Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projectors
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Sanyo PLV-Z700 Projector Sanyo PLV-Z700
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10000:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a
$1,995 MSRP

Sanyo PLV-Z700
1080p Home Theater
Projector Review

Evan Powell, September 30, 2008

Brightness. On last year's Z2000 there were seven pre-set calibrations for various types of dark room and ambient light viewing--Brilliant Cinema, Creative Cinema, Pure Cinema, Natural, Living, Dynamic, and Vivid. These selections have been reduced to five on the Z700, with Vivid and Pure Cinema having been eliminated. However, the average brightness in video optimized mode has been increased. In addition there are seven user programmable memories so you can make whatever adjustments you want, calibrating it to your taste preferences.

The Z700 can produce a wide range of lumen potential, from the low 200's up to about 1200 ANSI lumens. In its brightest configuration, Dynamic mode with lamp on full power and lens at wide angle, our test unit measured 1198 lumens, which is spot on with its official spec rating of 1200 lumens. For us, the most satisfying calibration for optimal video was Creative Cinema, which generated 411 lumens. Brilliant Cinema mode, which is a great video alternative if you want more light and less contrast, produced 685 lumens.

As far as lumen output is concerned, you need to be aware of two limiting factors. First, while the long 2.0x zoom lens gives you great placement latitude, you will reduce lumen output by up to 37% if you install it at its longest telephoto setting. At the midpoint of the zoom range, light output is curtailed 16% from its brightest position at maximum wide angle.

Second, low lamp mode also reduces lumen output by 37%, which is quite a bit more than the average of about 22% we find on most home theater projectors. The bottom line is that if you set the Z700 in Creative Cinema mode with the lamp on low and the zoom set to maximum telephoto, you will only get 163 lumens. That is not enough to light up anything more than an 80" diagonal screen in a fully darkened room. On the other hand, there is no need to do this. Most users will not bother to sacrifice the lumen output in low lamp mode-fan noise is very quiet even in full lamp mode, and there is no published expectation of extended lamp life in low power mode.

There are five programmed color temperature options. From warmest to coldest they are Low 2, Low 1, Default, High 1 and High 2. On our test unit, Low 1 was the preferred setting for film, however, you can make whatever adjustments you want to that, or any of the programmed options. As with the Z2000, color accuracy on the Z700 is excellent. It is possible to dial in a picture averaging about 6500K with relatively uniform gray scale tracking.

With 1080p resolution LCD panels, visible pixelation is reduced to just about nothing. Viewed up close there is a distinct pixel structure which contributes to image sharpness. But the inter-pixel gap is small, and the screendoor effect is subtle even at very close viewing. Once you back away to a distance of one screen width, visible pixelation disappears entirely.

The Z700 has a cool 165-watt lamp and extremely low fan noise. Thus it can be installed comfortably in a small room. Projectors with high wattage lamps can raise ambient temperatures in smaller rooms rather quickly, and the Z700 thankfully throws off relatively little heat.

Sanyo Z700 Rear Panel and Filter

The connection panel is on the rear of the unit. The projector is 13" deep, so add about 3 extra inches for cable connections, and you can install it on a shelf that is 16" deep. Fan exhaust is from the right side as you look at it from the rear, so it is important that there be plenty of clearance for heat dissipation, particularly on that side of the unit. The air filter is located below the connection panel. It is easy to unsnap the grate to access the filter for periodic cleaning, as shown in the photo above.

On any LCD projector it is possible to have dust particles settle on the LCD panels over time, especially if you do not periodically clean the filters or if you have an exceptionally dusty environment. A dust particle on the LCD panel will produce a dull, indistinct spot on the projected image. The Z700 comes with a manual squeeze blower to remove these particles, the nozzle of which is inserted into a tiny hole in the case. Removing dust spots yourself can save you from having to send in the unit for cleaning. Since we've not had any dust spots appear on our Z700, or on our Z2000, we've not been able to test the efficiency of this feature. But Sanyo is the only vendor to provide this capability on its home theater projectors.

