Join Date: May 2010
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Had a PT-AX100. Blue polarizer scorched. Out of warranty so fixed it myself, but wow that was a challenge. Overall image quality degraded a lot over 3.5 years and 3000 hours.
Replaced with PT-AR100. Great for first year, then color started shifting, B/W became a color gradient, lost contrast.
Figured can't be unlucky 3 times. I bought a new PT-AE8000U in May 2015. Out of box I was blown away. Lovely. For first month it was a revelation. Then blacks started turning green diagonally starting with corners. Got worse over months, Sometimes the problem would seem to abate. I didn't request repair because I didn't want to live without it; I use it every day for moves and games. Waited it out but after 1500 hours I had to face that the whole black field was green and contrast was shot. Lost the edge that made it great.
In May 2016 I engaged Panasonic support and they said send it in. Foolishly—and also presciently—I put it off, worried it would be gone for weeks, and that the fix might lead to other problems.
Finally sent Panasonic even though the unit had hit 2000 hours. Cost $75 to ship it to them and I had no promise from them to do anything. I was happy when they appeared to honor my warranty claim. They had the unit for one day and I got an email saying a return shipment was on the way. I hoped they swapped for a refurb and all would be well. But when it arrived the work order read replaced polarizers and optical block. I fired it up and while the blacks were no longer green, the image is now a dull blue/green with poor brightness. Just ugly color and soft. Weirdly the lamp hours count was changed to 384, down from a bit over 2000. But the serial# was the same as the one I shipped.
The same day I called Panasonic and explained the situation and my disappointment. The rep said she could escalate my complaint. Next day I got a call from another rep saying there was nothing they would do. The rep said "It's not going to look like it did when it was new" and that's it's unreasonable to expect as much. I explained that it is now worse than when I sent it and I wished I had not requested repair. I asked for a replacement and was told no. The rep was dismissive and explained that it was out of warranty, so to send it in for for further repairs would cost $150 to evaluate.
I let the rep know in very certain terms that I wasn't satisfied, what the steps were to remediation, and openly questioned Panasonic's regard for their reputation given my experiences. The rep said Panasonic cares very much about their reputation. I finished up by repeating everything I experienced and expected and that ended the dialog. No satisfaction. The rep had was annoyed that I pressed about it.
Based on 7 years and 3 Panasonics, each one nice to start then degrading, I'm done. And would caution anyone considering a Panasonic based on my experience. All units were bought new in US, and properly maintained. They just don't hold up.
I sold the AR100 for $500 after 2 years. It was still OK. But I am going to give the AE8000 away because I cannot reasonably ask anything for it. It certainly makes a picture, but it's nothing like out of box a year ago, nothing like the reviews and accolades that you read.
Whatever it is with Panasonic, it must be an essential design problem, and it must affect a lot of their product. Why else wouldn't they just honor my complaint and send me a fresh unit if my situation was a one off. I think the rep was being very honest when he said I just have to adjust my expectations (these things don't last).
OK. So resigned to disappointment. It all adds up. No successor to AE8000, weak support, and open questions about Panasonic leaving the business. Three strikes.
Next choice is 5030UB. Has always been main competitor and users gush over it. I'm sure it's good, but same basic design as AE8000, so was reluctant. Kept looking and realized from really parsing the specs and reviews that maybe I was under-estimating Sony.
Ordered VPL-HW45ES and been using for a couple weeks. This thing is in another league from the AE8000. My next comments are not hyperbole: the 45ES has an insanely great picture. Bright, incredibly accurate color, great detail, superb contrast. Beautiful dark scene rendering. No auto-iris! Quiet and fast. I remembered how much I loved the 8000 when I first set it up and the 45ES is a full step beyond that. Like a really great movie theater. Gorgeous.
So it all ends ok.
Just hoping Sony lasts.
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Madison, AL
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