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Panasonic PT-AE500 Projector Review


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#1 of 71 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted February 21 2004 - 09:06 PM

Home Theater Forum PT-AE500E Projector Review


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Not long ago, entry into the world of LCD front projection came with a very hefty price tag, and picture quality was often less than awe-inspiring. Recently however, thanks to companies like Panasonic and Sanyo, there has been a mini-revolution in the LCD market, with prices tumbling and picture quality soaring. My first foray into the world of LCD front projection was the PT-AE100 a mere 14 months ago. At the time, the AE100 offered excellent picture quality through a set of 858x484 16:9 LCD panels at a very modest price point. Since my original purchase Panasonic has moved two generations beyond the AE100, and the latest addition to its stable is the PT-AE500U (I will be reviewing the PT-AE500E, which includes all features found on the US model and a 21-pin SCART RGB peritel euroconnector for the European market) which can be found online for less than $2000. Features found on the PT-AE500E include:
[*]Three 0.7” 1280x720 LCD panels (RGB)[*]DVI-D input[*]1300:1 contrast ratio[*]5000 hour 130W UHM bulb[/i][*]Quiet 27dB fan[*]Component/*SCART (21-pin RGB)/D-SUB (15-pin RGB)/S-Video/composite inputs[*]12 volt screen trigger[*]Smooth Screen technology[*]Digital keystone correction[*]Digital Cinema Reality de-interlacing

(* Not found on US model PT-AE500U)

The PT-AE500 is a High Definition compatible model; a fact that it displays proudly on its front fascia. The projector's LCD panels (made by Epson) are widescreen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, matching the resolution of the 720p HD format. 1080i is accepted through the component, RGB D-SUB and DVI-D inputs, but scaled to 720p (1280x720).

480i/p (NTSC) and 576i/p (PAL/SECAM) signals can also be displayed, allowing users to import PAL DVDs from Europe and Australia, for example, and play them at their native resolution (DVD player allowing). The AE500's inputs include the above-mentioned DVI-D input, (PC) D-SUB RGB, RCA component inputs, S-Video and composite in descending order of quality, although I would recommend using only the component or DVI inputs (or RGB D-SUB for those with HTPCs).

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For the purposes of this review I fed the projector's component and DVI inputs from a Sony DVP-NS900V and Momitsu DV880, respectively, using Straightwire cables and a generic DVI-D cable. All viewing was performed in a light-controlled room with a 92” horizontal image projected onto a finely sanded light grey wall and black cloth matting. The projector was calibrated with Video Essentials and the bulb set to low power.

Upon opening the AE500's box I was met by the projector, a thick user manual, one remote control with batteries, a plastic carrying bag, a sturdy detachable power cable and a three-metre length of video cable (which quickly found itself in the closet with the assortment of other cable refugees provided with equipment over the years). The projector was firmly secured in the box and wrapped in plastic and foam.

Pulled from the box, the AE500 is a light 3kg (about 6-1/2 lb) and quite small: 11 inches wide by 3 inches high by 11 inches deep. That's approximately the same width and height as the AE100 but with about two inches of added depth. The AE100's front panel was highly reflective plastic, but reassuringly the AE500's front panel appears to be metal (or at least metalised plastic) and the projector feels solid and well built.

Initial setup was simple, the projector simply sliding into the position previously held by my AE100 (front/table). I was up and running in less than five minutes. Both horizontal and vertical keystone correction are available for those who find it necessary to place the projector at an awkward angle to the projection surface. Unfortunately I found that using this feature softens the picture so I recommend avoiding it if at all possible. If you’re likely to be installing the projector off-centre, the Sanyo PLV-Z2 may be a better choice with its lens shift feature. Luckily I could place the projector face-on to the screen so avoided this problem entirely.

Image focus is adjusted using a ring around the short–throw lens (allowing an 80" image from 2.5 metres away) and the picture may be zoomed manually to between 1 and 1.2 times magnification. The interior lens housing is threaded, and accepted my 55mm Marumi F-DL lens without any problem (I can finally say goodbye to securing the lens in place with Sellotape!). The outer lens ring is also threaded, although exactly what size filter it will accept I'm uncertain of; perhaps 67mm.

