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Panasonic PT-AE4000U Projector Panasonic PT-AE4000U
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$2,499
Contrast:100,000:1
Lumens:1600
Weight: 16.1 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2x powered
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:3,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$400.00
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component (HDTV), RGB, HDMI (x3), RS232, 12Volt Out (x2),
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/50, 576i, 576p, 625i, 625p, 1125i

Panasonic PT-AE4000U
1080p Home Theater Projector

Evan Powell, October 8, 2009

Today Panasonic has ended months of speculation by formally announcing its plan to bring the PT-AE4000U to the US market. The news that is even more buzz-worthy is that it will be offered at an official street price of just $1,999.

The AE4000 announcement is dramatic. Though its spec sheet does not look revolutionary compared to last year's AE3000, the AE4000 is in fact a superior projector in almost every way. Certainly it surpasses the AE3000 in image quality. And it is even more fully-featured than its predecessor. But what is most stunning is the price. Last October, a mere twelve months ago, the AE3000 was released with street prices close to $3,000. This month the AE4000 comes to market at $1,999. This aggressive move will force other manufacturers competing in the home theater projector market to reassess their pricing levels.

AE4000 vs. AE3000: Differences and Improvements

The AE3000 was already the most fully-featured home theater projector on the market. The AE4000 trumps it in several important ways:

Red-Rich Lamp. Panasonic has engineered a proprietary new high pressure lamp that puts out 50% more red light than its predecessors. High pressure lamps have always been weak in red spectrum light, and this new lamp design takes a big step toward eliminating that weakness. And the difference is obvious. When putting the AE3000 and AE4000 side by side, red elements in the picture are noticeably brighter. The hue of red is no different, but red subject matter as a component of the whole picture is more vibrant. A red stop sign on the AE3000 looks red, but it is somewhat darker relative to the rest of the image than it is on the AE4000. The increased red content of the lamp also contributes significantly to improved skin tones.

Improved contrast. The AE3000 was rated at 60,000:1, and the AE4000 is 100,000:1. Can you see the difference, you may wonder? Absolutely. When viewed in a dark room side by side, the AE4000 is obviously higher in contrast and deeper in black level than its predecessor. And with higher contrast comes the other typical benefits driven by contrast -- deeper color saturation, an improved sense of image depth, and the impression of increased image sharpness.

The improvement in contrast was not achieved by reducing the aperture on the auto iris. Rather, Panasonic has redesigned what they call the Pure Contrast Plate, an optical component located right after the LCD panels to improve the contrast level. This component effectively allows the polarization filters to block the light leakage caused from the panels, for deeper blacks.

As with the AE3000, the AE4000 uses inorganic LCD panels which also contribute to the higher contrast in these models. In inorganic panels, the liquid crystals are vertically aligned, making it easier for polarizers to filter out almost all light for deeper blacks.

Improved Cinema mode brightness. The maximum lumen rating has not changed; both the AE3000 and AE4000 are rated at 1600 lumens. However, the red enhanced lamp contributes to a brighter overall image in Cinema mode. Our AE3000 measured 385 lumens in Cinema 1 mode. The AE4000's Cinema 1 puts out 548 lumens, or 42% boost. The other programmed operating modes are brighter as well, but do not show as dramatic an increase. For example, normal mode measured 792 on the AE3000, and we are seeing 950 lumens on the AE4000 (+20%). On the AE4000, the Color 1 and Color 2 modes are both measuring in the 550 lumen range, compared to about 400 on the AE3000.


Panasonic PT-AE4000 Projector

As a side note, the AE4000's lamp eco-mode has more of an effect on light output. On the AE3000, dropping the lamp into eco-mode reduced light output by 18%. On the AE4000, it reduces it by 32%. On both models, you lose up to 41% of potential light output if you set the 2.0x zoom lens to the maximum long throw position (smallest image from any given distance).

Improved color accuracy. The Cinema 1 mode delivers virtually perfect color balance, measuring almost exactly 6500K across the entire gray scale with a beautifully flat line on the color temperature graph. For those who want to pull it out of the box and run without worrying about calibration, this is as close as it gets to ideal. Discs that are properly transferred will be seen as the director intended the films to be seen, including whatever tints and color biases that may have been engineered into the original.

Improved Detail Clarity Processor. The AE3000 has a Detail Clarity Processor that you can set to either On or Off. When activated, the picture appears sharper and fine details pop out. Sometimes this effect is desired and sometimes it isn't, depending on the nature of the material being viewed. On the AE4000, the "Detail Clarity Processor 3" is an improved system that lets you choose the amount of resolution enhancement you want in the picture. You activate it by selecting a level from 1 to 7. The factory default is position 2. We found that boosting it to 3 or 4 lent the picture additional apparent resolution, without adding unwanted artifacts. Raising it to 7 goes way over the top for typical film material, and makes skin look like it has the texture of sandpaper. But overall, this system is more precise and user friendly than the earlier version.

