Moving up from a Panny AE500


Active Member
Had the Panny for about 18 months now, and am pretty happy with it.

However, there are two things about it that kind of irritate me about it.

One is that its a bit noisy. Something quieter would be preferable.

Two is that the black levels aren't that good. Its more milky grey than black. Nice sunny scenes are great, really vivid and good, but as soon as a shadow hits the screen, or night time comes, everything becomes less clear, and more grey murk than anything else.

So, if upgrading, where should I go to address both those issues.

Anyone gone from a 500 to 900 care to comment on the improved black levels? And the noise?

What about the Benq HD DLP model, or the Hitachi 200?

Thanks in advance and all that!



Active Member
Hi Paul,

I made the move from an AE500 to an Hitachi 200 and I have to say that I'm more than happy.

The Pros are

Better black levels than the 500 even with auto iris turned off.

A brighter image, those few lumens make a difference.

A quieter projector, in Whisper mode especially even when it's being shut down.

A larger image for the same distance from screen

Many more 'settings' to tweak

An image which is virtually free from vertical banding (something I really hate)

Lens Shift, something I never thought I'd use but has made a big difference.

..and the cons's a bigger beast.

Auto iris is a little too noticable for my liking even in the milder 'Auto 1' setting.

Bulb Life, rated at 2000 hours but much cheaper bulbs and anyway my 500 on low never made it anywhere near 5000 hours.

I've only had mine for 3 weeks but it's had nearly 80 hours of use. What remains to be seen is how it performs longer term. Previously I had to have the 500 serviced due to colour staining problems on the panels. In the end I went for the 200 becasue I really didn't want another Panasonic.

Hope that Helps


Active Member
I demo'd both the Panasonic 900 and the Hitachi 200 yesterday. Both were amazing (my first experience with a PJ - so a real wow factor). In the end I felt the Hitachi was better as the picture was sharper and the blacks a lot deeper. Both seemed to my untrained eye to be able to produce the same picture size and had similar levels of lens shift. So I went for the Hitachi.

Only watched it for 10 mins as I need to rearrange my rooms but I am really chuffed I have taken the plunge.

Can't say though what improvement it will be over your current set up as I have not seen that PJ.


Active Member
Thanks for the replied, guys.

The one problem I have with the Hitachi is that it isn't flat on the top. Which sounds stupid when you type it out, but really affects me. My Panny is on a shelf (well, a crappy old TV bracket actually) quite high up the wall, and inverted (like it would be if ceiling mounted).

The Hitachi, with all its plush looks and curvy lines, wouldn't appear to like that kind of treatment, and isn't flat enough for that to work.

The Panny sends the bottom edge of its beam to the bottom of the screen and up (or in my case, the top of the screen and down). Is the Hitachi similar, or does it send its beam to the middle of the screen? If I get the Hitachi, I may need to figure it out better, or get a proper ceiling mount!

But I would, apparently, get a quieter beast with better blacks. Which would be really nice, I must admit!


Well-known Member
If you can squeeze a little more from your budget have a look at the Themescene HD72. Unlike the HItachi and Panasonic this is a DLP model.

I looked at the Hitachi and also the Sony HS60 last week (upgtrading from a Panasonic AE100) and found the Themescene to have the edge - especially at its £1500 asking price (includes free screen and celing mount).

The HD72 has better blacks than the Hitachi (and any other LCD at that price). The only issue is whether you suffer the dreaded 'rainbow' effect. I do, but the HD72 was low enough in the rainbows for me to overlook their presence in preference to the superior image it presented.

The Hitachi is not bad by any means. Taken in isolation it's excellent. But the HD72 has this fabulous 3 dimensional quality to the image that I think is hard to beat. If you are anywhere near East Lancs check out for a demo as they have the Hitachi, HD72, Sony HS60, Panny AE900 and Sanyo Z4 all on demo.

The latest video from AVForums

Star Wars Andor, Woman King, more Star Trek 4K, Rings of Power & the latest TV, movies & 4K releases
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom