Product Review (September 2003) - Sharp
SharpVision™ XV-Z10000U
High-Definition DLP™ Front Projector

Sharp redefined high performance projectors with the introduction of their XV-Z9000U last year. This year's XV-Z10000U offers even more performance with the inclusion of the latest Texas Instruments HD2/Mustang DLP Digital Micromirror Device™ (DMD™) chip. Several significant improvements have been made to the latest Texas Instruments HD2 DLP chip compared to the previous HD1 DMD™. Each pixel of the new HD2 DMD™ has a larger angle of deflection (12° versus 10°), which results in better contrast and deeper black levels. In addition, TI incorporates a Dark Metal process that further improves contrast by reducing the reflective surface around the Mircomirror elements. The resolution of the new HD2 DLP has the same native resolution of 1280x720 offered in the previous HD1 device. The light is projected through a Minolta™ optical lens system that results in an exceptionally clean image. Sharp's new XV-Z10000U uses a new proprietary Computer & Video Integrated Composer (CV-IC II) System technology that produces an impressive contrast ratio claimed to be as high as 2600:1. The chassis of the XV-Z10000U is actually larger than most DLP-based projectors we've seen and the smooth curves are certainly more appealing to the eye than some of the box-like chassis.

The XV-Z10000U also includes a new DVI interface capable of supporting the High Definition Content Protection (HDCP) encryption protocol, which enables compatibility with future generation high definition set-top boxes. The DVI input is also compatible with Home Theater PC (HTPC) products currently on the market. The 6-segment, 5X color wheel design reduces the color separation problem also known as the rainbow effect often seen with single DLP projectors. This phenomenon occurs when viewers blink or move their eyes rapidly across the screen, which interrupts the integration of the multiplexed color sequence. The result is rainbow-colored fringing containing red, green, and blue, similar to a misconverged picture, but only during motion. The new color wheel design increases the repetition rate of the color segments that greatly reduces the separation artifacts.

Setup
We used a 100" 16:9 Stewart FireHawk filmscreen mounted on a Deluxe Luxus frame which properly matched the native aspect ratio of this projector. The inside screen dimensions measured 87" x 49" with a 3-1/2" frame covered with the light absorbing black Velux material. This allowed us to slightly overscan the image to completely make a perfect 16:9 image. The projector easily accommodated the screen diagonal at a distance of about 14 feet. Both the focus and zoom are fully manual making it a little labor intensive during the installation. The lens shift adjustment on the XV-Z10000U is interesting in that it moves the image so that the projector can be positioned anywhere from the bottom to the top of the screen. I'm not sure why this was chosen over having the function adjust the image well above or below the screen. In most cases, installers will mount the projector above the screen, but this configuration is not possible with this projector without using the keystone adjustments. Since we prefer not to use the keystone correction (due to image degradations), we placed the projector aligned with the top of the screen.

SharpVision Manager V2.0 for Windows is included with the projector. This software communicates with the XV-Z10000U through the serial port on the back of the unit. When the software is launched, it looks for the projector and initializes the user interface with the current projector settings. Full image control can be accomplished with this program. Each of the five inputs has separate CMS and Gamma control settings. In addition, gamma can be adjusted using the "click and drag" feature of the software.

Remote
The compact remote is well designed with backlit buttons; each identified with unique symbols for easy viewing in the dark. Separate On and Off buttons are provided to prevent accidental powering off of the unit. Five dedicated Input select buttons make it convenient to switch between inputs. Left, Right, Up and Down navigation keys surround the Enter button used for menu navigation. Auto Sync (computer), Resize (aspect ratio), RGB/Comp (color space) and Picture Settings (picture memories) are also provided. The Backlight Light button is located in the lower center of the remote.

A panel located towards the rear of the unit reveals many of the same controls found on the remote. Navigation and Menu controls are found here, but are probably seldom used in a home theater installation. Indicators for Power, Temperature and Lamp Replacement are located on the top of the projector. When the lamp has had 1900 hours of use, the indicator turns yellow signaling a warning to replace the lamp. After 2000 hours, the indicator turns red and shuts down the projector. This prevents the projector from being turned on again until the lamp has been replaced.

Connectivity
All connections on the XV-Z10000U are located on the rear of the unit. A total of five video inputs are available; one composite (Input 4), one s-video (Input 3), two analog component (Input 1 & 2) and one DVI-I connection (Input 5). The component video inputs support either RGB or YPrPb input formats. The DVI-I interface can work with both analog and digital signals and includes full HDCP support in the latter case. An RS232 serial port allows the projector to be commanded from an external controller and is fully documented in the Owner's Manual. Finally, there's a 12VDC output jack for triggering an external device such as a motorized screen or similar devices.

