Home Theater Shootout:
Epson Home Cinema 5030UB vs Panasonic PT-AE8000
November 13, 2013
Input Lag, Lip Synch, Gaming
Both of these projectors create a delay in getting the picture to the screen (as all projectors do). Overall, the AE8000 gets the picture to the screen faster than the 5030UB no matter what modes the projectors are in. When viewing side by side, with each scene change the AE8000 refreshes first, and the 5030UB follows a split second later. As a result, lip synch issues are comparatively minor on the AE8000. It is possible to watch a movie with no audio delay and not be distracted by any obvious lip synch problems. This is not the case with the 5030UB--with frame interpolation and/or super resolution active the buffer delay is as much as eleven frames compared to four on the AE8000. So lip movement is more obviously out of synch with the audio on the 5030UB, and you hear the gunshot before you see the flash of the gun.
However, I hasten to add that, though the AE8000 can be used in a pinch without audio delay, this is not the ideal way to set it up. Even a slight synch problem between audio and video that is not obvious will produce a subliminal unease in the viewing experience--viewers may sense something is not quite right but not be consciously aware of what it is. So taking care during installation to eliminate even slight timing issues is effort well spent. And as long as you're doing this, the relative magnitude of the adjustment is irrelevant. It does not take any longer to set up a 60ms delay than it does a 180ms delay, and as long as you're doing this, the the differences in buffer delay are of no consequence in choosing one projector over the other. Keep in mind that if you change video processing settings (say, change frame interpolation from low to medium) it is likely you will change the buffer delay which may in turn require a tweak to the audio delay.
Game Mode/Fast Processing: Input lag is a problem that can affect game scores, so having minimal lag between the signal's arrival and it's display is a big deal for serious gamers. The AE8000 has a specific Game Mode that is designed to minimize input lag. The 5030UB does not have a specific Game mode, but rather a "Fast" option (as opposed to "Fine") that can be applied to any of the operating modes. When in these operating modes, our test samples measured almost identical, 34ms on the AE8000 and 37ms on the 5030UB. However, the 5030UB's Fast mode imparts a noticeable softening of detail to the image, whereas there is no diminishment of sharpness on the AE8000.