Sanyo PLV-Z2000


posted 8/11/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
I usually have to decide on whether I will mount the projectors we review on the ceiling or on a shelf during testing, but the PLV-Z2000 made my choice easy. The chassis was so large and the mounting pattern so unique, that my universal ceiling mount simply wasn’t capable of handling it. So off it went to be shelf mounted. In order to figure out where to place it, I had to first determine the throw distance for the screen size. The PLV-Z2000 sports a mammoth throw distance range of approximately 4’ to 60’ feet for a 100” screen. We used our same 92” 16:9 screen that requires a throw distance of 9-18 feet. After playing with the distance a bit, I ended up with it at approximately 11’ 5”, which was the same as a previous projector I reviewed. The shelf I used was approximately 6’ off the ground.

By the way, one of the coolest things you will ever encounter on a projector comes standard on the PLV-Z2000. It is a motorized door that covers the projector’s lens. As soon as you turn the projector on…whoosh goes the door exposing the lens. While this mechanism probably adds to the size and weight of the projector, it is a real cool addition that eliminates lens caps and fights off dust collection on the lens.

Once we had the unit powered up with a test grid I started adjusting it to fit the screen. Unlike the previous projector I tested, this one reverts back to manual controls for zoom and the vertical and horizontal lens shift. Honestly, I am beginning to really dig the manual operation of these controls. Granted, it is nice to be able to use the remote to adjust the lens and focus (especially when the projector is mounted in an out-of-the-way spot), but there seems to be more precision with the hands on approach to manual operation. One issue did arise while adjusting the Lens Shift as I noticed that the dials had a certain amount of “sloppiness” to them. It essentially took a quarter inch of rotation on either dial before the lens began to adjust in that direction. Once I quit moving the dial, it regressed a bit in the opposite direction of the rotation. I had to turn it a bit past the point of where I wanted the lens to be adjusted to in order to compensate for the play in the adjustment dials. While this didn’t really cause any issues, it should be noted.

The cooling system in the Sanyo is one of the best I have encountered. With little to no heat emitting from the unit, you would expect some serious ventilation, and all the noise that comes with it. However, the PLV-Z2000 fan is whisper quiet, to the point where you are straining to hear it even in a room devoid of sound. Toss in the audio from some games, movies or TV, and the fan is never, ever heard.

There are a few other observations I noted during the setup process. One of which is that the PLV-Z2000 has ample video inputs to choose from. There are two HDMI, two component, VGA, Serial and both S-Video and Analog connections. In addition, the menu system on the Z2000 is very easy to navigate and adjust the projector’s setup. The menu icons are big enough to see and quickly work through the process of making the appropriate adjustments on-screen.

Video Performance
To start the video testing, I popped in Ratatouille on Blu-Ray to see how the Sanyo stacked up against another projector I tested it on. I was particularly interested in the opening sequence, as the previous projector showed quite a bit of sluggishness while vertically scrolling. It turns out that this appears to be an issue within the movie itself, as the Sanyo, the other projector and my personal DLP Rear projection TV all had the exact same issue with the vertical scrolling.

One of my favorite scenes to test with is the whole sequence in Chapters 5 and 6 when about 300 rats make a break for the river from the old lady’s cottage. In particular, the scene where Remy stops to swipe the cookbook is a great test. In this scene, there are tons of rats racing across the screen independently, which shows how well the projector can handle a lot of fast moving objects and whether it will struggle or get sluggish. The Sanyo was almost flawless in these chapters, displaying a nice smooth image as well as the detail of each rat’s fur and the surrounding cabin environment. All of which was at a breakneck pace. The detail of Remy’s fur in particular was amazing, easily rivaling the Animals in Open Season, which is one of the finest looking 1080p movies on Blu-Ray I have seen to date. In Chapter 6, Remy makes his way into the storm sewer on the cookbook, and the Sanyo did a fantastic job of transitioning from light to darkness, as well as showing off the rapids and angry water that were flashing by at full speed. Once again, I saw no issues whatsoever, just a nice smooth clean image. As Remy pops out into the river, the details of the rocks and reeds along the bank also just pop out, even with the image still moving fast.

One side-effect of watching a movie on Blu-Ray is getting to check out Blu-Ray trailers for upcoming films precede the movie. I was especially impressed with the Wall-E teaser trailer, as it was a bit different than the HD version from Xbox Live Marketplace that I usually test with. The one scene that caught my attention in particular was the close up when Wall-E looks toward space. You could tell how magnificently rendered Wall-E is, with every scratch and scuff very detailed and highly visible.

I was also able to catch some HD network programming as well, and was pleased with how the Sanyo responded. I watched shows including CSI: Miami, Discovery HD Theater and some NHL in HD on both NBC and Versus and was impressed with both the quality and accuracy with which the images were shown. I never once ran into any lag, screen tear or issues that sometimes plague LCD based projectors. All-in-all, the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 provided a large and excellent image regardless of what type of video source I tested on it.
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