Panasonic PT-AE2000U 1080P 3-Chip LCD Front Projector Reviewed

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panasonic_pt-ae2000u.jpgPanasonic's latest LCD front projector is certainly one of their best offerings to date. This relatively tiny powerhouse features the company's second-generation 3-chip 1080P LCD light engine (2.07 megapixels), offering 1,500 ANSI Lumens and a (reported) 10,000:1 contrast ratio, with expected bulb life of 2,000 hours. Building on the success of their earlier PT-AE1000U engine design, the new C2Fine D7TM LCD panels, which are characterized by a new inorganic alignment layer and vertically aligned liquid crystals (similar to Sony's SXRD technology as used in the SRX-R220 cinema projector and their wide array of front and rear projectors) and is capable of producing enhanced black levels, very even gray scale tracking, accompanied by a vastly more seamless and detailed image, thanks to new internal 16 bit processing. 

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A 16-element. aspherical, 2:1 motorized zoom lens with extensive manual horizontal and vertical lens-shift allow for easy creation of images that are optimal at 100 inches diagonal (87 inches wide) with cinema light levels in excess of 24 foot-Lamberts, but can also create larger or smaller images, just as easily. Thanks to Panasonic's continued quest to create the most realistic cinema experience possible, consultation and testing of this design were conducted in various movie post-production facilities around the world. The result is an extended color space, including XYZ (xvYCC) compatibility on HDMI, as well as color space settings for HD and SD sources on all inputs. There are generous input options, including three HDMI 1.3 jacks, two component video, RGB on D-sub HD 15-pin, one "S-video jack, and even a composite input on RCA jack. The projector can accept signals from 480i up to 1080P @ 24, 30, 50, and 60 fps. The diminutive and almost portable PT-AE2000U is priced at $3,499 MSRP.

When one considers a major projector purchase, many factors contribute beyond just price. But the Panasonic PT-AE2000U offers both great price and is easy to set-up in just about any home theater. So many 1080P projectors these days are still on the largish, heavy side, making them difficult to set up optimally, which sacrifices picture quality and viewing time. Yet, even with manual lens offset, the Playstation 3 sized PT-AE2000U can be set up in under ten minutes, and thanks to the generous input support and light weight (15 pounds), you can just as easily take it with you wherever you need a big, bright, colorful image. And speaking of color, few others outside of this projector come out of the box looking so well adjusted, regardless of price. The performance is more than you might expect, and there are numerous user adjustable controls that can dial in any source to extreme view-ability. Should you desire, the Panasonic can be calibrated to great effect, with near dead-on color temperature, gray scale tracking, white field uniformity, and an actual contrast ratio of a more realistic 2,965:1, which makes this projector pop out and say "look at me!" The immediate response I had from the start was to watch one great program source after. In the course of this exploration, it became clear that this unit is designed to offer the very best pictures with a 1080P source, followed by 1080i, and finally 720P, and 480P or 480i. The internal video processor is quite reasonable given this projectors retail price, but it does soften the very highest frequencies, subtly. And 720P has noticeable edge enhancement and ringing that cannot be calibrated out. So watch 1080 sources (of which most programming currently is, other than ABC, ESPN, and Disney HD. There is a very slight hint of the red LCD panel lagging being the green and blue, producing an almost un-scene red echo during fast motion pans. But most will not see small artifact by comparison to all this projectors great assets. And don't forget to hook up your computer or laptop and allow yourself the opportunity of a life sized slideshow - the immediacy, color accuracy, and overall fine definition will have you spending many, many hours of enjoyment in blissful viewing.

Read about the high points and the low points of the PT-AE2000U projector on Page 2.

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HTR Product Rating for Panasonic PT-AE2000U 1080P 3-Chip LCD Front Projector

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