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Sanyo PLC-WTC500L LCD Multimedia Projector Review

by March 28, 2010
Sanyo PLC-WTC500L

Sanyo PLC-WTC500L

  • Product Name: PLC-WTC500L LCD Multimedia Projector
  • Manufacturer: Sanyo
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: March 28, 2010 21:00
  • MSRP: $ 6,995 (no lens)

Resolution: WXGA (1280 x 800) 16:10
Brightness (typical): 5000 ANSI Lumens
Contrast Ratio: 3000:1
Panel System: 0.95” TFT P-Si x 3
Video Inputs: HD15, HDMI, RGBHV/component/composite(BNC), composite (RCA), S-video (DIN)
Audio inputs: stereo mini x2, Stereo (RCA)
Misc: RS-232 (control), USB (service), R/C jack, Monitor out (HD15), audio out (stereo mini)
Uniformity: 90% (corner to center)
Scanning Frequency: H Sync : 15-100kHz, V Sync : 50-100Hz
Dot Clock: 140 MHz (Analog)
Compatibility UXGA / WXGA / SXGA / SXGA+ / XGA / SVGA / VGA / MAC
HDTV: 480i, 480p, 575i, 575p, 720p, 1035i and 1080i (1080p via HDMI)
Color System PAL / SECAM / NTSC / NTSC4.43 / PAL-M / PAL-N
Lens Options: (LNS-S11, LNS-W11, LNS-W10, LNS-T10, LNS-T11)
Image Size (diagonal) 30" – 300"
Up/Down Ratio U/D: 10:0 - 1:1 , L/R 13:7 – 7:13
Digital Keystone Vertical : +/- 40 deg, Horizontal:+/- 20 deg
Digital Zoom: 49x – 1/4x
Lamp(s): 330W NSHA
Power Consumption: 420W (Eco1)
Fan Noise: 31dB (Eco1)
BTU Rating: 1,433 (Eco1)
Speaker Output: 3W +3 W Stereo Speakers
Weight: 32.4 lbs
Dimensions: 17.76" x 6.89" x 21.66" (box)


  • Dual lamps
  • On-board audio
  • Nice remote control
  • Lots of lens choices


  • Worst menu system EVER
  • HDMI poorly implemented


PLC-WTC500L Build Quality, Inputs and Features

Continuing our look at presentation projectors, we took a look at the Sanyo PLC-WLC500L, a unique dual lamp system that is designed for flexible installation, high (5000) lumen output and extended run-time that means you won't have to replace the bulbs until after 6000 hours. The projector is a WXGA model, meaning it has a resolution of 1280x800 (16:10) which is compatible with most widescreen laptops and computer monitors. This makes it a perfect match for presentations – that is, if you can fit it under your arm to your next appointment!

Build Quality

The first thing we noted about this projector was that it was a monster. Weighing in at over 32 pounds and having a rather "squat" stance, we would never have pegged this as a "portable" multimedia projector. What Sanyo seemed to doing was shipping a one-of-a-kind model that catered to those who have high-lumen requirements coupled with a need for redundancy. The PLC-WTC500L has two lamps, each of which can be used individually, or configured to automatically alternate back and forth after a period of time. This means that you can get up to 6000 hours out of the 330W NSHA lamp. These lamps are classified as "mercury arc" lamps and typically last 300 hours each in Eco mode and 2000 hours at high lumen output (Normal/Bright) modes.

The projector and lens ship separately, this is because you can order any of six (6) different lenses to meet your needs.

Type Model Throw Ratio
Standard LNS-S11 1.6 – 2.1:1
Wide Angle Zoom LNS-W10 1.2 – 1.6:1
Wide Angle Zoom LNS-W11 0.8:1
Long Throw Zoom LNS-T10 2.1 – 3.4:1
Long Throw Zoom LNS-T11 3.4 - 5.4:1

lens separateWe requested and received the LNS-S11 short throw lens, which allowed us to fill a 100-inch screen from our mounted position. Installing the lens was simply a matter of removing the protective lens cover from the projector, correctly lining up the lens by matching the red lines on both the lens and the body, and inserting the lens and twisting it clockwise. The LNS-S11 costs about $1000 retail, but you can easily find it with a street price under $600. It's important to note that these lenses are motorized, so focus and zoom functions are controlled via the projector – a nice feature for any presentation or multimedia system.

