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A First Look at the Sanyo PLV-60

Sanyo PLV-60HT Projector Sanyo PLV-60HT
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700:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

As one of the most highly anticipated product releases of the year, it was our intention to do a full review of the Sanyo PLV-60. This new WXGA 16:9 native format projector (1,366 x768) began shipping in May. We have been inundated with emails asking for comment. After our first look at the unit in the lab, we can offer these summary observations.

From a spec perspective, the PLV-60 seems to have it all. Native 16:9, 1,366 x 768 LCD panels, a 700:1 contrast ratio, 1200 ANSI lumen output, excellent connectivity, compatibility with all video signal formats, and so on. Some people even placed orders on the strength of the specs alone. And to be sure, it is natural to assume that since Sanyo did such an excellent job with the Sanyo PLC-XP21N, this one has got to be better. Such is not the case.

The PLV-60 is a good projector, just not as good as the XP21N. Though the contrast spec on both machines is 700:1, we could not get quite the same snap from the PLV-60 as we did from the XP21N. Contrast overall on the PLV-60 is extremely good for an LCD, and head and shoulders above competing 16:9 format projectors currently on the market. It is just that in comparison to the XP21N which was truly impressive, the PLV-60 falls just a bit short.

The PLV-60's widescreen format is of course designed to optimize HDTV display. And this it does. It handled 1080i extremely well. If we were to watch HDTV programming all the time, the PLV-60 is a very acceptable solution.

The problem we found was in the display of 480-line video. Even with progressive scan DVD the picture lacked the sharpness and detail definition that was so impressive on the XP21N. Simply put, the picture looked a little fuzzy. Our impression was that Sanyo's scaling of 480-line video into widescreen 768-line format needs a little work. Bottom line—despite the fact that the XP21N is a native 4:3 XGA resolution machine and has fewer pixels to work with, for 16:9 DVD material the XP21N produced a noticeably sharper image than did the PLV-60.

As our regular readers know, ProjectorCentral is not a dealer and does not sell equipment of any kind. Our purpose is to guide our readers toward projection solutions that we think are the best values in the industry. Accordingly, since the Sanyo PLC-XP21N is available on the street for prices slightly below those of the PLV-60, we continue to endorse the XP21N as "Highly Recommended." We will want to look at the PLV-60 again in another few months to see how it evolves. Quite often initial production units are not representative of the quality a product ultimately achieves.

UPDATE, 4/16/02: We have seen several samples of this product over time, and have never been satisfied with it. We do not recommend this product. Sanyo is releasing an updated version, the PLV-70, to begin shipping the summer of 2002. This new model may hold more promise.