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I have been using the Panasonic PT AX 100E as my main TV for just over a year now. I paid £900 for it then, but the price has dropped and even the improved PT AX200 can now be bought for about £700.
The picture quality is extremely good in a dark room and quite watchable during the day even with the curtains open for all but the darkest movies. In bright conditions the colours can become a little washed-out although there are various viewing options on the remote control to compensate a little. For some very dark films however you should wait until the room can be blacked out completely. The lens is large and of very high quality with a wide ranging zoom. Many home cinema projectors have just a wide angle lens with a small amount of zoom for fine adjustment, to allow big pictures from a short distance, but are less flexible, especially in big rooms where you may want the projector a long way from the screen. I used a 72" screen at a distance of about 18', but I could have used a far bigger screen or projected from much closer.
The projector is "HD Ready" (i.e. 720p resolution), which is good, but not as high resolution as "Full HD" (1080p) although this would only become apparent with a full HD source such as blu-ray. With lower-resolution inputs such as DVD or Freeview the built-in upscaling does a very good job of creating very high-quality images. The fan-noise is very low even when the bulb is not switched to low-power mode, although I suspect this is partly because the body is so big with huge vents to allow air-flow over the hot bulb.
Unfortunately after 2300 hours of use it has started switching to stand-by mode every few minutes, requiring a restart which makes it unusable. I replaced the bulb, which cost £250 but that hasn't fixed the problem. Panasonic have not replied to my requests for help. Bulb-life is just 2000 hours when used in normal mode. I'm going to give up and go back to a proper telly.
This is a good projector, although there are higher resolution projectors available now and they get cheaper and cheaper even faster than LCD TVs. Using a projector instead of a normal telly is great because when not in use there is no TV in the lounge and the experience is so much more like going to the cinema, but the cost of running this projector, the unreliability and the useless customer service mean that I cannot recommend this.
I complained to Panasonic customer services, rather than trying to use customer support, and they immediately got back to me and said that they will look at the projector for me, despite it being out of warranty.
A kind gentleman who read this review also gave me the following information:
"It's a known fault > check the links to avforums below and email / call the dedicated line to have your projector fixed free of charge. Also ask them to flash it with the newest firmware. I sent mine away and it was back within a week."
Panasonic projectors dedicated helpline
08706 001 620
Email FAO Babette at
Update 2 (14/08/2008):
Still not fixed
I tried contacting the above email address and got no response, so I tried customer support again, but again nothing. I contacted a Panasonic repair centre, who said that they would look at it, but I would need to pay a fixed labour charge of £85.00+vat to cover inspection/estimate and first hours labour