Epson 8500UB vs. Panasonic AE4000
1080p Shoot Out

Evan Powell, October 23, 2009

Two 1080p projectors are getting a lot of attention this fall. One is the Epson Home Cinema 8500 UB, rated at a whopping 200,000:1 contrast, and coming in under $2,500. The other is the feature rich Panasonic PT-AE4000, priced at a remarkably low $1,999. In head to head competition, how do these two models stack up? We've been giving them both a workout for the past week, and here is our take on it ......

Contrast and Black Levels The 8500UB is rated at 200,00:1, and the AE4000 is 100,000:1. If you read this site regularly, you know we don't like contrast specs. Here's Exhibit A of why that's the case: the uninformed consumer will read these specs and conclude that the 8500UB must be double the contrast of the AE4000. In reality it is not that simple.

Both Epson and Panasonic have achieved higher contrast ratings on these new models compared to their predecessors, but they each took different approaches. Epson did it by improving the auto iris components. Panasonic got most of its improvement through refinements in their "Pure Contrast Plate." Essentially (if we understand this correctly) this improved precision of the polarizers and reduced stray light in the light engine. No change was made to the auto iris between the AE3000 and AE4000.

The net result is that the 8500UB has a deeper black level than either the 6500UB or the AE4000. Thus, side by side, with rolling credits or when the Sony Pictures logo appears against a black background, those backgrounds looks blacker on the 8500UB. No other projector anywhere near this price range achieves the blacks that the 8500UB is capable of. So in this regard, the 200,000:1 contrast rating (the highest in the industry) indicates something real and tangible about black levels on this model.

However, when viewing scenes that do not have substantial black components (which is most of them), it's a different story. In scenes with more typical average light levels, the AE4000 renders them in higher contrast, with deeper color saturation and a bit more three- dimensionality. This comes from the improved light control within the engine itself.

Brightness. The Dynamic and Living Room modes on the 8500 UB put out about 1800 lumens and 1600 lumens respectively. Both can be set to very acceptable color balance while still retaining high brightness. The AE4000's Dynamic mode produced 1362 lumens in default settings, and after some color adjustment we still were getting over 1300 lumens. So the AE4000 is capable of delivering a bright, well balanced image for ambient light use, but it is not quite as bright as the 8500.

The Cinema/Theater modes are much less bright on both projectors, but the 8500 retains an advantage here as well. Its THX and Theater modes put out 638 lumens to the AE4000's 548.

The AE4000 has a Normal mode which measured about 950 lumens. This is an attractive mid-range option that the 8500 doesn't have. If the Cinema modes on the AE4000 are not quite bright enough for the screen size or ambient light conditions, Normal gives the user an incremental boost without going all the way to Dynamic. This mode can also be calibrated to ideal color standards, and all you give up is a small bit of contrast and black level.

Color Balance. The THX mode on the 8500 tracks very closely to 6500K across the scale. So do the Cinema 1 and Color 1 modes on the AE4000. Thus, both projectors are capable of delivering precise color to industry standards. (The 8500's THX and the AE4000's Color 1 are both programmed to the REC709 standard).

The other operating modes on both projectors tend to be biased warmer or colder by design. For example, the 8500's Theater Black 2 is set to 5500K, which is a pleasing color temperature for b/w films. Both projectors have user memories to store custom calibrations.

Picture Quality. This is a catch-all category that is subjective. We set aside the technical stuff and meter readings and ask, "Which picture actually looks better?" In our experience, the 8500 looks better when the picture has a lot of black in it, simply due to its advantage in deeper black level. It also has a bit more pop when used in ambient light in its brightest modes. On the other hand, the AE4000 has a clarity and smoothness that edges that of the 8500. When viewed in a dark room, the AE4000 also has an incremental contrast advantage in most scenes that makes us prefer its image most of the time. We do not wish to make it sound like there are huge differences in the pictures however. These are both outstanding projectors, and the differences between them are subtle.