The fan exhaust is on the rear panel, so the projector must be given at least six inches of breathing room at the rear; cabinet installation appears to be out. The air filter is easily accessed from the side of the projector and slides down and out for easy cleaning. The projector is controlled from five conventional buttons and a four-way arrow cursor on the top panel of the unit, or through a small backlit remote control, which I found had a very good range. The main power button is located on the right-hand side of the projector (unlike the AE100, causing a few moments of confusion… erm, for a friend Posted Image).

After spending a few minutes calibrating the image with Video Essentials I settled down with a nice chilled bottle of RC Cola for some serious viewing. As always the sheer scale of the image was the first thing that struck me; nothing can match a truly huge image for home theatre tingles down your spine. Right off the bat I noticed an absence of visible pixel structure (the notorious 'screen door' effect, something that the AE100 was notably affected by) and it's clear that Panasonic have made enormous strides in this area using their 'Smooth Screen' system. If you're at all worried about the LCD curse of viewing your movies through 'chicken wire', don't be. Screen door is not a problem here, even when viewing from a distance of 1 x screen width (although my final viewing position was at a distance of 1.3 times screen width).

The projector's contrast ratio of 1300:1 was also immediately evident, and although blacks are still short of truly black, shadow detail is more than sufficient to provide a very pleasing picture. Colours are outstanding: vibrant and natural looking. But a word of caution, if the colour level is set too high images can easily take on a fluorescent appearance. Overall, the picture produced was outstanding, with a very smooth, razor-sharp image. As with all LCD projectors, geometry was perfect, one of the great advantages of this technology. Watching the R4 anamorphically-enhanced DVD of True Lies the opening title's edges were flat as a ruler, something I've never seen on a CRT television. Switching to X2, Blade, Star Wars: Episode 2 and Finding Nemo among others, the picture was often breathtaking. More than once I found myself caught up by the movie rather than tracking the projector: always a good sign.

Rated at a medium 850 ANSI lumens, the AE500 was more than bright enough in a light controlled room, and the picture was still perfectly viewable (if washed out) with artificial lighting. I viewed the projector with the bulb set to 'low' as this improved the black level, but many may prefer the brighter image of the 'high' setting. Bear in mind that bulb life will be reduced to a maximum of 2000 hours at this setting, though. In its low power setting the bulb will last up to an amazing 5000 hours: that's the equivalent of watching two movies a day every day for over four and a half years!

The fan is worthy of special note as it is impressively quiet. From three feet away I could barely hear it functioning when playing a movie at normal listening levels. It is pitched much lower than the fan on my AE100, making it altogether less intrusive.

Like all LCD projectors, the AE500 de-interlaces all incoming interlaced video. The quality of this de-interlacing, using the 'Digital Cinema Reality' system, is very good and a huge step up from the AE100. Using a non-progressive source, only occasionally did scan-lines become visible, and the picture was very smooth and generally free of stair stepping. Only once did the projector seem to trip up, playing Star Trek Nemesis. It appeared to drop permanently into video mode, producing a noticeably soft image. If you don't own a progressive scan DVD player, you really aren’t losing out. Switching between progressive and interlaced outputs, I was unable to detect any significant difference (in fact, any at all most of the time).

Now for the downside. The AE100 produced some mild ringing (appearing like edge enhancement) when fed through its component inputs, and while this is reduced with the AE500 it can still be seen; this effect is eliminated by using the DVI or D-SUB inputs, however (I didn't have a SCART cable handy so couldn't check this connection). Mild vertical banding can also be seen sporadically in low-light grey or off-white scenes; this was also a problem with the AE100 and the (few) other LCD projectors I have seen, but is invisible most of the time. This banding is visible when using all connections, including the DVI and RGB inputs. Like the AE100, the AE500's de-interlacing is also a little less sure-footed when being fed PAL software, and seems to randomly switch between de-interlacing modes when dealing with interlaced PAL (this is best illustrated with films' closing credits, but isn't noticeable during normal movie viewing). This may be a result of the incorrect flagging of most PAL DVDs; I have yet to see a film-based PAL DVD correctly flagged as such. For those in PAL-land, I wouldn't use this projector without a decent progressive scan DVD player that doesn't rely on flags (try www.hometheaterhifi.com, the gold standard for progressive scan DVD player reviews).

