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Panasonic PT-AE7000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector Comparison - The Bottom Line

Posted on November 25, 2011 by Art Feierman

The Bottom Line - PT-AE7000 vs. HC5010

Overall Picture Quality, Performance 2D, 3D

With color performance being more about your calibration or settings, than differences between these two projectors.

No question about it. when considering 2D, the Epson has to be my choice. It offers a huge boost in "best" mode brightness, comparable color, and it easily wins when it comes to black level performance, and more subtly regarding shadow detail.

The extra black level performance, all by itself, gives the Epson more pop on darker scenes. If everything else is simply equal, that rates a real win for the Home Cinema 5010 when running in 2D.

Conversely, Epson's decision not to activate the dynamic iris, as well as CFI and Super-Resolution (all dynamic features), gives the Panasonic the advantage in 3D, although if you want best color, and a small screen the Epson may well be your choice with its 630 measured lumens, for 3D (pre-glasses, etc.)

Overall Picture Quality:

Bottom Line 2D Winner: Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector

Seems like it's for all the usual reasons I've liked previous Epson UB projectors - brightness, backs, warranty, pop! Here's an image taken with Legends of Flight running in 2D. You can see the blacker blacks on the Epson (right). Below a similar image is taken showing the 3D differences favoring the Panasonic.

Click Image to Enlarge

Bottom Line 3D Winner: Panasonic PT-AE7000

More modes but really, it's about the dynamic features - iris and CFI that the Panasonic offers, and the Epson has turned off in 3D.

Note: When push comes to shove, given a choice of great blacks in 2D and decent blacks in 3D, vs. very good blacks in 2D and very good blacks in 3D, I'll take the advantage in 2D, since 3D is never going to be especially bright to begin with.

Click Image to Enlarge

Below, black level difference in 3D. You can see the higher blacks (and redish tint) of the Epson on the right in this overexposed image showing the rendering of a wing. The 3D glasses take care of that red, but the blacks are obviously brighter.

Warranty and Cost of Operation

Two primary factors relate to Cost of Operation:

1. Projector warranty and reliability

The Epson has 2 years parts and labor with a 2 year, 2nd day replacement program, and no limit in hours of use on the projector. The replacement program sends you one, 2nd day, so your time without a projector if there's a warranty issue is a few days at most.

The Panasonic is running a promotion for a 2nd year parts and labor warranty when you register your purchase, But, Panasonic limits the standard warranty, and the combination of both, to a maximum of 2000 hours on the projector. If you are a heavy user, who uses the projector as a TV, then 20 hours a week, is nothing, and you'll run out of warranty long before the secon year is up. No replacement program for the PT-AE7000, so if there is a warranty problem, you'll be without your projector while you ship it to service, and wait for it to be repaired and returned, which can be A week, two weeks or longer, depending on how far away you are from service, and shipping times.

Warranty: Big Win for Epson

As to reliability, historically both have good reps, although Epson I would say has the better reputation for reliability.

Epson also is particularly well known for great support, especially since they seem to take their customer's word when they complain about a problem, and promptly ship out another projector.

2. Cost of lamp and lamp life

Lamp life this year is the same, but the Epson lamp seems to be $299 and the Panasonic is $399.

Winner: Epson - with the same rating for lamp life, the Epson's lower replacement cost gives it the advantage. Also, being brighter in 2D, will have some Epson folk watching in Eco mode (where it's as bright as the Panasonic at full), therefore getting more hours out of the lamp, as well.

Lamp Life and Cost: Small Win for Epson (If you go through a lamp, even every 2 years (40 hours a week), that's an extra $50 a year. Not much in the grand scheme of things.

Cost of Operation: Winner with slight advantage: Epson

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