Frame Interpolation. Epson's frame interpolation is much improved over last year's version. Panasonic's was already very good, and they've added a third mode which is more comprehensive than the two modes they introduced last year. Thus, at this point in time, both projectors have four options for frame interpolation settings; the 8500 has Off, Low, Medium, and High, and the AE4000 has Off, Mode 1, Mode 2, and Mode 3, which are essentially low, medium, and high.

We tested the 8500's Low against the AE4000's Mode 1, Medium against Mode 2, and High against Mode 3. In each case the 8500 produced a slightly smoother picture with a bit less blur and judder. However, in each mode the "digital video" effect is more evident on the 8500. This does not matter with HD sports or animated film material, but for typical HD movies on Blu-ray, this is a matter of consequence. We don't find the digital video effect on the 8500's Low setting objectionable to the point where we wouldn't use it. But it is there to a modest degree. Thus, we prefer the AE4000's picture in Mode 1, despite the fact that is isn't quite as smooth, because it has virtually no digital video effect.

Sharpening Enhancement. Both of these models have a basic Sharpness adjustment that works in a conventional manner. The AE4000's default is at zero with no edge enhancement, and the control does not go below zero. The 8500's default is at zero, but this setting has some built-in edge enhancement, and the control goes down to -10 to turn it off completely.

Both products have an additional sharpening algorithm that can be set at varying degrees of effect. The 8500's is called Super Resolution, and it can be set to Off, 1, 2, or 3. The AE4000's is called Detail Clarity Processor, and it can be set from 0 to 7. Internally, these sharpening algorithms operate quite differently, as engineers at Epson and Panasonic have taken completely different approaches to the problem. But in the end, from the user's perspective, they have similar effects on the picture. Neither system is supposed to add any edge enhancement, but both of them seem to do so when turning them on high and examining their effect on the sharpness test pattern.

Our impression is that these are both very useful tools for increasing image sharpness, but they should be used in moderation based on the type of material being viewed. On both projectors, if you are watching a film-based movie, turning the sharpening features on to maximum will add graininess and an objectionable sandpaper texture to skin. Our preference for films on Blu-ray was to run the 8500's Super Res at 1, and the AE4000's Detail Processor at +3. For standard definition material, Super Res can be set at 2, and the AE4000 can be at +4. We tested both projectors with an animated film, Cars, and on this movie they can both be taken to the maximum without any apparent negative side effects.

Standard Definition. On both the AE4000 and the 8500, the combined use of frame interpolation plus a moderate setting on the sharpening enhancement features produces a particularly beautiful display of standard def DVD movies. Between the two, the edge in overall picture quality goes to the AE4000. But both of them are exceptional, and a significant step beyond most projectors that do not have frame interpolation or enhanced sharpening algorithms on board.

Frame Delay. All digital video systems take a moment to buffer and process a frame of video before writing it to the display device. In general, the more processing that is needed, the greater the delay. Thus, with both of these projectors, activating a subsystem like frame interpolation will lengthen the delay.

With all enhanced processing features turned off, the AE4000 delivers video to the screen a bit faster than does the 8500 UB. With frame interpolation set to Low on the 8500 and Mode 1 on the AE4000, the latter is still the faster of the two units. Once they are bumped up to Medium and Mode 2 respectively, the frame delay is identical. Taking them up to High and Mode 3, the AE4000 slows down a bit and lags the 8500. In the latter two modes, most users will want to use an audio delay to bring picture and sound into synch.

The AE4000 has a "Frame Response" feature that does not exist on the 8500. When this is activated, frame delivery is noticeably improved over anything the 8500 can deliver. For gamers who want the least delay possible, the AE4000 has the advantage. On the other hand, if your games provide the ability to compensate for video delay, this advantage is of little importance. And even with Frame Response on "fast," there are projectors which are just a hair faster--for example, the Optoma HD20 will get a frame of video to the screen a tiny fraction of a second faster than the AE4000 in its fast Frame Response mode.

