When the PLV-Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector was introduced, it was clear that
there were no major changes from the previous Z3000 model. The modifications that have been
implemented are largely related to improved firmware, some optical engine
tuning, and better quality control. Despite what has changed and what has
not, the Z4000 projects a noticeably superior image on the screen than its
predecessor. Surprisingly, this was achieved at a price point that averages
below $2000, unheard of for most “ultra high contrast” projectors! The
Z4000 includes a host of features, excellent black level performance, 3LCD
technology, and a comfortingly long warranty.
You can surely think of the PLV-Z4000 projector as an evolution of the
PLV-Z3000, so don’t let the similar appearance fool you. It’s what’s under
the hood that matters. Each individual upgrade may seem only marginal but
you’ll immediately notice the increased color accuracy. Regardless of how
minor a few features change may sound, any appreciable modification in
color tone is worth mentioning. Don’t worry; none of the Z3000’s good
qualities were dropped!
Consider the PLV-Z4000 as one of the first of the “new breed” of Sanyo LCD
projectors. The recent CEDIA show announced several competitors, and some
make-overs, in the home theater projectors market but the Z400 stands out.
The Z4000 includes a dark grey case, essentially a box with rounded
corners, with a clean and simply look. The connectors and inputs are
basically standard while the projector has great flexibility of placement
due to its lens shift and a 2:1 zoom lens. By the way, there has been a
slight alteration to the color schematics. The front of the older model had
a lighter gray than the rest of the projector. The new front, including the
motorized lens door, is darker and nicely matches the rest of the box.
The fact that the PLV-Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector is a solid offer is without
doubt. The real question mark in your mind should be “Is this the right
projector for me and my needs?” Although the Z4000 may at first glance
appear to be just a minor upgrade to the Z3000, don’t forget that the Z3000
originally sold for a tad over $3000. I have already watched more than 30
hours on the Z4000 in my personal home theater without ever projecting
greater than a 110? diagonal image. The Creative Cinema mode is putting
more lumens on my screen than the previous model I owned, which was due for
a new bulb after 2000 hours of use.
One of the best attributes of the Z4000 became apparent to me while I was
checking out some pre-season football. This model of Sanyo LCD projectors
may not be intended for bigger screens, but when displayed on an average
size or smaller one, the colors achieve superior balance and are more
soothing to the eye than the vast majority competing projectors out there
on their brightest days. Especially when you take into account Sanyo’s
“ultra high contrast” caliber black level performance, this model performs
phenomenally on movies. Compared to the previous Z3000, I simply couldn’t
calibrate it to have comparable color quality to the PLV-Z4000.
The Dynamic mode of the PLV-Z4000 measures 873 lumens at its brightest with
the zoom lens at its mid-point and just over 1000 lumens at wide angle.
This may not be optimal for some 128? screens, but if you dial the zoom
down to around 100? diagonal (which is probably the most common screen size
in the home theater projector marketplace), the Z400 will perform with
“flying colors”. I like to think of it like this… To fill the entire 128?
screen, you would need almost 70% more lumens to perform comparably.
Therefore, even the brightest projectors in brightest modes typically can’t
display any more vibrantly on a 128? than the Z4000 can on a 100?. So
consider this Sanyo LCD projector to be perfect for smaller and medium
When it comes to watching your favorite flick, most folks will favor
Creative Cinema mode, for the superior looking dark scenes. Some users will
probably want to set the lamp to full and maintain brightness, possibly
adjusting the iris upward from -20, to somewhere around -10 to even 0 for a
greater number of lumens. If you’re not some sort of projector “purist”,
test-drive some of the many dynamic controls. Each one has its pluses and
minuses but you will get to learn what most enjoy while loving your Z4000 Sanyo LCD projector .
Priscilla Carlyle (aka Projector Chick) is a self-described enthusiast of
technology specifically related to home entertainment, online gaming, and
business presentations. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/projectorchick .
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