Sanyo PLV-Z60 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance

PLV-Z60 Menus

For the most part I like the Sanyo menu layout. One thing you have to watch out for, though, is that several of the main menus are multi-page. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the first page and then one more press of the down arrow, and you’ll be on the second page. That the extra page is only indicated by a small 1/2 in the lower right corner of a menu, doesn’t make it very obvious.

The first menu shown here, is the basic Image menu, which shows you the color presets. There are three for movies, with Pure Cinema being the best, then Creative, which is a good alternative if you need more lumens (and have calibrated it), and finally Brilliant. Plus four more modes when you need more horsepower. Scrolling all the way down takes you to the 2nd page, which has the user defined presets.

There are four additional menus not shown, including the Picture menu for controlling the signal, including PC analog, Screen controls aspect ratio, and similar functions, and, well, Input let’s you select from the many inputs. Finally there’s an Information menu that shows you key settings.

Bottom line: As long as you remember the multi-page structure, it’s a very nice menu system, and you can choose where you want it to show up on the screen.

PLV-Z60 User Memory Settings

The PLV-Z60 offers four User savable settings. The nice thing is you can start with any Preset mode, make changes, and save the whole thing as one of your User memories. Some other projectors can make you life miserable, when adjusting, by only having one default starting point for all user settings. I’ve encountered projectors where “best mode” is close to ideal, but to adjust it you have to start from a default group of settings that might be much worse, in which case, it’s a lot more work.

PLV-Z60 Projector Remote Control

The Sanyo PLV-Z60 remote is a small one with relatively small, packed together buttons. It is backlit, however the backlight isn’t overly bright. The size of the remote and packed in buttons might annoy those with large beefy hands, but, other than that, it’s a good remote. I found it easy to locate key buttons in the dark, without using the backlight, due to the rather good organization of buttons.

At the top right is power (press once for On, twice for Off), and across from it, is the backlight button. The next row has the Lamp control (four options) on the left, then there’s an image mute button labeled No Show, in the middle and an image Freeze button on the right

Next comes the Menu system, with Menu button on the left, four arrows in a diamond shape with an enter button labeled “OK” in the center.

A Screen button toggles between aspect ratios, while Image takes you to the first image adjust menu.

More image controls below that, including direct access to Brightness Contrast, Color, as well as Iris control and a Preset button for access to the color presets (Pure Cinema, Dynamic…) in the middle, and User, for your calibrated user saved modes, on the right.

OK that leaves only five buttons which provide acess to your sources. Component and HDMI are both toggles as there are two inputs for each. Finally there’s a button in the lower right to bring up the info screen. Now, I’ve only overlooked one button, and that is the Reset button across from the Menu. I saved it for last, because I really don’t like it sitting up there with the menu controls. Be careful.

Bottom line: A reasonably good remote control. It’s best strength is good organization, easy to remember where things are, and the decision to have direct access to most key functions. Range seems about average, which is fine for most. It’s a bit small, though, for really big folk.

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PLV-Z60 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

The Sanyo’s 2:1 manual zoom lens allows the projector to sit as close as 9.8 feet from a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, or as far back as 20 feet (measured from the front of the lens). From these numbers you can figure out the range for any screen size. For example, if your screen is 10% larger – 110″ diagonal, then add 10% to those distances. The PLV-Z60 has extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift range as well.

You can move the image up, or down as needed. If you are not using horizontal lens shift (most don’t), there’s enough range in the vertical lens shift to move the image up or down 1.5 screen heights from the center position. For that 100″ screen, that means you can mount the projector as high as about 24.5 inches above the top of your screen surface, or place the projector as low as 24.5 inches below the bottom of the screen’s surface, or anywhere in between. That’s about as much lens shift as you will find on any home theater projector. If you do need to use some horizontal lens shift, it will limit somewhat, the amount of vertical lens shift available.

The combination of wide range zoom, and lots of lens shift, make the Sanyo PLV-Z60 equally flexible, whether shelf mounting, sitting on a table top, or ceiling mounted.

PLV-Z60 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

Since the PLV-Z60 is a 3LCD design, there is no spinning color wheel, and therefore, no rainbow effect issue.

Pixel visibility is very good for a 720p 3LCD projector. As improved LCD panels keep coming out, each generation seems to have a slightly less visible pixel structure, than preceding models. While pixel structure is still more visible than with DLP projectors, it isn’t much of an issue for the PLV-Z60, unless you like to sit very close. I spent most of my time viewing the Z60 at about a 100″ diagonal size. Sitting 11 feet back, (roughly 1.4 times screen width), the pixel structure is just visible on credits and signage (such as info boxes with scores and other information, used constantly on sports). I would say that most people could even sit a little closer and still not consider pixel visibility to be a problem. Screen Door Effect is essentially getting a patterning, caused by pixel structure combining with certain types of content, to give you the appearance of looking through a screen door. At normal seating distances, I did not encounter any real screen door effect, not even on grass on a football field (an easy place to spot it).

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