2.40 Format Widescreen Use. The differences here are substantial. The AE4000 can accommodate an external anamorphic lens with its onboard anamorphic stretch. This does not exist on the 8500UB. If you don't want to use an A-lens, but would rather use the zoom capabilities of the projector, the AE4000 has a powered zoom/focus with a Lens Memory feature that will automatically reset the lens and the vertical picture position for the display of either 2.40 movies or 16:9 material at the touch of a button. You can even set it to detect whether the material is 2.40 or 16:9 format, and have it automatically reconfigure the lens without even touching the button. On the 8500, there is plenty of zoom range in its 2.1 zoom to adjust for 2.40 and 16:9 material on a 2.40 screen, but every move back and forth must be made manually.

HQV Tests. The HQV test patterns show very little difference between these two models. The jaggies test and rotation bar look identical on both machines. Both show relatively low digital noise levels, but there is somewhat less on the AE4000 than the 8500.

Fan noise. Fan noise on both of these models is low, and they are comparable to one another. The 8500 is slightly louder but lower in pitch, so their tendency to be noticed in a quiet room is about equal. Neither one is the quietest projector in the 1080p category, but we cannot imagine anyone passing on either one of these units specifically to get less fan noise.

Warranty. Epson offers a two-year warranty with no restrictions. Panasonic offers a one-year warranty that is extendable to two years at no charge with the submission of a claim form that is similar to a mail-in rebate. Panasonic also has a 2000 hour usage limit on the warranty, so it is two years, or 2000 hours, whichever comes first. If you plan on using your projector more than 2.7 hours per day, this will curtail the length of the warranty. You can run your 8500UB 24/7 and still get the full two-year warranty.

Conclusion

The Epson 8500 UB and the Panasonic AE4000 are both magnificent projectors. Neither one is better than the other for all situations. Each of them has unique advantages. Some of those advantages may be critical to you and tip your decision one way or the other. But we rate both of these projectors extremely highly, and give them both our most enthusiastic recommendation.

Reader Comments(42 comments)

Posted Jul 16, 2012 9:59:48 PM

By Bill Rogers

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I too was put off by the $1000 price difference that Panasonic put on the AE4000. I waited an extra 6 months to get one only to be told 3 more months. Purchased the Epson 8500 in Jan.2010. Worked great till 6 months ago. Saw thin pink line at bottom screen but it didn't really affect the picture. Since I work out of town for months at a time and my wife only uses the projector once or twice a month I never heard any complaints.Now I'm home for the summer and the pink line is now 4" up the screen from the bottom. Spoke with Epson rep. today and because its 6 months past warranty date no help will be given. I can send it away to be repaired but the closest authorized repair is in Ontario, Canada.I am on the west coast 3000 miles away.The projector only has 629 hours on it. Warrant should be Calender or hours.Any way a little help from Epson would have been nice after a 3100 dollar investment!!!!!

Posted Apr 24, 2011 5:08:19 PM

By raul Romero

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Congratulations for your site. I would like to give you a suggestion. Every test you do, has a comment about the quality of the model and you say "for this price" or "is the best in this price range". It would be great if you can do a ranking of the 50 best projectors despite the price. When one reads each article, one still don´t know how good these projector really is in absolute terms and after read some articles, one still wonder if it is worth to spend a little more money for an expensiver projector but then one got no reference. Thank you!!. Great job!!

Posted Nov 5, 2010 11:54:18 PM

By guest

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get the Epson 8500UB, 4000hrs vs 2000hrs, given their similar performance go for the Epson 8500UB! I have the Panasonic PT AE2000U and sucks that i have to buy the bulb so often...

Posted Oct 13, 2010 3:52:56 AM

By Sumeer Sabharwal

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Hi

I am looking at buying a projector for a 75 seater personal auditorium.

The projector needs to cost between US$ 1200-2000.

Can any one recomend which i should purchase.

Sabharwal (India)

Posted Sep 26, 2010 2:44:08 AM

By Alakev

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Hi Ramo

Did you have to pay GSt on the projector from the US to Australia?

