Sanyo Z4

Posted by: michael_d

Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 04:38 PM

Iím starting to research projectors. DangÖ..Iíve got a lot to learn. Iíll be sitting about 11í away from the screen, and Iím leaning toward a 106Ē diagonal screen. I think any bigger will be too big. I do not have HDTV available in my area, so DVDís are as good as it gets for me. I donít think HDTV will be available for several years either, as there just arenít enough satalites in the air for Alaska yet, plus the mountains donít help.

I had a budget of $1500 usd, but this review of the Sanyo Z4 has me thinking about upping that number. Figured Iíd see what yíall think.

Hereís the review summery:

General Observations
As time goes on, home theater projectors keep getting better and less expensive. When considered in light of its overall price/performance proposition, the Sanyo PLV-Z4 is among the very best home theater projectors we have yet seen. Not only does it set a new performance standard for 720p projectors in its price class, it is the first LCD projector to truly challenge DLP as the leading technology for home theater video.
Moreover, the challenge is not just on relative price/performance, but on absolute performance. For the PLV-Z4 could be placed side-by-side with the most expensive high-end single-chip DLP projectors that are six times its price and hold its own in head-to-head performance. We dare suggest that in a shoot-out between the Z4 and any of the high-end DLP products wherein the models were not revealed to the audience in advance, the PLV-Z4 might actually be favored by some consumers for its exceptional contrast, deep color saturation, and image sharpness.
Thus we would say this to underscore the point: Currently the PLV-Z4 has a street price of about $2,200. If you are about to lay down $12,000 for a high end single-chip DLP home theater projector on the theory that the more it costs the better it must be, do not miss the opportunity to audition the Sanyo PLV-Z4. The Achilles' heel of single-chip DLP has always been color, and a side-by-side demo with the Z4 will illustrate in convincing terms why LCD is not dead. Heck, you might just save yourself $10,000.

The full review:

Posted by: Ray3

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 06:23 PM

Hi Mike,

You may want to take a look at the Panny PT-AE900U as well. I was recently thinkng about a projector for the new basement room (in process) but ultimately decided on a 60" or 65" plasma instead.

I got a chance to see the 900 in action and it's pretty impressive. My decision was between it and the Z4, but I liked the 900. Take a look at the 900 review and the faceoff between the 900 and Z4.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 08:02 PM

Thank you Ray.

My take on the reviews is the Z4 would be a better choice for larger rooms while the 900 better for smaller rooms. Conversely, 1.5 or greater distance than screen size, the Z4 wins, and at 1.5 or less, the 900 wins.

The 900 also wins with standard 480p TV viewing as the Z4 has some trouble de-interlacing.

But the Z4 has a 3 year warrantee while the 900 has a one year warrantee.

For my situation, it would appear that the 900 would be the better unit.

About some it up?

Posted by: Bilbo_Baggins

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 08:30 PM

The main difference when the Panny 500 and the Sanyo Z2 had their shoot-out was the abiltiy of the Sanyo to be easier to mount from a "non-center" mount. It lense could be manually adjusted, before you had to keystone correct digitally. The next generation Panny, the 700 had worse keystoning ability than the 500.

Now, with that all said I don't know if both models have the same feature set when it comes time to mounting and aligning the unit. But, I can tell you -- it take some time and patience to mount and get the "pitch and roll" and the angles and keystone perfect for your screen. (especially like mine -- which is a home made one.) When I buy my next projector, I will definately look into these features closer.

I love the Panny 500. You will probably not go wrong with either model -- especially when you get to High Def. You will not believe how great a picture these things project.

One more point, you don't need to spend any money on a screen. Wet sanded, perfectly smooth dry wall with a nice flat-white paint is all you need. (I spent months comparing pieces of expensive screen to my wall... very little -- if no difference at all)

Good luck with your projector choice. You're in for a lot of fun.

Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 08:38 PM

I have had the Z2 for over a year now, and it has performed flawlessly out of the box ever since. "Nickbuol" another member on this website has the Z3 and really likes it. I've got my eye on the Z4 as well, but would need to sell my Z2 first.

In regards to lens shift, it makes things very nice for setup. You want to avoid keystone and not use it if at all possible. In reality, it is very easy to make a mount and keep it level/square to the screen so you don't have to use keystoning.

