Sharp XV-Z20000 1080p DLP projector Tests and Calibration
With a component 1080i input, the Sharp's response as measured using the (color and black and white) burst patterns on the Accupel HDG-3000 test-pattern generator held up strongly to the 37.1MHz limit, though it was clearly well down in level at that point. The individual resolution lines at that frequency were only visible from close to the screen. At 720p, component, the response was good, but while clearly rolled off at 37.1MHz, it held up better at this frequency than in 1080i. The 480i and 480p component responses were both fine to their maximum burst frequencies (6.75MHz at 480i and 13.5MHz at 480p).
With an HDMI input at 1080i or 720p, both the color and black and white response were still visible and clean at 37.1MHz, though very slightly down in level—just a hair short of the best I have seen from a projector (the Marantz VP-11S1). Both 480i and 480p produced excellent response as well, out to the limits of those formats.
With the Overscan control at zero (higher settings reduced image resolution) and an HDMI or component input of any resolution, the Sharp exhibited zero overscan.
The Sharp's color points were generally good. There was some excessive saturation in several colors, but no worse than we have seen in most projectors and not enough to make the image cartoonish. Sharp's C.M.S. system did allow some shift in the color points, but as noted earlier this proved a very mixed blessing and I ultimately left these controls at their factory settings.
When I finally gained access to the Sharp's code-protected service menu, I found that while it does offer control over the top and bottom of the brightness range for each type of input (the HDMI control is confusingly labeled "DLP") it proved useless for serious calibration. When you enter the service menu, it opens the iris to maximum (High Brightness) and switches the lamp to Bright! Any calibration performed in this mode does not carry over in any sort of linear fashion to the modes you're most likely to actually watch in normal use: lamp on Eco+Quiet and the iris on either High Contrast or Medium. The only option was to jump in and out of the service menu, hoping to eventually nail the final result by interpolation and trial and error. After a couple of hours of this hopeless exercise I gave up, particularly since I obtained a perfectly good calibration—and a great picture—using the user Gamma menu, as described in the review.
If you do use this Gamma menu for grayscale calibration as I did, be aware that the individual sub-controls in this menu (R, G, and B for both Gamma and White Detail) must be set separately for each Gamma Position selection. That is, if you adjust these sub-controls for a good grayscale with the Gamma set to, say, Standard, you'll also need to input sub-control settings for a good grayscale in each of the selections in the Gamma Position control you might ever want to use- Natural, Dynamic, Movie1, Movie2, and Custom, the latter being the mode set using Sharp's available gamma software. But once the correct settings for a good grayscale have been found for one of these gamma modes, I found that the same numbers may be used to obtain a good grayscale for all of the others.
However, if you subsequently use the individual RGB sub-controls in the Gamma menu in an attempt to fine-tune the gamma for the Gamma Position mode you're in, it will alter the grayscale. That will also be true, incidentally, if the basic grayscale adjustments are made in the service menu instead, should you choose to fight that pesky dragon.
For the above reasons, I recommend using the settings in the Gamma menu only for grayscale adjustments. Pick one of the gamma modes (I recommend Standard as the best option overall, but if you want to fool with the software option use Custom), and then use the RGB Gamma and RGB White Detail sub-controls to adjust the grayscale. After that is done, don't touch the sub-controls in the Gamma menu until a new calibration is required.
(I received information from a reliable source just before press time suggesting that the Black Detail sub-controls in our sample—the controls that did not work for me—may be defective, and that there are other samples out there with the same limitation. I plan to check with Sharp on this and will report any information I receive at a later date. If the Black Detail sub-controls can be rendered functional, then you could use the Black and White Detail sub-controls for calibrating the top and bottom of the brightness range and the Gamma sub-controls for fine-tuning as needed in the mid-brightness region.)
The results of the grayscale calibration are shown in Fig.3. The After results were made with BrilliantColor On and the Automatic Contrast control at Level 3, at 180 hours of operation. The Before results were made with those controls off. In both cases the Color Temperature control was set to 6500K.
My settings of the projector's Picture controls were slightly different for this report than for the previously published Sneak Peek, but the picture quality was equally superb. The projector was also capable of surprisingly high light output. It ultimately put out an astonishing 39 foot-Lamberts peak white with the iris on High Brightness and the lamp on Bright, though the resulting contrast was a good but not standard-setting 2167:1.
With the lamp set to a more eye- and ear-friendly Eco+Quiet and the iris on High Contrast, however, I obtained a peak contrast ratio of 6350:1, at a peak white level of 12.7fL and a video black of 0.002fL—as deep a black and high a peak contrast as any I have ever measured on any projector, with or without a dynamic iris. This final measurement, made after my recently posted measurements and comments on the Sony VPL-VW50 "Pearl," surprised me. I verified the result a day later, in a different measurement session. In the same low lamp mode with the iris on Medium, I measured a contrast ratio of 5260:1, at a peak white level of 15.78fL and a video black of 0.003fL. And yes, the difference between a video black level of 0.002 and 0.003, on a fully black screen, is clearly visible to the naked eye.