Panasonic PT-DW5000U DLP Projector Review

User Memory Settings

If I fully understand the capabilities, there are up to 8 different savable settings for each type of signal. I presume this to mean – 8 for S-video, 8 for component video, 8 for RGB, etc. Essentially, when you have adjusted to your desired settings for a particular device, such as an HD-DVD player, or a computer, you can go save the setting.

Let’s say the settings you are using are for a dark room environment, you might have it set for Standard, single lamp, low power, with adjusted colors and contrast. Bingo, you save that in Sub Memory 1. Now you adjust the projector for that device for a much brighter room – so you might have Dual lamp, high power, Dynamic Mode, etc. etc…. Save that in Sub Memory 2…

It does not appear that the PT-DW5000U can descriminate between two different physical devices, such as replacing a DVD player with another, both using component video. I don’t think that will be an issue for anyone, especially with 8 different user settings available for each type of signal.

Remote Control

Ahh, something easy. The Panasonic’s remote is a nice one. It’s a compact affair, shown here.

Power off and on are located at the top, and right below the individual source buttons, so no need to have to advance from one source through several others to get to the one you want next.

To complete that third row, on the left, is the all important Menu button. The logic of the Panasonic menus, use the Menu button to open the main menu, and also to move back up one level of menu at a time, until the menus go off.

After that, a nice big disk pad/enter button, surrounded by four arrow keys, which, when not in menu mode, double as left and right mouse functions, and page up, page down functions.

Further down are 9 buttons in three rows, to control some of the Panasonic’s features, including Freeze (frame) Shutter, the previously mentioned FUNCtion1 button, Digital zoom in and out, System and On Screen display.

Of exceptional importance is the Lens button, that controls zoom, focus and lens shift, you’ll want to know where that button is. You can see from the picture that each of these buttons have a number as well, and down at the bottom you can change the remote from Projector to Numeric (computer) to use the numeric buttons for things like password functionality. When you are in the computer mode, you can use the left and right buttons mentioned to handle left and right mouse clicks!

The Panasonic remote is set up to do genuine computer remote mousing, only one thing is missing – a transmitter to plug directly into your computer. This is a low cost option. If you will be doing traditional presentations I would recommend getting it. If you can afford this projector, you can certainly afford that little IR box that plugs into your laptop or desktop’s USB port to emulate a mouse. With it the disk pad lets you move the cursor, as a mouse would…

I should also mention the ID buttons. Each DW5000U or other D series projector can have a unique ID. Up to 65 (if I got that right) can be controlled from a single remote, or from the network. The Set button lets you put in the ID for one projector, or the ALL button lets you control all of them!

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Lens Throw and Lens Shift

As mentioned at the beginning, you can get this projector with, or without a standard lens. There are six different lenses to choose from. I normally give the minimum and maximum distances to a 100″ diagonal (in this case 16:9) screen, but I wouldn’t begin to attempt all seven lenses. So, I’ve come up with a better idea. I found Panasonic’s lens chart, and have copied and pasted it here. The type is a bit small but should be readable.

Please note that the screen sizes are for a 16:9 ratio screen. The third lens from the left is labeled With supplied lens – that’s the one that comes with the DW5000U (the DW5000UL comes without a lens). Distances are from front of lens to the screen surface.

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Please note that the screen sizes are for a 16:9 ratio screen. The third lens from the left is labeled With supplied lens – that’s the one that comes with the DW5000U (the DW5000UL comes without a lens). Distances are from front of lens to the screen surface.

As to variable lens shift, I have already covered that in the first section. In summary, the projector has manual +/- 10% horizontal lens shift, and +/- 50% power vertical lens shift, which allows the projector (center of lens) to be placed anywhere from bottom of the screen surface to the top.

Next!

Audible Noise Levels

This was a pleasant surprise, more often than not, high power commercial projectors seem to be extremely noisy. Perhaps the designers figure anyone buying a 4000, or 10,000 lumen projector is going to be using them in a large, loud room, and no one will notice. Instead the Panny is pretty quiet. Not as quiet as a typical home theater projector, but quiet enough to be barely noticeable in a small room, even in full power mode. It’s not that the DW5000U is incredibly quiet, but in part, because the pitch of it’s fan (and color wheel) noise is low, and less noticeable. In low power mode, the Panny is rated just 29 db in low power mode, and that is lower than some home theater models. I did not find a high power decibel rating but I would put it about 34-35 db, less noticeable than a lot of portable projectors that I have reviewed recently.

Lamp Life and Replacement

I’ve covered most aspects in the image quality section as it related to brightness. In summary, the standard lamps are rated 1300 hours at full power, and the Panasonic is designed to shut them down at 1500 hours of full power use. The manual leads me to believe that the Panasonic is dynamic, in that it knows low power from high power and will know when you have exceeded the true life of the lamp. 2000 hours is the low power rating.

Or choose optional long life lamps. They are rated 4000 hours, and only operate in low power mode according to the manual. BTW, the standard lamps list for $515, and the Long Life, for $555, but, get this, if you buy lamps in twin packs (logical for a dual lamp projector), they are less money. 2 standard lamps list for $875 and long life pairs for $915.

Good news, the lamps replace from the rear panel. No need to unmount a projector to get to the lamp door.

Image Noise

Not bad at all, not quite as good as a really good home theater projector, but close. The projector’s noise on video is barely detectable at normal viewing distances, and mostly, only if you are looking for the noise. I viewed the noise with the NR (noise reduction both off and on, and found only a slight difference on basic noise. The DW5000U did pass the noise tests on my HQV test disk, but not by much to spare. On the motion noise it did have visible trouble with one type of noise artifcact on the tests, but I don’t believe we have an issue here that would even eliminate it from a high power home theater application, let alone normal commercial use, be it in a theater (as previously mentioned, a church or a sports book).

Ok time for the warranty info.

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