Test Bench: Shootout — Three Budget Projectors

Sanyo PLV-Z5

Color temperature (User Mode, Low 2 Color Temperature before/User Mode, Custom Color Temperature after calibration): 20 IRE: 6,369 / 6,800 K 30 IRE: 6,190 / 6,471 K 40 IRE: 6,257 / 6,421 K 50 IRE: 6,456 / 6,429 K 60 IRE: 6,468 / 6,515 K 70 IRE: 6,513 / 6,521 K 80 IRE: 6,521 / 6,516 K 90 IRE: 6,532 / 6,581 K 100 IRE: 6,909 / 6,864 K

Brightness (Eco Lamp mode, 100-IRE window before/after calibration): 13.6 / 14.2 ftL

Primary Color Point Accuracy vs. SMPTE HD Standard

Color Target X Measured X Target Y Measured Y
Red 0.64 0.71 0.33 0.33
Green 0.30 0.33 0.60 0.65
Blue 0.15 0.12 0.06 0.02

With the Sanyo's User picture-adjustment mode and Low 2 Color Temperature preset selected, its grayscale tracked within ±320 degrees kelvin of the 6,500-K standard from 20 to 100 IRE, which is average performance. Adjustments to the red, green, and blue Gain and Offset settings in the projector's Advanced picture menu corrected for a slight green deficiency and improved grayscale tracking to within ±81 K from 30 to 90 IRE. Color-decoder tests showed fairly large +10% red and blue and +5% green errors via the HDMI inputs and ±5% error via the component-video inputs. The projector's red, green, and blue primary color points also displayed a degree of oversaturation as compared to the SMPTE HD specification. Fortunately, the Sanyo's advanced Color Management controls helped correct for these issues somewhat.

Overscan - the amount of picture area cut off at the edges of the display area - measured 0% for 720p signals with the Overscan option set to Off (a variable overscan adjustment lets you boost that amount up to 8%). The projector displayed 720p test patterns with full resolution via the HDMI and component-video connections. Screen uniformity was very good, with no sign of color tinting on gray full-field test patterns. The Sanyo failed the video- and film-mode deinterlacing tests on a high-def Silicon Optix HQV test disc, indicating problems with downconversion of 1080i signals to the projector's native 720p resolution. Standard-def HQV DVD tests were a mixed bag: The Sanyo's Film Progressive mode delivered proper 2:3 pulldown compensation for film-based DVD images, but the projector failed most of the other deinterlacing tests, and upconverted 480i signals generally looked soft.

At around 14 foot-lamberts, the projector's post-calibration brightness was more than adequate for dark-room viewing on an 87-inch wide, 100-inch diagonal screen. Switching from Eco to Normal lamp mode yielded even better brightness but at the cost of a significant boost in fan noise. Best-case full-on/full-off contrast that I measured was 1,241:1 with the Auto 2 Lamp Iris mode selected and the Lens Iris set to a midpoint (-22). Though far from the best I've seen, this is good performance for a budget LCD projector.

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