Connection options on the PLV-Z2000 are fairly generous for a front projector. Two HDMI inputs are the most important, and they both support the HDMI 1.3 specification. There are also two component-video inputs, an S-Video and a composite-video input for legacy sources such as VCRs. I was disappointed to find no RS-232 control port or 12-volt trigger for electric drop-down screens.
While not perfect by any means, the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 does have some things to recommend it in the performance department. First off, color decoding is accurate for both SD and HD formats. Video processing is reasonably good with 2:3 pull-down for motion artifact elimination with film-based DVDs, and it also deinterlaces 1080i HD properly, preserving all the resolution in the signal. The projector also passes all of the resolution in a 1080p source at the HDMI inputs, but like many an HD display today, loses some of that resolution at the component inputs. That isn't such a tragedy though, because 1080p sources are rarely allowed to travel via component video because of copy-protection issues.
At first, we thought that the projector was clipping both white and black, but it turns out the factory default in the Settings menu for the HDMI Setting, which is Normal, is the wrong reference. Rather than 16-235 it is 0-255. Sanyo has it backwards here. A projector intended for Video should have the factory preset to Expanded, which is correct at 16-235. This is a common mistake in the industry that costs consumers contrast ratio and detail in black-and-white as a result.
After we found the correct setting, the black level and contrast ratio performance of the PLV-Z2000 looked much better. Blacks were definitely compelling, and on a par with those of other projectors in its class. The lens is of reasonably high quality considering the price, with very few chromatic aberrations. Images from top quality sources such as HD DVD and Blu-ray looked quite sharp.
Seabiscuit on HD DVD looked pretty impressive, with decent skin tone rendition and saturation. We watched chapters 10 through 13, which shows you a variety of different things like blacks on the overnight train ride, natural wood colors in the owner's house, and then outdoor colors in Chapter 13 at the race track. The inaccurate red stuck out when viewing the jockey's uniform, which is supposed to be slightly orange, but appears to be candy-apple red on the Sanyo.
Chapter 4 of The Italian Job on Blu-ray looked very good as well. The dark shots under water and in the building revealed plenty of shadow detail, and the contrasting outdoor boat chase scene showed off the projector's excellent contrast ratio. On our Time Warner Cable feed, we watched some of Happy Feet, an animated feature with lots of bright material. The picture was again impressive, especially for a sub-$3,000 projector.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6,320/5,945K||Good|
|After color temp||6,650/6,570K||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||404K||Good|
|After grayscale variation||207K||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.670/0.323||Poor|
|Color of green||0.304/0.676||Poor|
|Color of blue||0.141/0.056||Average|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down detection||Yes||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|