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Sharp XV-Z20000U DLP Video Projector Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2007
Article Index
Sharp XV-Z20000U DLP Video Projector
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I settled on the Standard Picture Mode, 6500 Kelvin color temperature setting, Standard Gamma for the HD DVD and Blu-ray DVD player input (HDMI 1), and Standard Picture Mode and Custom Gamma for the HD cable input (HDMI 2), because these settings produced the most accurate pictures prior to calibration. Before calibration, the grayscale tracked around 7500 Kelvins in the 6500 Kelvin setting, which is quite good for a factory preset color temperature. Although the Kelvin numbers don’t reflect it, the post calibration grayscale was quite accurate on the x and y coordinates, which are more important than the Kelvin number for an accurate grayscale. Gamma implementation is also good, with a nice slow rise out of black, which yielded excellent shadow detail in dark scenes.

As stated above, since I have a relatively small screen, I chose the High Contrast setting for the iris, and the Eco Mode for the lamp setting. With those settings and Contrast set to -25, I still measured an impressive 15.5 footlamberts of peak light output, which is significantly higher than the 12 footlambert specification for projected film in a movie theater. For larger screen sizes, you will need to experiment with the combination of the iris and lamp settings to achieve the best brightness and black level performance.

Color accuracy on the Sharp XV-Z20000U is good, with excellent color decoding and good grayscale tracking. The primary and secondary colors are a little off the mark, but not nearly as offensive as those of a lot of projectors that are a good deal pricier than the Sharp. The CMS, or Color Management System, is a feature that Sharp has carried over from its flat panel LCD product and, frankly, it doesn’t work well. I found I could adjust the colors almost exactly to the industry specifications, but then found the color to be severely under-saturated. Increasing the color control to get back the saturation resulted in weird-looking skin tones, so I reverted back to the factory settings in the CMS menu. I have yet to encounter a similar color management system on any display that actually works properly and doesn’t introduce a bigger problem then it solves. I wish the manufacturers would simply give us the correct primary and secondary colors.

I chose scenes from the outstanding HD DVD transfer of Seabiscuit to evaluate color saturation and skin tone rendition. It is also a particularly good disc to test color with, because it is not a highly stylized film, but rather one that was shot very naturally with a lot of outdoor scenery. For a one-chip DLP projector, the Sharp’s color saturation is impressive. Skin tones also looked exceptionally natural, thanks to a flat and accurate grayscale. Chapter 13 is good for evaluating color as it has a lot of it, along with familiar environmental elements like hedges and grass. This scene was rendered very naturally, and looked quite realistic as a result.

For black level and shadow detail evaluation, I watched the excellent transfer of Batman Begins on HD DVD. Chapter 28, where Batman races the Batmobile back to the Batcave to save Rachel’s life, escaping from the cops who are giving chase, is a virtual torture test of black level performance and shadow detail capability. This sequence proved the 20000 to be at the top of its class in black level performance. Blacks were deep, rich and noise-free. It is important to note that blacks were very clean, with almost no low-level dithering noise, an artifact that has always been common in DLP projectors.

I was pleased to find that the HD DVD HQV test disc revealed that the Sharp de-interlaces 1080i properly, preserving all the resolution in the signal. However, you must make sure that the Progressive setting in the Advanced Menu is set to 3DSlow and not the default 3DFast, or you will be losing a lot of information and gaining a lot of noise in the process.

For 1080p material, I watched some scenes from Crank, an extremely bright, fast-moving flick that is a good test for clarity and contrast ratio. Chapter 3 in particular was crystal clear, with plenty of snap and pop to the picture. I also watched Kingdom of Heaven on Blu-ray, which is a superb transfer. Colors were quite realistic, and the disc had a smooth film-like quality to it.

HD channels from my Time Warner Cable feed were somewhat of a letdown after seeing some of the best HD DVD and Blu-Ray has to offer, as these new DVD formats have much higher bandwidth than broadcast HD providers, and the difference is clearly visible. On my HD cable channels, I noticed that the video processing in the Sharp was a little noisy. The SD channels like TCM were particularly nasty-looking. Running the cable box HDMI output into a newly-arrived review sample of the DVDO VP50 video processor cleaned up the standard-definition cable channels like TCM nicely. If you want to get the absolute best performance from the XV-Z20000, mating it with the DVDO VP50 is the answer.


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