Colors
The CMS (Color Management System) designed in the XV-Z10000U allows users to adjust the primary colors of the projector. Since the factory colors are slightly different from the ideal Red, Green and Blue primaries specified by SMPTE, the CMS helps correct this. As a result, the colors appear more natural with realistic looking flesh tones. Using the menu controls, color temperature can be adjusted from anywhere between 5500°K to 11500°K in 100°K increments. We began calibrating the XV-Z10000U and soon found that the color tracking was right on 6500°K. This was amazing to us because we received a brand new unit from the factory that was never adjusted by anyone outside of Sharp and it only had about 50 hours on the lamp. The black levels looked excellent especially with the Stewart FireHawk filmscreen.

The projector has a mechanical button located on the front that switches between High Brightness and High Contrast. The manual refers to this as the Theater Mode Function. What I liked about this feature is that depending on the viewing environment, one can optimize performance. The High Contrast mode lowers overall brightness while improving the contrast and black level of the image. The High Brightness mode optimizes the picture in settings with more ambient light. This projector produces an enormous amount of light output. We measured almost 40 foot-Lamberts in the High Brightness mode and almost 30 foot-Lamberts in the High Contrast mode.

Menus
The on-screen menu system is one of the most impressive I've seen in a projector. The user can select from eleven different languages. A summary screen fills a large portion of the field-of-view with the details of the projector's settings. Screen controls are available for adjusting position of the picture. They are listed under the Fine Sync menu and include Clock, Phase, Horizontal Position, and Vertical Position adjustments. Also included in this menu is an information screen that displays the resolution along with the horizontal and vertical scan rates.
Menu options are different depending on the video input selected. Video inputs 1, 2 and 5 use one set while video inputs 3 and 4 use another set. The Picture menu has the standard settings for Contrast, Brightness, Color and Tint. Also included in this menu is Color Temperature, Gamma control and Progressive modes. The Options menu controls the level of the DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) and Signal Type (Component or RGB) and displays other information including Lamp Timer, Projector Orientation, On-Screen Display, Economy Mode and Background color.

Progressive Modes
The XV-Z10000U has three progressive mode settings (2D, 3D and Film) for deinterlacing the incoming video. This can cause some confusion for users if they don't understand what each setting means. The 2D progressive mode performs best with fast motion scenes, virtually eliminating interlacing artifacts at the cost of a somewhat softer looking image. The 3D mode appears to work the best for all-around video content. This mode appears to properly detect film-based source material and performs the processing that reconstructs the 24 frames per second and outputs them at 60 frames per second with virtually no artifacts. Interlaced material, such as video from camcorders, also looked very good in the 3D mode. The Film mode expects the content to be film-based and always performs the 24-to-60 frame per second conversion. The conclusion is if you're going to keep the projector in a single mode, use the 3D mode. The XV-Z10000U did an amazing job on a variety of source material including both interlaced and progressive content.

Aspect Ratio Control
There are five possible aspect ratio modes depending on the incoming video scan rate. They include Side Bar, Smart Stretch, Cinema Zoom, Stretch and Dot by Dot. The Side Bar mode displays a 4:3 image within the 16:9 screen with side bars. The Smart Stretch mode tries to preserve the correct geometry in the middle of the screen while stretching both the left and right sides to fill the 16:9 screen. This makes the majority of the picture look correct while preventing side bars. A slight vertical stretch is also applied to the image. The Stretch mode is intended for letterbox video where the image is stretched vertically to compensate for the image being stretched horizontally from the 4:3 to 16:9 screen difference. The result is a picture that better fills the 16:9 screen with fewer horizontal bars on the top and bottom. Finally, the Dot-by-Dot mode displays the image without any scaling. Each incoming pixel gets mapped to a DLP pixel.

Performance
Picture quality on the XV-Z10000U was very impressive with quality source material. The internal Computer & Video Integrated Composer (CV-IC II) System worked well and performed flawlessly with 1080i material used during much of the testing. We used our JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS VCR that is capable of playing the new D-Theater tapes to show high definition movies. We watched Kiss of the Dragon and Galaxy Quest and the results were stunning. Colors were very life-like and dark scenes revealed nice shadow details.

We also watched several movies on DirecTV including HBO's HD channel and HDNet. In our opinion, HDNet is superior in terms of picture quality with very low noise and beautiful picture quality. Much of the content on HDNet originates from high-definition cameras as opposed to HD video converted from film. In any event, watching high-definition on your screen leaves you spoiled and anything else takes getting used to.

