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Venky, I'm posting an email here so that you may contact me off-line (as a result, I don't know if my email will appear in this comment)- anyone else that would like to contact me about my recent posts of the Panasonic AE4000u are also welcome to do so at: cinemapete@gmail.com

Panasonic eventually did get back to me via email on my question. They basically confirmed to me what I already discovered on my own regarding the 2.35:1 mode but I simply wanted confirmation from them.

In terms of black bars: My own experience with the AE4000u is as follows: When I view either 16:9 or 2.35:1 (or 4:3) material the Panasonic AE4000u does not put out image data in the areas where the "black bars" are (unless of course those black-bars are actually within the movie material itself, in which case they would, or should, appear as almost pure black). I have a pure-white Da-Lite screen with a slight gain (around 1.2) and in my viewing room, the areas where the "black bars" appear are hardly noticeable in comparison to the areas of the screen where there is absolutely no image at all. In my case, the shade of the black bars is not milky white but almost black. Now, how noticeable these blank areas (I prefer to call them blank instead of black) are going to be will be depend on the amount of light in the image being projected and a few other factors. In my case, I can barely see the "black bars" even though they are slightly "brighter" (therefore noticeable) than the black in the image itself - but this is because the black bars are hitting the white portion of my screen. Short of using a 2:35:1 screen, what one can do is to mask-off those areas of the screen where there's no image using some kind of flat black mask so that the image appears surrounded by a solid black border - this will also seem to improve apparent contrast. But this is easier said than done because different aspect material will require different size masks and in different positions (even with the CIH approach). So it becomes somewhat impractical and inconvenient to manually mask-off a screen this way. If these black bars(or as I call them blank aeas) really bother you and you have deep pockets there are screen systems that actually have moving masks which allow you to mask of a screen for different aspect ratios - but they are not inexpensive at all.