Sanyo PLV-75 WXGA 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 4.5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
$5,995 MSRP Discontinued

Sanyo is the most prolific manufacturer of digital projectors in the world with 27 models currently in production as of this writing. The product line is exclusively LCD technology. Models range from small 1000 ANSI lumen portables to muscular light cannons delivering up to 12,000 ANSI lumens. Sanyo tends to concentrate on projectors that combine high resolution and high brightness-a good example is the new PLV-HD100 which is a 1080p resolution product rated at 5500 ANSI lumens. Notably, Sanyo is the only major manufacturer of projectors to have eliminated SVGA resolution products from their current product line, and the company never did bother to make a 480p product.

Sanyo has been a leading supplier of high lumen output widescreen projectors for commercial video applications, and the new PLV-75 is an impressive addition to their product line. We believe the PLV-75 is destined to become one of Sanyo's most popular models due to its multi-market versatility. It will perform admirably in sports bars, casino sports books, and large conference rooms. But it will also serve well as the centerpiece of a large scale home theater.


ANSI lumens: 2200

Contrast (full on/off): 900:1

Light Engine: 1366x768, native 16:9, 3-panel LCD, with a 200W UHP lamp.

Video Compatibility: HDTV 1080i, 1035i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.

Data Compatibility: Computer resolutions up to UXGA (1600x1200).

Connection Panel: One S-video port, one 3-RCA component input, one RGBHV BNC input, one VGA port, one DVI-D port, 3 audio inputs, wired remote control port, RS232C port. The Y jack on the RCA component input can double as a composite input if the component is not in use.

Lens and Throw Distance: 1.30:1 powered zoom/focus lens with vertical lens shift. Throws a 150" diagonal image from 19.4' to 25.2'.

Lamp Life: n/a

Warranty: Three years.

General Impressions/Feature set

Compared to most home theater projectors, the Sanyo PLV-75 is a large, powerful machine. It weighs 19 lbs and is 18 inches in length. When optimized for video it pumps out a whopping 1950 ANSI lumens, which is almost all of it official 2200 lumen rating. Clearly this is more size and power than most home theater users want or need. It is about five times the brightness of a typical home theater projector. But for those with larger viewing rooms that can accommodate screens of ten to fifteen feet in width, the PLV-75 offers a dynamic alternative to the vast array of smaller home theater projectors that lose their punch when blow up to this size.

With all this extra light, you get some extra fan noise-more than is typical for a home theater projector. It is not loud in comparison to most commercial business projectors. In fact, it is not quite as loud as the Optoma HD7100 in full power mode, which we described as being on the high end of the noise range for products designed for home theater. However, there is no low power or eco-mode on the PLV-75 as there is on the HD7100, so it is something to plan for in designing a home theater installation. On the other hand, the PLV-75 will typically be installed in a larger than normal room, and fan noise dissipates more readily in a larger space. So in many cases users will be able to mitigate the noise issue by ceiling mounting the projector and placing it at a distance from the seating area.

The ideal screen size for the PLV-75 in a dark room is about twelve feet in width. As you get smaller than 10 feet in width, the picture becomes bright enough that the highlights can cause eyestrain when viewed for any length of time. On the other hand, when used in ambient light conditions as you'd have in a sport bar, the screen size can be reduced to eight to ten feet in width to lend the image some extra brilliance and sizzle.

As you might guess from the contrast rating of 900:1, black level is not as deep, and contrast not as great on the PLV-75 as compared to most other home theater projectors. However, those who would dismiss the PLV-75 as a potential home theater product due to its 900:1 contrast rating make a huge mistake. With larger screen sizes, the PLV-75's lumen output trumps the theoretical black levels and contrast ranges of the dimmer competition.

Take for example the highly rated Optoma HD7100, with its exceptional DLP DarkChip3 performance and contrast rating of 5000:1. On a 110" screen the HD7100 delivers a sparkling, beautiful image. However, if you blow it up to 165" diagonal, which is 12 feet wide, you get a dull, dim, low contrast image with muddy gray blacks. By comparison, at this image size the PLV-75 delivers a much more dynamic image, with better contrast, color saturation, and actual black level. The difference is that the HD7100 can only give you 550 ANSI lumens, which is not nearly enough to successfully illuminate a very large screen.

With a 16:9 image size of 165" diagonal, and given a dark room, the ideal screen material for the PLV-75 is low gain, high contrast gray. The gray screen will serve to reduce black values and improve color saturation. We obtained a magnificent picture using the Stewart Grayhawk RS screen along with HD video sources, including satellite HDTV and the new Toshiba HD-DVD player. Even standard definition DVD looked impressive, but the new HD formats really shine when displayed on large-scale screens.

Out of the box, a standard definition DVD video image on the PLV-75 is a bit grainy/noisy. That is due to a sharpness control that is set too high in the factory defaults--excessive edge enhancement causes the graininess, but it is easy to fix. Sharpness can be set on a scale between 0 and 30, with the factory default being 15. In theory, and according to AVIA test patterns, zero is the ideal setting. However, we did most of our viewing with sharpness set at about 5. With artificial sharpness enhancement reduced, the image becomes much smoother and more natural.

