Home Theater Projectors
Several home theater retailers local to us are promoting the Sharp XV-DW100U as the best solution for home theater on the market today. They are quoting a price of $10,000. And the retailers and high-end specialty dealers who handle this product tend not to discount much. Since Sharp has extensive distribution you are likely to run into the DW100U at a dealer near you as well.
The Sharp DW100U is not a bad projector when set up properly. You can get a good video image out of it. But at 1000 ANSI lumens and a 400:1 contrast ratio, it is not a good performer for $10,000. Before writing out a check for this product, we strongly urge you to look at the Sanyo PLC-XP21N, which offers much better performance and is widely available for around $7,000.
Or conversely, if you are looking for a product with similar performance but a much more attractive price tag, consider the NEC VT540. This product is nearly identical to the Sharp in many fundamental aspects. Both are native XGA resolution, 3-panel LCD products. Both are rated at 1000 ANSI lumens and 400:1 contrast. Both have 1.3x zoom lenses. Both are HDTV and EDTV compatible. Both have color temperature adjustment and gamma adjustment. And both produce exceptionally fine video images when properly calibrated. In our experience the NEC VT540 actually looks a bit richer and more natural due to its VORTEX image enhancement system.
There are three notable differences between the Sharp DW100U and the NEC VT540. The Sharp has power zoom and focus, whereas the NEC is manual. The Sharp has a more convenient set of connection options (two 15-pin D-subs, one set of 5 BNCs, and one set of component jacks), whereas the NEC has just one 15-pin port. This means the NEC requires a video switcher or AV receiver with switching capability if you want to wire both HDTV and a progressive scan DVD player up at the same time.
That's about it for differences. Oh, except for the price. The Sharp is $10,000 if the local dealer gets what he is asking. You will pay well under $4,000 for the NEC.
For these reasons we believe the Sharp XV-DW100U is significantly overpriced relative to its competition at the present time, and we suggest buyers look to other options.