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SharpVision XV-Z30000 1920 x 1080 DLP Projector - 1600 lumens
  • $4,999.003D 1080p (1920 x 1080) High Definition Front Projector6-Segment, 5x Speed Color Wheel50,000:1 Contrast Ratio (in High Contrast Mode)1600 Lumens (in High Brightness Mode)Lens Shift Capability(Horizontal/Vertical)Automatic Iris Switchover Function2 HDMIinputs (v. 1.4 3D)2 Sets of 3D Glasses (Included)3D Emitter (Included)
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Product Includes

Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector Highlights

  • 3D capable, includes supporting both 720 and 1080i/1080p 3D, including Blu-ray 3D and all DirecTV 3D content we could try
  • Very interesting physical design - pretty cool
  • Good color controls calibrates well
  • Three year warranty better than most
  • Saved Memory feature saves color mode and lens settings
  • Sold primarily though authorized local dealers
  • Rather typical in overall brightness
  • Rich DLP look and feel to the image

Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector Overview

The new Sharp XV-Z30000 home theater projector is more than just an unusual looking home theater projector with its rounded front. The Sharp XV-Z30000 is Sharps 2nd 3D capable home projector. The first one, their XV-Z17000 was, in reality the first reasonable 3D capable 1080p home theater projector available in the US, when released almost two and a half years ago.

Sharp has had a long time to create this higher performance projector. There are improvements in picture quality, for sure, however, this XV-Z30000 projector is also more feature laden and automated, including a wide range zoom lens with power zoom, lens shift and focus, allowing for a lens memory setup for those desiring to use a wide - cinemascope shaped screen instead of the traditional 16:9 standard screen. That compares with a limited 1.2:1 zoom, no lens shift, and all manual on the older Z17000. More on the lens, below in special features.

In the following pages, we will explore this Sharp projector, taking a tour of the projector and remote, then discussing image quality, including how the Sharp XV-Z30000 stacks up in terms of out of the box performance, and how it looks after a grayscale calibration. We look not just at color and skin tones, but also black level performance and handling of dark shadow details. On the Image Quality page, we will also consider this projector for non-movie viewing such as sports, and HDTV in general.

This is a reasonably well endowed projector. The Sharp XV-Z30000 does, however, lack CFI creative frame interpolation, often referred to as smooth motion. More below on this.

Overall, this Sharp XV-Z30000 is a very nice single chip DLP home theater projector. Although there are some trade-offs, we find it most similar to the Mitsubishi HC7800D, and the old Optoma HD8300, both DLPs. Whereas we liked the Mitsubishi enough to give it a Special Interest Award, I do like this Sharp even better, and appropriately have given it one of our Hot Product awards.

Time to take a close look at the Sharp XV-Z30000.

XV-Z30000 Lamp Life

he Sharp XV-Z30000′s lamp life is rated 5,000 hours in low power mode. Thats about as good as it gets with home theater projectors.

The Z30000, however is only rated a standard 2000 hours at full power. Thats what we have called average until recently, but now the average at full power is a bit higher. Bottom line on lamp life: If you can run the Z30000 mostly in low power (eco-mode), you will have a significantly quieter projector and a very low cost of operation. At full power, though, all of the competition claims to get at least the same 2000 hour lamp life, and some claim twice the hours, which means those others will have lower long term costs.

Sharp 2:1 Zoom Lens

This is a real departure. The older Sharps lens setup was manual with minimal zoom range. Now we have a very nice motorized zoom lens with a full 2:1 ratio about as good as it gets in placement flexibility. Add to that, motorized focus and motorized lens shift, and then add some firmware, and you have:

Sharp XV-Z30000 Lens Memory

Like several other projectors, including Panasonic and JVC, this Sharp XV-Z30000 can save your lens settings. In fact when you do a memory save with the Z30000, it saves lens settings, color mode, aspect ratio and much more.

