Upgrade from AE100 > 300/500 ?

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
Well it's upgrade time ! have been holding off for a while now but it's all getting too much.

Can get the 300 for £930 and the 500 for £1200.

Question is which one ? On the face of it I would go for the 500 if the improvement over the 100 is immense. If it isn't that significant an improvement then maybe go for the 300.

I did have my eye on the Sony 12HT when they were on offer at Play, but alas that is gone now.

Any comments from AE100 owners who have gone this route ? I have to say I am still more than happy with my 100, it has served me well.


Established Member
Very happy with my AE300. I'm sure you read about my AE100 saga about 6 months ago so I wont got into it again. For me the big improvements were:

Fan Noise: My AE100 died of heat soak on the panels. (ie mucho doscolouration) The quieter fan on the AE300 means I can run it on high permanently which will hopefully prolong the life of this PJ! I was used to and happy with the volume of the AE100 fan on low and the AE300's fan is the same volume on high.

Smoothscreen: From my viewing position(1.8xScrW) I could see screendoor on uniform areas of colour (sky clouds etc) on my AE100. On the AE300 thats gone, just a little bit of FPN. Didn't make a huge differance to acceptable ScrW ratio IMO. ie I would happily sit about 2ft closer but no more if I had to, which in my room takes the acceptable ScrW ratio to about 1.6. When the AE300 first came out some people were saying 1.25 ScrW is fine. Not in my opinion. That said, I wasn't very happy with my AE100 at 1.8 whereas I'm perfectly happy with my AE300 at 1.8. ie to cut a long story short :D big improvements in PQ at a reasonable distance from screen but don't expect to be able to put a new row of seating in front of your current seating position. :D

As for the AE500. Theres a thread over on Avs where a lot of guys who went from a 300 to a 500 and have had their Hi-Def connected to both have said that they are very surprised that the higher res panels of the AE500 have not made a huge differance to PQ like you would think. They've been saying that HD looked 99% as good on their AE300's. So the higher res panels are seemingly not making a huge differance on hiDef for those that have it. We don't even have it and so the only benefit to us of the panels seems to be smaller pixels but as I said the smoothscreen of the AE300 does a fairly good job on the screendoor front provided your sitting at a reasonable distance.

It has a quieter fan again than either the 100 or 300 but it does still seem to suffer from the same problems as well ie VB, FPN etc.

The major increase in contrast on the AE500 is gained through a systen called AI I think which dynamically adjusts the brightness of the bulb. Problem is that you have to have the bulb on high to use this system and thus you have to sacrefice 3000hrs of bulb life. If you leave AI off like most over at avs seem to be doing the improvement in contrast is not as dramatic. While still a bit better than the contrast of the AE300, I don't think the differance would be that noticable. As I said noticable differance if AI is switched on but do you want to sacrefice 3000 bulb hours?

Still a tough decision given that the AE500 is only 270 quid dearer. If it was another hundred or so I'd probably definately say, "save the dosh and get the AE300"......but only £270 quid.....HHMMmmmm :confused:


Ex Member
I wouldn't expect the differences between AE-300 - AE-500 to be immense.

I would expect the differences to be about 5%.

Why do I say this? Well if it takes 5% per year to improve say contrast levels, which is LCD technologies biggest downfall then it will gain by a quarter in 10 years.

I think this is a fare gage on how LCD technology is progressing.

But if there is a 10% gain each year then we should see black levels double in 10 years time. Thats twice as black as they are now! Not impossible, just improbable. Companys like to make things as cheap as possible so the war between price vs quality some time cancels each other out. But as it stands at the moment picture quality is going up while prices are coming down.


Ex Member
So going from AE-100 to AE-500 i would guess at 10% difference.


Standard Member
2002 AE100 500:1
2003 AE300 800:1
2004 AE500 1300:1

5% a year fair? No.

IMO if you are are just using a DVD player via component the AE300 is going to be good enough.

If you are going down the HTPC route (or HDMI DVD player) then the AE500 offers significant advantages by at least allowing you to make proper use of the 1280x720 panels (and the AE300 DVI being a bit of a dud and not being HDCP compatible).

-- Jon


Ex Member
2004 - 1300
2005 - 1600
2006 - 1900
2007 - 2200
2008 - 2500
2009 - 2800
2010 - 3100
2011 - 3400
2012 - 3700

This is assuming a gain of 300:1 a year which would take us into Marantz VP-12S3 teritory which sells for around £7000 which itself doesn't have perfect blacks.

So is gonna take eight years to reach this level but can you say the marantz has twice the visable black level of the AE-500???


Prominent Member
Of course, the benefit you derive from a higher contrast PJ is limited by the amount of light you have bouncing around your room. How dark is the room and how light are the walls?

