April 26, 2011
| by Arlen Schweiger
Not to put any pressure on a product, but Sharp’s XV-Z17000 DLP projector review was essentially a make-it-or-break-it test for me. I’ve been skeptical about 3D’s relevance for the home, but had not had a chance to view it in my theater as a projection setup.
The verdict came quickly when I flipped the switch during Despicable Me (via a Sharp Aquos 3D Blu-ray player) to go from 2D to 3D: this projector “makes it,” so to speak.
That’s not to say 3D in the home works for all shapes and sizes, which has been part of my gripe with the technology. I’ve seen demonstrations of 46-inch flat-panel 3D TVs and though the video quality was crisp, I can’t endorse it with the same fervor. This projector cemented my opinion that 3D needs to be big to have impact in a home theater or media room — perhaps no less than 70 diagonal inches, which still keeps some TVs in play.
But serving up a big picture is just one of many reasons Sharp’s XV-Z17000 works very well as a 3D solution. When you factor in overall image quality, ease of use, picture adjustment options and cost, the product showcases that not only can you have great 3D in the home, but you don’t have to break the bank to achieve it.
Sharp says the XV-Z17000 can output up to 1,600 ANSI lumens for a bright picture, which is particularly important when using the 3D function. I found the brightness quite satisfactory for both 2D and 3D projection, though as with most projectors you should keep in mind the amount of ambient light your room receives.
The unit incorporates an HQV Reon VX-210 imaging processor, five-speed/six-segment primary color wheel, dynamic contrast ratio of 40,000:1 and full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution.
From the menu you can adjust tons: contrast, brightness, color, tint, sharpness, blue, red, color temperature and iris; make advanced signal adjustments like gamma, film mode, brightness boost and detail enhancement; make screen adjustments such as keystone, background, logo, menu position and image shift; and change projector settings like auto power, economy mode, one-touch play, system standby, demo mode, RS-232 and fan mode.
The XV-Z17000 is highly portable at just 12.8 pounds, includes a sliding lens cover, runs down to 23dB and in Eco mode the lamp can last up to 3,000 hours.
For 3D viewing, two pairs of active-shutter 3D glasses and built-in IR emitter are included.
I felt a little trepidation that a 3D projector might require different steps than a conventional projector, but that notion was mistaken. Compared to others I’ve reviewed, the XV-Z1700 installed like any projector … almost.
Setting the lightweight unit down in my usual projector spot, I connected from the rear panel a Kordz HDMI cable to the Blu-ray player, generic component cable to the HD cable box and power cord to a Tributaries power conditioner.
That’s when the curveball came, as I began aligning the projector up with my 92-inch Elite Screens ezFrame 16:9 screen. My biggest knock on this projector is its inflexibility relative to others in its price range when it comes to installation. At $4,999 in many ways the XV-Z1700 is a bargain, but it does not feature horizontal or vertical lens shift (you can make horizontal and vertical keystone screen adjustments) so placement must be pretty precise.
Also, focus and zoom are manual, but that seems to be less of an issue when you’re relying on carefully calculated placement anyway. So I moved the projector to a spot closer to the screen for a better-fitting and better-aligned image. The compromise I had to make was that it didn’t fill the entire screen, but roughly 86 diagonal images instead — still plenty big.
Out of the box, the XV-Z17000 impressed me with its brightness and vibrant colors. I spent quite a bit of time testing its 2D prowess before viewing 3D material, including content from HD broadcast cable, Blu-ray, standard DVD and my PC (via the projector’s VGA port).
As a 1080p 2D product, the projector offered superb landscape detail and color rendering during scenes like the desert attack in Transformers on Blu-ray. Black-level detail looked solid as well, judging from night scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Blu-ray and dark sports jerseys of Butler and VCU during the NCAA Tournament, for example.
Network HD content such as NBC’s The Office, CBS’ NCIS, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and cable broadcasts like Law & Order: SVU on USA, House Hunters on HGTV and Man vs. Food on Travel displayed excellent flesh tones and textures of real-world material.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.