to 20 inches above the top. And that extra foot can become a real problem for those others, when you have average or low ceilings. Almost certainly the Sharp would be an easier mount in a basement, than most of the DLP competition. .
In other words, I think Sharp chose wisely with the moderate lens offset design.
Sharp does not support an anamorphic lens with this projector. Now, for the older 2D Z15000 that's logical. Few will spend for an anamorphic lens that costs about as much as a projector. For the new Sharp XV-Z17000 3D projector, however, with its $4995 price point, one would think an anamorphic lens might be a considered option. Certainly, one of the competitors, the new JVC RS40, which we haven't reviewed yet, sells for the same MSRP, and will support an anamorphic lens. Still, probably not more than a few percent of projector owners go 2.35:1 (or 2.37:1, or 2.40:1) and an anamorphic lens. If you must have an anamorphic lens (with or without motorized sled), you will need to look at that JVC, or perhaps some yet unannounced projector in the Sharp projector's price range.