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Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector Panasonic PT-AE2000U
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16000:1 Contrast Ratio
1500 Lumens
Street Price: n/a
$3,499 MSRP

Panasonic PT-AE2000U
Home Theater Projector

Evan Powell, November 3, 2007

Key Features and Advantages

The AE2000 has a long list of exceptional features, so it is hard to know where to start. As noted above, probably the single most appealing advantage of the AE2000 is that its black level and dynamic range exceed the other 1080p projectors in its price range. In this regard it is surpassed only by the JVC DLA-RS1 which is about twice the price. With its excellent contrast comes beautifully rich color saturation, which is not only rich but accurate, as it comes carefully color balanced in precalibrated Cinema modes.

The AE2000 has a remarkably clear and sharp image. Overall, image clarity with HD material is as impressive as it gets. We have not yet seen any competitive unit that can beat the AE2000 where sharpness and clarity of an HD image are concerned. In standard definition, the image is still reasonably clear, but there is more noise present in SD than there is in HD. Thus its standard definition performance, as far as clarity goes, matches most of its competition, but it is not exceptional.

Panasonic AE2000

The AE2000 and its predecessor the AE1000 are the only 1080p projectors we've seen to have absolutely no pixelation at all. This is due to the SmoothScreen filter, a feature that has been unique to Panasonic home theater projectors for some time now. For those who may have wondered in the past whether the SmoothScreen filter was compromising potential sharpness by eliminating pixel structure (I include myself in that group), the answer is definitely not. Since the sharpness and clarity of high definition material on the AE2000 surpasses that of other 1080p projectors that do not have the SmoothScreen filter, that concern can be put to rest.

Flexibility of installation has always been a feature of Panasonic projectors. The company was the first to come to market with a 2.0x zoom lens on a home theater projector; that was on the AE700 in October, 2004. This feature is continued in the AE2000. In addition, vertical lens shift is three full picture heights, and horizontal lens shift is almost two full picture widths. So you can install this projector in a wide variety of locations to accommodate a particular screen size and location. Moreover, the projector offers powered zoom and focus, which makes it easy to stand at the screen and focus while making adjustments with the remote. The vertical and horizontal lens shift controls are manual.

Fan noise is very low--just a whisper in full power mode. Even in high altitude mode, when the fan is moving extra volumes of air to compensation for thin atmosphere, the unit is remarkably quiet. And in eco-mode, the fan is for all practical purposes silent-you cannot tell it is on unless you put your ear close to it.

One of the most intriguing new features is split screen calibration, something we've never before seen on home theater projectors. Here is how it works. Start with a screen image that you want to use as a template for making your adjustments, as follows ...

Panasonic AE2000

After you freeze the frame you want, you simply activate the split screen option, and a rectangular selection window pops up. You can move it back and forth to define which section of the image you want to work with.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Split Screen Calibration

Once you have selected the desired section, the projector will replicate it such that you have two identical copies side by side ......

Panasonic AE2000 Split Screen Calibration

Now you can make any adjustments you want to color temperature, color saturation, brightness, contrast, or gamma. The projector will apply the adjustments you make to the image on the right side of the screen, and hold the image on the left side constant. In this manner you can see precisely the effects of the changes you are making. You can finish by either saving or discarding the changes you've been experimenting with. For many users, this is a great educational tool that helps you understand the nature and range of the various adjustment controls available to you.

As far as brightness is concerned, there is quite a range of options on the AE2000. The preset video optimized modes, Cinema 1, 2, and 3, are color balanced and set for optimal video performance. They vary somewhat in gamma and color temperature, but not much in brightness. On our test sample they measured 345, 390 and 370 ANSI lumens respectively. Among the three, Cinema 1 mode was our choice for most of our viewing.

If you want more light, Normal mode will give you a much brighter image. Normal mode measured well over 900 ANSI lumens on our sample. Color balance is not quite as good as it is in the Cinema modes, but it was surprisingly satisfying-somewhat cooler, yes, but not ice cold or disturbingly green as it is on most projectors. Typically, boosting light output to the super bright settings causes a bad shift toward blue green that makes the picture not nearly as pleasant.

Once you are in Normal mode with the default color temperature, you can reduce color temperature to compensate for the cooler image. With the color temperature control alone, you can warm up the image in incremental steps while dropping lumen output in incremental steps. At the warmest setting you still end up with a very substantial 600 lumens. The bottom line is that the AE2000 gives you a wide range of usable options for lumen output, and you can select the one that fits your lumen needs, taste preferences, screen size, ambient light situation, and so on.

While the purist videophile will want to opt for the Cinema modes, we are certain that many home theater enthusiasts will find the Normal mode a very appealing alternative. The gain of a lot more lumen output at the cost of a little bit of color accuracy will be a trade-off well worth making. In Normal mode, with a few adjustments, you can get a bright, high contrast picture with rich color saturation, and realistic looking color that has no distracting bias toward blue/green.

Finally, for those interested in setting up a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen with an anamorphic lens, the AE2000 comes with the appropriate anamorphic vertical stretch mode needed to accommodate the lens.

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Review Contents: Specifications Advantages Limitations Competition and Conclusion
 

Reader Comments(9 comments)

Posted May 3, 2010 6:37:02 AM

By Mikelake

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Panasonic Refused to honor their 2 year warranty extension rebate! Its a dealbreaker for future Panasonic purchases!

Posted Aug 14, 2008 9:32:19 AM

By Laurie

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Does anyone know when the new 2009 Panasonic projector replacing this unit will be out? Any rumors of what it is like?