Switching from component to the DVI input, picture quality improves significantly. This digital connection allows the projector to show its true colours. Sharpness, contrast and colour are all improved (the latter most dramatically). Using DVI, the ringing of the component video connection vanishes and the image seems 'smoother' and more natural. Short of a truly digital connection (such as DLP) this is the shortest chain from the DVD to the screen.

DVI-equipped players are now available from Marantz, Pioneer, Denon, Samsung, LG and others (HDMI players can be connected using an HDMI to DVI adapter cables) as well as DVI video cards for those equipped with HTPCs (But note that the AE500's DVI port is DVI-D only, so check the compatibility of your video cables: the analogue pins on a standard DVI-I cable will prevent it from plugging into the AE500). Anyone wanting to get the most from their AE500 should undoubtedly be using the DVI input.

Using the Momitsu DVD player to scale DVD's native 480i image to 720p caused no problems and the projector happily recognised the 720p signal from the V880 (calling it '750P' for some unknown reason rather than the expected '720P'). The images I got with the combination of the Momitsu and AE500 using DVI were nothing short of outstanding: I genuinely had no idea DVD could look so good, with well-mastered DVDs looking more like film than video.

The projector's user adjustments include the usual sharpness, colour (not available when using DVI), tint, brightness, contrast and colour temperature controls but unusually also include three gamma levels and individual control over red, green and blue brightness and contrast levels. Once adjusted, up to three custom settings can be stored in the projector's memory (for each input), and the remote allows direct one-touch access to these memory settings. Nice! Speaking of the remote, although it's a small unit an indent allows it to sit very comfortably in your hand and all buttons can be reached with one thumb; this remote is a big step up from the credit card remotes or yore (and hopefully I will no longer be constantly losing the remote down the side of my chair!). Video input, keystone correction, video aspect ratio, picture mode and user video memory are all directly accessible from the remote, with internal functions using a traditional menu button and arrow keys.

The AE500 is a tremendous improvement over my old AE100, with an outstanding feature set and groundbreaking picture quality. As with all other LCD projectors, black level isn’t perfect, but the AE500's contrast level is currently cutting edge and very good indeed for an LCD. Overall picture quality is excellent and the image thrown on the wall very cinematic. For the price this is an indisputable bargain. If you're in the market for a front projector around the $2000 mark (or even a conventional RPTV) then you should definitely take a cruise down to your local retailer to check the AE500 out.

Adam

Update: Momitsu DV880 Custom Resolution

Instructions for setting a Momitsu custom resolution for the AE500:

If the following procedure doesn't work, you probably don't have the latest DV880 firmware version (only recent versions allow custom resolutions). The most recent firmware version, and instructions for upgrading your player, can be downloaded from http://www.manowa.co...layer880FW.html.

The following procedure assumes your Momitsu DV880 and AE500 are already successfully connected with a DVI-D cable.

1) With the DVD player stopped (blue default screen showing), press the setup button on the V880's remote control to access the setup menu.

2) Scroll to the video output option screen and press the right arrow key on your remote to select any of the available DVI resolutions.

3) With a DVI resolution selected (any will do) point the remote control directly at the player and press the following keys: 9, 7, 1, 3.

