Both projectors are very well endowed, with a good selection of inputs, nearly identical placement flexibility with 2:1 zoom lenses, and lots of lens shift. The Panasonic comes with a learning remote that can control the projector and up to three different devices. This is a nice touch, but better "universal remotes" can be had, from third parties, so that won't be a deal breaker.
The Panasonic also has a built in wave form monitor and "split screen" color management, features that should be adored by enthusiasts, as they let you freeze a frame, and see, side by side, how your changes to various image settings affect the image. Basically, it gives you a look at "before" and "after".
Now here's a difference you can sink you teeth into. The Panasonic, even with the new increased promotion, is still the more expensive, typically by several hundred dollars. And, even this assumes you find good value in the $400 blockbuster rental card. The other part of the current promo, for the Panasonic is the extended warranty which Panasonic otherwise sells for $250.
Now, $250 is a lot higher than a 3rd party extended warranty, but most of us realize that a manufacturer warranty is usually free of hassles, whereas 3rd party warranties... well, they should get the job done, but most of us who have ever bought them on other products, find that there can be more headaches. The manufacturer has a more vested interest in making sure the customer is happy, at the end of the day.
Of course, prices will change over time.
Considering the significant price difference, and slight performance differences, these two projectors have similar price/performance propositions. I would not say one is a better value than the other, but the Sanyo will appeal to those on a tight budget, thanks to the price difference. The longer warranty also favors the PLV-Z2000.
In most regards Sanyo has the advantage here, with a standard three year warranty. Panasonic's PT-AE2000U has only a one year warranty standard, but, as noted, Panasonic has been offering an additional year of extended warranty most of the time, bringing the Panasonic up to two years.
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Choosing between these two is a tough call. As I hinted at above, I believe the typical consumer will favor the Panasonic, and the enthusiast, seeking the most perfect image, might choose the Sanyo. That said, the enthusiast should just love the Panasonic's waveform generator and color management system, although there's nothing wrong with Sanyo's color management system either.
Therefore, I believe the brightness and pricing issues will be the largest single deciding factor for buyers. Enthusiasts wanting larger screens will choose the Panasonic, even if they otherwise may slightly favor the Sanyo. At the same time, those on a tight budget, and not demanding larger screens will likely favor the Sanyo.
All that said, despite these both being low cost 1080p projectors, there is a substantial price difference, favoring the Sanyo. That price difference, in its own right, will sway some of you to go with the Sanyo (as long as it's bright enough for you).
Bottom line - two great choices, both producing pictures that are a pleasure to watch. Both are typically netting out to around $2000 or less once you get back those rebate dollars, and promotional items. Ultimately, you have to make the call. Consider, though, whichever you choose, you should be extremely impressed, and your family and friends will most likely be "blown away."
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