Our local high-definition broadcasts were also a wonderful experience. NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno is always a treat if you can put up with the occasional compression artifacts from the studio. This program is a real treat for videophiles who have taken the plunge into the HD world. Our local PBS channel in Los Angeles has also been one of the best looking high-definition channels available. Both terrestrial channels output video in the 1080i format which get converted to 720p by the XV-Z10000U video processor. The deinterlacing and scaling processing inside of the XV-Z10000U is excellent even without the use of the popular Faroudja DCDi or Silicon Image chips. Sharp is certainly doing something right with their CV-IC II system.

Conclusion
The new Sharp XV-Z10000U once again sets the benchmark for high-performance DLP projectors as did its predecessor. The excellent black level performance and high contrast ratio makes this projector difficult to beat. The color accuracy was phenomenal, far better than many DLP projectors we've seen. Furthermore, the scan rate conversion from 1080i or 480i/p to the native 720p did an incredible job from what we saw on our 100" Stewart FireHawk screen. The XV-Z10000U certainly raises the bar of HD2-based projectors currently on the market.

- Kevin Nakano


Review System

Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" diagonol FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box #1: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
Set-top Box #2: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer with ColorFacts Software


Review at a glance
Sharp - SharpVision™ DLP™ Front Projector

Specifications

  • HDTV Compatible: 1080i (in advanced intelligent compression), 720P, 480i/p
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3/16:9
  • Resolution: 1280 x 720 Pixels
  • Brightness: 800 ANSI Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio: 2600:1
  • High Contrast Mode
  • Component Inputs
  • Component/RGBx2(5RCA)
  • Video x 1 (RCA)
  • S-video x 1
  • Computer RGB Exclusive x 1 (D-sub 15pin)
  • Wired Remote Control x 1 (3.5mm Mini Jack)
  • RS-232C Serial Port x 1 (9-Pin D-Sub)
  • DVI/HDCP
  • Anamorphic DVD Capable
  • 3D Y/C Digital Comb Filter
  • Optical Lens Shift: 1 Full Screen Height
  • Film Mode: 24 Hz Progressive Format
  • Number of Pixels: 921,600 (1280x720)
  • Computer RGB Input Signals: SXGA, XGA,SVGA, VGA, VESA, Mac 21, 19 (in advanced intellegent compression) Mac 16/13
  • Video System: NTSC/PAL/SECAM
  • Lens Type: 1-1.35x Zoom Lens
  • Projection Lamp Type/Life: 270W SHP/2000 Hours
  • RGB Input Type: 15-Pin Mini Sub Connector
  • Component Input Type: RCA Connector
  • S-Video Type: 4-Pin Mini DIN Connector
  • Composite Video Type: 1.0 Vp-p
  • Wired Remote Control Type: 0.35 mm Minijack
  • RS-232C Serial Port: 9-Pin D-sub Connector
  • Gamma Correction
  • Active Digital Keystone Correction
  • Color Temperature Adjustment
  • Detachable AC Cord
  • Optional Ceiling Bracket AN-CM250
  • Wireless Remote Control
  • Digital Decoder Required for HDTV
  • Power Source: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz (Multi-Voltage)
  • Power Consumption: 365W
  • Weight: 20.9 lbs. (9.5kg)

    Features

  • 3D Y/C Digital Comb Filter
  • Optical Lens Shift
  • Gamma Correction
  • Film Mode, 24 Hz Progressive Format
  • 921,600 (1280x720) pixels
  • 270W SHP/2000 Hours (Type/Life) Projection Lamp
  • Active Digital Keystone Correction
  • Color Temperature Adjustment
  • 1-1.35x Zoom Lens

    Connections

  • Component Inputs Component/RGBx2 (5-RCA)
  • Video x 1 (RCA)
  • S-video x 1
  • Computer RGB Exclusive x 1 (D-sub 15pin)
  • Wired Remote Control x 1 (3.5mm Mini Jack)
  • RS-232C Serial Port x 1 (9-Pin D-Sub)
  • DV1/HDCP

    Dimensions
    18.7" x 7" x 19.5" (457 x 178 x 496mm) (w x h x d) (with terminal cover)
    18.7" x 7" x 16" (475 x 178 x 406mm) (main body only)

    Company Information
    Sharp Electronics Corporation
    Sharp Plaza
    Mahwah, New Jersey 07430-2135
    Phone: 800-BE-SHARP
    Fax: 201 529-8425
    URL: www.sharpUSA.com

    Source: Manufacture loan
    Serial Number: 302312337
    MSRP: $10,995.95
    Warranty: 1 year parts/labor

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