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Sanyo PLV-Z1 - the review, and other bits

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Smurfin, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I'm knackered.

    Decided at 11pm last night to move my living room around for a slightly different AV/projector set up, finished at 3am:eek: Then at 8am it was up and off to the local wood merchants and then Homebase, in the meantime my new 8' wide 16:9 screen arrived!

    After much hammering, drilling, swearing, a couple of beers and lot of cigarettes...........it was done:D

    So tonight I've finally settled down on the sofa, leaned back and watched my new toy in action:D

    First of all, the essential viewing kit:

    Sanyo PLV-Z1 (graphite grey, bought from www.nexnix.co.uk for £1296, 24 hour delivery and included in the price they did a dead pixel check which came up trumps).

    Hoya FL-D filter

    Skyworth 1050p PAL progressive DVD player

    Van Damme component cables

    8' 16:9 screen, 1.1 gain

    Viewing was in a light controlled room (the screen pulls down over my living room window, which is exactly 8' wide and 16:9 in ratio, spooky huh?), seated 11' away from the screen.


    First things first, I sat down to calibrate the projector using Avia. I've never used the disc before, but it's pretty simple (if tedious) to calibrate your system. My flatmate took one look at me staring through the blue filter, called me a "sad bastard", and went down the pub:rolleyes: .

    Anyway, down to business....

    * Colours:

    One word sums this up nicely.....vibrant. Colours are rich, nicely saturated without being overbearing, reds in particular are impressive (remember I'm used to DLP).

    There's always one test which my old projector (plus u31080 via component interlaceD) used to fail miserably on - The "Warning" screen on many R1 DVDs. This is invariably in red, and whereas previously the "Warning" letters were plagued by jaggies...on the Z1 it's silky smooth.

    Of particular note here is the Hoya FL-D filter, which was talked about alot when the PTAE-100 was all the rage. Strangely I've not seen much on this recently, but all I can say is....BUY ONE! I didn't think I needed it, but putting on part of Episode II (R1), the difference was immediate and compelling. Witness the meeting of the Jedi with Senator Palpatine near the beginning, where they discuss the threat to Amidala. The reds in the background are lush and rich.....and incredibly smooth. The hoya adds a little more warmth, and depth. Cracking!

    * Contrast - Good black levels, again enhanced by the hoya, not as good as my old DLP but acceptable. Manages to retain detail even in shadows (witness pretty much the whole of Band of Brothers), could see no evidence of the blacks "breaking down" so to speak.

    * Screendoor - hmm, now many may be thinking that this should be where the projector falls down but I am impressed. I was expecting (especially on an 8' wide image) something horrible, but what I saw was pleasantly surprising, even at 1.2 x viewing distance. Sure it's there, but to my eyes it appears only periodically (e.g some scenes of sky in ep6 Band of Brothers, the sky at the beginning of Toy Story 2), and even then it's not distracting.

    I don't understand the reasons why, but the hoya definately seems to reduce screendoor:)confused:), and with a touch of de-focusing it's honestly not apparent to me. (even if this were a DLP projector I would still defocus slightly, as it gives a smoother, "filmic" image).

    Bear in mind also that I've moved from DLP, where screendoor is pretty much non-existent, so you'd think I would notice it more. This was the main thing which concerned me about buying an LCD....in reality it's not an issue.

    * Artifacts/banding.

    No artifacts were visible (and believe me I'm used to seeing them!), there was NO banding on any source material - all I saw was rock solid, sharp as hell pictures:D [even on some non-anamorphic DVDs).

    *Fan noise.

    In eco mode it's nice and quiet, which is what everyone should be running this thing in, it's plenty bright enough in this mode.

    In 15 hours running so far, the fan hasn't sped up once. In this period the PJ has sometimes been on for 5 hours continuously....and still no speed up.

    Tonight though when I switched it off the projector was incredibly hot (Q for all other Z1 owners...is this normal as far as you know?). And of course, this was after the fan had cut out.

    *Features

    Well the 16:9 panel is a big bonus for this price, current panny owners will already be used to this, but an image with no light overspill is great news for me:D

    The menus are a doddle to use, calibrating the projector is easy as pie, and it is incredibly flexible with the lense shift....VERY useful, particularly for those with awkward living rooms.

