Panasonic PT-L500U Front Projectors


  • 1,280 x 720 native resolution
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 40 to 200-inch diagonal image size
  • Up to 1,300:1 contrast ratio, 850 ANSI lumens of brightness
  • PC/Mac, NTSC, PAL, SECAM, HDTV signal compatibility; DVI-D input
  • Digital keystone correction, 1-touch auto setup, remote control
  • Cinema Works LSI digital processing

User Reviews (1)

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Franssu   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 18, 2005]

Good contrast (very good with a good screen), excellent colorimetry, excellent light output, no screendoor effect, fantastic definition (I've seen 1080p projectors, but 720p is already a fantastic definition), multiple inputs (VGA, DVI, composite, Y/C and component)


Slight vertical banding, but mostly unnoticeable. Other major drawback : I don't want to go to the movies anymore. My setup looks and sounds better than most commercial theaters out there. Oh, well...

After much (more than one year) thinking and reading of reviews, I finally decided to buy a projector. I hesitated betwwen the Sanyo Z2, the Z3 and the Panasonci 500 and 700. The special offer in projectorpeople bought the decision, I was ready to sacrifice the extra features of the 700 (lens shift, more powerful zoom) for the price difference. So I bought the Panasonic PT-L500U. First I projected on a plain white wall, for the first tests. I was amazed. The coulours are superb (the Cinema2 setting is close to perfection), the definition is fantastic and there is NO screendoor effect (except If I watch the image from a distance of less than one foot). Some people buy DLPs because they don't want the screen door effects associated with much of the LCDs... Believe me, I've seen DLPs (and expensive ones, like Runcos) have more SDE (I mean more space between pixels) than this beauty. The Smoothscreen technology of the Panasonic LCDs is really fantastic. The drawbacks of projecting on a white wall are : less than perfect contrast, and washed-out blacks (this is a LCD, not a CRT). So, as I planned before, I bought a Screen Goo kit and painted a 80x45 screen on my wall (3 layers of basecoat, 2 layers of topcoat of the Digital Grey Lite variety). I have not yet made a black frame (there is a small bucket of Ultra Black paint in the Goo kit, I will use it to paint a wooden frame) around the screen, but the result is already amazing. I just paid 300 $ CDN for the kit (the projector cost me a grand total of 2100$ CDN with all the taxes and I consider it a killer bargain), and the performance is superior to some really expensive screens. This is a 100% increment in image quality over the white wall. Blacks are much darker, contrast is excellent... Definitely a good buy. And don't be afraid by the procedure described in the Goo website which makes the process of painting a screen sound complicated, it is not. It's easy, it's fun, and it takes not much time. And the result is a screen comparable to some worth thousands of $$$. So, with a good screen, this projector really shines. Colorimetry is superb, contrast is excellent (1300:1 is quite good for a LCD, I know there are better contrast ratios in the world of LCDs but they are more expensive), light output is more than enough (total light control is preferable, but with subdued lights the image still looks fantastic)... Really a tremendous value for the money. I plugged in my upscaling LG DVD (one of the rare upscaling DVD players with Faroudja DCDi deinterlacing and upscaling on the component output, too bad the DVI output is so bad). player (which I set up to output a 1080i signal), and the resulting image is just awesome. Smooth, sharp... The only problem is that the artifacts on bad transfers become all the more visible ;) The only artifact I see with this projector is the infamous vertical banding. It is present on nearly all LCDs (except perhaps the most expensive ones), and it can be reduced to a very tolerable level with some tweakings in an advanced menu. And even if you see it, once you're sucked into the action of the movie (and with a 92" screen and a good 5.1 setup, believe me, you will), it goes completely unnoticeable.

Similar Products Used: Some old Philips LCD (weighting a ton, horrible SDE), some DLP presentation projectors (fun to use, bur colorimetry is way off). Also used some 3-CRT BARCOs during my school years, these are awesome machines, but... a little on the expensive ant heavy side. And the light output is ridiculous compared to my 6-lb Panasonic. I've also seen one of the best of the best, the famous JVC HD2K (D-ILA), a 1080p projector with a Faroudja processor. One of the very best PQ I've ever seen in my life (it was in the JVC booth at NAB), but... I'm waiting to win the lottery to buy this one ($30K, 20 times the cost of my panny).
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