Sharp XV-Z2000 DLP Projector Reviewed

Published On: February 15, 2005
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Sharp XV-Z2000 DLP Projector Reviewed

Finding a 720p projector at this price these days is really impressive. Sharp is known for making some excellent projectors at a variety of price points, so we were really excited to get in the XV-Z2000 in for review

Sharp XV-Z2000 DLP Projector Reviewed

By Author: Home Theater Review
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Early adopters are a funny bunch. When a new and exciting technology comes along, we just gotta have it. (Notice I said "we".) Sometimes, as was the case with LaserDisc, that technology may be something unique and revolutionary, but it never quite catches on with the masses. For some early adopters and fans of upscale niche products, that's just fine. After all, if everyone knew about it, wouldn't it be a little less special? Perhaps. In some ways, it's not unlike having a favorite small band and worrying that if they get discovered by too many people, the band will change and you'll have to stop listening to those sellouts. Where LaserDisc failed, DVD succeeded, and nowadays everybody and their mother-in-law owns a DVD player. Although early adopters and hardcore video enthusiasts may get nauseous when they see $19.99 DVD players, at least they still have the high-end, high-priced, high-resolution digital projector niche to call home. Or do they?

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For some time now, DLP projectors featuring Texas Instruments' HD2 and HD2+ chipsets have been unattainable for much less than $10,000. These units, able to display 720p HD signals natively and featuring reduced pixelation and gold-plated connections, have traditionally only found homes in big-budget theaters. With Sharp's HD2+ powered XV-Z2000, priced at only $4,499, all of that is about to change.

Unique Features
The presence of TI's HD2+ chipset is certainly unique at this price point. The HD2+ features a 0.8-inch DMD panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This means that for 720p HD material, such as ABC's Lost or FOX's 24, the XV-Z2000 can display the signal natively without the need for scaling (expanding or compressing the signal to fit its panel). This is great news for fans of ABC and FOX -- two networks who favor the 720p HD format -- but just remember that other HD outlets, such as NBC, CBS and UPN, broadcast at 1080i, so some scaling would be required when watching HDTV from those providers. Don't get too worked up over this issue though, because picture resolution is like aspect ratios: there are numerous varieties out there and there will always be tradeoffs if you like to watch a variety of sources and different sorts of programming.

The XV-Z2000 has a rated light output of 1200 ANSI lumens when using the projector's "High Brightness" mode. This unit features what Sharp calls a "Powered Optical Iris System". This boils down to a simple toggle between "High Brightness" mode and "High Contrast" mode. If you're using the projector in a dedicated theater where you have good light control, I would recommend "High Contrast" mode, as this provides for greater shadow detail and blacker blacks. In addition to being a line item in the menu system, you can also toggle the Iris setting with the touch of a button on the supplied remote.

A welcome connection option on the XV-Z2000 is its DVI-I port. Although HDMI has become the more common digital interface, DVI makes perfect sense on a front projector where audio does not come into play. What's nice about the DVI port on the XV-Z2000 is that it's DVI-I (integrated) as opposed to DVI-D. DVI-D means digital only, which is fine for connecting a DVD player or HD set-top box. However, a DVI-I connection allows for analog or digital traffic. This means that with the appropriate cables and/or adapters, you could conceivably use the DVI port on the XV-Z2000 to connect a PC's analog output or a DVD player's component video output. The latter would be a rarity, since the XV-Z2000 already provides two sets of component video inputs, but it's still nice to have the flexibility.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
I said it when I reviewed Sharp's XV-Z10000, their DT-200, their XV-Z12000 and I'm going to say it again. Sharp has got to stop packing these fragile, expensive units in flimsy cardboard enclosures. Once unpacked, it is absolutely impossible to re-pack the unit safely amidst the mess of multi-flap cardboard dividers. If Sharp's reasoning for this is purely environmental, I'd rather see them skip the printed owner's manual and put it on a CD-ROM. If you ever need to ship one of these units, be sure to opt for the insurance.