As a result, I have the Sharp XV-Z30000 Memory 1 set for viewing 2.35:1 movie on my 2.35:1 aspect ratio Stewart screen, filling 124″ diagonal. When I select Memory 1, the projector switches to Movie 1 mode with my settings. When I switch to Memory 2 (yes you can assign names to the memories), Ive set that up for 16:9, Stage color mode, and filling the screen top to bottom (about 98″ diagonal). In other words, Memory 1 for Movie viewing, Memory 2 for max brightness for sports viewing. Nice!

XV-Z30000 Projector - 3D Performance

The Sharp XV-Z30000 is fully 3D capable. There is an emitter which plugs into the rear of the projector, via a very long thin cable. I placed the emitter on top of my projector pointing to the screen. Glasses worked fine from pretty much everywhere in my roughly 22 foot deep theater, even with the signal bouncing off the screen. Sharps 3D glasses I found to be rather comfortable, and they fit nicely over my glasses. I claim a large head, and they arent tight. These same glasses might be loose though on an 8 or 10 year old?

Sharps 3D glasses run on a lithium battery (watch style) which they say will last 75 hours before you need a new battery. 75 hours is an awful lot of 3D viewing relative to the amount of 3D content out there vs. 2D content. Few I would expect, would need to change the battery out in less than a year, and for many, perhaps years.

I really only spent a few hours 3D viewing using the Z30000. One movie, some segments of others and some recorded sports and some Guitar Center concerts off of DirecTV.

3D image quality itself was very good, as expected. DLPs tend to produce the cleanest 3D at this point in time, as they are essentially crosstalk free on their end. Nor was color accuracy an issue. I was fine watching some Tahiti 3D, and a lot of Hugo in 3D, as far as overall picture.

My issues were when trying to watch some X Games and other sports in 3D, where at about 100″ diagonal with my 1.3 gain screen, I wasnt at all able to enjoy 3D with the amounts of ambient light I prefer on, in my room, for viewing sports with friends. I also found movies like Alice and Tron to be a bit too dim for my taste at that size (with the room darkened).

All that makes the Sharp XV-Z30000 a lot like the vast majority of the 3D capable projectors out there over $2000 in terms of probably not being bright enough at 3D for those really into 3D. For the much larger (based on emails I receive) groups of folks who arent interested in 3D, or are only casually interested (I figure Ill play around with some 3D, but its not really important), which is to say, most folks, this Sharp projectors 3D is just fine. There are very few projectors that can claim any decent brightness in 3D The Panasonic and Epson 3D capable projectors are dramatically brighter at 3D. The BenQ W7000 is the only affordable DLP I can think of thats significantly brighter almost 80% compared to the Sharp even if the BenQs not as bright as those LCD projectors. When it comes to brightness, most 3D projectors out there are like the Sharp, with about 1000 1200 lumens available, and thats not going to get you solid bright 3D, except on screens smaller than 100″ diagonal, unless you have a real high gain screen.

Some of you (assuming properly positioning of the projector) might choose to have a 100″ or even 110″ diagonal screen for 2D, but use the motorized zoom to make a much smaller image say 70″ diagonal for 3D. The 2:1 zoom will allow that. You can even use the Lens Memory feature. A 70″ image would give you the same brightness as a projector twice as bright on a 100″ screen. Got it?

Bottom line on 3D: The Sharp XV-Z30000 has really fine looking 3D performance, but not for a larger screen. In that regard, figure its going to be similar in brightness to several other projectors in the price range; the JVC X30/RS45 and Sony VPL-HW30ES for example. It should prove a little brighter than the Mitsubishi HC7800D, while on the other hand, the Panasonic and Epson 3D projectors are actually rather bright in 3D, and most suitable for those who really are into 3D.

Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector: 2D to 3D conversion

If this Z30000 allows you to convert 2D content to watch in 3D, I havent found the trick yet. I do not think its one of this Sharps tricks!

Thats perfectly OK by me. Im a 3D fan, but have yet to enjoy any 2D to 3D on the fly conversion by a projector. The loss of brightness in exchange for far less than perfect 3D doesnt make sense to me. The one place I think it can be fun though if you have that ability is to view your own family videos in simulated 3D. Of course you can buy an external box to do that if it really means that much to you.