Posted by: dakkon

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/05/06 10:37 PM

i have a benq pb6200 its kind of older, but does 1080p great. and its only 900$ now.. well with in your price range, its a multimedia projector, not a HT projector.. didnt matter to me.. just have to get a special cable a vga cable, and get it spliced in to component video. guy on ebay sells 35' cables for like 70$.. just another option.. dont forget you could get a slightly older model, and save a bundle.

Posted by: nitram

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 03:10 AM

Regarding the AE900U warranty, maybe you can buy an extended warranty. I bought my AE900U from, which seems to be quite reputable and respectable but with some of the best prices on the 'net. They offered a 2-year extended warranty for $70 from Mack (i.e. same terms as the 1-year warranty but extended to 3).

Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 11:35 AM

Interesting comments about the painted wall vrs screens. A friend of mine bought an older Infocuc projector two years ago and just pointed it at the wall. Itís textured, high gloss and even has a receptacle in it. It looks great! Heís been meaning to smooth the wall and paint it with some of that special screen paint, but just hasnít gotten around to it. That was my original plan as well, just paint the wall. But then I started reading forums and reviews and other sources, and they all pretty much said to go with a screen. Iíd like to hear more about your comparative analysis. Building a screen isnít something I really want to do. Ė The ĎHT roomí Iím building was going to be a bedroom. When I sell the home, Iíd like the new owner to have that option and building a screen wall changes things.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 11:36 AM

I'll check that out. Thanks!
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 12:04 PM

An ultra pure white flat paint will do just as good as most mfg. screens. My first screen was a Mississippi Mud over Silver Metalic which is one of the most popular found on AVSforum in the DIY Screen forum.

I'm currently using a Dazian fabric wich is a PVC matte white non-perf material stretched over a wood frame, 51" x 120".
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 12:18 PM

I had looked at this stuff before.

Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 12:21 PM

I know a lot of people that have used Goo, and it is a good product, if you don't mind paying a little extra.

You can achieve the same results following one of the DIY paint methods:

ME (Misty Evening)
MM/SM (MississippiMud/Silver Metalic)

Most of the above are products that can be purchased at the home depot. They can be rolled or applied with an HVLP paint gun.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 02:11 PM

Yup, mud is what I think of when I think of pure white. Um...
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 02:18 PM

The creator is from Mississippi, and the formula has a 1/96th drop of red oxide which was used for older LCD's, which gave it a slight pinkish tint that turned white once dry, so that is where the name came from.

Bottom coat:
Behr Silver Metalic, found in faux display at Home Depot.

Top coat:
"All Paints are Flat Latex
1 quart of Behr Deep Base (1300) $8.99
1 quart of Behr Ultra Pure White Flat "Ceiling" $8.99
1 quarts of Behr "White Opal" Perlescence $17.99

Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 02:29 PM

thanks. ....

do you 'have' to use flat? Gets dirty and is hard to clean. What about eggshell?
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 02:41 PM

Never tried it, but normally you do not want any sheen or hot spotting. Actually the formula has gone through many changes since I used to hang out at the DIY forum for screens on AVS. I spent lots of time testing and trying various samples and formula's that took lots of time. There may be some new changes I'm not aware of.

Some have been happy with just Behr Silverscreen, which does not have as many different ingrediants.

Matte White (flat) screens have been around the industry for ever, and are the norm. Some people like high power screens, but I think you start to lose contrast. Others like to use Contrast enhancing screens, however, you lose color vibrance.

The Z4 has great contrast that rivals some DLPs that are out there now. Also, colors are dead on with the Z4. Most likely you would be happy with just a matte white screen.

Another option, if you have a home improvement store around is to look for Parkland Durotherm Lite panels. I bought them at Menards before, they come in a 4' x 8' x 5/16" thick light weight panel found standing up in the paneling aisle. One side is smooth flat white and works great for a screen. Just hang it and enjoy. You can paint your back wall black or build a black border to help with perceived blacks. In my opinion, a border or painted back wall is a must. It really improves the picture quality. This material can also be trimed to accomodate a 16:9 screen.

Here is my Dazian matte white 2.35 cinemascope screen.

Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/06/06 03:18 PM

Thanks for the info. It's very helpfull. I have a couple months to think about all this and haven't ruled out building a screen, but I like to keep my options open.

