Panasonic PT-P1SDU Compact LCD Video Projector

Multi-Purpose Video Projection for the Whole Family

Panasonic PT-P1SDU Compact LCD Video Projector
Panasonic PT-P1SDU Compact LCD Video Projector. Image provided by Panasonic

The Panasonic PT-P1SDU LCD video projector is a reasonably priced unit that is very compact and functional for home, classroom, or business meeting. With features, such as fast startup, accommodation of 720p and 1080i input signals (scaled to 800x600) and SD card slot for playback of digital photos, the PT-P1SDU is a fun compact video projector that everyone in the family can setup and use. Its compact size also allows easy transport to meetings or family gatherings. For a review just read on...

Panasonic PT-P1SDU Product Overview

1. Compact Video Projector using LCD Technology. For more background information, check out my reference article: LCD Video Projectors - What You Need To Know

2. 4x3 Aspect Ratio LCD Chip - Image can be set for either 4x3 or 16x9 aspect ratio. This means that the PT-P1SDU can be used to display both wide-screen and traditional video images.

3. 800x600 Native Pixel Resolution - 400:1 Contrast Ratio - 1500 lumens light output - 130 watt lamp. This combination is what drives the quality of the image you actually see on the screen.

4. Image size range: 38 to 300 inches. This means that the PT-P1SDU projector is rated to be used with screens as small as 38 inches and as large as 300 inches.

5. VGA, S-Video, and Composite Video inputs. Component Video via optional VGA/Component Adapter Cable. This means that the PT-P1SDU can be used with a VCR, camcorder, PC, Laptop, or DVD player.

6. SD Card slot for playback of digital still photos. If you have a digital still camera that uses an SD memory card, you can display images on the card by inserting the card directly into the projector.

7. NTSC/PAL compatible - PC/MAC compatible. PT-P1SDU can be used to display either NTSC or PAL images, which makes it good for overseas use, as well as to be used as projection monitor for a PC or Laptop computer.

8. Multi-language onscreen menu interface. This is very convenient for overseas use.

9. Wireless credit card style wireless remote control. The wireless control can fit into a shirt pocket, which is very convenient for business or classroom use.

10. Carrying case included.

Setup and Installation

The Panasonic PT-P1SDU is easy to set up, especially for the novice.

After setting up a screen (size of your choosing), position the unit at the optimal distance from the screen (your choosing). I chose to place the unit on a mobile cart to make this easier, but the PT-P1SDU can be ceiling mounted with an accessory mount.

Starting up the projector is easy. First, plug in your source (such as a DVD player) to the proper video input. Then, plug in the power. All you have to do is turn on the single power button on the projector and wait for a blue screen or image to appear on the screen.

At this point, you can raise or lower the front of the projector, use the Keystone Correction function (this adjusts the "squareness" of the image), and/or Zoom the lens to get the image to fill the screen properly. After this, use the manual focus to sharpen your image. In addition, if you are table mounting the, you may need to use the use the adjustable foot in the front of the projector to tilt the projector up or down to get the proper height-distance relationship between the screen and projector.

When you turn on your source, such as a DVD player, the PT-P1SDU will automatically search for it and project the image onto the screen.

Hardware Used In Evaluation

1. 10-foot (120-inches) diagonal (16x9) custom-made theatrical screen that I used to project images sizes ranging from full screen down to 40-inches for the purpose of this review.

2.JVC XV-NP10S DVD Player - Code Free Version with S-Video and Progressive Scan Component outputs.

3. Kiss Technology DP470 DVD Receiver with Progressive Scan Component outputs.

4. Two upscaling DVD players with 720p/1080i output capability: The Samsung DVD-HD931 w/DVI output, and the Helios X5000 DVD/Network Player with 720p,1080i output via component video connections.

5. Optoma H56 and Mitsubishi XD-350U 4x3 DLP projectors for comparison.

6. Video connections were made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables.

Software Used In Evaluation

DVD software used included scenes from the following:

Kill Bill - Vol1/Vol2, The Cave, The Corpse Bride, Master and Commander, Chicago, Lord Of the Rings Trilogy, Passionada, The Cave, Alien Vs Predator, Moulin Rouge, The Mummy, Ed Wood (Region 3 - NTSC), and Crying Freeman (Region 2 - PAL).

