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Sanyo PLV-Z1 User Reviews

Sanyo PLV-Z1 Projector

Sanyo PLV-Z1

WVGA (964x544), 700 ANSI Lumens,
7.5 lbs, $1,295 (MSRP)
View Specs
4.7 out of 5
153 User Ratings
Image Quality 4.7
Features 4.6
Construction 4.6
Ease of Use 4.7
Reliability 4.5
Value for Money 4.8
Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe
1080P Home Theater Projector

User Reviews

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Review by ProjectorViewer

I bought mine as a grade A reconditioned unit on ebay over 3 years ago. It cost me £700 (around $1400 at today's exchange rate but nearer $1000 at the time). It still carried a year's warranty and looked brand new (normally the warranty is 3 years). I picked it up in person and was told the lamp may have been used. I didn't know about the trick to get it to show the lamp times used (which is to hold down the up arrow on the projector when you switch it on until it displays the hours used- you have to hold it down quite a long time). All the reviews I've read stated that the lamp life is unknown and I am writing this in response to the last reviewr who'se lamp lasted a short time. I have used mine for many thousands of hours (over 5000) and this was bought over three years ago. I always operate it in low light mode as a review I read recommended it for the best picture. I also have a diagonal of just over 120 inches at maximum zoom and the picture is amazing still (although reviews say the zoom reduces the brightness). Also the lamp will probably have faded slightly since I started using it but this is not noticeable to me at all and the picture is exceptional and better than anything I've experienced. It is bright enough that I can even watch TV on it with the lights on (my TV signal seems brighter for some reason than DVD). I use a Panasonic S75 DVD player which got rave reviews some years back. I am really not convinced that the later models can have much of an improved picture and some seem to indicate that the Z1 is brighter in many conditions than some later models (despite the specs) and better colour uniformity. As I said, I am watching a 120" diagonal but also only from that distance away. The screen door is not noticeable if I defocus slighty (a trick I put into practise some months into use) and I have perfect vision with contacts. The DVD picture doesn't seem to lose any detail doing this. For all those thinking this model has a poor lamp life, they are wrong unless I've been incredibly lucky. Remember my lamp was likely not to even be new when I bought the reconditioned projector. The other thing I should mention is that I use a plain whitish wall for my viewing that seems to have perfect characteristics (the paint colour is off-white or slightly creamy in colour) but this was down to pure luck. I bought a smaller screen with the projector but found the picture was smaller and not as good. The wall also isn't perfectly smooth (it has little bumps and is called woodchip here) but they can not be seen at all and may even help deflect the light and improve the picture. The only time they are seen is when there is both a large section of white colour in the picture simultaneously with a large section of darker colour which is very rare.

Any Problems: I primarlily watch PAL DVDs which my DVD player doesn't play in progressive mode (NTSC progressive only). The Z1's deinterlacing is not perfect and does show some artefacts (jaggies) but these are not common enough to worry about. The picture is still great although Region 1 NTSC DVD's seem better slightly (maybe more to to with better fitting the native resolution than the improved progressive picture even though the resolution is lower with NTSC)

Review by Grizzly

This replaced a Epson S1. Was happy with the 16x9 image and the bargain basement price $499. But 300+ hours later the lamp dies. With this short lamp life the bargain Sanyo turns into a money pit! The Epson had almost 1500 hours (still burning bright) when I sold it.

Any Problems: Short lamp life. (I guess the previous reviews were accurate)

Review by quizmaster

Been living with this machine for over 3 years now. Picked it up at bargain price, so wasn't expecting too much. However, it has exceeded all my expectations. Not a top performer, but an excellent all-rounder for the money.

Any Problems: Very well behaved. Have also found Sanyo very helpful (unlike the makers of my previous projector: Sony). Remote can be a bit tricky, and it's picked up the odd speck of dust inside, but nothing serious to complain about.

Review by blueberry

This is an update to the PLV-Z1 that I have owned for close to three years. It has performed flawlessly and has had no warranty issues. It is still running on the original bulb, about 1300 hrs and still going strong. I have also hooked it up to a Sony HDTV recorder and HD images look great. Still waiting for widespread adoption of HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, until then the 960x540 panels are sufficient. I am sure in a couple years we will have 1080i LCD projectors. Two thumbs up to Sanyo for an extremely reliable projector.

Any Problems: None

Review by scott

Can't beat this product for only $500.00,,,I sit 1.3 times back,,,do see the screen door but not really a issue,,,for $500, great bang for the buck, it's as simple as that!,,,I am sure there are nicer pictures out there, but come on, look what $500 gets you,,,buy this product, you won't be disappointed,,,can't comment on the reliability, just got the projector.

Review by Shoptch

I found the Z1 for $499.00 new. So I upgraded from my Epson S1. I have to say at that price it was a real bargin. Screen door is almost non-exsistant and colors pop off the screen.

Any Problems: None, but I have read that bulb life can be short but at this price $499.00 new, I felt it was worth it.

