3D Home Theater Projector
August 16, 2011
When all is said and done, the Panasonic PT-AE7000U is a projector for the true videophile. It certainly has a boatload of features and yes, it has remarkably clear, stable 3D performance. But even if the AE7000 did not have 3D or a wide assortment of features, it would still stand out as a major video engineering achievement based on the strength of its 2D picture quality alone.
Not only does the AE7000 represent a major step beyond the AE4000 in picture quality, it is a step beyond so-called "higher end" 1080p projectors. Viewed side by side it will outperform some competing products that currently sell for up to triple the price. And most of these competing units do not have the array of features found on the AE7000.
Since I am not a huge fan of 3D, the primary value of the AE7000 for me personally is the picture's depth, clarity, and stability for conventional 2D home theater. However, these same qualities are apparent in the display of 3D material. Home theater enthusiasts for whom 3D image quality is vital will be thoroughly impressed with the contrast, stability, and lack of crosstalk that the AE7000 delivers.
As of this writing, we know of no 1080p home theater projectors on the market priced under $4,000 that can rival the image quality of the AE7000, and there are quite a few priced much higher that can't either. So we don't need to wait for its official street pricing to be announced before awarding 5-star ratings for Performance and Value. However, the CEDIA trade show is just around the corner. We will be seeing several new 3D 1080p models over the next two to three weeks that are scheduled for release at CEDIA. Therefore, we will assign these 5-star ratings on the AE7000 today with the caveat that they are preliminary, and subject to potential change after we evaluate this fall's offerings. But we can say this with confidence: Panasonic has set the performance bar very high with the AE7000. Competitors will face a daunting task as they attempt to meet or exceed it.