Heck, by the time I need to buy a projector, they might just come down in price too. Probably around May/June is when I'll be ready for it.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/14/06 12:41 AM

OK Randy, Iím going to try that paint recipe. Iím heading to the big city tomorrow to buy a Jacuzzi and other building materials, including paint.

What do you use for the black boarder? And what about the ceiling? Iím going with a really dark red/maroon for the walls in an eggshell finish, and donít want to go black on the ceiling. Any other suggestions for the ceiling? Black just gives me the creepsÖÖ.

Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/14/06 08:49 AM

Mike, I would take some time to read the threads on the AVSforum "DIY Screen Forum" .... I think a lot of things have changed since I did my first painted screen over a 1.5 yrs ago. I know the MMud formula, which they now call Light Fusion, used to have a person put 1-2 coats of the Silver on first, letting each one dry, they the mud goes on top in vary thin coats as well, untill you can barely see a hint of the metalic. The top coat is translucent enough that it lets light pass through and reflect off the silver. Some people are now using plexi mirror, or even mirrors to substitute the Silver and just applying the mud on top. Others mix a certain percentage of Silver into the mud.

Also, I experiemented with many test pieces before I sprayed my wall, and there is a science to that as well. You could send MississippiMan a PM on AVS forum, he will give you all the details.

Or, you could try the Silverscreen option, not as many ingrediants. For me, I spent countless hours talking to the paint experts on AVS, spent lots of time spraying small samples before I actually did my first wall on my upstairs theater room. After we had our second son, he got that room, so I had to start over downstairs.

Personally, if it was me, I would just buy material, build a frame, and stretch the material over the frame like my current screen. I love the performance of this screen. Nickbuol, another member on this website, bought his screen from Carada, they make awesome screens with a border incorporated in with the screen at good prices.

Again, the ingrediants listed above where one of the first versions of the mud formula, I'm sure it has changed somewhat since a year ago.

I just checked the forum, and it appears there is a new mix in town that consists of:

16 oz. - Behr Ultra Pure White Flat Exterior (HD) $10
8 oz. - Behr Deep Base Flat Exterior (HD) $9
16 oz. - Delta Ceramcoat Pearl #02601 (Michaels) $8
8 oz. - Delta Ceramcoat Metallic Silver #02603 (Michaels) $4
10 oz. Minwax Polycrylic Satin Finish (HD) $14
6 oz. Distilled or Tap Water

Here is the questions forum for that mix.

So you can see it is constantly evolving. If you have the time ti figure it all out and test, go for it....I spent a lot of time doing that, now I just enjoy everything.

ps: My ceiling was done a darker blue to match my walls, the back wall behind the screen is black. Make sure you don't use a gloss or semi gloss, or you will get reflections in the room.

Posted by: michael_d

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/14/06 01:16 PM

Damn that's a lot of reading. I'm just going to try it. No mirrors either. If I don't like it, I'll build a screen.

Thanks for your help.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/14/06 01:37 PM

If your going to read one, start with this thread...It was the original thread I started with a year ago, some of the changes are noted by Mississippiman himself. Most people are mixing the SM in with the mud in varying %, depending on the projector your going to use and your room conditions...

good luck
Posted by: ripvan

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/15/06 09:11 PM

I'm also in the market for a new projector. I went to B&H to see the 900 right next to the Z4, but it wasn't a fair comparison b/c the screens were different. I'm pretty set on the Z4 and a DIY screen. I have about 35 sheets of 1/2" birch plywood....can I use this or should I pick up a sheet of MDF, Gatorboard, etc?
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Sanyo Z4 - 01/15/06 11:36 PM

If you don't want to mess with the paint methods, there are lots of other options. Depending on how big of screen you want, you could go with Parkland Durotherm Lite panels. They are a corrugated PVC material that is 4' x 8' x 5/16" thick. One side is smooth/flat/matte white and works great for a screen. Many on AVS use this method and trim or incorporate a masking border to get the desired size. It can be found at Menards in the paneling aisle, or may be available at Lowes or Home Depot. There are other options like Black Out cloth that can be found at JoAnn's Fabrics, or just Ultra Pure White Flat exterior paint works good as well, on un textured walls...