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PLV-80 Review: Summary, Pros, Cons

Posted on May 9, 2006 by Art Feierman

The PLV-80 projector definitely earns a Hot Product Award. Our awards to to products that represent a top choice for a significant number of potential buyers within a general class of projectors.

The Sanyo PLV-80 is one of very few widescreen projectors available, not specifically designed for home theater. It has an impressive 3000 lumens suitable for all but very large venues (and two could be stacked together to produce close to 6000 lumens). It will provide a bright image on screens to 100" even in pretty bright rooms. In modestly lit rooms a 25 foot screen for 300+ people audiences.

The Sanyo's image is very sharp, compression technologies support virtually every resolution you could throw at it it, including UXGA (1600x1200) and 1920x1080 (HD). Sanyo's compression technologies, in terms of preserving image quality looked to be better than average - good - which goes along with my past experiences with Sanyo projectors.

Click to enlarge. SO close

At 19 pounds, its a "fixed/portable" type projector, and has the versatility of having 4 optional lenses (from Sanyo) and many others from 3rd party lens manufacturers. This allows the projector to be placed in almost any room, from a church requiring long throw, to rear screen applications requiring the shortest of throws. Lens shift further enhances the placment flexibility of the PLV-80 projetor.

Not only are data signals very sharp, but the PLV80 does a great job on video, with plenty of brightness, good colors out of the box, and plenty of contrl to fine tune color if needed.

Click Image to Enlarge

As a result it can double as a home theater projector - or perhaps better described as a home entertainment projector. Lacking the darkest blacks of dedicated home theater projectors the projector, is not the ultimate for movies, but all tha brightness makes it ideal for a family room with a fair amount of ambient light and you still have a great system for projecting large images - 100" diagaonl or even more for sporting events, gaming or other moderate to fairly bright content. Watching Discovery HD, INHD1 and 2 and other content from hi-def channels was spectacular.

I've mentioned elsewhere that the PLV-80 should be excellent in places like sports bars, and sports books, among other applications for widescreen projectors. I should also mention the "Worship" market.

I suspect that the Sanyo PLV-80 projector will be very popular with churches. The wide screen format is definitely appealing for the typical applications used in churches, including showing hymnals, and various announcements. Also, for churches with more sophisticated "broadcast" capabilities, a widescreen projector is far more suitable for split screen sources, such as having an image of the speaker, on the left, with, say, text or other images on the right. As a result, the PLV-80 should make a great projector for church sanctuaries.

Let's look at the pluses and minuses:


  • Extremely bright for a widescreen projector
  • About the only widescreen projector with more than 2200 lumens (another Sanyo) that sells for well below $10,000
  • Interchangeable lens options
  • Sanyo lenses typically are less than similar lenses from compteting brands
  • Excellent menu control of color and settings
  • Power zoom, focus and lens shift for flexibility
  • DVI input with HDCP compatibility
  • Plenty of inputs
  • Optional networking (called PJ-Net Organizer)
  • High and low power lamp modes
  • Ideal for wide range of applications needing power and widescreen
  • Three year warranty, with Sanyo offering a 3 day turnaround, and paying the freight on warranty repairs.
  • Price performance - a more powerful widescreen projector today will cost at least an extra $3000 - $5000.


  • Moderately noisy in full power mode
  • Heavy/large for a 3000 lumen projector (at 19 lbs.) some are as light as 6 pounds - but it does offer interchangeable lenses, etc. which typically start on projectors 12 lbs. or more.
  • For a relatively large projector, the 2, two watt speakers provide unimpressive sound


  • Menu structure takes a bit to understand, but easy to use after that.
  • Manuals
  • Size for a fixed/install class projector with optional interchangeable lenses.

The bottom line, on the PLV-80, is that it is veratile to handle an number of applications. It's primary strength is that it is a widescreen projector, one of the few in a market demanding more and more widescreens. It can perform well, also in environments that also call for a more traditional 4:3 aspect ratio projector.

A last note regarding use in homes. It sure would be nice to have all those extra lumens in my viewing room, which cannot be fully darkened in the daytime. Whereas my BenQ P8720 makes for a better purist home theater projector, watching movies even with all shades down and lights off, the shades still leak enough light to make dark scenes in movies visibly washed out. Not so with Sanyo's PLV-80. It certainly offers a more satifying movie eperience than the dedictated home theater projector with th moderate ambient light in the room. The big advantage of a dedicated home theater projector - in black levels, and shadow detail all are lost completely due to the ambient light. So the Sanyo, just produces a brighter, easier, and more enjoyable image to watch.

My BenQ, will do fine with the blinds closed on sports, and other bright scenes, under the same lighting, so I'm not about to trade it in, but if I really wanted to watch movieds in the daytime, the Sanyo would sure be nice to have hanging from my ceiling.

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