Review Contents
Shootout vs Optoma
Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Sanyo PLV-Z2000
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15000:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a
$2,495 MSRP

Sanyo PLV-Z2000
1080p Home Theater Projector

Evan Powell, October 29, 2007

Sanyo Z2000 vs. Optoma HD80

The Optoma HD80 came out this past summer at what was then an aggressive price of $2,699 for a 1080p projector. It represented an outstanding value for those who wanted to step into 1080p at a very low price. Not only was it 1080p, but it delivered an exceptionally sharp and very bright image even in comparison to more expensive 1080p models. Its shortcomings included a short 1.2x zoom lens, no lens shift, and a fixed throw angle offset that made it uniquely suitable for ceiling mount, but difficult to install on a rear shelf. It also had higher than average fan noise, and a 300-watt lamp that throws off quite a bit of heat. The replacement lamp costs $480, which is higher than average.

Competition marches rapidly on-prices get lower and products get better. With the introduction of the Sanyo Z2000, the entry level price of 1080p takes a big drop to $2,195. In addition to the lower price, the Z2000 brings with it incrementally higher contrast, a slightly sharper picture, almost silent fan noise, and much greater installation flexibility due to the 2.0x zoom lens and extensive lens shift. The Z2000's lamp is only 165 watts, so the projector doesn't radiate as much heat.

In terms of overall picture quality, the HD80 and Z2000 are very close. In reality, the differences are only apparent in side by side comparison. Due to the varying effects of ImageAI on the HD80 and the variable iris on the Z2000, the two projectors will alternate back and for based on the average light level of any given scene as to which looks higher in contrast, or deeper in black level. And in any case there is not a radical difference between them. On an ANSI checkerboard pattern, the Z2000 measures slightly blacker blacks, and slightly brighter whites. But when standing back and looking at them, they appear essentially identical.

The Z2000 has an advantage over the HD80 in sharpness and clarity of the image. This is not to say that the HDD80 is soft--certainly it is not, and it looks great on its own. But the latest LCD panels render an incremental sharpness and clarity that becomes evident in side by side viewing.

Comparing the HD80, which is a DLP projector, to the LCD-based Z2000 highlights two competitive weaknesses of DLP technology. First, manufacturers using DLP light engines have not been able to design projectors that have anywhere near the zoom lens range or lens shift capability of their LCD counterparts. Practically speaking, this means that LCD projectors give users more latitude in where they can place the projector for any given screen size. Usually LCD projectors can be either ceiling mounted or rear-shelf mounted, whereas in many rooms the only way to install a DLP projector would be to ceiling mount it.

Second, DLP light engines are relatively light inefficient, so they require hotter lamps to drive the same lumen output. That means more heat, and quite often, more fan noise. In a larger viewing space this is not much of an issue. But in a smaller room, any projector with a 300 watt lamp will produce a more noticeable heat load than a projector with a much lower wattage lamp.

For home theater enthusiasts who are investing in dedicated theater rooms, these are not big issues since the rooms can be built to accommodate either type of projector. But most consumers don't have the means to create dedicated theaters in their homes. For them, LCD projectors (so far at any rate) have been offering a compelling set of features that make them easier to install and live with.

Conclusion

The Sanyo Z2000 is a tough new competitor that establishes the latest benchmark in 1080p price/performance. It offers excellent image quality, a host of features, and very few flaws, all for an industry-leading rock bottom price. If you have been waiting for prices to drop before stepping up to 1080p, the Z2000 is the product you've been waiting for.

As with the other 1080p reviews we are posting, we are delaying the 5-star ratings until we've been able to see and evaluate all of the models coming to market this fall. However, due to the Z2000's exceptional price and performance, it is sure to be one of the highest rated products in the group.

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Reader Comments(10 comments)

Posted Jul 7, 2014 7:53:22 AM

By Miika Valkonen

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I bought this projector in 2007 when it first came out. I have had absolutely zero problems with it whatsoever. Even still have the original bulp in it with 4000+ hours!

Posted Jan 12, 2013 7:14:19 PM

By Dave

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I have a faint yellow spot on my screen about a 2ft. round or somewhat oval, screen size projection is about 120 inch's, can someone plz tell me if thats a burn spot on the bulb or lens or what it can be and what I can do to correct this. the projector I have is a sanyo plvz 5 and is on it's second bulb and has plenty of hours left.

Thanks Dave Z

Posted Feb 16, 2012 10:13:39 PM

By BrettJ

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I have had the Z2000 for 3-4 years now, the lamp needed replacing I sent the machine back and it was a faulty bulb and replaced under warranty. The lamp has gone again only 12-15 month after being replaced. I was told when the first lamp went that the warranty which was from 3 years would cover this lamp for 3 years from the date it was replaced, as this was the promotion when I originally bought the machine, however, I am now being told 3 month or 1000 hours. Can someone help me. The other thing they are throwing at me is that Sanyo have been bought out by Panasonic and Panasonic wont cover the 3 year deal.

Posted Dec 24, 2011 11:07:03 AM

By Jeff

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I have had this projector for about 4 years (1500 hours) and its still going strong. I would like a higher lumen projector though

Posted Jun 24, 2011 8:42:37 AM

By Cole Fullon

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My blue polarizer also burned out after a year and a half. When I sent it in for warranty though, they refused to fix it and sent it back. A printed sheet that accompanied said it was "not economical to repair". I've bought an Epson, and it is a real improvement in quality, brightness and contrast.

Posted Apr 7, 2010 9:11:49 AM

By Slim

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Like my last two Sanyos (Z2 and Z3), the blue polarizer is dying around 5,500 hours, despite the fact that the filters are cleaned like clockwork. Fortunately, it's still under warranty for the next 3 months, but it's disconcerting that this is my third Sanyo to have this issue. I'm sure they'll fix it under warranty, but I think my next projector will be an Epson instead.

Posted Feb 19, 2010 9:57:47 AM

By Matt

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Got this projector the day it came out. 5000 hours and counting, still works flawlessly.

Posted May 6, 2009 1:52:49 AM

By Chris

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Been enjoying this pj for almost a year and the other day it fro-zed up on me and from 4-29-09 to 5-1-09 Sanyo repaired it by upgrading software to the latest version of V102! All shipping and repairs covered under warr. Not bad for a 3 day turn around just in time for the weekend.... Great pj...Great Service... Everything working like the day I bought it!

Posted Dec 29, 2007 10:10:54 PM

By blackbusiness

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I just bought a z2000 and it stopped working on the third day. Looks like several folks on the AVS forum have had the same exact problem. Basically, the unit powers off, the door shuts 90% of the way, and the warning light of death comes on. I have plugged out the unit to no avail and I will have to deal with Sanyo support on Monday. I JUST got this thing. Not good.

Posted Nov 13, 2007 4:19:02 PM

By alkemac

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Dear Sir: A great review of the Sanyo PLV-2000 and its comparison with the Panny pt-ae2000. In your review you state, "The Z trumps the AE in SD that was upscaled from Blu-ray & HD DVD players." Does this statement imply that the DVD players were performing the upscaling, or were the projectors doing the processing? If a DVD player, having great upscaling qualities, were performing the processing, would this bring the AE2000 up to speed? Would the Panny SD picture be as clear as that of the SanyoZ? I enjoy film noir and other genres from the 30s, 40s and 50s and wish to view these film at their best, minimum grain without softening the picture.

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