Affordable Projectors for Non-Dedicated Home Theater Rooms - Sanyo PLV-Z2000 1080p Projector



During my time with the Sanyo, I experimented with placing it on a coffee table in front of my love seat (about nine feet from the screen), and also on a small shelf I put at the back of the room, about 15’ from the screen. Keep in mind, as you move the projector farther back in the room you will need to use the zoom lens to fill the screen.

With the coffee table set-up, I was initially concerned about fan noise and stray light from the projector. However, my concerns were not warranted. The Sanyo only puts out 19dB from the fan in economy mode, and even with it sitting on the coffee table directly in front of me, I didn’t hear it, other than in extremely quiet passages (and even then it was barely noticeable). Another nice feature is the automatic door that covers the lens when not in use. This comes in especially handy in a coffee table set-up, where the lens would otherwise be in reach of curious fingers and pets.

The Sanyo was a breeze to set up. Connections required only an HDMI cable (the Sanyo’s HDMI is v. 1.3) and power cord, and booting it up was a one-button operation. The set up menu, accessible both from the remote control and top of the projector, was fairly intuitive. The PLV-Z2000 has seven different brightness pre-sets, with names like Brilliant Cinema, Natural, Dynamic, and Vivid. One of the benefits of the various settings, especially in my space, was the ability to set the Sanyo to one of the brighter options while viewing during the daytime, when ambient light was a concern, to a more balanced setting during nighttime hours, which produced a more life-like image under low light conditions.

Here is a close-up of the lens assembly. The second photo shows the lens shift panel.

Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Lens

















Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Lens Shift











Basic controls are on the top of the projector.


Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Top Panel


















Here is the rear panel, illustrating the myriad inputs, including two HDMI.

Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Rear Panel













One issue with any front projector in a non-dedicated room is getting the HDMI cable from the source (either pre/pro, receiver) to the projector. Just for the heck of it, I looked into the cost of having an electrician pull cable under the crawl space and through walls to the back of the room. Suffice to say, while not an enormous expense, it would add a significant percentage to the overall cost of an entry-level system, in addition to spousal distress at the sight of holes in the walls. There are DIY cable channel systems that masquerade as molding, which are a fraction of the cost (in fact, Epson makes a complete system, the Ensemble, that includes the projector, speakers, motorized screen, and a specialized molding that holds the power and signal cables). But the ability to use a channel-molding system is dependent on the particulars of the room and projector placement. I opted for a  30’ HDMI cable (from Monoprice), and ran it under the rug on my family room floor to the coffee table. Not the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but certainly workable.

The remote control, shown below, lets you select an input as well as change picture characteristics (brightness, contrast, color, etc.)

Sanyo PLV-Z2000 Projector Remote Control

Wireless HDMI is getting closer to reality, but still over the horizon (and I’m shocked, shocked to hear that there are several incompatible formats for delivering wireless HDMI being proposed by various CE manufacturers). If and when wireless delivery of HDMI becomes available, it will eliminate a major impediment to the ease of front projector installation in non-dedicated rooms. I will be curious to see if any major announcements come of out of the upcoming CEDIA 2008 Expo.