XV-Z30000 Creative Frame Interpolation - or rather: Lack thereof

Thats right, no CFI. CFI has really become rather a standard feature on most over $2000 projectors, so not seeing it on the Z30000 really did catch me by surprise. As mentioned elsewhere, CFIs a nice feature which can smooth out motion a bit. We wont get into much detail here (look for our forthcoming Projector Reviews TV segment on CFI). I use CFI almost exclusively for sports viewing. Most enthusiasts would not consider using CFI on a movie, as it so dramatically can change the directors intent. That said, I find that most kids teenagers, college kids, of my acquaintance, dont seem to care one way or another.

Sharp, Im pretty sure, sees the XV-Z30000 as a projector, first and foremost for viewing movie content, and in a proper room. This is not your family room projector, that excels in having tons of lumens for sports and ambient lighting. As such, having CFI is not very important to this projectors success, or to Sharp owners appreciating the Z30000. I agree.

To me CFI is a nice feature to have, but not a particularly important one, and for that matter, not important at all, to most. I wouldnt lose 10 minutes sleep over not having CFI, although it may matter a lot more to a few of you.

Lets now take a close look at how the XV-Z30000 projector is laid out.

Sharp XV-Z30000 Projector - Appearance

Certainly the semi-circular front of the Sharp XV-Z30000 is its most unique physical trait. This all black finished projector, offers a center mounted, recessed lens, with a snap on protective cover.

The recessed zoom lens itself has very close to a 2:1 zoom ratio (just a tiny bit less than that, actually, per the manuals spec page, but based on Sharps throw chart, it should be just slightly more than 2:1).

The XV-Z30000 projector has its front infra-red (IR) sensor just to the left of the lens (when facing the projector). Below the lens, on the bottom, is a single, screw thread adjustable front foot. Ill note at this point, that there are also two rear feet, the right one being screw thread style adjustable, and the left one fixed. Few, I expect, are planning to set this Sharp XV-Z30000 home theater projector on a table top, but for those who area three point stance is really easy to make stable. That said, better if the back left leg was adjustable like the other two.

Vents are to the sides of the lens, pointing off angle. More are in the back. I will mention here (and elsewhere), that there is a surprising amount of light leaking out of this projector from the front left vent. Its not pointing near the screen, but it is more than we expect for projectors in this price range.

All the inputs are in the back, and are discussed below. The XV-Z30000 control panel next on our agenda, is located on the left side (looking from the front).

XV-Z30000 Control Panel

As you can see from the image of the XV-Z30000 projectors control panel, it consists of a long row of small buttons. The control panel is complemented with three indicator lights that, instead, are located on the top of the projector (more universally visible if you ceiling mount.

No real surprises with the control panel options, so well start at the back of the side with the Power button (press once for on, twice to power down). Moving toward the front, the next button brings up the Lens menu, allowing control of zoom, focus, and lens shift (each of which have their own buttons on the remote control).

Next come buttons relating to navigation, with Return, and Enter, followed by four navigation arrow buttons: Down, Up, Left and Right.

When you are not in the menu system, however, the Up and Down arrow buttons move you (up or down) through the input choices.

Further to the right, next comes the obviously important Menu button. Thats followed by one for Keystone correction (which you hopefully wont need, considering the vertical and horizontal lens shift offered. After that, the last two buttons are to toggle 3D, and Resize, which is for when working with analog computer inputs.

Thats it. Not as easy to navigate the control panel as more traditional ones, ones not restricted to a straight line of buttons, but it is adequate, especially since youve got a good remote control. Most of us would prefer a more two dimensional layout, such as the arrow keys in a diamond configuration, with the Enter button in the middle.

Ultimately, no problems with using the control panel.