    One thing I couldn't find however, was how to check the lamp hours, it doesn't seem to be in any of the menus:confused:

    ==========

    Regarding specific viewing material, Band of Brothers episode 6 (Bastogne) looked amazing on the big screen. With everything calibrated properly, I was grinning when I sat down to watch this.

    The night scenes in the snow-covered forest were stunning to view, and I could sum it up with 2 words: "3-D" and "filmic".

    Toy Story 2 was pin-sharp (as one would expect)...and most importantly I saw none of the artifacts which plagued recent DLP viewings (and on my old PJ). Great stuff:D

    I also popped in Die Hard R1 (ultimate edition) and was amazed (yet again) at how good the picture was! Smooth and filmic were the words which sprang to mind. Wonderful.

    ===============

    Overally, I'm chuffed at this purchase (I ordered blind, wasn't prepared to run the risk of importing a PTAE-300, probably doesn't help hearing of recent 100's shutting down after a couple of hundred hours:( ), as you can all probably tell;)

    An amazing picture, great features, and it's cheap. What more could you ask for?

    Well actually I could ask for more. In an ideal world I would want zero screendoor, and "black" blacks. But hey, we don't live in an ideal world, this isn't a 100kg CRT projector, this is a budget £1300 PJ, bang for the bucks gives GOOD blacks (for LCD) and very few issues with screendoor.

    I know the big question for alot of people out there is how does this compare to the PTAE-300?

    Well I've seen them both in action now, but I couldn't comment with any real conviction on the differences between them, unless they were running side by side.

    Disclaimer aside, my wholly unqualified observations (as much drawn from memory than anything else, and you know how deceptive that can be) would be as follows:

    * Fan noise on the PTAE-300 is quieter, not much but noticeable, this is both projectors running in eco mode.

    * Contrast - impossible without viewing under the same conditions.

    * Screendoor - the PTAE-300 has the edge on this one, but again until viewed together its difficult to quantify:(

    * Sharpness/image clarity - I won't comment except to say that I think the Z1 will have the upper hand here;) Alot depends on the source equipment though.

    * Reliability - hmm tough one;)

    One thing I WOULD love to do is sort out a Cambridge projector shootout (be after Xmas now though). Sykes has already mentioned it to me (he has a PTAE-100) but we need someone to bring along a PTAE-300. Anyone out there got one and can travel to Cambridge? LMK pple!

    Cheers
    Matt
     
  2. theritz

    theritz
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    Hi Matt,

    Stonking review, though it pains me to say so - reduced to reading about your new toy instead of watching movies on mine ;) :D

    Only one practical observation to make - would be slightly concerned about it being very hot as reported - is it possible that Sanyo/dealers have altered the firmware thru the service menu to reduce/eliminate the "cycling" of the fan in response to early customer reaction? The concern here is that heat soak thru the optical block, or the optical filters or LCDs might cause uniformity issues later - I've seen this (thankfully not mine) and it leads to pretty bad distortion.

    Pessimism on this issue aside, it sounds like a brilliant piece of kit and I hope you get the best from it.


    See ya



    Sean G.
     
  3. neoboy259

    neoboy259
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    Smurfin, congrats on your new toy.

    I've ordered a Z1 for meself but they've sent it to the wrong address so wil have to wait til Monday before I can use it!
    :(

    Out of interest, regarding your Hoya FL-D fiter, what size are you using with your Z1, and does it fit just inside the lens or do you have it taped on or something?

    Thanks
     
  4. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Thanks Sean, I think I might give Sanyo a call tomorrow just to make sure the heat isn't going to be a problem and that my baby is working as it should.

    neo, the filter I have is 52mm which is slightly too big, however it manages to stay in front of the lense with neither tape or anything else:eek:

    I think you'd probably want a 50mm lense for it to fit properly.
     
  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Good review Matt,

    glad it's as good if not better than you expected! :)

    I think for the vast majority of us, black level isn't really a problem anyway - if you go to the cinema the black level is rarely any better, so if we're try to bring cinema to the home, true blacks aren't necessary. ;)

    I think generaly it only becomes an issue if you move to digital from CRT.

