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Panasonic PT-AE500U User Reviews

Panasonic PT-AE500U Projector

Panasonic Home PT-AE500U

HD 720 (1280x720), 850 ANSI Lumens,
6.4 lbs, $2,499 (MSRP)
View Specs
4.6 out of 5
33 User Ratings
Image Quality 4.8
Features 4.6
Construction 4.5
Ease of Use 4.7
Reliability 4.5
Value for Money 4.7

User Reviews

Write a Review
Review by spacecadet2010

first one had a dust ball on an lcd. returned it to be cleaned and they found that a mechanism was shaking. Phew! They sent it back to Panasonic and sent me a new one after quality checking it. I have 34 hours on it so far and love it. Just finished my DIY screen. Parkwood plas-tex painted with silverscreen from Behr. 130' diag! Picture is almost perfect, especially with my DVD high def Sanyo player set at 1080i connected via DVI. I haven't tweaked the colors yet. I like that I have lots of control as well. There are so many tweaks to do with color, gamma, bright, contrast. I will tweak it once I get a filter cap for the lens. I don't want my kids waking me up early weekends because they want to play nintendo. Great buy for the money and quality, don't settle because you want to save a couple hundred.

Any Problems: dust ball and shakes on first 500, but Projector People took care of it quickly. They ROCK! Don't buy your projector from anyone else. I have the pj 19 ft away and do notice vague SDE, only when the cam is moving fast and in higly lit scenes. But it is nothing that bothers me, like i said it is very faint. Aspect Ratio also is disabled when your using High Def. Locks it at 16X9, but I like the Full-Screen feature with 16X9 high def.

Review by TH

After deliberating for several weeks about which projector would best work for me (95" diag. at 10.5' seating distance), I picked the 500U over the Z2 and the Optoma H31. The image quality is excellent, and if you are concerned about SDE, then buy this projector. The image is incredibly filmlike, and crisp. The menus are easy to navigate, and fan noise (at low light output) is minimal. The light output is acceptable, but you really do need controlled lighting. The picture washes out quickly with ambient light. Perhaps most important to note, is the offset angle of this projector. As the PJC review states, the lens hits 12% from the top or bottom of the screen. This means the projector is ideal for bookshelf mounting, and not so ideal for ceiling mounting (my set-up). Without lens shift, it's just not flexible, and I wish Panasonic had made the angle greater, so I wouldn't need an 18" extension pole from the ceiling. Of course, you can use the keystone correction, but who wants to screw up their image by doing that?

Any Problems: None so far, but disappointed in the offset angle (or lack thereof). Still a bargain at $1449, including shipping.

Review by bcweeks

Hey Wineman42, I've had this projector for about 5 months and have logged close to 1000 hours on it. I've haven't experienced any problems and the bulb is still going strong. I only run in low lamp mode with the fan set on High. I think you were mis-informed when the salesman said 500-1500 hours. Most user reviews that I've read have people saying that they're able to get 2500 or more hours on low lamp mode.

Review by wineman42

I live in Vancouver, B.C. This unit is not cheap here in Canada and retailed for $4,995 CDN. I have had this projector for a little more than three months. Up to now I have been smiling. The performance, picture quality, etc. have been just fantastic! Brightness has not been a problem and we have even been able to watch the unit with a light on in the room. It was plenty bright enough. Everyone that has seen it has been very impressed. I have only been using s-video to now as I need 25 foot long component and dvi cables for high definition. They are expensive here. I plan to get them in the next few months. Nonetheless, even the s-video has been very good.

Any Problems: Just this week though my picture dimmed and went fuzzy. Took the unit in for service today and was told by the technician it is proably the bulb. He said the bulb is only good for 500-1500hours. He also said using it to watch television decreases the life of the bulb considerably. My unit is being used for Television and movies (DVD and VCR) just as we would a normal television. I only use the lamp at low power. NO adjustment to brightness or setting the lamp on "high" has any effect. If in fact the technician is correct then I am going to be complaining loudly to Panasonic and demand that they replace my unit or refund me the money spent. This is totally ridiculous! I expected to get at least 3000 hours out of a bulb on the low setting. The manual says we can expect at least 2000 hours when it is set to "high". Total hours on our unit are 419 hours. I'll keep you posted as to the repair results. I'd like to know what the experience of other owners of this unit have been. Have any of you had problems with the life of the bulb on your units? Or, do you suspect I may have another problem?

Review by Gaetan C

This is an excellent projector for the price. In my opinion, it rivals projectors that are 4 times its price. Image quality is surprising in dark room. Image is good when viewing cable TV with S-video connection. Excellent image when viewing DVD's with component connection. So easy to use and it offers many viewing options. Playing computer games using this projector brings you into a whole new dimension.