XV-Z30000 Projector - Input/Output
There really arent any surprises here, except perhaps the lack of the usual RCA jack for a composite video source. Youll also note that the projector does not have an S-Video input, but thats becoming less and less surprising, as a number of home theater projectors have dropped S-video.

What you do get for your money, is a pair of HDMI 1.4 inputs, plus a standard analog computer input that can alternately handle a Component Video feed. A set of three color coded RCA jacks sit in between the HDMI inputs and the analog computer input. Basically, you have support for two component video feeds if you arent needing the analog computer input.

A 3D connector for the external emitter is also found on the back.

When it comes to communicating with the world, you will find that the Sharp XV-Z30000 comes equipped with both an ethernet style LAN connector (RJ45, of course), and also an RS232 serial port for command and control. In other words, this projector should be able to talk to almost all room and home control systems, via one, or the other.

Lets not forget, there is one 12 volt screen trigger for those needing. Also on the back, theres the usual Kensington lock (I think every projector has one), and, of course, the power receptacle.

Sharp sells the XV-Z30000 internationally, providing the right power cord needed for your location.

As always, I would prefer to see a 3rd HDMI input, but few offer it. (The Panasonic PT-AE7000 is an exception, and does)

XV-Z30000 Menus

Other than the size of the type being rather small, I mean small enough that it may be tough to read if you are sitting pretty far back, I like the Menu system. The menus are slightly translucent. I photographed them in the middle of three menu brightness modes. You can place the menus in different parts of the screen, controled from the menu system.

Projector Adjus

Our next menu is Projector Adjust - call those mostly operational controls such as various power and energy settings, the ability to rename inputs to your convenience (ie. change HDTV2 to Sony PS3). Of greatest interest by far, is the Memory menu, which was discussed on the first page under special features as LENS MEMORY

Sharp XV-Z30000 Remote Control

Ill start by saying I really like the layout, and also the options offered on the remote control, as well as its range. ButI still cannot call this a really good remote! Why?

I cannot believe the Sharp XV-Z30000 remote control is not back lit. OK, sure, the buttons all glow a faint greenish white, but it is so dim it didnt help me a bit. Perhaps if you charged those buttons with a flashlight, then turned off the light the buttons might glow enought to be useful, but wouldnt that be silly?

Similar to the Z30000 having the network features mentioned above, this lack of a proper backlight is probably a left over from a remote designed for business projectors. Oh well. Get used to it, or buy a universal remote to replace, it, or maybe splurge for a whole room, or whole house control system.

It is to me, a bit shocking for a projector that sells for $3000-$5000 to not have good, well lit, backlit remote. Im pretty sure there might be other home theater projectors in this price range, without backlit remotes but they are few and very far between. Oh well. Youll get used to it, I trust or consider the options mentioned. As to the remote itself, the layout is very conducive to memorizing what buttons are where.

I expected the Sharp remote to have pretty good range, and it does. I was able to get a good bounce off my screen, with the total distance of about 28-29 feet. Beyond that it starts getting iffy, youll have to find exactly the right angle. The first clue to good range was the two AA batteries. Some remotes use two AAs, some use the thinner AAA batteries. Ive always suspected that as a group, the remotes with the AAs would have more range as thats one trade-off. Remotes with AAA batteries, have less juice so likely have less range or shorter life before the batteries need replacing. Of course older projectors likely are a bit less energy efficient, so the remote of a 4 year old projector with AAs might not be a match for a new projector with AAAs. OK, thats too much time spent on minor conjecture, so, lets take a close look at the remote.

From the top of the Sharp XV-Z30000 remote control:

Top left button is Standby. Press it twice to power down the Sharp projector. On the top right is the power button, press just once to power on the Sharp.

The next two rows of 4 buttons are direct control of four popular image controls. You get up/down (+/-) buttons for Contrast, Brightness, Color (saturation) and Tint.

Then theres a space, and an area with four buttons for direct input to: HDMI 1, 2, Component Video, and Computer. Note that the Computer input is affected by a menu item. Default is auto, but you can select RGB (computer) or Component Video.