Posted Sep 12, 2010 4:34:23 PM

By Mike Danahay

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I have the PT-AE4000 and had the PT-AE900 ... Panasonic makes such quality projectors (and TVs) They address all inputs and ones you won't ever use. The side function buttons, the non-offset lens and the great black (matching components) casing. This is delivered at $1999 before any discount. There is a free 2 year warranty until Sept. 30 2010 (18 days away) They have included everything in this unit possible and are amazing at user easiness to operate in a professionals tweaking package. (The epsons always look like business plactic projectors) Only thing left is annoying, $$$$, Glass wearing 3D --- PT-AE5000 Anyone?

Posted Sep 5, 2010 3:36:11 AM

By Steve Adams

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Not really. How did you come to this? If you actually read the review, you would come away with that, the AE4000 is slightly better. Picture quality and features overall. Read it again instead of being an Epson fan and reading it.

Posted Aug 3, 2010 11:03:53 AM

By Nathan

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I have no idea. This will be my first projector and I am asking for help:

I have a PS3, X360, Wii and WOW on PC and love movies. PLease, someone tell me what to get.

Posted Apr 21, 2010 7:10:47 AM

By Benny

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I recently purchased a Panny ae4000. This is my first projector. Having seen the screen door effect at many electronics stores, put me off buying a projector till now. Before buying this projector I had read heaps of projector reviews. The more I read, the more confused I became. People were mentioning pros and cons to different projectors. I had no idea if the pos and cons were important. To my simple mind, the picture must look good. That was my only criteria. :) Well to cut to the chase, I am wrapped with the picture the ae4000 creates. Even on a 3m diameter screen, playing a bluray disk and standing 3m away from the screen, I would have to say that the picture is close to cinema quality. I'm sure there are simple folk like me who "Just want a good picture" Well the panny will do it for ya :) Incidentally it was $1000 cheaper for me to buy if from the US than here in Australia, even with shipping costs.

Regards, Benny

Posted Mar 21, 2010 9:30:33 PM

By ramo

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I own a Sanyo PLV Z5 projector and an Oppo HDMI DVD player. Question to the forum... Anybody who had a Sanyo Z5 tried it against either de panny 4000 or Epson 8500?. Is the diference in upconverted DVDs really that important, in therms of contrast and definition? I really liked the picture on my Sanyo, excelent contrast in general scenes, but blacks week in titles, or generally dark scenes. Are differences at this point really important and visible?

Posted Mar 16, 2010 5:36:47 AM

By bj.carmel

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PTAE4000 DUST PROBLEMS STILL NOT RESOLVED !! My earlier Pannny 2000 allowed dust particles to collect on inside of lens causing fluffy spots on screen. Changed this machine for a Panny 3000 - cripes 3 weeks later this also developed same problem ! Changed this for my present Panny PTAE 4000 ( which is supposed to eliminate this problem ) -eeaggh 2 weeks later - same old problem again !

I wonder why Panny do not provide a simple " lens cleaning port " which is simply an external port tube-connected to the internal lens area ? Applying a compressed clean air canister to this port would easily clear dust problems !

Anybody carried out a DIY solution to this seemingly repetitive and annoying problem ?

Posted Feb 2, 2010 10:34:29 PM

By Brian

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I have a Panasonic AE500U with nearly 6,000 hours on the original bulb! It has been an amazing machine and even though it has lost a little punch in the picture it still looks great in a semi darkened room. Plus, the near 6,000 hours on it has got to be a record!!

That being said, I also have a brother-in-law that has a AX1000 that's been a real mess. Numerous iris issues and lamp replacemtn after 1,200 hours and he's about ready to chuck it in the trash.

I can't comment on the brand new stuff but it seems Panny made better projectors in the beginning then they do now. I still have my original AE100 with 3,600 hours on it and it's ready to fill in as soon as my AE500's bulb goes and I'm waiting on my new lamp.

That's my dilemma...when my AE500 does need a new lamp I'll have a hard time not getting one instead of getting one of the newer models. My bang for buck has been through the roof!! However, if I did I would probably try out the Epson due to it's long lamp life and superior ambient light specs.

There is nothing like getting long lamp life. Trust me!