Review by madbrain

I bought my PLV-Z1 in march of 2003 . It projects a great picture on a Da-lite High power screen, both DVD and HD over component. But it is not reliable.

Any Problems: This PJ just keeps eating lamps. I went through 5 replacement lamps at an average of 500 hours per lamp, which means I paid for the original projector cost twice in lamps ... ! Sanyo replaced the projector due to polarizers and panel being burnt, but they refused to provide a new lamp. The 3yr warranty on the PJ is great, but the warranty on the lamps sucks ! The original lamp is warantied for 90 days, replacement lamps only for 30 days !

Review by Alex Kopteros

I use PLV-Z1 for the last two years.The screen is 2,40 meters. The quality of the image is perfect (colors, contrast, e.t.c.) when I watch movies(DVDs)and I have no light in the room. (I use it only for movies). I have no reason to replace PLV-Z1 with any new model yet. I realy enjoy my projector.....

Any Problems: The lamp exploded within 300-350 hours. I think replacement lamp, is very expensive, here in Europe.(450 Euros = 550 USD) The new one, looks good enough.(more than 500 hours and contrast is realy good. No problem...)

Review by Will N

This is a follow up on my past review and let me tell you, this projector, at the price it's going for now, WILL NOT DISAPPOINT!!!! I bought it back in October '03 and have watched tons of movies. I have no idea how many hours are on the bulb, which I have not had to replace yet, but it's got to be getting up there. I've even dropped the projector from about 8 feet, trying to mount it back to the ceiling mount after doing some routine maintenance. When it hit the ground, it hit HARD, so hard the whole front panel of it was dislodeged, the swing door broke off... I was convinced it was hosed! After some tears, I put it on the table, fixed the front panel, AND IT POWERED UP, BULB DIDN'T EVEN BREAK!!!! The only issue that I have since i've dropped it is that one small dust bunny appeared that you can only see when the entire screen is black and barely see it too!!! So 5 stars in ALL categories with this projector... I am upgrading to the Z3 (or Optoma H31) but about 90% toward the Z3 just because of my experience with the Z1...

Any Problems: No problems at all except for my own butter fingers!

Review by Bill

I'm Edit my previous opinion. This projector has just disappointed me and the company is of no help either. My bulb LED had lit with only 250 hrs. on the Unit and over all this projector seems good in the beginning but has left me wondering is this a common occurance and the company would not answer that question.

Any Problems: Bulb lasted 250 hrs. when expected 1000hrs. company seem to want to pass the buck

Review by DRmasSEUSe

I've only owned the Z1 for a month and it's a great machine and value. I've got the playstation, xbox, dvd player, computer, and last but not least.. hd cable box hooked up to her. Hd on this pj is much better than I thought it would be. My uncle has a Benq 8700 and though the resolution is better on his pj, the Z1 rivals the pic quality of the much more expensive 8700 when viewing hd material. I am exremely pleased with her.

Any Problems: She has had a dust bunny from day one.. boo!

Review by rmp219

I have had this projector for about a month and I must say it is a great projector for the money. I paid $724.00 online includes shipping. I wanted the z-2, but for the $ this was the best way to go. I use it for dvds,tv and xbox and it has a super picture that can not be beat by a small tv. I would recomend this projector to any first time buyers.

Any Problems: The only small problem I have had is it wont respond with my remote sometimes. I just power it down, wait a few seconds and it fuctions properly again. Not much of a problem to me just thought I should mention it.

Review by blueberry

This is an update on my experience with PLV-Z1. I originally bought it two years ago and the unit has performed flawlessly. It is still going on the original bulb and has about 900 hours. We use it only for watching movies. I have had only one dust particle, which you only see when the entire screen is black. I am really happy with my experience and feel confident with the three year warranty on Sanyo.

Review by Sol

I know a lot of people have been raving about this machine. And I am happily joining their rank. I went from a 27" TV to a 100" screen and the PLV-Z1. My wife did not want that big of a screen. The room it is set up in is small and she was afraid we would not be able to stand far enough back to enjoy it. It has been seven months now and she would not go back to a smaller size. We darkened the room, we got Voom satellite service (30 Hi-def channels) and touched heaven. Beautiful picture, really gorgeous. We never saw any screen door effect, or pixels or anything else but a pristine picture. And if the picture was bad we knew it was comming from the signal and not the PLV-Z1. We are that confident in the machine. I am a private drum teacher and the projector room is also my waiting room. People sit there and gawk : at the picture, the colors, the contrast, the definition. I never heard a complain about the fan noise or the pixels, or screen door effect. I even have somebody specialized in high-end audio equipment (and also video) check it out and he was truly impressed. Don't hesitate, if you are starting in the projector world and have a somewhat dark room to put it in : the PLV-Z1 is your meal ticket. By the way, yes, I will eventually update (and not necessarily for a sanyo) but not for reasons of failures from this projector. The only thing I would like and a projector of that price cannot offer is a DVI or HDMI port. Reviewers say that the picture is even more define with that. Anyway, the PLV-Z1 is a great machine!!!!