The next group of four buttons include the Picture Mode (toggle between the many provided preset, (and user) modes, two buttons, one to control each Iris. The last of the four is the Resize button, which toggles you through the different aspect ratios offered, unless you are using a computer, in which case it should work on the syncing.

Below those buttons comes the typical Navigation area. The four arrow keys organized in a round layout, with Enter button in the center. The Nav ring is surrounded by:

Above to the right: Menu
Above to the left: A toggle for Anamorphic vs 16:9 (this is only for those using an external anamorphic lens)
Below to the left: The Return button
Below to the right: Menu/Hide

That last one is interesting. Over the years Ive cursed many projectors with really large menu areas, in that it can be very difficult to eyeball settings, when you cant see a good deal of the screen, including the part you are basing your adjustments on.

With this Menu/Hide, the open Menu you have dissappears as long as you hold down the Menu/Hide button. The menu immediately dissappears when you release it.

I really like that feature. Ill recommend it to all manufacturers.

All considered, if it werent for the lack of a backlight, Id be shouting the accolades of this remote control. When I do consider the lack of backlighting though, I can only say that its an overall decent remote.

Click Image to Enlarge

Sharp XV-Z30000 Lens Throw

The XV-Z30000 offers a 2:1 zoom lens. For the typical 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, you can place the front of the projector as close as 10 feet 4 inches or as far back as 20 feet 9 inches (3.1 to 6.3 meters).

If you plan a larger or smaller screen, its easy to calculate the new distances. For example, if you plan a 120″ diagonal 16:9 screen, then the distance numbers would be: 10.4 *1.2 = 12.48 feet, and as far back as 20.9 * 1.2 = 25.8 feet.

Its a rare thing to see a DLP home projector with a 2:1 zoom lens. In fact Im really trying hard to think of another. (I must have reviewed at least one other?) Most DLP projectors have 1.6:1, 1.5:1, 1.2:1 or 1.1: zooms. Give this Sharp an A for zoom lens flexibility.

Sharp XV-Z30000 Lens Shift

Lens shift has always been a bit of a problem for DLP projectors. For years, almost no home theater DLP projectors offered lens shift under $5000! Today, I can think of only 1 or two under $2000, whereas virtually every over $1000 LCD or LCoS home projector has lens shift.

Its more than that, too. The amount of lens shift range the ability to raise or lower the image on the screen optically, to work best with where you want to mount it, tends to be more limited with DLP designs.

All that said, this Sharp XV-Z30000 projector basically has whats called a 0″ offset. That is, the projector can be placed so that the lens/projector can be lined up even with the top of your screen, or even with the bottom of the screen, or anywhere in between. More flexible lens shift might allow a projector hitting a 100″ diagonals screen to be mountable up to about 25 inches above the top, to 25″ below the bottom. In other words, with typical ceilings (8 or 9 feet), it matters little, but if you have, say a 12 foot ceiling, you probably will find yourself having the projector hang down a couple/three feet from the ceiling, whereas a more flexible projector might still be mountable withing inches of the ceiling.

All considered, very good lens shift for a home theater DLP, but still shy of what the 3LCD and LCoS competition offers in this regard.

Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen

Yes, the Sharp XV-Z30000 supports an anamorphic lens. Not only does it support using a 3rd party anamorphic lens, better still, it has power zoom, focus and lens shift allowing you to go with a 2.35:1 widescreen (Cinemascope), without springing thousands for the optional lens (and perhaps motorized sled). Yes, Im again talking about Lens Memory. Few will actually consider an anamorphic lens for this projector.

- See more at:


This 3D SharpVision1080p high definition DLPhome theater projector represents a new standard of outstanding performance in home cinema. Utilizing a Texas Instruments DLPchip with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and Sharps advanced proprietary technologies, the XV-Z30000 high definition home theater projector boasts an outstanding 50,000:1 contrast ratio and a 1600 ANSI lumens high brightness rating, delivering one of the most brilliant pictures available in high contrast home theater projectors today.

XV-Z30000 Front Projector