Brian

Posted Jan 16, 2010 6:18:29 AM

By ToeCutter

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I read this article simply to assure myself that Epson was still competing with Panasonic for the best mainstream HC projector. I've owned several Panasonic AX projectors and have horrible luck with every single one. The stuck iris issue (had to go in 3 times!) with the AX100, and a flickering lamp on the AX200 that replaced it. I finally threw in the towel and bought an Epson which has worked flawlessly since it was mounted nearly 2 years ago. I've only changed the lamp once! I'm not posting this because I have an axe to grind with Panasonic, as they did fix the AX100 out of warranty, but the frequency of issues experienced with the Pannys makes me wonder if they're having difficulty meeting competitive prices points with their designs? Also, I wanted to demonstrate how there's so much more to the purchase decision than just initial picture quality. It's heartbreaking to hear "we can't send you a replacement, but we will fix if you send it in" while talking to a CSR. I would encourage anyone considering either to check out a forum or two to see what things are like after the initial sale. GREAT review, BTW!

Posted Jan 14, 2010 2:45:15 AM

By Riff Raff

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The clear winner; although marginal, is the EPSON. The EPSON has better blacks and has a brighter picture. The 2:40 vs 16:9 re-sizing format advantage of the PANASONIC is only an advantage if you are using a screen with fixed border edges. If you are projecting your image on a barren open wall using special projection screen paint for reflective screen gain that doesn't have border edges, then the re-sizing issue is irrelevate. Wherever the edge of the video image lays on the open barren wall is where it lays-- you're not restricted in trying to re-fit the video image within the borders of a fixed screen. In this regard, the EPSON is the winner overall.

Posted Jan 11, 2010 7:38:06 PM

By Pat

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Great review of the 2 units. I bought my first projector 3 yrs ago, a Sanyo PLV-Z5 and it had the best specs for under 2,000.00 at the time. The contrast ratio was 10,000:1 and we have been thrilled with it. There was no where to see one and it was time to pull the trigger on the 22' wide basement wall begging for a screen. Ceiling mounted and a 109" fixed screen we sit 12' away on a 18" built up platform subwoofer under, to get us eye level at middle of the screeen. The new technology is very tempting, and with all the use i will most likely go for a new unit. The bulbs do burn out faster than anyone wants. So the the Epson might be a good idea, and yet at 500.00 less the Pana 4000 looks OK as well....

Posted Jan 1, 2010 11:33:18 PM

By Louis

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I own a Pan AE-1000U and an Epson 1080 UB. Both are still excellent projectors. My Epson immediately showed a horizontal line towards the top. I called Epson, got a real person immediately, and after only a few minutes, had him agreeing to send out a new unit (as long as I gave him a credit card in case I do not ship back the bad unit). The new unit arrived in 2 days, and it was perfect. There was a pre-paid label for me to send the bad unit back. Talk about excellent service! So even though I like the Pan's picture a wee bit more, I'll probably treasure Epson's great service when it comes time to replace these projectors.

Posted Dec 29, 2009 12:00:10 PM

By John Fusco

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I purchased a Panasonic PT-3000 when it first come out and I have to say the 1080P picture is amazing. My problem was dust kept geting in the optics and showed up as green orbs on dark sceens of the picture. I sent it back for service to get the lenes cleaned. Got it back no green orbs at first. 3 hours into viewing guess what green orbs agian WTF. I have two filters running 24/7 keeping the room clean. Sent it back again . Panasonic this time replaced the LCD covers. The Projector is working just fine now no dust issues. Sold it on ebay and purchased the PT 4000 witch this time panasonic addressed the dust issues by sealing the lcd covers. Wish they would of thought of that sooner would of saved me a lot of lost time. I stuck with panasonic because the picture quailty is secound to none in it's price range. Stick with the pt4000 you wont be disapointed.

Posted Dec 24, 2009 2:43:54 PM

By Craig

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I've owned my PT-AE900U (720p) projector since 2005. I had to settle for that one just after the 1000U came out at triple the price (about $2k vs. $6k at the time). I've logged over 5,000 hours across two lamps, and other than a fan ball bearing or something that seems to have broken in the last few months (doing nothing but adding a little more noise during operation) I've had no issues what so ever with it.