Any Problems: No negative comments.

Review by Jason

I have had this unit for nearly a year now and I couldn't be happier. I have a 92" screen and the picture is crystal clear. After inital set up the unit is straight forward easy to use. Picture quality increases the darker it is but it is not bad in full day light.

Any Problems: Absolutely none

Review by panny 500

Had it for 1 week on 100" screen that is primered drywall and it is awesome. Can not wait to paint my GOO screen on the wall.

Any Problems: I have been watcing lord of the rings and when I set aspect ratio to Auto it it switches to 4:3 mode. When I run it on 16:9 or just the image looks stretched. I am thinking that there is setting that I need to change on my DVD Player. Otherwise it is awesome and to not regret the purchase at all.

Review by Doyle

Personal experience - comparison between the component video and DVI cables. I purchased 25 ft cables (both cv & dvi), and get great pictures from both. I did find a difference though. Viewing a dvd with progressive scan is much better with the dvi cable, almost HD quality. Being retired and on a fixed income, I had the time to throughly research projectors. Thanks to Projector Central, I zeroed in on the 500, got bids, and could not be more pleased. My 108" screen is just as clear as my two daughters 50 & 60" HD TVs that cost 3 to 4 times more. They are astounded and so am I. Thank you

Any Problems: Going on 5 months and not a single problem.

Review by Jonathan

Absolutely no problems so far, perfect image quality and contrast with no chicken wire effect. This is definately what you need for a home cinema. I would suggest using the componant connection RGB for optimum performance. Unit has wide range of connection ports, some of which can be used to link pc signals which delivers even higher resolution. Although have not yet tried this. Forget about splashing out on a plasma or LCD. You really dont need to, with its image size from 40 inch to 200 inch. What more can you ask for. Best thing i ever bought.

Any Problems: 125 hours used. None so far BRILLIANT!!!!

Review by TC

This is the unit to get. Your basically getting the same unit as the 700U, just saving $500 (or more). This projector with a nice quality screen will give you an outstanding picture. The extra 150 lumens and 700 contast that the 700U will give you wont even be noticed. I've seen 6000:1 contrast ratios that dont look any better than 1000:1. The secret is a NICE good quality screen. This unit will save you $$ that you can put towards a nice screen. That combination will blow away ANY 700U projecting onto a cheap pull down screen or a white wall. If your rich, go for the 700U AND a really nice screen.

Any Problems: Lose the DVI and give me another set of component inputs.

Review by BOOGSY

Put aside all your doubts, and do not judge a product only by its price, the ae500 offers picture quality that is sensational, no more misty grey blacks, proper looking blacks WITH shadow detail. The amazing facts about this unit are, NO screendoor, brilliant smooth cinema type picture, no worries about dlp rainbow effects etc, LONG bulb life, low fan noise, and utterly amazing built in video processing circuits. Using a sony high end dvd player, the image was better on the Panasonic, than if using the sony prog scan output. Would consider the new ae700, but if u want the BEST value for money, the ae500 is the one to buy. think of this, projectorcentral has recently reviewed the new Sony VPL-HS51, with claimed 6,000 contrast, and twice the price of the NEW ae7500, YET the ae700 is overall a better projector, where it counts. read the review, and see. The ae700 is a slightly higher spec of the ae500. Nuff said !

Any Problems: None.

Review by bcweeks

This is a response to SOL's question about the comparison between the component video and DVI on this unit. I had your same question when I bought this projector. I want the best picture possible so I bought both a DVI and component cable. I hooked both up to the projector and found that the component video actually outperformed the DVI. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The component video was a bit sharper and provided richer colors. I was stunned so I called several other people into the room to ask which image looked better. Everyone agreed that the component was a better picture. Another thing to add....the component cable that I used to test the quality was a 25ft cable and the DVI was a 6ft cable. I can't believe that at 25ft the component still significantly outperformed the DVI. Anyway, the component cable produces an amazing picture, saves you money by not having to purchase an expensive DVI cable, and is capable of longer runs (in my case 25ft). Go with the component cable or if you still don't believe me then give it a test. You'll see the same results. I bought the projector about 4 months ago. I had a couple concerns before buying the projector....Would it be bright enough at 850 lumens? Would a 1080i HDTV signal look good when scaled to fit this projectors native resolution? The answer to both of these questions is that the Panasonic unit handles them wonderfully. This projector is plenty bright in a room where light is being controlled with blinds. Of course, any projector looks better in complete darkness but the Panasonic has plenty of lumens to shine through the ambient light. It also produces an amazing 1080i HDTV picture. I've compared this unit to the Yamaha DLP unit that is currently selling for 12k. The panasonic is dead on with the Yamaha at 1/6 the cost. This is a great buy. The only projector I'd consider over this one is the new Panasonic AE700. It's basically the AE500 with upgrades. If you don't want to spend the extra money on the AE700 then go for the AE500. You won't be disappointed!

