Product Review

Sharp XV-Z21000 (XV-Z20000) Single-Panel 16:9 1080p DLP Digital Projector

Part II

January, 2007

Ofer LaOr


Color Temperature, RGB, Gamma, and Spectral Analysis charts are shown below. Like more and more projectors these days, everything is pretty reasonable, out of the box, from 30 IRE on up.

I quickly ran through some 1080i, 720p, and 480i content. Sharp really came a long way from the abysmal de-interlacing of the XV-Z12000 (forcing one to choose manually between de-interlacing modes). Still, SDTV content will look better with an outboard scaler. I mostly focused on the scaling engine, which was "ok" for 480/720, but nothing to write home about. Bundled with a good scaler (Lumagen, Pixel Magic, DVDO), SD content will look much better.

This is a 1080p projector, so I spent most of my time watching 1080 content. We started with BBC's Classical Destinations, depicting a scene in Italy. This is just amazing footage, full of life, detail, and character. The image was so 3D, I felt I could just walk into the scene, feed the pigeons, and enjoy the architecture. The Z21000 image is immersive and well rounded, you can easily forget yourself within it.

We proceeded with a viewing of Pulp Fiction. The details in Uma's eyes as she portrays the drugged-out Mia was just amazing. One thing that did bother me was an excessive amount of what I thought was dithering. Pausing the film showed that the problem was simply in the source, so this projector is merciless and needs a good clean source to be realistic. A BD or HD DVD player will work better than OTA content.

One scene I watched repeatedly was in Kill Bill, with a group of Chinese assassins in the restaurant. This scene was so bloody and over the top that the experience was really enhanced by this projector. I remember watching it in the movie theater for the first time, and I don't think it impacted me quite a much as it had this time.

At this point, the Rainbow Effect (REF) eye strain was getting a bit too much for me. Of course, there are many consumers who are not sensitive to REF. If that's your situation, this projector could be for you.

Next, I watched a small Bruce Willis scene from Tears of the Sun. The scarred look on Bruce's face was enhanced by the rich colors and the deep blacks.

Then, I tried seeing how well an SD DVD version of Jurassic Park stood up to the HDTV content I had just viewed. Well, the results were not that great. Although I had a Denon 2910 player on hand (Faroudja scaling) set to 1080i output, the results disappointed me. Without an outboard scaler, I recommend just not watching SD content with this projector.

We also tried comparing the Z21000 with a Runco 720p projector that had a Panamorph lens on it. Although I have seen the projector quite a few times, I had no idea how much better full 1080p could look until I compared these two options. Even with the Panamorph lens, the Runco projector was no match for the Z21000. (The Runco with the Panamorph lens lets you utilize the full dimensions of the 16:9 panel, but then expand the image out to 2.35:1 with the special lens.)

The brightness of the projector, particularly when compared with the capabilities of projectors like the Sony Pearl VW50, make me wish the Z21000 had more brightness. An obvious solution is to use a higher gain projector screen. Such a projector screen, while it could reduce the sweet spot viewing range, would make the image punchier and brighter.


The Sharp XV-Z21000 has one of the best pictures I've seen in a consumer projector. The projector is sharp, feature laden, robust, and quiet. It has medium brightness (1,000 ANSI lumens), and should work well in most applications.

- Ofer LaOr -

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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