    You're not the first person to mention that a lens filter reduces screendoor (bothe here and over at AVS), in fact many have reported moving to a grey screen from a white screen also has the same effect - when Stewart Filmscreen ran the first beta test of the Grayhawk, the vast majority of the testers reported a reduction in screen door (info from Don Stewart himself).

    It seems that it's due to the contrast of the dark screendoor grid against the screen material - a dark grid (the screendoor) is less of a contrast against a dark screen than it is against a white screen, so it's less noticable

    Some who have moved from a high contrast to low contrast screen have commented on this too.

    It tends to only be noticable as a comparison though - people who've not been able to compare the filter/grey screen to a non filtered/white screen won't realise they have apparently less noticable screendoor.

    Would be good if you can get a multi-pj shootout happening like they often do over at AVS - it's often the only way to know which pjs are better suited to an individuals requirements, and here in the UK there are very few half decent places to get a demo from as it is.

    Gary.
     
  6. meva

    meva
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    Hi Matt,nice review.
    I was wondering if you could check out something else for me. If you press no show and look at the black screen, how uniform is the black? The Z1 I saw had a faint red patch of light at the top of the screen. All the Sanyo bumph has 90 % uniformity mentioned, I wondered how yours was.
    Also the Z1 i saw ran pretty hot as well.
    Thanks in advance.
    P.s did you get a warranty card with yours??
     
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Matt (meva)

    In your opinion, how did the HT1000 seem to compare to the Z1?

    TIA

    Gary.
     
  8. HEADRAT

    HEADRAT
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    Nice review matey, I would really like to know what screen you are using and where you got it from ;)

    HEADRAT
     
  9. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    pro-screen "widescreen" 240cm wide, bought from www.metroplan.co.uk

    You will need to open an account with them first, then you'll get 40% of the order value - so don't pay any attention to what the website says.

    I told them that I was a private customer, rather than trade. No problem they said, and promptly set the account up. You don't pay up-front but get an invoice approx 1-2 weeks after receiving the order.

    Cracking service, delivered overnight, although initially they delivered the wrong screen:( One phonecall later, and they depatched the right screen on an overnight delivery for Saturday - free of charge:D

    They didn't have any 7' wide screen in-stock, which is why I went for the 8' screen. And boy am I glad I did:D I thought with a 6' screen I had reached that "cinema feel".....but I was wrong:D Now I'm there though:D

    Meva I'll check the uniformity a bit later and report back.

    Cheers
    Matt
     
  10. meva

    meva
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    Hi Gary,
    See
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=56639

    One thing I know will interest you is refresh rates. I tried the Z1 with HTPC at 75hz and 72hz and got some tearing, not as bad as the HT1000 but there nonetheless.
    The HT1000 is a beautiful projector. The Z1 is as good in respect of image sharpness and colour. Where it cannot compete with the NEC is screendoor ( chickenwire ) and contrast.
    I understand NEC have fixed the Pal tearing issue now. If you can (easily) afford it and don't suffer from rainbowitis the NEC is probably worth the extra. If £1800 ( i.e the difference ) is a lot of money to you , then consider that ( imho ) the Z1 is 75% as good.
     
  11. oaklandraiders

    oaklandraiders
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    Yo

    I went up for a demo today, great setup.
    I've hardly seen any pj's before so I'm no expert, but very nice picture, screen door barely noticeable, only on the odd shot.
    Matt has a soft picture so screendoor not visiible, he sharpened it up for me which I thought was better, but slight screendoor.
    Great screen, now do I order one tomorrow or wait for AE300 demo.......

    John
     
  12. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Ahh decisions decisions.....:D
     
  13. oaklandraiders

    oaklandraiders
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    Yo

    Forgot to say thanks for the demo.

    John
     
  14. oaklandraiders

    oaklandraiders
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    Yo

    Which make of screen was it, its a bewildering menu process.
    Lets have the idiots guide, the path you chose on menu !

    John
     
  15. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Welcome John:D

    Ok as for metroplan....yes their website is confusing.

    Go to:

    Product index
    Projection Screens
    Mounted projection screens
    New pro-screen projection screens.

    The screen I have is the bottom one, 240cm matte white.

    Ignore the prices, you get 40% off listed prices, and on the site they don't have all the ones they supply listed.

