|Sharp XV-Z20000U DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Friday, 01 June 2007|
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Sharp has been at the forefront of LCD front-projection technology since the dawn of the technology. The company jumped into DLP once the first high-resolution 1280 x 720 pixel chips became available to manufacturers. Sharp’s first DLP projector, the XV-Z9000U, turned quite a few heads with its impressive picture quality back in 2001. The latest top of the line model, the XV-Z20000U, also a one-chip design, boasts the latest 1080p-resolution DLP chip, and promises again to be a head-turner. 1080p resolution came late to DLP display technology, as compared to the LCD category, which has had that vaunted high resolution for some time and consequently carries a fairly steep premium in price. At the moment, the least expensive 1080p one-chip DLP projectors start at around $10,000, whereas 1080p LCD and LCS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) projectors start at about $3,000 and go up from there. The Sharp XV-Z20000U definitely delivers the video goods with excellent blacks, accurate color reproduction, and an awe-inspiring, snappy, crisp picture with HDTV sources.
The 20000 is a sleek, sexy-looking machine that is little different in appearance to the company’s last several flagship 720p models. My review sample was finished in glossy black. Zoom and Focus functions are manual at the lens, and the lens assembly is located smack in the center of the chassis, which gives it a pleasing look. This design also makes centering the projector on the ceiling correctly, relative to the screen, much easier than with designs that have the lens off to one side of the chassis.
The remote control is virtually identical to the last several 720p Sharp DLP projector remotes. It is a model of design excellence in terms of ease of use, and custom installers will appreciate that it offers direct access keys to all inputs, picture modes, and iris control, to list just a few functions. It is also fully backlit, making set-up in a darkened home theater a real breeze. The internal menu system or GUI (Graphical User Interface) is intuitive and easy to navigate. There are a total of five pages, with the first and second page containing all of the picture controls and gamma adjustments for grayscale calibration.
Set-up features are abundant on the Sharp 20000. The iris adjustment and the lamp setting features both control the lamp’s light output, and will also contribute to the black level performance of the projector. Iris settings include High Brightness, Medium and High Contrast, and the lamp settings are High Brightness and Eco Mode. I used the High Contrast iris setting, as my Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 screen is a relatively small 72 inches wide. I chose the Eco Mode for the lamp setting for the same reason, and I achieved an impressive 15.5 footlamberts of light output with the Contrast set down to -25. The 1000 ANSI lumen rated 220-watt SHP lamp is capable of driving relatively large screen sizes for a one-chip DLP projector, compared to much of its competition.
Six picture modes and a sliding scale for color temperature selection that ranges from 5500 to 10,500 Kelvins are on tap for customizing and optimizing the picture quality for all your video sources. There is an Overscan feature, which thankfully can be zeroed out so you get the entire picture. A CMS (Color Management System) located in the Advanced Menu on the first page is identical to those on Sharp’s upper-end LCD flat panels, and unfortunately doesn’t work well on the 20000. Look for more detail on this in the Performance section. Also under the Advanced Menu are settings for Brilliant Color, which should be set to off, Progressive, which needs to be set to 3D Slow for preserving all the resolution in 1080i HD sources, and Film Mode, which needs to be set to Auto for 2:3 pull-down detection with film-based video material (DVDs and many HD programs).
Connection options on the 20000 are relatively generous, with two HDMI inputs heading up the list of video connections. Sharp throws in a DVI input for good measure, which is probably more appropriate for computer use than with other video source devices. There are also two component video inputs, one S-Video, one Composite video, and an RS-232 for control purposes. There is also a 12-volt trigger for control of electric drop-down screens, and a port for a wired remote. This is more connectivity than you get with many projectors, and should be plenty of connections for most home theater enthusiasts.