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Projector Comparision: Sanyo PLV-Z4 vs. Panasonic AE900U Projectors - An Overview

Posted on November 15, 2005 by Art Feierman

Specs Preview

Panasonic, Sanyo PLV-Z4 Specs
Price 2995
Technology 3 Chip DLP
Native Resolution 1280x720
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 1000
Zoom Lens Ratio 2.00:1
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life
Weight 11 lbs.
Warranty 3 Years

Overview and Image Quality

Both of these excellent home theater projectors earned our Hot Product Award. Both have elevated the performance level of LCD based home theater projectors. In fact these models are comparable to the least expensive of the DLP projectors sporting the HD2+ DLP chip.

Before you go writing off DLP, however, understand that those competing DLP projectors, such as the BenQ PE7700 sold for around $4000 early 2005, but some are now priced competitively with the Panasonic PT-AE900u projector and the Sanyo Z4 projector. At a recent look, the Benq PE7700 projector seemed to be selling online typically for $2500 - $2700, and included a free lamp rebate and free ceiling mount.

1st  image in above galleryof the Panasonic PT-AE900u projector, and 2nd image in above gallery of the Sanyo, PLV-Z4.

That said, these projectors are newer than the BenQ, and are far more flexible in terms of features, general ergonomics, and setup. You'll have to decide.

Here I will focus on the differences between the Panasonic and the Sanyo projectors. Both home theater projectors produce excellent images, and some will favor one over the other, due to any number of possible reasons. Take either home, and you should be surprised. I'd guess either one will easily exceed the expectations of a first time home theater projector buyer, and even those replacing older projectors.

I'll say right now, that neither is a clear cut winner over the other, although I have determined my definite preference, it isn't necessarily for everyone.

Here are the areas of performance to be considered

PT-AE900u Projector vs Sanyo Z4 Projector: Image Quality

  • Picture Quality: Color Accuracy in "Best modes" (those designed for fully darkened - rooms - or as close as you can get)
  • These modes include names like Creative Cinema and Pure Cinema on the Sanyo Z4 projector, and Cinema 1, 2, and 3 on the Panasonic PT-AE900u.
  • Picture Quality - Black Levels - Shadow detail
  • Picture Quality: Modes for handling rooms with more ambient lighting - emphasis on handling the ambient light, allowing for compromise on color, black levels, shadow detail and highlight detail
    • These modes have names like Dynamic, Vivid, etc.
  • Picture Quality: Intermediate modes (allowing some ambient light, more designed for typical TV and sports viewing, rather than movies) blend of color accuracy, light handling, balanced contrast and brightness.
  • Image sharpness - DVD
  • Image sharpness - Hi-Def
  • Image sharpness - Low res TV
  • Image sharpness - The future
  • SDE - Screen Door Effect and pixelization (or visibility of pixels) as it relates to destruction of image quality, and how close you can sit to the screen without the screen door effect deteriorating the image, or the pixels being visible enough on brighter areas to detract from the viewing.
  • Vertical Banding - LCD home theater projectors sometimes have faint vertical bands visible in typically light grayish areas.
  • Auto Lamp Iris

Projector Ergonomics

  • Lens shift and Lens
  • Remote controls
  • Menu layout
  • Manuals
  • Interfacing
  • Styling
  • Other

Performance - Other

  • Lamp life
  • Warranty
  • Noise levels

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