LNS-S11 lens

Features & Overview

PLC-WTC500L panelThe most profound feature of the PLC-WTC500L is its multi-lamp selection system. With this system the projector can be made to use either of its two 330W NSHA lamps, or automatically switch between them according to a preset schedule (every ten hours of use, for example). This is an industry first, and the result is a system that can provide exceptionally high lumen output over a longer period of time between requiring bulb replacement. It also provides an automatic redundancy factor for more mission-critical applications (houses of worship come to mind). What would have been a really cool option, but would have required a different design parameter, was to allow for the ability to engage both bulbs simultaneously for a higher lumen output. That was not in the design spec and Sanyo makes projectors that specifically utilize two bulbs for larger screen size applications. As it stands now, the Sanyo PLC-TC500L can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 35 weeks without requiring a bulb change – and with redundancy in the case of a bulb failure. That's some pretty hefty insurance for those who require it and this feature alone bumps up this projector's value in the marketplace - considerably. Replacement lamps run about $400 each and are the same as is used in the Sanyo PLC-XTC50L projector (essentially the PLC-WTC-500L, but with XGA resolutions and DVI-D instead of HDMI).

filterThe body of the Sanyo is an attractive soft white that is oriented such that the unit is both wide and long. We also liked the presence of full menu controls on the surface of the projector. While 98% of users are likely to mount this system and use the included remote control, it's good to know you can access mission critical functions directly from the unit if required. There are LED status indicators for power, shutter and various warning conditions such as Lamp 1/2 replacement, temperature, and filter replacement. Everything having to do with maintenance on this projector is simplified. The filter itself can be easily removed by sliding off a panel on the top of the projector and removing the filter. It takes all of 2 minutes and the panel is accessible when the projector is installed. Both lamps can be replaced by unscrewing a single screw from the back of the projector using a coin, then sliding back the panel and removing each lamp as needed. The panels each remain attached to the projector during maintenance, so you don't have to worry about them falling down should the projector be mounted in the air. Sanyo listened to their customers when they designed this chassis – it's made for easy maintenance.


The inputs for the Santo PLC-WTC500L are located on the left side of the projector (when viewed from behind). There is a single HDMI input and three analogue A/V connections. These three connections are each accompanied by a stereo audio input and include HD15, RGBHV (component video/YPbPr compatible), and composite/S-video inputs. There is also a serial port for RS-232C control and a USB port for using the included remote control as a wireless mouse. A lone R/C jack is for hardwiring the remote control. While the HDMI input can handle 1080p, the remaining analogue inputs handle PC resolutions up to 1920x1200, but HD video only up to 720p and 1080i. In either case, all video is downscaled to the projector's native resolution of 1280 x 800.


The RGBHV and HD15 inputs here support YCbCr (component video) signals up to 720p/1080i

lens socketMost notably for installations, the PLC-WTC500L has motorized Horizontal and Vertical Lens Shift as well as powered Zoom and Focus. This allows you to install the project and then dial in perfect focus and zoom from below using the remote. We find this to be an excellent feature set, taking installation and making it a simple matter of calculating the correct distance and then ensuring it is level and squared to the screen. Vertical keystone is also provided when there is a desire to elevate or drop the screen beyond the perimeter of the projection screen.

PLC-WTC500L Remote Control, Menu and Conclusion

remote controlThe remote for the PLC-WTC500L is powerful in that it can be hardwired for permanent and flawless connectivity, or used as a wireless presentation remote when the projector is connected to a laptop or desktop PC via USB. Once this occurs, the lower button becomes the left click and the center pad controls mouse movement. There are buttons for Select (Enter) as well as Right Click. The three input buttons on the remote toggle between the various connectivity options of each input. Input 1, for example, cycles between RGB PC (HD15) and HDMI, Input 2 cycles the RGB[HV], Video (composite) and Component video inputs, and Input 3 alternates composite video and S-video. The remote is everything you would want a simple projector remote to be, and it even has a laser pointer function, though the button is tucked away at the bottom left of the remote.