Any Problems: None

Review by sol

1 week has passed and i have 2 new cables. and i have changed my mind from just liking the projector to loving it. my wife who initially hated the idea prior to getting it has eate her words :D device - quality PC -> 25' VGA = 95% blacks are very good dvd player -> 50' RGB = 90% GOOD but black line around image PC -> 50' SVIDEO = 70% blacks are gray ad the picture is a 16:9 in a 4:3 had to use zoom function. in conclusion the best pic will come from a pc at 1200x778 using vga cable. dvi cables are very expensive i'd like to know if anyone has compared rgb with dvi to know if it is worth paying for a long one. plus dvi goes down to 800x600 at 50'

Review by remraf

On the up side the projector picture is just stunning. No screen door effect just va great picture. Blacks a a bit of a problem but dont worry me too much. I have been using it for about a month now. T.V viewing via a HDTV box set and the RGB inputs is stunning depenting on the source material. DVD via s-video is excellent.

Any Problems: My first unit was dead however the retailer JB Hi Fi replaced it promptly. I cannot therefore rate it high on the reliability side for this reason.

Review by sol

faced with a set of choices Sony VPLH3 - $1500usd Sony VPLH20 - $2500usd Panasonic PT-AE500U - $1500usd Panasonic PT-AE700U - $2200usd i decided the best quality for the least amount of money was the pt-ae500. the 700 is probably better but its a good saving. the sony hs3 does not even compare. i was a bit worried about buying from a place i have never done business with but projectors are hard to find. currently i have it setup through my pc's s-video cable so the quality is not the best output to begin with. it is in a 4:3 window so i used the zoom function to increate the size. i have it set to 12feet diag and the quality is pretty good. not much screen door mesh effect. there is a little banding but the picture quality is pretty good. blacks could be blacker but i am happy with it. i have ordered some rgb cable so this might improve the quality i hope

Review by Mike

Fantasic projector. Standard Video is fantasic. No screen door effect at all. Color is fantasic the size over a small shot range is great. Supports all display modes and the 850 lumens is ample. You will need no more. I thought it would be to dull but it is bright and brilliant probably due to being an LCD projector. Games are fantasic on it. XBOX, Gamecube, Computer especially.

Any Problems: The fan after running for a while made just a little ticking sound that annoyed me. Bear in mind you wouldn't hear it normally my system is not fully set up yet and the projector was 1 foot from my head so I suppose I'm being a bit picky. The only other problem is that in component video high definition mode with DVD's if you have a crappy DVD from the store you will see the compresssion on the large screen. That sucked. No fault of the unit. You can solve this by using standard video input to removed the high definition though. Eg The Last Samurai is high definition. Contact the movie is not. I wouldn't buy any other unit except for a later version if I was so inclined. I looked at them all techniaclly and visually it took me ages and when I saw thins one there was no comparision.

Review by zxlr8

I have owned this for a month now and I love it. Beautiful picture and stunning colors. My only minor complaint would be if I saw vertical banding. I see none. This is the best projector for the money!! Period.

Review by sunfff at hotmail

I am in fact AE100 user, but I don't want to post my opinion in the AE100 area because few people would go to check this old model now. Having seen what AE100 can do, I am totally persuaded that AE500 is a no-regret purchase if you can find it in your country(I say this because Panasonic doesn't officially distribute this model in mainland China. The only home cinema model available is AE100, brought to the market 2 years ago. After that, finished. No AE200, no AE300, nothing)

Review by gadi

I can say that I'm extremely satisfied with my purchase of this amazing machine. Buy it if you can you will love it

Any Problems: no so far

Review by hk

After hearing all the negative things a lot of the customers on this site has had to say about panasonic regarding faulty machines, i was at first very hesitant when it came to buying the pt-ae500U. I can now say that I'm extremely satisfied with my purchase of this amazing machine. I previously owned a sony vpl-hs3 which isn't worth a damn. Here in Norway the sony and the panasonic are going for about the same price, but the latter is by far the best projector of the two. The only thing i'm fearing at the moment is if anything goes wrong with the projector and i have to contact customer service... that could get pretty ugly considering some of the treatment some of the people here has experienced

Any Problems: No problems yet...