Secrets Product Review

Panasonic PT-DW5000U Single-Panel 16:9 720p DLP Digital Projector

Part III

December, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.


In Use

Ever since I got this projector into operation, it has been a new experience for me to watch movies. Finally, I can see all the shadow detail. The picture almost jumps off the screen. I use a 72" (width) Stewart Grayhawk screen which has a gain slightly less than 1.0. A relatively low gain like this means I have not only the bright image from the PT-DW5000U, but can sit anywhere off to the side with no falloff.

I added a bit more color using an iScan VP30 video processor, and the picture now looked perfect (to me). I wish the DW5000U had more control over the color, but then, I use a video processor with every projector, and that adds image management capability.

My wife said the picture looked bigger, but what she was seeing was all that added picture due to the shadows now being completely visible.

I recently reviewed a classic movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, with Marlon Brando. It was made in the early 1960s, and was shot in Camera 65, at an aspect ratio of 2.76:1. I had the HD DVD release of the film, and, watched with the Panasonic, it was stunning.

The pixel structure (Screen Door Effect - SDE) is invisible from a few feet away. Although the projector has a bit of visible rainbow effect, like all single-chip DLP projectors do to some extent, and I hate the rainbow effect, the picture quality is so good, I just didn't pay any attention to the rainbows that I saw from time to time.

In fact, after having seen what an excellent, high brightness projector can do, I would take this one at 720p rather than a 1080p projector that could only deliver, say 600 lumens (in the mode being viewed, not the maximum brightness specification).

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I had the HD DVD version to use here.

Again, I was simply blown away by the picture. Seeing it in high resolution, coupled with the high brightness, was an experience beyond words.

I watched some football off the satellite, in high definition, and even though satellite broadcasts have significant amounts of compression, the image was nevertheless, absolutely wonderful.

High definition programs like CSI are often dark to begin with, so having an image that delivers those shadows is critical. The PT-DW5000U gave me what I wanted.

That out of the box color balance came in handy especially with black & white movies, such as the recent HD DVD release of Casablanca. It looked gray, not blue, or green, or pink.

The 1940s Warner Brothers movies, like some of today's TV programs, have lots of shadows. I plan to watch them all in HD, and this projector would be the one to use for watching them.

I would have liked to touch up the yellow, but as I said, the PT-DW5000U won't let you do that with the DVI connection. I am hoping the outboard video processor manufacturers will get the message here and add primary/secondary color management in the digital input with future products.


The Panasonic PT-DW5000U is a spectacular projector. The bright image maintains satisfactory contrast, resulting in a completely different movie experience, and one that is superbly enjoyable. Obviously, such a bright picture is not for everyone, but for those consumers who are a little older, or who have a home theater with a lot of reflective contents, or who just don't like watching a dimly lit movie, this projector is a must-see.


- John E. Johnson, Jr.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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