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Review: SharpVision XV-Z15000 1080p Home Theater Projector

Review Contents
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
SharpVision XV-Z15000 Projector SharpVision XV-Z15000
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Street Price: n/a
Weight: 12.8 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Color Wheel:5x speed
Color Wheel:6 segments
Lens:1.15x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:3,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$649.00
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.3 (x2), RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1035i, 540p, 576i, 576p

For fans of DLP technology who have been waiting for prices on a very high contrast 1080p DLP projector to drop to street prices below $2,500, the wait is over. The newly released SharpVision XV-Z15000 is Sharp's most aggressively priced 1080p home theater projector to date. With a contrast rating of 30,000:1, it is one of the highest contrast DLP products to come to market. And it has some unique portability that is not found on competing 1080p models.

Now, don't pay much attention to the star ratings, because the Z15000 might be the exact right choice for you. The fact is, it is a barebones implementation of a 1080p DLP projector for a very low price. Since it lacks many features of its competitors, we cannot give it high marks for features or ease of use. But it excels in certain ways, and has its own distinct advantages that don't show up in our summary rating system. Please read on for details.

Though the official MSRP is set at $2999, at this writing Sharp is selling the Z15000 on its website at $2,499. Lower prices may be available elsewhere through dealers.

Overview of Features

Brightness. There are more ways to adjust picture brightness on the Z15000 than just about any projector we've ever seen. Like other projectors, it has a variety of operating modes that are calibrated to deliver different lumen outputs, gammas and color balance. They each have defaults for lamp power, manual iris position, and a utility called Bright Boost. But having selected an operating mode you can manually override any of those settings. You can select a lamp setting (normal or eco), a manual iris setting (open or closed), and the optional Bright Boost (on or off). Choosing among all these controls gives you an almost unlimited range of lumen output.

SharpVision XV-Z15000

The brightest configuration on our test unit was achieved by selecting either Game, Dynamic, or Standard modes, putting the lamp on normal, the iris on High Brightness, and turning Bright Boost on. At these settings, these operating modes all measured about the same in brightness, measuring 1090, 1078, and 1055 ANSI lumens respectively. Putting every lumen-related control into overdrive took maximum lumen output to about 1250, but nobody would want to watch the projector with those settings active.

Normally, when you select the eco-mode on a projector, lumen output drops by about 20% to 25%. Not on the Z15000. Selecting the lamp's eco-mode knocks lumens down by a whopping 48%. It buys you an additional 1000 hours of lamp life, and it quiets the fan down to almost silent, but this is a radical reduction of lumen output compared to industry norms.

A more modest adjustment in brightness is available with the manual iris. It has two positions-open, and a little bit less than open. The open position is called High Brightness, and the smaller position is High Contrast. Selecting High Contrast has much less of an impact on lumen output, reducing brightness by only 18% from what you get in the High Brightness setting.

Bright Boost is similarly a more modest adjustment than eco-mode. Turning it off reduces lumen output by 21%.

Normally the zoom lens setting will affect potential lumen output, but the zoom range is so small (1.15x) that it has a relatively minor impact. If you have the projector set to maximum wide angle, you get the brightest image from any operating mode, but moving it to maximum telephoto reduces brightness by 7%.

The Z15000 has two operating modes for cinema, called Movie 1 and Movie 2. These have warmer color temperature calibrations and gamma settings more conducive to quality film viewing than do the brighter modes. Movie 1 is very bright, as it causes the projector to default to the open iris, full lamp, and Bright Boost. We measured brightness on Movie 1 at a brilliant 936 lumens. Switching to Movie 2 shuts down all of the light boosting features, and gives you a net of about 325 lumens. This is much more appropriate for a low gain 120" screen in a very dark, light controlled viewing space.

In addition to differences in brightness, color temperature, and gamma, the Movie modes on the Z15000 produce a much smoother, cleaner video image than you get from the other modes. Judder is reduced, and digital noise is less apparent. Overall, the Movie modes deliver a prettier, more well integrated image.

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Features Continued
Review Contents: Features Overview Features Continued Limitations Conclusion
Comments (6) Post a Comment
Marco Posted Apr 30, 2009 5:05 AM PST
Thanks for the review, I was checking for it every day in the last week :) I d like some comments ( and shots ) on optic performance and, if there are, on chromatic aberrations. Optics is very important when talking about vpr.
Nate Posted Apr 30, 2009 8:45 AM PST
I just picked one of these up for a hair under $2K and installed it Tuesday evening.

The biggest issue is getting the the thing mounted in the right spot, as noted in this review. If you have high ceilings, this is really cool, since it sits so high. I will say that when I tested the auto keystone, it didn't work correctly, it still threw a very trapezoidal image. I'm a total maniac about things being aligned perfectly, so I wans't planning on using it anyway, but it was laughable.

I'm loving it for both movies and gaming, I dont' watch TV, so I can't comment on that. Wipeout HD on my PS3 is truly amazing and the blu rays I've watched looked as good (and smooth) as I had hoped.

One thing that I'm still scratching my head about is a bit of lens flare that occasionally shows up, but it's outside the boundries of the projected image. It's subtle and if I had a border around my screen ( I use 1.3 white screen applied directly to a white wall) I wouldn't notice it.

I bought this instead of the AE3000U because of the horror stories I kept reading about dust specs and it's VERY hard for me to get at my projector once it's in place. It helped that it was a few hundred bucks less too.
eli Posted May 7, 2009 3:59 AM PST
I would like to see the reviewer compare this pj against other dlp projectors. It may not be as high in contrast as the high contrast LCD, but what about against the mitsu hc6500 which goes for around the same price on the street??
BigJim Posted Jul 30, 2009 4:08 AM PST
Another review site (and this is the only one that allows users to comment, thank you for that) states "it doesn’t display 1080p/24 sources in their native frame rate or a direct multiple of that". Yet no other reviews mention this and simply parrot Sharp's statement that it accepts 24p.

My guess is its video processor does telecine on 24p sources (e.g all Blu-ray), and plays it at 60i, so that its color wheel can keep spinning at 60rpm. I thought this one might be fun, but this would queer the deal.
Corrado Posted Oct 3, 2009 7:43 AM PST
I have had this projector for 3 days i found the rainbow effect much less than many other dlp projectors so far. I also looked a a optoma which had a 6X speed wheel and 7 segment compared to the Sharp DLP which use a 5X speed colour wheel and a 6 segment which has much less rainbow effects. Any one any comments or info would be great.
greg Posted Dec 31, 2009 6:11 AM PST
I picked up one of this last week and am very pleased with it. Plays 1080p24 very smoothly, looks natively supported to me. Very good black level compared to previous generation DLPs at a similar price. Excellent colour accuracy and sharpness

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