Sharp XV-Z20000 Home Theater Projector Review:
1080p DLP Projector - Overview
6-28-2007 Art Feierman
We have another winner!
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!
Sharp XV-Z20000 1080p Home Theater Projector, Basic Specs:
MSRP: $11,999, MAP: $9999
Technology: Single chip DLP
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 1000 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.35:1
Lens shift: Vertical only
Lamp life: 2000 hours
Weight: 21 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year Parts and Labor, with In-Home service
Click For more complete specifications on the Sharp XV-Z20000 projector
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Sharp XV-Z20000 Projector - Physical Tour
As is usual, we'll start from the front. Facing the XV-Z20000, the lens is centered left to right. The outer ring adjusts sharpness, and you adjust zoom from the tab that sticks up from the lens barrel, behind the focus ring. The zoom range is 1.35:1, meaning that there is a 35% difference between the closest and furthest it can be placed from a given sized screen. The least range of the 1080p projectors measured are the BenQ W10000 and W9000 (with 15% range - 1.15:1). All but the BenQ's and the Optoma HD81 have at least 1.6:1 and many have 2:1 zoom ranges. As a result most buyers will end up ceiling mounting, although a significant percentage (with the right screen size to room depth) will be able to shelf mount.
With a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 13 feet 5 inches, or as far back as 18 feet 2 inches.
Also found on the front, is an infra-red sensor for the remote control, intake vent for cooling, and below the front are two drop down adjustable feet (left and right, of course).
Moving to the top of the projector (and looking at it from the rear), directly behind the lens, is a dial for adjusting the vertical lens shift. The lens shift range is half a screen height, which means the projector can be placed anywhere vertically so that its lens is no higher than the top of the screen surface, and no lower than the bottom. That's a good amount of range, although people ceiling mounting, with high ceilings would like even more, so that their projector doesn't have to hang down as far on a pole. Still "0" offset is acceptable for most room installations.
Across the back of the top is a hinged door that opens to reveal the XV-Z20000's control panel. (More in the General Performance section).
Moving to the back, that's where all the inputs connect to the projector, and the XV-Z20000 is particularly well endowed (flexible), in this regard. In fact it is dripping in inputs, only the Optoma HD81 offers a similar amount of inputs, of all those tested so far.
From the left, first is a DVI-I connector, that can accept digital or analog sources. Below it, the power cord receptacle. Moving to the right, at the top, are a pair of HDMI inputs, so, counting the DVI connector, that's 3! That allows most people to not need to do their switching through a digital switchbox or an AV receiver.
Below the HDMI connectors, are a pair of component video inputs - each having the full five connectors, not just R, G, and B. This means the XV-Z20000 can handle not just component sources from these, but alternately, it can support a wide range of analog signals, from other sources.
Of course, the XV-Z20000 has the usual S-video connector and an RCA connector for standard composite video. Further to the right, is an RS-232 for wiring up "command and control" from a computer or room control system. Next comes a 12volt screen trigger for raising or lowering a properly equipped, motorized screen, and lastly, there is a jack to hard wire your remote control (should distance be too great for the wireless remote, or there is no "line-of-site"), such as in a rear screen installation.
On the left side of the Sharp projector (looking from the rear) are another air intake and the projector's exhaust vent. There are additional intakes, including on the back of the projector. On the right side of the projector is the lamp door.
That concludes our "physical tour". The remote control will be covered in the General Performance section. Time to discuss the image quality of the Sharp XV-20000 1080p home theater projector.