Anamorphic mode added. The Z2000 did not have an anamorphic stretch mode to accommodate an anamorphic lens, but the Z700 does.

Review Contents: Overview Advantages Additional Advantages Disadvantages

Reader Comments(22 comments)

Posted Nov 22, 2014 1:12 AM

By dj bounce

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does anyone no how to get my sanyo plv-2000,to give perfect white images on 1080i instead of yellow,thanks,dj

Posted Dec 13, 2011 1:50 PM

By Dave W

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Hey there! When I first got this projector it would toggle between 1080i and 1080p when needed. Now it is stuck on 1080i and I can't get it to play Blu-ray etc. How do I fix this? Please help! I couldn't find a way to manually switch this in the settings!

Posted May 13, 2011 12:42 AM

By Colby

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This was a good projector until a polarizer filter burnt out and prevented the blue color from coming through correctly. The entire screen is tinted yellow/greenish where it should be white. I sent it back on warranty and they refused to repair it, saying only it was not economical to repair. That's not really the point, is it? If you make a defective product, you have to stand behind it. If you don't, then no-one should buy your products... Which brings me to my summary. Don't buy Sanyo projectors.

Posted Sep 2, 2010 1:04 PM

By Chris

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It's probably overheating, make sure there is good ventilation around the projector.

Posted Jun 22, 2010 4:50 PM

By Lani Marie

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I am having the same problem with my projector - model #PLV-Z700. Did you get any feed back about the projector just turning off?

Thanks for your time. Lani Marie

Posted Apr 3, 2010 3:27 AM

By ashraf

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keystone how to arange what are alternate

Posted Feb 5, 2010 9:53 AM

By Roy

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Does anyone have a problem with the keystone effect on a ceiling mount? Does the Len Shifting accomodate for keystoning and does it distort? Any replies would be graciously received.

Posted Jan 5, 2010 10:58 AM

By Nik

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Got this on Dec 2009 from bestbuy clearance for under $800. So far its been the best projector, runs silently! no fan noise! Bluray/BD video quality is much better then my old 720p dlp projector. DVD/internet video are almost same result. 2x zoom and lens shift are handy. Can't beat the price for 3lcd 1080p...right??

Posted Nov 23, 2009 8:00 AM

By LeoVix

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No 12v screen trigger. Very disappointing...

Posted Nov 10, 2009 4:42 PM

By merril

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my plv z700 projector keeps shutting off on its own,while we watch movies,wonder whether anyone else is having the same problem? and what could be the reason?

Posted Mar 11, 2009 2:19 PM

By steve

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Hi Dominic, I just saw your posting today. The answer to your question, "Is 1080p really worth the extra $$?" is yes if your going to to be purchasing a blu-ray player in the future. If your main viewing is only going to be standard dvd's than a cheaper 720p projector would probably be better for you. I own the Sanyo 1080p, and no longer have much interest in watching or hearing standard dvd's anymore.

Blu-ray movies when encoded properly visually and sound wise, blow standard dvd's out of the water. Trust me, once you've seen and heard a high quality blu-ray movie you'll get hooked. I own 2 projectors at this time, and watch standard dvd's on my 480p projector. And of course my blu-ray movies on the 1080p. Safe to say my 480p is just collecting dust.

Besides watching movies I really enjoy the eye candy of blu-ray discs that show video of outdoor scenery like "Over America". This is where a big screen and projector come in handy.

Posted Mar 2, 2009 5:36 AM

By Thomas Amsler

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I just bought the Z700 and now I am also trying to find the best fitting filmscreen. Either one with an engine (I am aware that the screen could get some waves with time) or a framed one. Is it really better to have a gray one over a white? I was looking at Steward and Projecta ones but couldn't decide what's best for this projector...

