|Panasonic PT-L500U LCD Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors LCD Projectors|
|Written by Matthew Evert|
|Friday, 01 October 2004|
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The bulb life, although somewhat standard, will be an issue for some. If you follow the guidelines in the manual, 2000 hours is possible. However, if you figure you normally watch three hours a day of movies and TV, that’s close to two years before needing replacement. If you watch six hours, it’s less than one year. Do the math: at $300 per bulb, this comes to just over a dollar a day or over $33 per month. This isn’t a major issue, because I would look upon this as the cost of doing big-time video. On the plus side, it might cause you to pay closer attention to your children’s viewing habits.
There is no horizontal and vertical lens shift, which would allow for an even easier set-up and would facilitate the possibility of moving the projector slightly to miss a ceiling obstruction. Also, if you plan on setting the PT-L500U LCD projector on a table or using it as a portable presentation projector, this missing feature would be very useful. True, the PT-L500U does have digital keystone correction, but the use of it for more than just a slight adjustment results in a reduction of pixels and lumen output.
The location of one of the vents on the left side makes for awkward shelf mounting if that is what you need to do. It would be better if the vent were located on the front of the unit instead.
No HDMI digital input is provided, which limits some of the connectivity possibilities, but DVI-D and component video will serve most users adequately.
An auto-signal sensing mode would be nice so that the projector could detect where the active signal is coming from, as opposed to having to use the remote. If my receiver switches from composite video to component video when I switch sources on the receiver, the projector should sense that and change, too. It does work when switching from one component source to another, but not with signals of different formats.
The growing trend in home theater is the ever-increasing desire to have bigger and higher resolution video displays. George Lucas has said that the most important element of today’s home theater is a big screen. Great sound is impressive to many, but everyone can appreciate a large dramatic picture. Cost is the limiting factor for most who desire to get a big screen and enjoy movies the way they were meant to be seen. The Panasonic PT-L500U has brought an affordable offering to the table. This projector provides great adjustability and performance to even the most scrutinizing eyes at a price that can’t be overlooked. There are so many projectors available today that the job of selecting one is no easy task. Everybody wants performance but want to find it somewhere prior to the point where little gains are made for large amounts of money. The Panasonic PT-L500U LCD projector is a great entry-level projector that financially works for the masses. In no way am I suggesting that $2,500 is not a lot of money, yet compared to many floor standing sets, it’s a huge alternative. Once you experience the splendor of a large projection screen, you will scarcely want to view anything on a smaller set again. Is this a breakthrough product? No, yet Panasonic has done a great job at providing a big-time theater option within reach of nearly everyone. I will purchase the review model for that very reason.