Another thing to be aware of is that onboard deinterlacing is not as comprehensive as one would like-there is too much horizontal line flicker and too many jaggies with S-video and component 480i. These artifacts are substantially reduced by switching the source to component progressive. And of course the best picture possible is obtained with the use of the DVI (HDCP) port. Basically, it does not make sense to invest in a projector of this caliber and try to drive it with lower quality sources.

The 1366x768 format is designed to deliver 16:9 widescreen video in full frame format. However, the vertical resolution of 768 lines also allows the display of native XGA (1024x768) and WXGA (1280x768) computer signals without scaling or cropping. The connection panel accommodates several computer and video sources at one, as it offers one DVI-D, one analog VGA, one set of 5 BNC's, one set of 3-RCA component, and an S-video port. If the component port is not being used, the first of the three RCA jacks serves as a composite video input.

The PLV-75 can be ordered with optional interchangeable lenses. Options include a short fixed length lens, a short zoom lens, the standard 1.3x zoom lens, a long zoom and an ultra-long zoom. The Projection Calculator on this site provides throw distances on the standard lens. If you are interested in selecting the PLV-75, and find that the standard lens does not fit the throw distance requirements of your room, consult a Sanyo dealer to determine which of the other lenses will be the best choice for you.

In addition to the powered zoom and focus features, the PLV-75 has powered vertical lens shift. The shift range on the standard lens is not extensive-the total shift range from the highest to lowest point is 70% of the picture height. At its maximum height, the entire image is above the centerline of the lens, and there is an offset of about 20% of the picture height. In other words, if the projected image is 5 feet high, there is a gap of about one foot between the bottom edge of the image and the point at which the centerline of the lens intersects the wall. This will accommodate some ceiling mounted installations. However, shelf mounting on a rear wall would be our preference for installing this unit if we had the option. But keep in mind that a large shelf is required-the projector is 18" in length, cable connections are on the rear, and fan exhaust is out the rear as well, so you need to allow plenty of rear clearance from a wall for heat dissipation.

The PLV-75 has Sanyo's traditional, compact icon-driven menu system tucked away in the upper left corner of the image. This system is not exactly intuitive to any user that has not seen it before. But it is easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the huge benefit is that you can make image adjustments without the menu cluttering up the image.

Given the large screen sizes and long throw distances this projector was built for, it was refreshing to find that the remote has a long 50-foot range, and we never once had to point the remote at the projector to get it to respond. The remote layout is reasonable good in ergonomic design, and the only thing missing of any consequence is an aspect ratio control button. But given the unique nature of this projector, the need to access the menu to change aspect ratios is a small inconvenience.


If you've been a regular reader of this site, you've seen many cautions about not pushing home theater projectors too large. That is because most of them produce 300 to 500 ANSI lumens in optimized video mode. That is great for a 100" screen, and if the projector is particularly high in contrast, you can push it to 120" without losing too much sparkle. But image quality degrades in a hurry as you increase image sizes to ten feet or more in width. Really big screens simply need higher powered projectors with greater light output.

Over the long Fourth of July weekend I watched the newly released John Wayne film The Searchers on a twelve-foot wide screen with the PLV-75. This is a beautiful restoration of one of the most influential films in cinematic history, and it will look impressive on any home theater set up. But the film's magnificent vistas of Monument Valley take on a whole new grandeur when viewed on a large scale theater screen. The PLV-75 was able to give it the dramatic punch it needed at 12-feet wide, whereas most other home theater projectors, even those with super high contrast, would not be able to pull it off. To be honest, it was so mesmerizing that I watched the entire film twice. (By the way, you can order the new edition of The Searchers through our DVD store.)

No projector is perfect, and the two items at the top of our wish list for the PLV-75 would be deeper black levels and less fan noise. With HDTV and HD-DVD, black levels were plenty adequate. But on standard definition material, black was not as solid as we'd have liked. Yet, if the desired screen size is 12 feet wide, it is the rare home theater projector that will give you the blacks you want (actually, we've never seen one). So this weakness is not a show-stopper by any stretch.

During the viewing and testing of the PLV-75, the unit was located within three feet of my seat. For the most part I was unconcious of the fan because the movie's audio track obliterated it. But it did become noticeable during quiet interludes. If installing this unit permanently in my own theater, I would take steps to ensure placement as far from the seating area as is practical.

The Sanyo PLV-75 is an impressive new addition to the company's line of bright, widescreen products. In some very large screen home theaters, nothing else will do. Set it up with a gray screen, hook up an HD-DVD player or your HDTV source, and settle into the new world of large scale high definition. The grand scale of it, along with the high def format, is pretty amazing.

However, the PLV-75 is not just for home theater. If you own a sports bar and want to upstage your competitors who have just put in a few flat panels, try the PLV-75 on an eight- or ten-foot wide screen, and give your customers this year's football season in spectacular high definition. It will make your competitors' plasma screens look like average, everyday televisions.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sanyo PLV-75 projector page.