Posted Dec 18, 2008 8:34 PM

By Dominic

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Hello, great comments guys. A couple of questions. I am considering purchasing the Z700 as my first foray into the front-projector world. This unit to be installed in a basement home theatre/family room. The setup of the room will be a variable viewing distance to about 18 feet max. The room has one egress window, of which drapes, and the screen will block out the diffuse light that enters. So basically the room will mostly be lit by artificial light and therefore 100% adjustable. We currently have a regular DVD and SD digital cable. In addition to the projector, I've also been told Santa is also bringing a Wii this year. So here are my questions:

Is 1080p really worth the extra $$? Should I be concerned with any real-world issues like SDE, color reproduction or any lag time for video games with this unit? Will the image quality on standard DVD or cable still be good or will an immediate upgrade to Blue-Ray and HD be required.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks, Dom

Posted Dec 10, 2008 11:59 AM

By jordi

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Mark W. I also got a z700 but when I start the projector autoiris is set to fixed. Other options are mode1 and mode 2.

I'm not good fine tuning my projector. Can you post your settings? brightness, contrast, and options you've enabled? thanx.

Posted Nov 12, 2008 9:37 AM

By Mark W.

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I have the 700 ceiling mounted and it is EXTREMELY quiet! I can hear my PS3 from across the room much louder than the 700 which is about 5 feet over my head.

Posted Nov 12, 2008 9:32 AM

By Mark W.

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Follow up:

Thank heaven, I figured out the Auto Iris thing. Set it to 'Fixed' in the advanced menu, then go to the 'Store' option to save that and any other preferences to a 'User' setting, then the unit will power up each time without defaulting to the annoying Auto Iris setting.

Whew! I was almost ready to send the unit back for refund.

I find it odd that the review didn't mention how awful the Auto Iris is. I don't consider myself a videophile (I AM an audiophile). I don't see how any self respecting videophile could tolerate an obvious pumping of brightness level. It's the same thing as over-compressed audio.

Posted Nov 12, 2008 4:51 AM

By Sascha

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Just for your information:

German Sanyo website lists a lamp life of 3000h in Eco-Mode and 2000h in Standard-Mode.

There are few dealers that sell that unit for 999 Euro here.

Posted Nov 10, 2008 11:58 AM

By Mark W.

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I love this unit except for one big problem:

Is no one else bothered by the Auto Iris? In an attempt to keep contrast high, it pumps unnaturally. It closes in dark scenes, making them too dark, and opens in bright scenes. The 'pumping' from dark to light is very unnatural.

the feature can be disabled in the advanced menu, but the big problem is that every time you turn the projector off, it defaults back to Auto Iris.

I shoudn't have to go ddep into the menu every time I power up.

Does anyone have an answer to this?

Posted Oct 29, 2008 1:26 PM

By Nick

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Does anyone know if this unit suffers from any sort of ghosting at all? I'm looking to step up to a 1080p projector from a very old one, but I want to make sure it won't suffer tremendously whilst I play video games on it. I'm not really up to speed on the whole projector market, so is ghosting even a factor on any of these units anymore? Thanks!

Posted Oct 12, 2008 9:15 PM

By Jakob

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Has it got the same problem as the Z5 when ceilingmounting it? That though you use it in eco/low mode the noise level is raised to the level when using it in normal mode.

Posted Oct 8, 2008 10:03 AM

By Guy LaRochelle

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In your article,you mention that "there is no published expectation of extended lamp life in low power mode".

I'm a little surprised by that! When reading on the subject all around the net, people always read that lamp life should be longer when using low power mode... How can you come up with such a comment and not back it up yourself?

Perhaps there are no published expectation, but is there something somewhere that prooves the contrary?


Posted Oct 1, 2008 2:39 PM

By Darryl Zimmer

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Have a question about your write up: "The difference between the Z700 and the Z200 are these" statement, you mention that the Z700 uses organic LCD panels.. BUT in your "SANYO PLV-Z700 Specifications you state "3 panel INorganic" Might want to check this out.

Thanks for your time,

Darryl Zimmer

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