Given Panasonic's aggressive push of 3D technology in the home-entertainment space, it's kind of a surprise that the company just introduced its first 3D-capable home theater projector in September, the PT-AE7000U. We have not performed a hands-on review of this projector, but here is an overview of its features. The PT-AE7000U is a 1080p projector that uses three transparent LCD panels driven at 480Hz. Sporting an auto iris, the projector has a rated dynamic contrast ratio of 300,000:1 and a rated brightness of 2,000 ANSI lumens. The PT-AE7000U supports a tabletop or ceiling-mount setup, as well as a front- or rear-projected image. It offers motorized 2x zoom and focus controls, 100 percent vertical lens shifting, 26 percent horizontal lens shifting, keystone correction, and adjustable feet. The PT-AE7000U measures 18.5 x 14.34 x 5.94 inches, weighs 19.2 pounds, and uses a 200-watt UHM lamp, with a listed lamp life of 4,000 hours in Normal mode and 5,000 hours in Eco mode.
As with Panasonic's line of 3D-capable TVs, the PT-AE7000U uses active 3D technology, which means it alternately flashes a full-resolution left-eye and right-eye image. Active 3D requires the use of special active-shutter 3D glasses that sync with the projector's signal to direct the appropriate image to each eye. The PT-AE7000U has a built-in IR sync emitter that allows the projector and glasses to communicate; however, Panasonic does not include any 3D glasses in the projector package. The combination of the 480Hz panels and Panasonic's 3D Overdrive technology is designed to minimize crosstalk and improve image brightness by lengthening the time that the shutters are open. The projector also features Panasonic's Frame Creation 2 for blur and judder reduction.
The connection panel includes a generous three HDMI inputs, plus a single component video, VGA, S-video, and composite video input. You also get RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system, one 12-volt trigger, and a 3D shutter output that allows you to attach the optional ET-TRM110 IR Transmitter if you wish to extend the range of the IR sync emitter.
The setup menu has a thorough assortment of picture adjustments, including: seven picture modes; a 13-step color temperature control, plus advanced white-balance adjustment; advanced gamma controls; dual lamp modes; waveform monitor adjustment options; noise reduction; detail clarity; and the ability to adjust the color, tint, and brightness of all six color points. The Frame Creation menu includes three different levels, as well as the ability to turn this function off. The PT-AE7000U offers seven aspect-ratio options that vary based on the type of input signal. You also have the ability to adjust the amount of overscan, from zero to +10. There's no dedicated anamorphic mode that, when mated with an add-on lens, allows you to view 2.35:1 movies without black bars; however, the PT-AE7000U's lens-memory function allows you to customize 16:9 and 2.35:1 settings and easily switch between the two without needing an add-on lens.
In the 3D realm, the PT-AE7000U can adjust the stereoscopic effect to best suit your screen size, so part of the setup process involves selecting a screen size in steps from 40 to 200 inches. You can also select a 3D input format (auto, side by side, top and bottom, and native), do a left/right image swap, perform advanced 3D balance adjustment, adjust the brightness of the 3D glasses, and engage 2D-to-3D conversion (with five different modes).
Read about the high points and low points of the PT-AE7000U projector on Page 2.
• The PT-AE7000U is a 3D-capable 1080p LCD projector. It uses active 3D technology, with a built-in IR emitter.
• The projector uses an auto iris to improve its contrast ratio.
• 480Hz and 3D Overdrive technologies are designed to reduce crosstalk and improve brightness with 3D content.
• Frame Creation 2 is available for blur and judder reduction.
• Dual lamp modes allow you to tailor the projector's light output to suit your viewing environment.
• It has three HDMI inputs, as well as a 12-volt trigger and an RS-232 port.
• The projector offers numerous picture adjustments for 2D and 3D content.
Motorized zoom and focus controls, as well as lens shifting, are
included for easier setup. Lens memory allows you to create 16:9 and
2.35:1 aspect ratios and easily switch between them.
• The package does not included any 3D glasses.
• Panasonic has opted to use IR instead of RF for its sync emitter.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Panasonic PT-AE7000U with its
competition by reading the reviews for the JVC DLA-X3 and
Optoma HD8300. You can also check out the Sony VPL-HW30ES,
Sharp XV-Z17000, Mitsubishi HC7800D, and Epson Home Cinema 5010. Learn
more about 3D Projectors by visiting our Video Projectors
With an MSRP of $3,499 and a street price around
$3,000, the Panasonic PT-AE7000U looks to be a compelling contender in
the entry-level 3D projection category. It offers an excellent level of
setup flexibility and advanced picture adjustment, and early performance
reviews have been very positive. Even if you're not interested in 3D
capability, the PT-AE7000U makes a strong case on its 2D merits,
especially for the more demanding but still budget-conscious videophile
who appreciates the availability of numerous adjustments to fine-tune