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Sharp XV-Z20000 1080p Home Theater Projector Review - Image Quality

Posted on October 18, 2013 by Art Feierman

The XV-Z20000 is a superb 1080p home theater projector when it comes to image quality.

Although the XV-Z20000 needs some minor adjusting out of the box, it is a pleasure to watch. Last night concluded my watching of content in my theater room. Over the course of the review, I watched (as is typical), 10 - 30 minute clips from movies including Space Cowboys, Phantom of the Opera, House of the Flying Daggers, Sin City, Aeon Flux, The Fifth Element, and others.

Most of the images below (movie content) were photographed with the XV-Z20000 in Movie 1 mode (which I found to be a touch more natural than Movie 2 mode), but, with the Iris set to High contrast (I believe the default for Movie 1, is Medium contrast). The Brilliant Color was left in the default Off position. I found Brilliant Color often gave a less natural look to fleshtones - a trade off for "pumping up" the dynamics of the image. In addition, there seems to be a signficant, though not huge, color temperature shift with Brilliant Color on. (More on this below in the General Image Quality section.)

Sharp XV-Z20000 projector: Flesh Tone Handling:

Even before adjustment the fleshtones of the Sharp XV-Z20000 appeared very natural, although before adjustment they were just a touch "cool" (a very slight shift to blue, and away from red).

Moving to hi-def DVD, the first image is from The House of the Flying Daggers, which offers some of the most spectacular color I have ever seen in a movie, and it literally blows most people away, with the richness, detail, and natural appearance. If only the images on our site could fully capture what the viewer sees on an excellent home theater projector, be it this Sharp, the JVC RS1, the Panasonic PT-AE1000U, and so on.

Jay Leno's skin tones looked especially good. Overall I found skin tones from HDTV sources to be very good, although once in a while I could detect a very slight greenish caste, most notably on some of the music videos from M-HD (MTV's hi-def music video channel).

Sharp XV-Z20000 projector: Black Levels and Shadow Details

Finally! The XV-Z20000 is a serious competitor for the JVC RS1, which until this review was the hands down black level champion of the under $10K, 1080p projector group. The XV-Z20000 offers excellent blacks. A close comparison of several images I like to use, find that the Z20000 can't quite match the RS1, but it is so close that I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. In switching back and forth in my theater room between the two projectors (it takes around a minute, so this isn't "side-by-side", I could never detect a significant difference between the two. (There are several issues. My JVC fills my 128" screen, but the XV-Z20000, where I have to place it, only fills about a 110" diagonal. Also, the JVC is noticeably brighter when both are in best modes.)

Up until now, though I felt only the Sony Pearl came close to the RS1, and since it relies heavily on dynamic iris work, on some scenes the JVC does a easily visible, better job. With the XV-Z20000, however, dark rich blacks are consistant, regardless of the scene.

In terms of actual shadow detail, the JVC has a very slight edge.


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