Any Problems: None. It did everithing it is suppose to do.

Review by Heath Johnson

I have owned this projector for 6 months now and love it. I had and older DLP projector before and I saw rainbows too much, the wife never saw them though. So I switched to LCD and love it. I bought mine for $869, I now see them listed for $699. I highly recommend it for that price. You must use this with componant video to get the best picture. 480P mode is excellent. Perfect color.

Any Problems: The only probelm I have is after watching a movie and the turning off the porjector, then taking a 15-30 min break. And start the next movie. Because the projector is still warm the projector stays in Medium or HIGH fan speed. Its rather loud, the only way I can get it quite is to turn it on and off a few times.(NOT good for the bulb though.) Maybe next time I'll point a fan at it to cool it during the break. I wish you could force the fan speed down to eco mode.

Review by Graham

If it wasn't for the bulbs it is the perfect projector for the price. Have owned since April of 2003, ceiling mounted, 80 inch wide screen, use for DVDs, TV & X box. The picture is great and we can't live without it now. Even with the problems we have had it is the best bang for your buck that I could find after doing alot of research. Found this site while doing the research to see if I could find one that would be better in today's market.

Any Problems: The second bulb just exploded the other day,it was at about the 1100 hour mark. With 3 teenagers and 2 adults using it,this was about 9 months of viewing. The first bulb went at 1080 hours and cost $600 (cdn) to replace. We have followed all of the tips on extending the life of your bulb but the local Sanyo experts tell me that the bulbs go between 1000 and 1500 hours,not the 2000 you are led to believe. The fan started making noise about a month ago but air flow seemed good and we have not gotten any alarms. We also have had a small blue dot in the one corner of the screen since we got it, we don't notice it when watching, Sanyo service said that 1 pixel failing out of 1.6 million is within spec

Review by george k

had this one sine november 2003 with about 400 eco hrs so far. using it on 80" da-lite high contrast grey screen with component video from panasonic s35 mostly for movies. make sure you use progressive, component source. the difference from standard RCA video is very visible (check the credits at the end of any movie to see). i use it just a notch off-focus to battle the screen-door effect and looks nicer than my friends panasonic 300 - the colors on the sanyo are especially beautiful (the pani does not have the shade detail, looks as if they are using just the 216 web-safe colors). the lens shift is nice to have. no dvi, but the difference between component and dvi at this resolution is not noticeable in my opinion. not related, but worth mentioning - buy a good home theater with a solid sub - makes a big difference for movies. i highly recommend plv-z1 for low price home theater.

Any Problems: no problems till now. stay away from the exhaust or wear protection - ceiling mount is good to have. menu is a bit awkward (e.g. hold the up arrow for 30 sec to see the lamp hrs). design could be more appealing, but in the dark - who cares.

Review by Jorge

I bought my Z1 back in April of 2003. I have it setup in a room throwing a 97" image about 12 feet away from the screen. The picture is beautiful for both DVD and HDTV considering its current price. I paid $1,400 back then and I thought it was a bargain. Now at $895 this is an absolute bargain. It is not the Z2 or the Z3 obviously. But if you are just getting started with home theater and you don't want to go spending thousands and thousands, this is the way to go. Also, the lamp has about 600 hours and it's going strong. I have heard a lot of people complain about short lamp life. Just be aware that the life of your lamp will depend on the following : 1. Temperature at which you operate the projector 2. Proper ventilation 3. Clean filters 4. Not turning the projector on immmediately after turning it off. 5. Use theater black mode 6. Do not modify the settings to change the fan to blow slower or too late

Any Problems: No problems encountered so far. Excellent projector.

Review by B - Mobile, AL

When I started looking for a projector to buy, I was completely lost. I looked at many different reviews and finally came up with the decision between the Z1, and the Z2. For the good reviews of the Z1, I finally bought it, not knowing what to ultimately expect. After trying it out, I fell in love with it. The picture is absolutely gorgeous to me. Currently, I have the projector set up for a 100 inch (give or take a few inches ) homemade screen. There is a screen door effect, but I do not see how this could bother anyone for two reasons: One, it is very unnoticable when sitting 9 feet or more back, and (2) The actual picture seems clearer to me than any Plasma TV or whatever. For the price of it, this is an awesome buy. Another thing I add for the humor of it, is that when me and my friends go camping, one of my friends brings a generator and reciever, and standup speakers... and we stretch 2 or 3 sewn white king size sheets together and stretch them across two giant pine trees... and we got a 250 inch TV for concert DVDs... XBOX, and Movies... in the middle of the woods... I gotta say this is one of the best investments for entertainment I have ever made.

Any Problems: THe only problem is this : Everynow and then, the projector overheats... but then again, to its defense, my house is really hot alot of times, and I also have my projector sitting on my reciever which puts out alot of heat, so that might be a reason also.