4) In the custom resolution menu that appears, use the remote control's cursor keys to navigate and the number keys to enter new values. Enter the following values:

HorizFreq: 44760
VertFreq: 6000
VideoWidth: 1280
VideoHeight: 0720
HSyncTotal: 1664
PreHSync: 0056
HSyncActive: 0136
PostHSync: 0192
VSyncTotal: 0746
PreVSync: 0001
VSyncActive: 0003
PostVSync: 0022
HSyncPol: 0000
VSyncPol: 0000

5) Save the custom setting (instructions for saving or abandoning without saving are shown at the bottom of the 880's custom resolutions setup screen). The custom resolution menu will now close and 'Custom DVI' will display in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

6) Use the AE500 remote to switch to another video input (video or cmpnt) and then switch back to the DVI input (by pressing the 'PC' button). This will re-sync the projector to the new resolution.

7) Press menu on the AE500's remote and select 'Picture'. The menu should display 'WIDE720' as the current signal mode. Congratulations, your Momitsu and AE500 are now mapped for 1:1 resolution at 60Hz. Enjoy!

#2 of 71 OFFLINE   Dan M

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Posted February 22 2004 - 12:07 PM

Thanks for that review Adam. I've been considering the AE500 along with the Infocus 4805. However my Panny RP91 only has component outputs.Posted Image

I hate the idea of upgrading my dvd player just yet for DVI output...but I like what I'm hearing about the AE500 and it's nice price..

#3 of 71 OFFLINE   Trevor Schell

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Posted February 22 2004 - 01:23 PM

Great review Adam! I just set up my Studio Experience Matinee 2HD recently, which has identical specs of the Panasonic. I can relate to what you have experienced. I certanly would like to invest in the DVI connection. That may be down the road very shortly.
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#4 of 71 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted February 22 2004 - 01:48 PM

Thanks for the cool review Adam!Posted Image

I just bought my Panny 300U 2 months ago and now I feel a bit jealous! Oh well, at least I don't think there's a big difference between this model and mine when it comes to dvd watching (no high def here).:b

#5 of 71 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted February 22 2004 - 03:35 PM

Thanks, guys! Posted Image

Dan, don't let the ringing put you off. While it's pretty obvious when you're looking for it, the picture through component is still very good. And besides, don't tell me you haven't been itching to upgrade. Posted Image The 500 locks into 4:3 when fed progressive non-anamorphic and has no zoom, so the 91 wouldn't sit gathering dust if you did get a DVI player.

Trevor, I thought that the picture from the AE500 was good through component, but I was genuinely shocked at what a difference DVI made. I was expecting some improvements in colour, but not much else, but it turned out to be an all-round upgrade. 720p was a cherry on the top.

Chris, I can't really compare the two as I never saw a 300 up and running, but the consensus seems to be that for normal DVD viewing the resolution difference between the two isn't a big issue. And for 1080i HD, the 300 may actually look sharper with its 1/2 resolution panels allowing nice crisp scaling.

One thing I didn't mention in the review which maybe I should have: 720p and 1080i through component were both shockingly bad (1080i especially so) with ringing and blurriness making the picture virtually unwatchable. Whether this was the Momitsu or Panasonic I couldn't say, but it didn't look promising for HD through component.

Adam

#6 of 71 OFFLINE   cabreau

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Posted February 23 2004 - 06:43 AM

Wow, 5000 hour lamp life. That's darn good, every time I start thinking that I want a BenQ 6200, I recall something about the Panny that makes me want to get that instead.
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#7 of 71 OFFLINE   David WS

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Posted February 23 2004 - 07:38 AM

I'm a bit confused by this. :b Could you clarify a little? Is this because the DVD player can't pass the HDCP "unlocked" signal? Can you get a HDCP-equipped DVD player or was this a HTPC source trying to send 1080i video from a DVD drive? I'm pretty much committed to buying the L500u and I'm just making sure I understand its capabilities and limitations. Thanks for the great review.
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#8 of 71 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted February 23 2004 - 08:18 AM

