Sanyo PLV-Z700 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000U
The PT-3000U will be Panasonic's only 1080p projector, and from what I've seen at CEDIA, it's going to a most impressive projector. It will, most likely, though be selling for around $3000, so not a direct competitor. It does all kinds of neat performance things that the PLV-Z700 can't, features that will be found on the Sanyo PLV-Z3000, which is the Panasonic's real direct competition. Figure the Panasonic, overall, will be the superior projector, but cost appropriately more. It has features like frame creation (as does the Z3000), and much better black levels than the PLV-Z700, or the older PT-AE2000U that is going away.
The price difference is great enough between these two, that I really shouldn't have mentioned the Panasonic, but, since it's the "only one they've got" and their older model has been the best seller for a year, it is worthy of note.
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Home Theater Projector: Summary
While I found a lot to like about the Sanyo PLV-Z700, I decided that, with several other interesting low cost 1080p projectors about to come out, that it would be pre-mature to give the PLV-Z700 our hot product award. It may turn out to be worthy of it, or it might not. I will reconsider in a couple of months when I've reviewed all the competition. For the moment, though, just consider it a good projector at a great price point. If it has the things you consider important - enough brightness, quiet, sharp, long warranty, a really good post calibration color, etc., then, go for it.
The PLV-Z700 should work well in most rooms, with screen sizes up to 110" diagonal, and it's sweet spot will be with 92" to 106" sized screens. Black level performance can be helped by using a high contrast gray surfaced screen, and I strongly recommend that screen surface type.
Certainly, it is a great, more expensive alternative to 720p projectors without completely breaking the budget for most.
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector: Bottom Line
The PLV-Z700 provides solid performance, lots of features and benefits, and average overall brightness, making it a well balanced projector, one that physically should work well in almost any room. As an entry level projector, and less money than their higher end, soon to be released PLV-Z3000, one cannot expect that same higher level of performance.
It really comes down to bang for the bucks, and in that regard it looks to be at least a good value, the only possible qualification relate to closeouts of Sanyo's own Z2000 and Epson's Home Cinema 1080 UB, but both of those deals should be gone before year end (2008).
Perspective: Most people will truly enjoy owning a PLV-Z700. As regular readers of our reviews know, I have an Epson Ensemble HD 1080 in my second theater. The Epson projector in that system is the Home Cinema 1080, and as noted above, these are definitely comparable in image quality. Everyone who sees that system in my house, loves it. My bigger system may be much better, but "regular folks" will, simply stated, just love the picture, and viewing experience. You need to decide who you are - a fanatic, or someone who just wants to enjoy watching movies, HDTV, sports at home, and not get into the critical mode that most hobbiest/enthusiasts find themselves into. Enjoy this Sanyo PLV-Z7900, it's worth the price!