Note: This projector was reviewed in comparison to 4 others as part of the Into the light – 5 projectors reviewed article.
Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
Sanyo’s PLV-Z5 has been around for a year or so, and it remains one of the most highly regarded budget 720p projectors (ie. 1280 x 720 pixels) available. Like most of these it uses three LCD panels to generate the image.
There are two HDMI input sockets plus two sets of component video inputs, so a wide range of equipment is supported.
The lens is contained within the projector’s body so it is protected from damage. Despite this it offers both horizontal and vertical lens adjust, and a 2x zoom, making placement very easy. With the wide zoom range the projector can be anywhere from three to 6.1 metres to fill a 100 inch screen. For further protection, when the projector is placed in standby mode, a sliding panel closes across the front of the lens (also protecting it from dust).
The projector supports the most film-like video standard from Blu-ray and HD DVD players. Sort of. It will accept this 1080p24 signal, but does a peculiar job of displaying it, advancing the frames with a kind of rippling effect. It’s best not to use this signal with this projector.
Aside from that, on all aspects of high definition performance it delivered well, although not quite as well as the Sony. For example, on a test disc of 1080i material there were some jaggies on near-horizontal lines.
What the projector does do fairly well, in terms of picture processing, is accept standard definition video (ie. 576i) over HDMI from DVD players, and it does a better job on converting these to progressive scan than most inexpensive DVD players, so this will give many people the best picture quality. Just make sure that you set Progressive in the Image Adjustment menu to Film.
Colour performance was excellent, as was low light detail, and there was plenty of brightness available. The PLV-Z5 remains a fine low-cost projector.