Shoot-out: Panasonic PT-L500U vs. Sanyo PLV-Z2

Evan Powell, December 8, 2003

Among the hottest of the new home theater projectors released in this holiday season is the Panasonic PT-L500U, scheduled to commence shipments in the US next week. Panasonic is also marketing the PT-L500U as the PT-AE500U. These products are identical. The difference in style numbers relates only to the type of dealer or retailer that you buy it from. Since most of the Panasonic dealers on ProjectorCentral will be handling the PT-L500U edition, we will henceforth in this review refer to it by that style number, or simply the "L500" for short. But you may find the AE500 version at a local retailer, so bear in mind that all comments herein pertaining to the L500 apply equally to the AE500.

Those of you who follow the home theater industry closely are aware that the L500 is a strong competitive rival to the Sanyo PLV-Z2, a product we spoke enthusiastically of in a recent review. They are competitive rivals due to their many similarities. Both will be found selling for street prices around $2,000. They are both 16:9 widescreen products with a physical resolution of 1280x720. They carry similar brightness ratings (850 lumens for the L500, and 800 lumens for the Z2). They both claim contrast ratios up to 1300:1. They have almost identical throw distances. And they both offer DVI inputs with HDCP.

Having just posted a rave review of the Sanyo PLV-Z2, the big questions on everyone's mind will be these: What are the differences between these two projectors? What advantages does each have over the other? Does one represent an inherently better value than the other? Thus it makes sense to present the L500 review in a shoot-out format against its primary competitor, the Z2.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty comparisons, we will say up front that the Panasonic L500 is an impressive product that we are including in our list of Highly Recommended Home Theater Projectors. It is an excellent value and represents a formidable alternative to the Sanyo PLV-Z2 which was added to the list last week.

Review Contents: Intro Features and Function Additional Comparisons Conclusion