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
TBH if the difference is only 5-10% I am hardly excited about the upgrade. Is this all the 500 is better than the 100 ?

I am currently running a Tosh 900 with component into it so am only getting NTSC Progressive and interlaced PAL. I use a Hoya DL-D filter and have no real plans to go the HTPC route. I am not wanting to upgrade cos I am unhappy with the 100 more because it seems like a good time to move on.

Set up is in a converted loft, walls are quite light, but I can get ~95% blackout and 100% in the evening (which tbh is the only time I use it). These factors will not change so the improvement in the PJ is what it's all about for me.


Well, i had a 300, recently bought a 500 and was really surprised by the difference. The coours and contrast are much better i think on the 500 over the 300. Running some of the new movies on my media player at 1270-720 res look amazing.

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
ok favouring the 500 at the moment, but my dealer has offered me the 300 for £799 and the 500 for £1200.

That's a fair difference in price now.

Pete Delaney

Blimey, an ae300 for £800!!!!

Is this including VAT?


Do tell, cos i'm definately in the market at that price:devil:

So you vont talk eh....unfortunately I don't have vays of making you talk...:(

Mods, how about a bump? We'd all like to know if these prices are for real!!!

Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
Sorry mate he offered that one to me at that price as it was the last one he had in stock and cos I was buying a whole load of gear from him.

I plumped for the 500 today though as he let me have it for £1200 including FREE Panasonic screen after some bartering!!! Too good an offer to resist so I succumbed.

Panasonic PJ's are just so very nicely pitched in the VFM and quality stakes ! Can't wait to set it up tomorrow and compare with the AE100.


Prominent Member
I have anAE500 and love it.
I run it through my PC for the best results.
I is also very tweakable and I have yet to set it up properly. Also very very quiet indeed.
Yu've made a good choice.



Ekko Star

Distinguished Member
Ok I actually couldn't wait till later today so just to get first impressions I started setting it up 1am this morning.

No dead pixels, so very happy with that, but I was covered by the shop anyway.

Physically I think the machine looks well classy compared to the 100. The brushed aluminium front is a nice touch.

SD900 as source via component and humble S-Vid.

I fired Finding Nemo through it at first. Whooahhhh ! The colours and contrast were very rich, so much more depth than the 100. There's loadsa tweaks available but I didnt get too much into them as I want to set it up properly with a test disk.

I didn't need to use the Hoya FLD Filter as I did with the 100, the image was nice as it was for my eyes.

Then I played Training day, chapter two, where Denzel crosses the street and gets into his car with the rookie for the first time. I love this scene cos as the car starts up you can see the razor sharp black coachwork, and the tiny raindrops on the bonnet. This PJ was picking up some serious detail. In actual fact I switched from component to S-Vid at this point to compare and I have to say component was picking out too much detail in the picture (if that can be called a criticism).

Overall the only thing I found noticable at first was smoothscreen. I actually prefer a very sharp image which the 100 was quite good at for me, I know some people like to defocus to help with pixel structure, but I sit back far enough to make this a non issue for me. The 500 I felt at times did soften up the picture especially when panning scenes are involved. Im not so sure about the NR function, do you have this switched off ?

I will test more tonight and will run LXG through it. This I thought was quite a demanding film for a PJ and which my 100 seriously struggled with.

Initial impressions, was it worth the upgrade ? Well I'm feeling flush this month so I was going to upgrade anyway. But I think the 100 is still a very decent enough PJ especially at the silly prices it sells for used nowadays. I wouldn't say the 500 was leaps and bounds ahead over the 100, to me it came across as a more refined product.


Prominent Member
I have NR turned off.
However I do think it's a large leap from the AE100. A machine I equally loved.
with 1:1 pixel mapping via my pc it is stunning, even my wife noticed a difference and that is unusual.
If you find the ultimate setup, let me know :)


Ekko Star

Distinguished Member

No, I'm not obsessed with having the ultimate set up. I think that'll take more money than sense !

For now, this will do me fine !


Is the throw distance exactly the same on the AE500 as the AE100???

The reason I ask is because I have an AE100 ceiling mounted in my lounge with the cables running under my bedroom and study floors (which are both laminated).

If I upgraded the projector I really wouldn't want to have to refloor the top floor of my house.


Prominent Member
I did a straight swap as I have the gyro lock mount and worked a treat. Good job too as all my cables run under the bedroom floor and plastered in the living room wall.


Originally posted by JSW
I did a straight swap as I have the gyro lock mount and worked a treat. Good job too as all my cables run under the bedroom floor and plastered in the living room wall.

Does the AE500 use the same unicol gyrolock plate, JSW??


Prominent Member
Almost certain I read somewhere that it does Jonny, yes.

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