Adam, Thank-you for the review. Its nice to see another AE100 owner comparing the latest Panny to the AE100. I own an AE100 and I am looking to upgrade to either of the Panny 300 or the Panny 500. Need some clarification on your review.
Not sure about your impression of contrast. You would definitely see improved contrast on the 500 vs the 100, however, thats not the whole story. The AE500's contrast is much like the 300's contrast, unless you use the AI setting. The 1300:1 contrast ratio is only available in one of the AI modes, and you did not mention this anywhere in your review. If your viewing was restricted to "low lamp" mode, you would not have experienced the 1300:1 contrast ratio. It would have been closer to the 800 to 850:1 that is experienced without the AI mode on. This is an important feature of this model and I was surprised to see no mention of this in your review. I wonder if you recall whether or not you used this during the test. The Panasonic 500 uses a fancy lamp modulation while the Sanyo Z2 (and Matinee HD2) use an iris control in order to achieve the 1300:1 contrast ratio. I can add a point here about the vertical banding, which I see on my AE100 and although its not hugely distracting, I too wish it was less visible. On the AVS forum, many AE500 users have identified a service menu "flicker" tweak which minimizes the vertical banding. It just so happens to be a similar tweak which was previously discovered for use in reducing the "peak-a-boo" scanline affect of the L300. If you like, I could send you a link and you could try that. I am curious how the 300 and 500 handle DVI input when it is not 720p. For instance, I want to connect an iScan Ultra to either the 300 or 500. Since the de-interlacing of the 300 and 500 is both fairly good, I can't imagine the scaling being all that bad. If I fed a well-de-interlaced (via the SiI504 chip of the iScan) 480p signal into the 300 or 500 via DVI, I wonder how well it would scale. Failing that, I'm sure a VGA (D-sub) connection would be ok, as that is how I use my AE100 and it looks awesome. FOr anyone contemplating buying any of the Panny LCD projectors, like a used AE100 or a new or used 200, 300 or 500, you definitely want to use the VGA connection as an absolute minimum. Dan, You want to use VGA as a minimum. You have two rather interesting options with the RP-91. You could 1) Get a "transcoder" which would convert your component cable output to a VGA D-SUB. I believe good transcoders are worth around $200.00 USD. 2) Get an iScan Plus, Pro, Ultra or HD which has a VGA output. Recall that the iScans use the SiI502, 503 and 504 de-interlacers which are arguabley better at de-interlacing than the chip in the RP-91. You'd rarely notice though, as few DVD's make the RP-91 choke on the de-interlacing. An iScan can be found for as little as $200.00 USD. Either of the iScan Plus or Pro can be found for not much more than a transcoder. Why do that? If the scaling functions of the RP-91 are available in the interlaced output, then you'd have the best of both worlds. Your de-interlacing would be improved, and you'd still have the scaling for non-anamorphic DVD's. Only caveat here is that you'd have extra Analog to Digital/Digital to Analog conversions going on. In my setup with my AE100 it works fine. Anyways, thats my input. The 500 looks really good apart from the vertical banding. Apparantly, however, the vertical banding can be reduced by doing the "flicker tweak" in the 500's service menu.
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#9 of 71 OFFLINE   Robert James Clark

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Posted February 23 2004 - 08:30 AM

Adam, Thanks for the nice review. I agree that DVD through component has a bit of ringing. I'm looking to the Momitsu to get rid of that. HOWEVER... I can categorically state that HD through component looks shocking all right, shockingly good. There is no ringing or edge enhancement effects whatsoever when viewing HDTV through component. It lkooks smashing. Sounds like a DVD player issue...

#10 of 71 OFFLINE   Dan M

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Posted February 23 2004 - 12:52 PM

thanks Chris.....definitely something to ponder.....either way i'm going FP soon... 56" is now too small

#11 of 71 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted February 23 2004 - 12:55 PM

This is a bit weird. Why does the 500U lack a zoom feature for non-anamorphic DVDs when my 300U does? Why take out a feature that was already in the previous model?