I'm totally, completely, and forever sold on Panasonic. If you read their reviews for any of their projectors (From the 900U to the 1k, 2k, 3, and now 4kU) they basically come in 2nd in EVERY category. While the top place in each category seems to always go to varying other companies (as each generally have their specialties), the company that's highest for category A, is usually also by the bottom for categories B, C, and D. Panasonic devices on the other hand are just great always marked right up at the top of the list for nearly every category, nearly all of the time.

Now that my 900U is getting up there in age and my second lamp is about ready to go, I'm starting to look for an upgrade ($400 on new lamp for 5 year old projector, or $1600 more for a new lamp and projector that does native 1080p! and so much more).

With the 4000U starting at around $1k less than it's predecessor, I say "Thank you for the no brainer Panasonic!"

Posted Dec 22, 2009 11:13:05 AM

By Salman

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Reporting from Dubai UAE

The panay guys here didnt even bring the AE4000. You have to pay almost USD 4000/- to get one. That too after a 6 week delay. Plus no warranty on the lamp.

The Epson is happy to bring the model to my home for the trial and if I like it I pay it on the spot. Epson is also giving a free PS2 plus 12 month warranty, no questions asked.

I am building a dedicated room so the zoom fuction is not really useful for me.

I am certainly sold to Epson.

Posted Dec 21, 2009 10:36:57 AM

By James21

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I'm thinking to buy the Pan AE4000 and I'm wondering what the latest word on it is. I'm a fist time projector owner and I'm getting a little nervous reading some of these posts. Hope it's as good as some of the reviews I've been reading. Of the people who currently own it, how do you like it?

Posted Dec 20, 2009 5:26:53 PM

By Mr. Marty

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I am stuck between these two projectors. I read somewhere that anamorphic lens emulation has an operation range limitation. Does anyone know what that range is? I intend to place the projector at 19 ft. What is meant by "flickering"? In a different article the reviewer presented a panasonic projector background with hot spots in the corners. Has this been noticed by anyone else? Regarding the Epson projector, any update on the make of the LCD panels, organic or inorganic? Thanks.

Posted Dec 16, 2009 4:11:10 PM

By Tim

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To add our experience for anyone researching Panasonic models.

We bought our PT-AE2000U in 2007. It is ceiling mounted (Chief) and has accumulated 600 hours now after 24 months. A speck of dust got in and was visible as a blob on screen within the first month. This problem was resolved with an at-home clean-up and an additional filter covering the intake. The projector has worked flawlessly since. No dimming, no flickering and no other problems.

I am sorry to read about the problems reported here. We have been lucky so far.

Posted Dec 12, 2009 6:17:38 PM

By fjw

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Hi Guys i have the pansonic AE3000, after tweaking it a bit the picture is great i have not experenced any flicking as yet but in the dark room its great showing blue ray..

Posted Dec 12, 2009 2:44:57 PM

By Gary

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I have a Pan AE700 and had the bulb burn out at 400 hours, the color processor burn out at 1800 hours. Now the color processor is again no good at 3000 hours. I think Panasonic projectors are not reliable. I am going to buy the Epson just for the warranty and hopefully better reliability.

Posted Dec 9, 2009 6:33:20 PM

By Edd

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They both sound like fantastic units but since Panasonic has decided to price fix the 4000U in Canada and demand it be sold for $1000 more than the street price in the US, I have to say the Epson is the way I shall go.

*&^%$$ you Panasonic Canada.

Also the warranty issue is a great selling feature especially since the 3000 had dust issues. Once out of warranty, don't even think I getting Panasonic to service it. The price is super large.

Posted Dec 1, 2009 4:09:03 PM

By Scott

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I have seriously considering the Epson 8500 for several reasons. Warranty is 2 years, there is a rebate of $200.00 which helps bring the cost down slightly and the history of reliability with the previous models. Most reviews on this 8500 as well as the previous models are excellent and for the price points and a 2 year warranty, I have to go with the Epson. My new Theatre Room should be the hit of the new year and for Super Bowl Sunday.... Thanks for everyone's input..