    Best bet is to give them a call, they're very helpful.

    Just think....tomorrow morning call metroplan and place order, call nexnix and place order......play with new toys on Tuesday;)
     
  16. z5461313

    z5461313
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    Hi Smurfin

    Very interesting reading and I am pleased to hear you are nearer to the cinema experience now

    Can I ask if you are using the Skyworth DVD player and is it ok with the Sanyo

    8 foot screen with minimal screen door sounds really good. Did you have to change the projector settings alot to use the Hoya filter

    Timothy
     
  17. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    smurfin,

    Where did you get your filter from? I've had mine on order from jessops.com for over 6 weeks and not a peep. My screen is coming this week and I was hoping to be setting up this weekend.
     
  18. elgaic

    elgaic
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    Hold the up arrow on the projector for about 30 seconds and the lamp counter should come up. I believe it is rated at 2000hrs in regular mode and 3000hr in economy.
     
  19. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Link cameras in Basingstoke. Can't remember their number but try directory enquiries or yellow pages. £19, they do mail order, and had one in within 24 hours:D

    thx for info elgaic, I'm up to 14 hours:D
     
  20. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    meva, did the "no show" thing and towards the bottom left of my picture is a v v faint "blob" of what looks like red.

    I considered sending it back, but I have a unit with no dead pixels, no fan speed up, and it doesn't bother me in the least.

    I only notice it if I look for it.
     
  21. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Timothy, the skyworth is great with the projector:D I must admit I was expecting a horrible plasticky thing with a "made in taiwan" sticker on it;) - but it's much better than I hoped! PAL and NTSC progressive for £50? Best bargain I've had from these forums:D

    As for the hoya settings, well I'm still playing around with it. Need to go through Avia again as I don't think I got the settings completely correct.
     
  22. meva

    meva
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    Thanks for that.
    Apologies if I directed toward something you probably wouldn't have noticed. I did the same to the person whos Z1 I have been studying :blush:
     
  23. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    you sod;)
     
  24. z5461313

    z5461313
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    Hi Smurfin

    I'm pleased the Skyworth works well for you

    Would it be possible to post your settings with the filter when you are happy with them. I guess its main benefit is to reduce the screen door

    Timothy
     
  25. Julia

    Julia
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    Hi Smurfin,

    I'm glad you enjoy your Z1 and thanks for such a thorough review...

    It sounds like you have an awesome DVD player too.... Where did you buy your Skyworth 1050p DVD player from?

    <Edit> I've just noticed it at Hivizone: a very good price for Progressive scan...

    Julia
     
  26. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I actually bought the skyworth from Timothy on these forums, for a measly £50:D Adding all the charges for importing, the skyworth works out alot more expensive than that! It's really a bare bones player, but the chip in it is bloody excellent:D

    Timothy, one quick question, did you have the skyworth connected via component or VGA?
     
  27. z5461313

    z5461313
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    Hi Smurfin

    I always used component. I never tried the VGA connector. It always gave me a good picture

    Timothy
     
  28. olaiho

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    Smurfin:
    If you haven't done so already, you should try using VGA with the Skyworth. In Finland, Z1 users have reported that it gives great quality that surpasses that of a component connection. You may have to adjust VGA settings on the Z1 a little (because the Skyworth outputs non-standard resolutions), but eventually the picture should be very, very good. Consult your manual on how to perform VGA settings adjustments.

    Also remember to remove the component cables when connecting with VGA. If both component and VGA are connected simultaneously, the brightness of the picture is heavily degraded.

    Best Regards,
    Olaiho
     
  29. HEADRAT

    HEADRAT
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    Anybody know what the Powerstip settings are for the Z1 to achieve 1:1 Pixel mapping..

    HEADRAT
     
  30. Julia

    Julia
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    Headrat,

    The Sanyo Z1 settings are:

    Input Mode (?) : FULL or TRUE
    Fine Sync: 1-31 adjust for a stable picture
    Total Dots: 1104
    Horizontal: 129
    Vertical: 21

    Generic timing details for 960x540:
    HFP=16 HSW=32 HBP=96 kHz=34 VFP=2 VSW=6 VBP=15 Hz=60

    Julia
     

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