#12 of 71 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted February 23 2004 - 01:40 PM

I wasn't aware that the 300 had a non-anamorphic zoom. On the AE100 you can zoom into a DVD that is aspect ratio corrected before it reaches the projector (I believe if its not then zooming serves no purpose because it cuts off the sides when zooming if the PJ is in 4:3 mode. I'll have to check this) but it doesn't really work properly. With my AE100, if I correct the aspect ratio of a non-anamorphic DVD or other 4:3 letterbox source, and then use the AE100's zoom, it looks great. There's only one freakin super-annoying problem. The picture drifts and eventually drifts off the screen. You can actually adjust the positioning by using the remote while watching the movie but it totally takes away from the movie watching experience when you have to fiddle once every couple of minutes.
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#13 of 71 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted February 23 2004 - 04:00 PM


Sorry, that's a result of me having 720p on the brain. Posted Image
The AE500 won't allow zooming when fed a 720p image through DVI; if I switch to 480p (DVI or component) it will again allow this. Just a case of not having your cake and eating it, too.

Speaking of losing features, the AE100 had a nifty variable zoom that could be moved around the screen via the remote, but the AE500 has lost it. I can't think of any occasions in which I actually used it, but it would have been nice to keep.

Adam

#14 of 71 OFFLINE   chris_clem

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Posted February 23 2004 - 04:01 PM

Chris, I am not sure if I understand the zooming in issue correctly. My 300U has the following display modes: 16:9,4:3,S16:9,S4:3,Just and Zoom. The S is just a smaller version of that aspect ratio. Just(ify) is used to strech 4:3 material in such a way that it doesn't distort too much. Lastly, Zoom is for non-anamorphic DVDs. You just select this mode when watching non-anamorphic stuff and it works perfectly fine. No drifting and no improper cutting off of the sides. Perhaps there is something wrong with your DVD player? Mine automatically feeds the FP a 4:3 feed when a 4:3 source (including non anamorphic materal) is played. Adam, So the 500U really doesn't have the zoom?

#15 of 71 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted February 23 2004 - 04:13 PM

It has the 'Zoom' aspect option when fed 480p/i, but not when fed 720p, 1080i or any of the widescreen PC resolutions: Wide480/600/720/768. The zoom feature it has lost is the gimmicky one found on the 100 but not the 300. Aspect options for the various inputs are as follows: S-Video/composite NTSC: 4:3 -> 16:9 -> JUST -> ZOOM S-Video/composite PAL: 4:3 -> 16:9 -> 14:9 -> JUST -> ZOOM1 -> ZOOM2 Component (480p/i and 576p/i): 4:3 -> 16:9 -> JUST -> ZOOM Component (720p/1080i): 16:9 PC: 4:3 -> 16:9 -> V SCROLL DVI (480P/576P): 4:3 -> 16:9 -> JUST -> ZOOM DVI (720p/1080i/Wide modes): 16:9
Sorry, David, it looks like your question was lost in the shuffle. I was told initially that the projector would reject 1080i through HDCP-DVI if 720p was an available option from the source, due to the resolution of the panels and the additional scaling 1080i would require. However, the AE500 is definitely compatible with 1080i (downscaling it) and has had no problems playing 1080i through DVI using the Momitsu player. It looks like the information I based the quote on was incorrect, but I can't state that categorically as fact (yet). When I can clear this up (or if anyone else knows for sure and can comment) I will. Adam

#16 of 71 OFFLINE   David WS

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:00 AM

Thanks Adam!

It wasn't a showstopper but I couldn't get my head wrapped around why that would happen. Now I understand what you were getting at and I'm glad that is is most likely not an issue. Although I can't imagine being in that situation but I'm one of those guys that tries to get as much future-proofing in electronics as possible.