Video Performance

Its 1,500 lumens output actually held up well; on par with the Mitsubishi 350 and the Optoma H56.

Although the published contrast rating of the PT-P1SDU is only 400:1, which result in a lack of deep blacks, I did find that the contrast was acceptable on DVD movie material projected in the 60-70 inch screen size. Once again, the higher end Mitsubishi 350 and Optoma H56 outperformed the PT-P1SDU.

I tested the PT-P1SDU using several DVD players and various input resolutions. Although the native resolution of the PT-P1SDU is EDTV quality at 800x600 pixels, the scaling capability of the projector easily handled 720p and 1080i input sources in the 16x9 format.

The color rendition was very accurate, skin tones looked good, however, saturated reds and blues did exhibit some color noise.

One aspect of the image that affects its quality is the presence of the LCD Screen Door Effect. This effect, the result of LCD technology, is represented by the visibility of the pixels on the screen, which has an appearance of looking at the image through a screen door, although not as pronounced. The more pixels and/or the smaller the screen this effect is minimized.

Since the PT-P1SDU has larger pixels that a high definition video projector, I noticed that the screen door effect. However, as you get into the viewing the movie or other programs, your eye adjusts and this effect did not detract from me enjoying my overall viewing experience.

What I Liked About the PT-P1SDU

There are several things I liked very much about the PT-P1SDU.

1. Bright image - The image of the PT-P1SDU is fairly bright for a small projector. I found that best results were obtained in 60-80 screen image sizes, but images up to 100 inches still were acceptable.

2. Compact size - The small size of the PT-P1SDU makes a useful tool in both home and classroom/meeting environments. It is easy to move from various locations.

3. Easy to set up and use - Setup and use could not be easier, the PT-P1SDU has a one-button turn-on and starts up fairly quickly. The only manual adjustments typically needed are focus and zoom - which are located on rings near the exposed portion of the lens.

4. SD card slot for viewing digital still images - This is very useful for photo slide presentations or sharing digital photos with the family. Insert a Digital Camera SD memory card and the projector switches to the SD card mode with a menu.

5.Comes with a carrying case.

What I Didn't Like About PT-P1SDU

Although the PT-P1SDU is a fun and easy projector to use, there is room for improvement, even at its price range.

1. Low Contrast Ratio - Although the image is bright enough, the color accurate enough, and the detail surprising good for an 800x600 projector, the contrast ratio of 400:1 is not adequate to reproduce deep black levels. This can detract from the viewing experience in a home theater environment. With many projectors in the PT-P1SDU's price range able to produce deeper black levels, Panasonic might reconsider this aspect.

2. No direct component video inputs - Must use VGA/Component adapter cable. This may be due to the fact that the PT-P1SDU is intended more for general presentation use as VGA would be the most common input needed for PCs and Laptops.

3. Could use additional card slots ( such as: Compact Flash, Memory Stick, XD picture card) for more flexibility with digital photos from different types of digital cameras.

4. Runs a little hot - This is a common failing of compact projectors. Since the cabinet is so small, there is not enough internal space for the heat to dissipate. If you sit within 3 feet of the projector, you will not the surrounding air getting a little warmer during the use period. Also, the sound of the fan is more prominent as well.

5. A little pricey compared to some other video projectors in this class.

Final Take

Although the Panasonic PT-P1SDU is not in the same class as higher end units, it none-the-less is a good performer for its type. The color quality and detail exceeded my expectations, however, the contrast was light.​​​

Using two different upscaling DVD players (set at 720p), the Samsung DVD-HD931, and the Helios X5000 DVD/Network Player, I found that the Panasonic PT-P1SDU reproduced the upscaled performance of both units accurately (the Samsung is the better of the two).

The Panasonic PT-P1SDU is illustrative of a trend that is making video projection available to the average consumer.

If you are in the market for your first home theater video projector or need a projector for meetings or to take to family gatherings, check out the Panasonic PT-P1SDU.

I give the PT-P1SDU a rating of 4 stars out of 5.