Posted Dec 1, 2009 6:32:44 AM

By Joe Wilson

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I have 2 Panasonic projectors: An AX100 in a living room for gaming and a PT-AE2000U in a dedicated home theater room. Comparing the "flickering" issues of the AX100 with ANY of the PT-AE models is ridiculous. My AE2000 picture is flicker free with anything I throw at it. I've got to imagine 2 models later the Pany's picture is even better (political comment deleted)

Posted Nov 25, 2009 2:12:39 PM

By Dave

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They are almost identical in performance...

Key advantages -------------- Epson: More lamp life, slightly higher contrast Panasonic: Less expensive, anamorphic zooming

My winner has to be the AE4000. I wouldn't say the 8500 is $500 better than the 4000. That $500 added to a new screen or something else in the chain would be money well spent.

Posted Nov 24, 2009 3:59:17 PM

By A. Baklid

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When speaking about the differences in warranty between these 2 projectors, you leave out the most important part. Epson's is an "Advanced Replacement" 2-year warranty. If anything goes wrong, you simply call Epson (there a credit card like paper in the owner's manual with the tel # and a PIN #), a real person answers (!) and if they can't help you fix the problem over the phone, they send you a new replacement projector which arrives within 48 hours. Incredible! They pay for all the shipping on the new one and the replacement (which you have 1 month to Purolator back to them). Panasonic makes you drive it in to a service depot, wait until it comes back from being fixed, drive back to the service depot, take it home & hook it up and then hope it works. Big difference worth big money to people who actually have busy lives.

Posted Nov 12, 2009 9:52:04 PM

By Ference

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Regarding brightness comparison, Evan described a serious lumen output drop (15% within the first 150 hours operation) in his last year review related to Epson 6500UB. I assume the lamp in the Epson 8500 is the same as their last year model, so the serious lumen output drop still should be there. Accordingly within a short time the brightness benefit between of Epson 8500 compare the Pana AE4000 will be gone. Unless the Panny’s new red-rich lamp may have similar lumen dropping. There would be definitely interesting to hear more about this issue related to both projector for a clearer view.

Posted Nov 5, 2009 10:57:21 PM

By P Lewis

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I just got my new AE 4000 today and I've been playing with it for a few hours. My first impression is that it's a nice picture, but not with the preconfigured settings. All of the settings are much too dark except for normal and dynamic. But I found even those setting needed to be tweaked for brightness, contrast and color.

I'm upgrading from my 4-year old Sanyo PLV-Z4 and I have to say, my old Z4 compares fairly well to the new Panny. It's only 1080i and doesn't have frame interpolation, but after viewing my new AE 4000, I can see how good my old Z4 is. (it's probably going to end up on Ebay!)

But, so far, after tweaking the colors and brightness, I can see that I will really enjoy my new projector. Like my old Sanyo, it still requires a dark room to really enjoy a Blu-Ray movie. The blacks are good and the colors are very bright. I was watching different parts of the new Transformers movie as a test and sharpness and frame interpolation are great. I used the highest setting and there is absolutely no jitter that I could detect. I also haven't noticed any delay or sync problems with voice and picture. I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs with all the football game this weekend.

Oh, one more thing, having 3 HDMI ports is really nice. Now I can have HDMI for my DirecTv, Blu-Ray player, and my Sony 400 DVD changer (it up converts to 720p with an HDMI cable).

I'll be curious to hear other comments as more of us try out the new Panny.

Posted Nov 5, 2009 7:00:34 PM

By Brian

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Since Panasonic now owns Sanyo I wonder if the no show this year from Sanyo is suppression or restructuring? I have noticed from at least one website that the PLV-Z3000 can be had for the same price as the Panasonic how would this compare with the AE4k or UB8500

Posted Nov 4, 2009 4:43:42 PM

By Wader

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I too own a panny ax200u and have the flicker issue...giving panasonic more money goes against my grain when I read the poor units that people have in the AVS forums!

Posted Nov 4, 2009 4:02:58 AM

By robert

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It sounds terrific that there has been some major improvements in the frame interpolation technology. This was described well in the epson review.