Menu System

Overall, the Sanyo menu system is quite possibly the worst we've ever used. Fortunately, it's not something you'll need to engage in often. Obviously a holdover from some sadistic torture ritual, the Sanyo system works by creating a confusing array of horizontal and vertical option system that are largely icon-driven with text hints showing up in the top of the menu bar. I can only imagine that the icons were created by the manufacturer's niece or nephew since there is no other reason to tolerate such bad graphics and a confusing array of steps in order to make changes to basic system functions. This is about 10 steps backwards from an icon-less text-only menu system, which at least has to follow some sort of procedure to get to sub-menu systems. Do yourself a favor, get a coffee and something to munch on, because if you're trying to get the settings tweaked in this menu system, you're going to be here a while. Of course, once everything is set the projector will maintain itself and you'll be fine for 6 months or so. In the scheme of things, this isn't a terribly bad place to have egg on your face.

Use and Viewing Tests

We tested the Sanyo PLC-WTC500L under a variety of conditions. We tested it with PC-based content, to which it was exceptionally well-suited and we could see the screen even when the projector was utilized in the middle of the day with ample sunlight streaming into the room. Like any projector, it can't "project" black, so any scenes or screens with ample white filling the screen provided better contrast over anything with a predominantly dark background.

To test the black levels of the Sanyo, we put in one of our favorite movies of last year - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is an excellent Blu-ray disc with which to evaluate black levels, detail and display-induced scaling even motion artifacts. While the PC-tests passed with flying colors – the PLC-WTC500L is both bright and extremely colorful, our home theater tests let us know that, even in the lowest lamp modes, this projector isn't a complete replacement for a dedicated home theater model. Considering most calibrated home theater projectors average between 600-800 lumens in their respective cinema modes, that's not such a surprise.

harry potter 1

harry potter 2

Getting the projector to deliver the best possible picture wasn't too difficult, aside from the bitter enmity we had with the Sanyo menu system. Brightness and Contrast were easily configured and even the basic Image Level settings (Dynamic, Standard, Real, and Cinema) were very helpful. There are even four configurable User Image models whereby you can store User preset image levels and settings.

Perhaps the best testing we did on this projector was taking it outside and using it as our outdoor system during the Super Bowl. We were able to configure it for rear (tabletop) projection and light up a ~180" screen even before the sun went down. In this configuration, the PLC-WTC500L thrived, showing off its ability to cast plenty of lumens and bring a beautiful component video-sourced high definition signal to the masses.


The Sanyo PLC-WLC500L 3LCD projector is certainly a unique gem amongst a field of contenders. Awkward menu system aside, the dual-lamp selection system is genius and really takes the worry out of a mission-critical application. It's a unique product that meets and solves a common problem. It's also incredibly easy to maintain and, unlike other projectors we've used, it doesn't need to be uninstalled in order to replace the lamp and filter. This projector really fills a gap in the industry, and at just under $7000 it provides a truly commercial solution that goes well beyond the capabilities of smaller, portable devices. The availability of up to five different lenses, ranging from short throw to long range means that Sanyo has provided limitless placement options that will work in any installations, whether for commercial, residential, or house of worship use. For anyone looking for a serious piece of equipment that has industrial features and won't break the bank, take a good look at the PLC-WTC500L – it's got a lot going for it.

Sanyo PLC-WLC500L 3LCD Projector
MSRP: $6995
Sanyo North America

About Sanyo North America
SANYO Group's corporate philosophy is the guiding principle in accomplishing the key management policy of ensuring products and services that are indispensable in creating harmony between people and the environment. SANYO's priorities are: Customer Satisfaction and Harmonizing with the Environment. SANYO's digital technology and core competence (the source of our competitiveness) supply the products and services that generate joy, excitement, and impact.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Detail and ResolutionStarStarStarStar
Deinterlacing & ScalingStarStar
Contrast and Black LevelsStarStarStar
Color ReproductionStarStarStarStarStar
Noise ReductionStarStarStar
Calibration OptionsStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStar
Ease of SetupStarStarStar
Remote ControlStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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