Once I finished fuming over the cardboard packing, I was amazed to discover this svelte little machine has some heft -- almost ten pounds in fact. Considering its relatively diminutive form factor, it weighs two or three pounds more than similarly-sized competitors. This won't affect ceiling-mount installations, but be sure you anchor to something sturdy.

Read more on Page 2

For review purposes, I used the XV-Z2000 in a tabletop
configuration. Getting a projector to line up properly with your screen
can often be tricky and that's where a horizontal and/or vertical lens
shift can come in very handy. Sadly, the XV-Z2000 does not have lens
shift capabilities, and this is the most glaring omission from the
unit's feature set. However, considering the price and its superior
HD2+ chipset, I really can't complain; heads up though, in case lens
shift is on your Must Have List. The XV-Z2000 has an adjustable front
foot for height adjustments, but it's rather finicky. I would prefer
the more precise control provided by screw-in feet, but those are
present only on the back half of the unit.

The supplied remote control is a good size and fits nicely in the
hand. Unfortunately, the remote is not backlit, but the buttons are
"luminous" so they'll glow in the dark, for a while at least. The menu
system on the XV-Z2000 is similar to that of previous Sharp projectors
and that's a very good thing. Menu screens are well organized and most
settings are intuitively grouped. Once I allowed the projector's bulb
to rack up a few hours, it was time for a little picture calibration.

Final Take
My good friend and ISF-certified calibrator Gregg Loewen (
dropped by to help me optimize the XV-Z2000. After setting up his
equipment and diving into the menus, the first thing Gregg noticed was
that the "Red" and "Blue" controls seem to have very little effect on
grayscale. To some extent, you can take red and blue away from the
default image, but you really can't add them. I called Sharp's
technical support, thinking that this unit might have a hidden Service
Menu for more advanced grayscale/white balance setup, but I was told
they had no such information on the XV-Z2000.

This inability to properly set grayscale was definitely a red flag.
After a few days, I was able to get in touch with Sharp directly. After
speaking with the product manager, I learned that the unit has a hidden
service menu for Sharp technicians and qualified professionals. This
service menu (which I examined but did not tinker with) has more
advanced settings for adjusting white balance/grayscale. Whew. Although
I didn't tweak the image more, I'm willing to bet the image improved
even further that what Gregg did initially. Aside from the grayscale
issue, tint was a bit purple out of the box, but this was easy to
correct. Color saturation was good and the resulting flesh tones on
Video Essentials looked very respectable

Sampling a few of my favorite discs, the XV-Z2000 performed
extremely well. The Fifth Element and The Mask of Zorro Superbit
editions really unleashed the Sharp's sense of color. The DLP picture
was vibrant and skin tones were consistent with what we saw during
calibration. Thanks to its HD2+ chipset, black levels were excellent on
the XV-Z2000 and among the darkest I've seen. The many shadowy
interiors of Collateral showed remarkable detail and depth. I didn't
detect any DLP "rainbows" during my evaluation period.

Sharp's XV-Z2000 has many of the same winning qualities belonging to
its far more expensive sibling, the XV-Z12000. Colors are vibrant and
blacks are convincingly deep. Fan noise using "Eco Mode" was average --
quieter than InFocus' ScreenPlay series, but louder than Panasonic's
LCD units. Considering the price, I don't consider the lack of a lens
shift a negative. All things considered, the XV-Z2000 represents a
tremendous value for the money. At press time, Toshiba and BenQ
recently announced similar HD2+ models with aggressive pricing, but
Sharp is leading the charge to bring high-end picture quality into
modest budget theaters. Bravo.

Sharp XV-Z2000 Projector
0.8" HD2+ DLP
Resolution: 1280 x 720
Brightness: 1200 ANSI lumens
Lamp life: up to 3,000 hours
DVI-I input (HDCP)
(2) component video inputs
(1) S-Video and (1) composite input
RS-232C interface
12 7/32"W x 3 33/64"H x 11 7/64"D
Weight: 9.5 lbs.
MSRP: $4,499

Additional Resources
• Read more video projector reviews from
• Explore projector screen options in our Projector Screen Review section.

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