Originally Posted by Xank
While your "they don't make 'em like they used to" hypothesis is interesting and fits with a lot of people's preconceived notions of "Made in China", there are some problems with your reasoning and statistics.
1. The quality consistency you're ascribing to the AE7000 series (and in turn to Japan) is based on a single data point, the one projector you owned. How do you know you didn't just get lucky and get a great unit? I have had two AE8000's now, one had bad focus, and the other is virtually perfect. Does that mean the AE8000 series has a 50% defect rate? That is not a conclusion you can draw with single digit numbers of data points. Neither is your conclusion about how great or not great the AE7000 series was.
2. Remember also that forums like this will show reporting bias. People with problems are much more likely to a) visit the forum looking for answers, and b) speak up and complain or ask for help. You're not hearing from the people who've had no problems at all. Or at least not at the same rate, pro rata, that you're hearing from people with problems.
3. China has some of the most sophisticated manufacturing capabilities in the world now. Think about the level of precision, fit and finish that go into the hundreds of millions of Apple products that are made there. While there are no doubt still many "cheap" manufacturers in China, I don't think you can still say, in 2013, that a product manufactured in China is automatically of lower quality than one manufactured elsewhere. It depends on the standards expected and enforced by the product maker, in this case Panasonic.
Now you might be right. It could very well be that AE8000 units aren't as consistent as the AE7000, and it might also be because of a lower quality manufacturing process, and that might in fact be because it's in China now. All I'm saying is there's no statistically valid data to back up that chain of reasoning.
Off to enjoy my Chinese made projector now. Good luck with sorting out yours, I know it's frustrating to get a new toy and there's a problem with it right out of the box. Took me a month and a half of shipping 20lbs boxes back and forth, trying three different units from two different brands (also tried an Epson 5020) to be satisfied.
This is a rather long winded answer to a simple (yet very important) point that I was attempting to provide potential new buyers.
A subject that I believe no one else had touched on....
Panasonic projectors were proudly advertised as made in Japan. They are not now proudly advertising them as made in China
There is no doubt that my post was fueled somewhat from receiving a faulty unit, however I believe I brought a point to this forum that had not been discussed as yet, and in my opinion forums such as this are here to (amongst other things) provide potential new buyers with as much knowledge about this product as possible... be it good or bad.
I am not attempting to make this a slinging match between a fellow projector enthusiasts such as yourself, so this will be my last word on the subject. I'm merely pointing out what I believe to be facts that someone like myself would have liked to have known prior to this purchase, and others have not mentioned... I live literally thousands of kilometers from the nearest store that sells this exact model, so I did not have the luxury (due to the cost) of inspecting it prior to purchase.
If I had the option put to me again that I could choose between 2 similar products from the same manufacturer, one built in Japan and the other built in China, the answer would be simple.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I have worked in the industry of repairing electronics for 15 years, so I am in a fairly good position to say that I have witnessed many companies make the switch from local manufacturing to (made in China), and more often than not the products have proven to be less reliable... And this applies to products in the market place almost right across the board.
So if we want to bring other brand names into this discussion like your apple for eg, my previous Japanese built receiver lasted 13 years, my current (high end) Chinese replacement lasted 2 weeks ! My Japanese built microwave lasted 9 years, my new expensive Chinese built inverter microwave lasted 3 months. My 65 inch plasma lasted 7 months, my front loader washer lasted 5 months. I always buy high up in the model range, and use suitable serge protection, so it's not cheap junk that I have. And I bet many (if not most) people could share similar stories now days, stories that were not frequently shared when the products were manufactured to a high standard....
This back and forth could go on for ever, but the whole point to my post was/is that I am trying to provide potential new buyers the fact that the Panasonic projector has now taken a different path of made in China, and the products could well suffer because of it.
I would be surprised if there would be any honest person out there apart from the people making the money (Panasonic) that would see this change as a good thing......