Summary: Personal Experience first one had a dust ball on an lcd. returned it to be cleaned and they found that a mechanism was shaking. Phew! They sent it back to Panasonic and sent me a new one after quality checking it. I have 34 hours on it so far and love it. Just finished my DIY screen. Parkwood plas-tex painted with silverscreen from Behr. 130' diag! Picture is almost perfect, especially with my DVD high def Sanyo player set at 1080i connected via DVI.
Summary: Personal Experience After deliberating for several weeks about which projector would best work for me (95" diag. at 10.5' seating distance), I picked the 500U over the Z2 and the Optoma H31. The image quality is excellent, and if you are concerned about SDE, then buy this projector. The image is incredibly filmlike, and crisp. The menus are easy to navigate, and fan noise (at low light output) is minimal.
Summary: Personal Experience Hey Wineman42, I've had this projector for about 5 months and have logged close to 1000 hours on it. I've haven't experienced any problems and the bulb is still going strong. I only run in low lamp mode with the fan set on High. I think you were mis-informed when the salesman said 500-1500 hours. Most user reviews that I've read have people saying that they're able to get 2500 or more hours on low lamp mode.
Summary: Personal Experience I live in Vancouver, B.C. This unit is not cheap here in Canada and retailed for $4,995 CDN. I have had this projector for a little more than three months. Up to now I have been smiling. The performance, picture quality, etc. have been just fantastic! Brightness has not been a problem and we have even been able to watch the unit with a light on in the room. It was plenty bright enough. Everyone that has seen it has been very impressed.
Summary: Personal Experience This is an excellent projector for the price. In my opinion, it rivals projectors that are 4 times its price. Image quality is surprising in dark room. Image is good when viewing cable TV with S-video connection. Excellent image when viewing DVD's with component connection. So easy to use and it offers many viewing options. Playing computer games using this projector brings you into a whole new dimension. Problems No negative comments.
Summary: Personal Experience I have had this unit for nearly a year now and I couldn't be happier. I have a 92" screen and the picture is crystal clear. After inital set up the unit is straight forward easy to use. Picture quality increases the darker it is but it is not bad in full day light.
Summary: Personal Experience Had it for 1 week on 100" screen that is primered drywall and it is awesome. Can not wait to paint my GOO screen on the wall. Problems I have been watcing lord of the rings and when I set aspect ratio to Auto it it switches to 4:3 mode. When I run it on 16:9 or just the image looks stretched. I am thinking that there is setting that I need to change on my DVD Player. Otherwise it is awesome and to not regret the purchase at all.
Summary: Personal Experience Absolutely no problems so far, perfect image quality and contrast with no chicken wire effect. This is definately what you need for a home cinema. I would suggest using the componant connection RGB for optimum performance. Unit has wide range of connection ports, some of which can be used to link pc signals which delivers even higher resolution. Although have not yet tried this. Forget about splashing out on a plasma or LCD.
Summary: Personal Experience Personal experience - comparison between the component video and DVI cables. I purchased 25 ft cables (both cv & dvi), and get great pictures from both. I did find a difference though. Viewing a dvd with progressive scan is much better with the dvi cable, almost HD quality. Being retired and on a fixed income, I had the time to throughly research projectors. Thanks to Projector Central, I zeroed in on the 500, got bids, and could not be more pleased.
Summary: Personal Experience This is the unit to get. Your basically getting the same unit as the 700U, just saving $500 (or more). This projector with a nice quality screen will give you an outstanding picture. The extra 150 lumens and 700 contast that the 700U will give you wont even be noticed. I've seen 6000:1 contrast ratios that dont look any better than 1000:1. The secret is a NICE good quality screen. This unit will save you $$ that you can put towards a nice screen.