Posted Aug 10, 2008 8:13:02 PM

By edgar

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does anyone know how to clean projector lcd panels...my warranty is up..i heard its pretty easy...have a dust blob when i put it in manual focus...txs

Posted Aug 7, 2008 1:00:08 PM

By Ian Larkin

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I have one with 400 hours on the bulb, but it has developed an annoying flicker. The light just pulses and returns to normal. I had been running it in Eco-Mode for the first 350 hours when it started to happen but I read on a forum that running in Eco-Mode can damage the bulb resulting in this effect. Don't know how true it is but for all you other owners who have not experienced this yet it's might be worth looking into.

Posted Jan 1, 2008 5:15:41 AM

By jyavenard

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One other issue with the PT-AE2000. I'm not sure it's my unit or it's the same for all units.

When you turn the unit off, you can hear the lens moving back. And when you turn it on, the lens go back to its earlier position.

On my unit, after a few off/on cycles, the focus will be slightly off and will require re-adjustments.

I believe this is related to my previous comment that you can't not control the auto-focus very accurately as the steps between each settings are too big.

Today, temperature reached 42 degres celsius outside (107.6F), my cinema room was rather cool. After a 2 hours movie, the temperature was unbearable. The Panasonic pumps too much hot air. This is the #1 problem with this unit...

Picture wise, it is a fantastic machine

Posted Jan 1, 2008 5:06:45 AM

By jyavenard

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Reply about: "How do these function buttons work? Are you able to teach a learning remote discrete input codes?

btw, I wish reviewers would pay more attention to the availability of discrete codes. Sanyo is much better than Panasonic in this regard"

The remote has three buttons at the top. You can assign a specific function to one of the buttons. Like HDMI1, HDMI2 , Set Focus etc... Then using the logitech I just learnt the code for those 3 buttons.

Posted Dec 10, 2007 10:08:02 AM

By DundasM3

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"Remote control. Something very annoying with the Panasonic remote is that you do not have discrete IR codes to go to all different kind of inputs. Say you want to go to HDMI2, you have to cycle through all inputs until you get on HDMI2. Very annoying if using say a Logitech Harmony remote as often the input on the projector won't be correctly set after running a macro. The AE2000 has an edge over the AE900 as you can define 3 buttons to be whatever you want. But that's not enough with so many inputs (I'd like 2 more, so I get with the press of one button: HDMI1, HDMI2, HDMI3, Component, Video, VGA)"

How do these function buttons work? Are you able to teach a learning remote discrete input codes?

btw, I wish reviewers would pay more attention to the availability of discrete codes. Sanyo is much better than Panasonic in this regard

Posted Dec 8, 2007 5:34:11 AM

By jyavenard

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Here are my comments about the projector.

I bought mine two weeks ago and I've had it setup last week... It is in replacement of a Panasonic PT-AE900.

Picture quality is very impressive compare to the AE900. Especially with HD materials like blueray or hd-dvd. But I found that even my average DivX TV recordings looked better.

I will pass on everything that I find great as it's been commented on already.

My comments so far:

Heat: The AE2000 pump a lot of hot air ! it increases very rapidly the temperature of my room by a few degrees (room is 4.8m x 3.5m * 2.8m high). It's getting warmer here in Oz (it's summer here) and it's going to be an issue soon.

Noise: The AE2000 is significantly louder than the PT-AE900, I can hear the projector over my xbox 360 ! it's rather annoying when watching a dialog scene. I'm quite surprised here as most reviews mentioned how this projector was virtually silent. I had a listen in another store and it was producing the same level of noise, so it's definitely not my unit.

Low light vs normal: Well, other than the fan is a bit quieter in low output mode, I can't tell the difference between normal and low. the difference in the AE900 was significant.

Picture is very bright (lumen-wise), in fact the whites are somewhat hard to watch (I use Cinema 1 settings). It could be that I'm just so used to the AE900 picture which was definitely not as bright. Whites sometimes make me frown.

Remote control. Something very annoying with the Panasonic remote is that you do not have discrete IR codes to go to all different kind of inputs. Say you want to go to HDMI2, you have to cycle through all inputs until you get on HDMI2. Very annoying if using say a Logitech Harmony remote as often the input on the projector won't be correctly set after running a macro. The AE2000 has an edge over the AE900 as you can define 3 buttons to be whatever you want. But that's not enough with so many inputs (I'd like 2 more, so I get with the press of one button: HDMI1, HDMI2, HDMI3, Component, Video, VGA)

Moving pictures: There is a slight blur when you have a traveling scene. All the reviews talk a lot about the quality of the picture, with still shots etc... none of them talk about what it looks like in what the projector is mainly used for: movies !! The blur effect is far more noticeable than the AE900 which was perfect there. I am not sure it's a side-effect of having such high resolution, the movie I was watching (Transformer HD-DVD) or my eyes :) but it's an annoying effect

Manuals: they are crap. The PT-AE2000 is extremely feature rich, none of those features are well-explained. Pretty much nothing on how to use the waveform screen nor is there a chapter on how to best set the projector.

motorised zoom and focus: While it's extremely convenient to be able to stand next to the screen while setting the focus, I do believe now that you can achieve better result with a manual one. The various steps aren't that progressive. Say you press 5 times the focus+ on the remote and again 5 times on focus- you won't be back where you started. The jumps between 2 changes is too high and in my case I've always felt that the perfect focus is right between two settings. It took me a fair while to get the perfect focus, it would have been much faster with a manual one.

That is all for now. Cheers Jean-Yves

Posted Nov 12, 2007 6:38:39 AM

By tireclock

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How does the bightness and contrast, black/white levels and sharpness of this projector compare to the PT-AX200 and Sanyo PLV-Z5.

I know they're 720p but resolution is not as important to me as is the brightness/contrast/sharpness etc.

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