Home Theater Shootout:
Epson Home Cinema 5030UB vs Panasonic PT-AE8000

Evan Powell, 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.

Review Contents: Introduction Image Quality 3D Performance Frame Interpolation
  Input Lag and Gaming Cinemascope Options Remote and Menu Other Key Features

Reader Comments(12 comments)

Posted Dec 25, 2014 6:57:09 PM

By Myron Oleson

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If you factor in today's (12-25-14) actual selling price for both of these models, the Panasonic is hands down the clear winner. No contest!

Posted Feb 7, 2014 9:51:54 PM

By kanerator

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Thanks, Evan. I figured that was the case, but I always like to check with the experts.

Posted Feb 7, 2014 10:59:53 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

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@ Kanerator and Paras... the lip synch issue is minor. Almost all AV receivers have audio delays that will allow video to be in perfect synch with audio. All projectors benefit from having this done since they all delay video to some degree. The Epson 6030 and 5030 do a lot of video processing and as a result the delay is more than you find on some other projectors. Generally, if you run with frame interpolation on you will benefit from a delay in the range of 100 to 150 ms, whereas on other projectors a delay of 60 to 80 ms might be in order. Once it is set, you're pretty much dialed in, and only those who are hyper-sensitive to synch issues would want to keep fiddling with it. I use the 6030 regularly and I don't have any problems with synch, and I certainly don't keep adjusting it.

Posted Feb 6, 2014 7:40:20 PM

By kanerator

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I agree with the question by Paras. I have read your review of the Epson 6030, and reviews at Projector Reviews and elsewhere and this is the first I've read about lip-sync issues. Is this an issue that can be completely eliminated by proper adjustment between frame interpretation and buffer delay? Am I understanding you correctly that any change in frame interpretation or resolution will require adjustments to the buffer delay? Sounds a bit fiddly, since I've never had any lip-sync issues with my Epson TW-2000 in the 7 years I've owned it (with the exception of two cheap dvds). I'd pretty much decided on the Epson 6030. Put my mind at ease, Evan, put my mind at ease.

Posted Jan 20, 2014 4:16:35 AM

By Subhash Khanna

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I want to purchase projector for 50'x100 hall, please adivce to purchase which model & company projector relable cost. Only purpose devotional / satsang are screen videos.

Posted Nov 26, 2013 1:25:49 PM

By Paras

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I was reading your great review and was just about sold on the Epson until I read this section on lip synch issues. Is that something that can be corrected? Having the voice not match a person's lips while you're watching a movie seems horrible... Does it look like you're watching an old kung fu movie?

Thanks for your thoughts...

Posted Nov 15, 2013 9:20:19 AM

By Jeff

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What projector would be best for watching sports, mostly football in a dedicated dark media room?

Posted Nov 14, 2013 10:30:01 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

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Thanks very much for the comments and feedback everyone.

Eddie, you are correct that there is a difference in the 2-year warranties, and I mistakenly overlooked that. I will remove the reference to common warranties on the first page, and add a paragraph on the warranties in "Other Key Differences." I appreciate the head's up on this item.

To summarize what I said in the evaluation--the Epson 5030UB is an outstanding projector that has numerous advantages over the AE8000 including contrast, detail clarity, black levels, on-board panel alignment capability, etc. Moreover, some of the technical advantages of the AE8000 like powered zoom/focus, lens memory, less buffer delay, and lower digital noise are not really practical advantages in many instances. For many buyers the 5030UB will clearly be the best choice. Hopefully that will be obvious to most readers.

Tony, Stewart does not recommend the 100 for home theater because is a virtually perfect diffuser intended for professional use in a black room with zero ambient or reflected light, something which is rarely achieved or even desirable in most home theaters. Stewart recommends the Studiotek 130 or the new lower cost Cima fabrics as better choices for home theater. In some of our recent testing we've set up the Cima Neve (white) screen side by side with the 100. The Cima is a bit brighter and more vibrant in the very low ambient light you normally experience in a home theater, and we would agree that for typical home theater use the Cima is not only the better choice, but the more cost-effective.

Adam, we have not shopped for a budget 2.4 screen, so I don't have any specific advice on that. Several screen vendors offer them, and you might solicit advice from some of the better online projector dealers who work a lot with home theater packages. If you set up a 2.4 format screen, you will need either an extra anamorphic lens that you install in front of the projector's standard lens, or the ability to re-adjust zoom, focus and vertical positioning of the picture when you switch between 2.4 and 16:9 format images. You can do that manually on the 5030UB if it is installed within easy reach, or the AE8000 does the lens resetting automatically with its Lens Memory system.

Posted Nov 13, 2013 7:05:18 PM

By Tbone85

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Excellent and detailed comparison. Thank you.

Posted Nov 13, 2013 1:54:35 PM

By Adam Hedman

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So where is the best place to get a nice quality budget 2.4:1 Cinemascope format screen? I have the Panasonic AE9000 and want to look at different options for my movie watching experience. Also, do you need to purchas a different lens to watch it in 2.4:1 format? Where do you get that?

Posted Nov 13, 2013 1:26:08 PM

By Eddie

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Evan, You really are glossing over the warranty differences between the 5030UB and AE8000. To imply they're 'equal' with 2 years is a stretch.

Panasonic has a 2000 hour limit which ends warranty coverage. Use the AE8000 more than 3 hours a day and you don't get two years. 8 hours a day and your warranty is kaput in 8 months. No hour limit on Epsons.

Also, Epson will ship you a replacement immediately and pay the shipping both ways during the two years. With the Panasonic, you pay for shipping and are without a projector for the duration of the repairs.

Given the glowing praise for every instance where you find the Panasonic superior, you owe us a little of the same when the opposite is true if only for credibility.

Further, comparing this shootout with Bill's shootout last year of the 5020UB vs AE8000, one might almost conclude that the 5030UB has gotten WORSE given the effusive praise of the AE8000 in this comparison...

Posted Nov 13, 2013 11:46:53 AM

By tony

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Why is the Stewart Studiotek 100 not appropriate for these projectors? Is it the 1.0 gain? I thought a perfectly dark room meant you would want LESS gain if anything since the room is so dark already.

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