Now, where the heck is that tax rebate check?!Posted Image
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#17 of 71 OFFLINE   Brent Avery

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Posted February 24 2004 - 10:07 AM

Very informative and well thought out review Adam! I was debating on the merits of the Z2 and the AE500 and eventually - well, waiting two months for the Sanyo did not help - I decided to go with the Panasonic and ordered one from Japan. Have been watching dvds on it for the last week on a 102" 16X9 screen made from blackout cloth - and as you mentioned, the image looks great! I have looked at some other projectors costing more - some DLP - and can honestly say that at this point in time it offers incredible value for the money with a very satisfying image that most will find very pleasing.I am using a Bravo D1 via DVI and would suggest going the DVI route, it offers the best overall image compared to component input. I am just glad not to have bought a RPTV - could not possibly view movies any other way. I do see the grid structure ocassionaly from approx. 15 ft. but it is not distracting enough to worry about and vertical banding is apparent as well but again, only during certain scenes involving blue sky or fog - but some will never see it and even if you do I don't think it is a negative situation - as I still enjoy the image enough to not regret my purchase. With the ever changing technology one would be making wise decision not to spend too much on a projector, but it is the perfect time if you are upgrading or a first time buyer - Panasonic is giving the consumer one of the best deals in the industry right now. I should mention that I loved the black levels on some of the $5000+ DLP projectors I viewed but could still randomly see "rainbows" and it became somewhat bothersome for me as it caused slight headaches as well - but others are not bothered by this. The Panasonic still offers very good blacks in comparsion and I prefer the colours - and no headaches!

#18 of 71 OFFLINE   Chris PC

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Posted February 24 2004 - 11:34 AM

I'm really confused now in terms of aspect ratios. Chris, With the L300, when using a source connected via the VGA port, and while viewing material which is non-anamorphic, be it a DVD or letterbox video tape or other SD, you simply use "ZOOM" and it fills the screen? What connection are you using? VGA? DVI? Component cables? Adam, Thats cool about the AI feature. Thanx for the feedback about that. SOme people use it, and some people don't. I understand your less than thrilled attitude about the lamp power varying. What does V SCROLL mean? I've heard the term but don't know what it means. With the 500, it seems as though I'd have to connect via DVI if I wanted to view non-anamorphic stuff correctly. The options seem ok. It would mean this to me. If I am using the AE500 via DVI at 720p, you'd need to zoom non-anamorphic in the source (DVD player for instance) or in a scaler-de-interlacer (the iScan HD for example). So with VGA input, no matter resolution, you couldn't zoom non-anamorphic stuff? You tried all resolutions?
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P

#19 of 71 OFFLINE   Adam Barratt

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Posted February 24 2004 - 03:29 PM

No, I haven't tried all of these resolutions, but yes according to the manual that's correct (I tried only 4:3 800x600 and 1024x768 and was unable to zoom in). Using the VGA input restricts the available aspect options to 4:3, 16:9 or V SCROLL. If the VGA feed is a custom wide resolution (bar one, see below), or an HDTV resolution this then drops down to only 16:9. However, according to the manual a Wide768 signal (1280x768), will also permit V SCROLL as an option (who know why). This might be a usable alternative to the missing 'Zoom' option as it also zooms the image, just not quite as much as the actual 'Zoom' option. This would leave small bars on the left and right of the picture from a non-anamorphic DVD (as shown in the image above). Adam

#20 of 71 OFFLINE   Chris PC

Chris PC

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Posted February 24 2004 - 04:18 PM

Interesting. Thanx.

I wonder how many non-anamorphic 16:9 DVD's have subtitles in the black bar area? That would be impossible to view in true 16:9 even if you zoomed it, because you'd loose the subtitles. I imagine 2.35:1 DVD's are all anamorphic (16:9 worth of the image at least), but even if they aren't, zooming in would leave the subtitles intact in the black bar area. I don't imagine DVD's have subtitles in these areas. I am probably thinking of when I had Laserdiscs. The Phantom Menace import LD had subtitles in the black bar area, didn't it?

Regardless, I would only want to use VGA or DVI with either of the 300 or 500. Being that I'd send the PJ 480p, its interesting to see that 480P through DVI can be zoomed. That takes care of non-anamorphic DVD's and also LD's or vcr tapes. I wonder if the 300 allows "zooming" of non-anamorphic material when fed 480p through DVI. I've heard less than positive feedback about the L300's DVI port. Some say its ok, while others say its useless.

thanx again for the info,

Posted Image
Going from projector to flatscreen for a while.... :P




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