Compare Projectors – Epson Home Cinema 8500UB vs Sanyo PLV-Z3000

The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB is one of our Best In Class winners. The Sanyo costs a bit less, isn’t as bright, but is another ultra-high contrast projector. The PLV-Z3000 is in its second year, and has been particularly popular with a lot of enthusiasts. This particular comparison is a rewrite, based on the 6500UB vs. PLV-Z3000 piece last year. Since there aren’t great differences between the 6500UB and 8500UB, not a whole lot has changed.

8500UB vs. PLV-Z3000 - An Overview

These two projectors have much in common. Both use 3LCD technology – 3 separate LCD “chips” or panels (call them what you wish), one each for red, green and blue, and then are recombined using a dichroic prism. With the exception of Sony (which still produces some LCDs for their own use), Epson is pretty much the only supplier of this type of LCD technology. You’ll find their panels inside all the 3LCD projectors except those from Sony. In fact both projectors are using the same LCD panels, and that has a lot to do with their relatively similar performance.

Both projector offer extensive placement flexibility, both are dramatically brighter in their brightest modes, compared to their “best” modes. Both offer one of the new “gimmicks” – creative frame interpolation, now found on only a very few projectors.

Getting the idea? These are two very direct competitors, and both have to be counted in the top three of 1080p projectors in terms of sales.

Significant differences include overall brightness, black level performance, and warranty, and of course there are a host of minor differences. Let’s break them down by category.

Physical Attributes

The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and the Sanyo PLVZ3000 both have zoom lenses with a lot of range. 2.1:1 for the Epson, and only the slightest less from the PLV-Z3000 – 2.0:1. Generally speaking, both projectors can be placed as close as about 10 feet from a 100″ 16:9 diagonal screen, and as far back as about 20 feet (Sanyo) or 21 feet (Epson). The differences are slight enough that if one works in your room, so will the other, except for, perhaps a tiny percentage of folks, maybe 1% or 2% less folks can use the Sanyo. When it comes to lens shift, the situation is similar, although reversed. The Sanyo’s lens shift has just a touch more range. For that same 100″ screen, the Sanyo, if high shelf or ceiling mounted can be as much as 24.5″ above the top of the screen surface, while the Epson is “only” good to 22.7 inches – a whopping 1.8 inch difference.

Bottom line, in terms of placement flexibility, it’s a dead tie!

Other similarities include the inherent physical design. Both have manual zoom, manual focus, and manual lens shift. (That’s unlike, for example, another direct competitor, the Panasonic PT-AE3000, which has motorized zoom and focus).

The Sanyo does have a motorized door in front of its lens (which is recessed). The door closes when the power is off, to keep dust and those pesky cobwebs away from the projector lens. The Home Cinema 6500UB, on the other hand, has a zoom lens which is not recessed, and remains exposed. The Sanyo lens door is a nice touch, and was worth mentioning, but it’s hardly a significant feature in terms of comparing the two projectors.

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