Panasonic PT-AE8000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB Projector Comparison
This anual shoot-out places the flagship Panasonic PT-AE8000 - click for the full review - against the Epson's Home Cinema 5020 projector, two direct competitors, and no doubt, two of the best selling home theater projectors on the market. These two are likely only outsold by perhaps a couple of very entry level projectors that sell for a fraction of their price.
Last year it was a battle of two mostly new projectors. This year it's a duel between two projectors that are based on last year's, and can only be considered to be "evolutionary" updates. As such, I'll be pilfering heavily from last year's article, since a good deal of the points made then, are no different with the PT-AE8000 and the HC5020 UB.
Once again, this isn't about picking a winner. That's up to you. This article is about laying out your choices, so you can figure out which of these two is the better choice for you and your setup. That said, even if you favor one, it isn't going to be better at all the things you value. If you want only one "best at everything" projector, you need a world that produces only one projector.
Let's explore the similarities and differences of these two. Of course, many of these have already been discussed in their individual reviews.
11/14/2012 - Art Feierman
PT- AE8000 vs. Home Cinema 5020 UB Overview
As we did last year, we start out with two 3LCD projector concepts. Build a light path around the same 480hz LCD panels, add two different but similar range zoom lenses, a lot of fancy 2D and 3D processing, a pair of very different warranties, really good black levels in one case, and great ones in the other, dramatically improved 3D in one case, less so in the other, and there's plenty to dicuss.
Each projector has the usual number of minor quirks, like taking a while to lock onto HDMI - the Epson's typically a bit slower, or minor features. More of that stuff is in the individual reviews.
Then there are the differing features we discuss, the Panasonic PT-AE8000's Lens Memory, for example, or the Epson HC5020's split screen capability. I've added to the page we did last year, by also mentioning dynamic detail enhancement, a feature both have, but which one seems better than the other.
Robert Downey Jr. from Sherlock Holmes . Top image is the HC5020UB lower one, the PT-AE8000 projector.
In this case, the exposure of the Panasonic's image is slightly brighter. We can never get them exactly the same. Depending on the images selected, sometimes it's one projector, sometimes the other. This has nothing to do with the projectors actual brightness. But which image I originally use from the batch of exposures I take.
HC5020UB vs. PT-AE8000 Pricing comparison
We are talking the standard HC5020UB, not the "e" version. The "e" costs more, but that's due to only one feature, and that feature is available in the aftermarket for both the UB and the PT.
Next two images - sports: Panasonic first:
All considered, the Panasonic and Epson projectors have a lot in common, but also some distinguishing features that will help you decide which works best for you.
There are certainly plenty of trade-offs, which gives me a lot of chance to make my opinions and "biases" known.
This time the same image (each one taken during their respective reviews, not "side-by-side") PT-AE8000 first.
I think it makes the most sense to discuss 2D and 3D separately. I believe that we projector owners, are the most likely to fall for 3D. I have. I'll point out that most of my 3D viewing enjoyment has nothing to do with 3D movies. My favorite "stuff" instead, is non-movie content on Blu-ray or HDTV, including content of concerts, travel, science, history, sports and more.
PT-AE8000 on top, HC5020 UB below
But first, I want to address the core differences between these two projectors and what they bring to the party. The two most obvious different features are the Panasonic's lens memory, and the Epson's split screen.
Quite honestly, I've been using both features. I happen to have both 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and 16:9 aspect ratio screens in my theater, and in the testing room. I also wanted to put up a computer source along side an HDMI source (my fantasy football next to the games).
Both features work as advertised, and both bring their own benefits. It may be one of these that lights your fire, and makes a critical difference. However for the vast majority, these are features likely to go unused, and therefore unimportant. For those that want one of these features, they are, by comparison, obviously important.