SANYO PLV-Z4000 LCD Projector Reviewed

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Sanyo_PLV-Z4000_projector_review.gifA follow-up to the PLV-Z3000 released in late 2008, the PLV-Z4000 offers an almost identical list of features as its predecessor, but SANYO has purportedly made some improvements in the areas of color reproduction and energy efficiency. We have not performed a hands-on review of the PLV-Z4000, but here is an overview of its features. This 1080p 3LCD projector has a rated brightness of 1,200 ANSI lumens and a rated contrast ratio of 65,000:1. Its TopazReal HD system is an advanced color-management system that the company says is capable of 216 billion color combinations. The system includes 14-bit digital signal processing and an HD lens system that combines an automatic iris with a new high-efficiency lens. The PLV-Z4000 features a 120Hz frame rate to reduce motion blur and film judder. It uses a 165-watt UHP lamp and has a rated fan noise of 19 decibels in its dimmest lamp mode. SANYO has reduced the projector's standby power consumption to 0.3 watts.

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The PLV-Z4000 has an excellent assortment of setup features, including a 2x manual zoom, adjustable feet and manual lens-shifting dials that allow for a vertical shift up to three screen sizes and a horizontal shift up to two screen sizes. The PLV-Z4000 can project a 100-inch-diagonal image from between 9.8 and 20 feet away. This projector weighs 16.5 pounds, and the cabinet design includes a protective lens cover that automatically slides shut when you turn off the projector.

The connection panel includes dual HDMI 1.3b inputs and dual component video inputs, as well as one PC, S-video and composite video input. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals. The PLV-Z4000 lacks a 12-volt trigger but includes an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system. The supplied remote control offers backlighting and dedicated input buttons, as well as direct access to a number of desirable picture adjustments.

Speaking of picture adjustments, the setup menu offers most of the basic and advanced controls we like to see. For starters, there are seven preset image modes and seven user modes to store different calibration settings (you can individually adjust each input). The basic menu offers five color-temperature presets, plus global RGB controls to fine-tune the white balance. The four lamp modes include an eco mode and two auto modes that automatically adjust the image based on the input signal. Incremental gamma and general noise reduction settings are available. The advanced menu features three iris modes with the ability to adjust the iris range; an advanced color-management system that lets you adjust the level, phase and gamma of all six color points; and a more-advanced gamma adjustment with red, green and blue settings. As for the 120Hz options, those who like the smoothing effects of motion interpolation can enable the Smooth mode and choose between low, mid and high settings. Or, if you prefer, you can enable the 5:5 pulldown mode, which extracts the original 24 frames from 60Hz TV and DVD content and then shows each frame five times to produce less judder. (With 24p Blu-ray content, the projector outputs at 96Hz, showing each frame four times.)

The PLV-Z4000 offers five aspect ratios, including an anamorphic mode for viewing 2.35:1 content without black bars (this requires an add-on anamorphic lens system to view without distortion). You can dictate the level of overscan (from zero to +10) and make adjustments to the horizontal/vertical picture position. Finally, the PLV-Z4000 has a power-management function that will automatically turn off the lamp when no signal is present for a designated time period.

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