What delineates all projectors on price to the largest degree is contrast. To say that it is only marginally important in my view highlights a major flaw in the review. Why not post the numbers with the equipment used and the test environment detailed? The lumen numbers are provided. I think people need to be aware of how ridiculous the contrast number spec given by most manufacturers is. They obviously believe the number is important and is the key reason why they balloon it to ridiculous levels. If you report the real world levels it would show true unbias in my view. It isnt an attack on your reviews but an opinion.

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:48:26 PM

By Reuben

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Don't compare the paltry ax100 to these technologies.

The AX100 is probably worth under $400-500 on the marked used nowadays. That's like saying a 20 year old honda civic sucked, don't buy honda.

-ELmO

Posted Oct 29, 2009 10:39:58 PM

By Jason D

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Dana is right about the AX100. I have the same issue on my Panny and I'm not ready to get another only to have the same issue. Mine is a few years old and has only 700hrs on it, light use. I have to power down the unit every time it turns on the first time for the day. This thing is a lemon, maybe I can get my money back from the Warehouse store. If I can, then I'm going with a Mits or Epson. Sorry Panny, you've lost me

Posted Oct 28, 2009 9:10:17 AM

By Dana Decker

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One note for folks considering the Panny (and I can't believe I'm one of them). As a previous Panasonic AX100U owner I suggest that anyone considering this projector take a look at the various Panny owner forums over on AVS. I had terrible flickering problems with my AX100U and it looks like AE3000 owners (many generations later) are still encountering this issue. I still think that Panasonic has quality control issues to this day and it makes me very nervous about buying another one of their products (though the price is very tempting). After you've taken a projector down 4 times, shipped it to Heartland, Kansas, waited for repair, and then remounted you start to realize how important it is that your projector just works. This caused me to switch over to Sanyo projectors after the Panny AX100U. No new Sanyos this year so it's either this or the Epson. If I'm not mistaken the Epson warranty agreement has them shipping you a replacement projector before you send your projector in need of repair back to them. Something to think about.

Posted Oct 28, 2009 7:46:56 AM

By RobertC

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My brother is in the AV business. His Epson rep told him that Epson make the light engine for Panasonic projectors and sells the engine to them at an exorbitant price meaning that Panasonic has to buy less expensive and hence lower quality electronics and support systems for the light engine.

Can anyone else confirm this?

I am currently torn between these two projectors, but after a shootout like this, I don't see what the true advantage to the Epson is given that it's only + over the Panasonic is the increased black levels, whereas the Panasonic has same or better image quality and features like power zoom/focus...

Posted Oct 27, 2009 6:15:30 AM

By pplover

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Really excellent article but yet I want still more.

+1 i agree with that word

where ANSI contrast? you are hiding something?

oh man just measure and show

Posted Oct 26, 2009 1:56:08 PM

By James Baroni

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Couple of items usual covered Evan's excellent reviews left off in comparison: Lens shift, light output loss, bulb life estimates, remote control features, connections and also descriptive comparison of aestetic features such as size, color, and style. Other items not usually featured but helpful in making a decision would be quality history by brand and customer service satisfaction by brand specific to projectors.

Posted Oct 24, 2009 7:50:02 PM

By JSelig

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Thank you! Evan that's a terrific review. It really helped. Next I have to find out which other projector has a power zoom that might compare to Panasonic AE4000.

Posted Oct 24, 2009 10:37:02 AM

By PatB

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Really excellent article but yet I want still more.

I would like to see the ANSI contrast figures. I imagine that since Epson makes the LCD panels for both that they might be identical. But if the Panasonic Contrast Plate works maybe its effect shows up in the ANSI contrast figure. Maybe that's whst accounts for your preference for the Panny picture's contrast except for the credits.

The standard high pressure bulb is well known to be rich in green and weak in red. That's why bright modes tend to have a greenish cast. People detect too much green especially in skin tones. Heretofor the only solution has been to cut the total light output of the bulb. Now Panasonic has some sort of red boost technology. You dodn't mention it in this comparison. What does that mean?

The JVC LCoS projectors acheived fame because of their black levels. They dodn't use an iris. How do these LCD projectors with irises stack up?

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