Improved Frame Interpolation. Panasonic uses the marketing term Frame Creation for its frame interpolation system. The AE3000 had three options for Frame Creation: Off, Mode 1 and Mode 2. Mode 1 buffered two frames and created one or more interim frames from those. Mode 2 buffered three frames and created one or more interim frames. Mode 2 was more comprehensive, but created more video delay.

The AE4000 incorporates the second generation of this system, and is thus called Frame Creation 2. It has the same Mode 1 and 2 as the original, but it has a new Mode 3. This also buffers three frames for analysis, but it performs much more processing to achieve a better result. Video delay in Mode 1 is modest, more noticeable in Mode 2, and more visible yet in Mode 3. Modes 2 and 3 put the picture visibly out of synch with the audio. Thus an audio delay is required to keep the picture and sound in synch when using the Frame Creation system.

The Frame Creation system reduces motion judder in increments-it is somewhat reduced in Mode 1, more so in Mode 2, and virtually non-existent in Mode 3. It accomplishes this with only occasional subtle artifacts. Depending on the material being viewed, Frame Creation can impart a hyper-reality to the image, making a movie look as it if were made with an HD videocam rather than a film camera. Some people like this effect, and others find it quite objectionable. Either way, this effect on the AE3000 and AE4000 is subtle when compared to competing models from last year on which the effect is more pronounced.

One demo that is quite interesting, if you ever have the chance to stage it, is to run a projector without frame interpolation side by side with the AE4000. When the pictures are adjacent to one another and the AE4000's clean, stable image is used as a reference, it is startling to see just how much judder and instability there is in the picture that is not being processed with frame interpolation.

The bottom line is that some users will want to use Frame Creation on everything they watch. Some will prefer to use it selectively, on material like animated films and sports broadcasts. Some won't use it at all. But it is nice to have the option.

Advanced Gamma Adjustments. On the AE3000, gamma controls are straightforward and basic, consisting of three separate up or down controls for the low, mid, and high range of the curve. This set of controls is available on the AE4000 also, and is labeled as "Simple." But in addition, the AE4000 offers an "Advanced" system that provides a great deal more control for precise fine-tuning. R, G, B, and Y components can be adjusted independently at nine different points on the curve rather than three. Most users won't be bothering themselves with this, but those into precision adjustment of their video display will appreciate it.

Two programmable 12-volt triggers. On most projectors, the 12-volt trigger is an outbound signal that will activate an electric screen, or withdraw powered curtains, etc., when the projector is powered on. On the AE4000, there are two triggers, and they can be programmed to act either as inbound or outbound triggers. With this flexibility, you can wire together a whole array of components in the theater to activate simultaneously.

Increased resistance to dust. The metal housings containing the LCD panels have been partially sealed in a way that they were not on previous models. This modification will further reduce the potential for dust particles to reach them.

Intelligent Lens Memory. Lens memory was introduced by Panasonic on the AE3000. This feature enables you to set up the projector with a 2.40 widescreen, and zoom the lens to full frame 2.40 format when viewing a movie in 2.40 aspect ratio or higher. Then when native 16:9 material is being displayed, a push of the button moves the zoom lens to where the 16:9 image is centered full frame in the middle of the 2.40 screen. The objective is to let you enjoy super-widescreen format without the cost of an anamorphic lens. The AE4000 retains this feature and takes it one step further-now you don't have to press the button to change lens positions. The projector will automatically detect the format of the image being displayed, and the lens will reconfigure itself to accommodate it. This feature is optional. If you prefer to be proactive and select the lens position yourself, you can deactivate the auto-detect feature.

Other Features Carried Forward from the AE3000

In addition to the new or enhanced features/capabilities just reviewed, the AE4000 has all of the other features found on the AE3000, including:

User-friendly Menu Interface. We didn't mention this benefit on previous models but should have. The AE4000 and predecessors offer a menu that remembers the adjustment you made previously, and will enable you to bypass the normal access route through the menu in order to get back to that same adjustment.

For example, the Frame Creation setting is deep in the Advanced section of the menu, and the first time you go there requires anywhere from 9 to 16 clicks depending on the route you take. But if you set Frame Creation to Mode 1, and then decide you want to see what Mode 2 looks like, it only takes two clicks to get back to the Frame Creation control to reset it. On most projectors, you have to go through the entire 9 to 16 click sequence all over again. This is true of all adjustments including color, gamma, and so on. This makes all menu controls much easier to access and manipulate.

Another feature of the user-friendly menu is that once you have selected a control to adjust, the menu disappears and just the control bar for the one function you are adjusting drops to the bottom of the screen. That way you can see precisely the effect that adjustment is having on the picture. On many competing models, the entire menu remains in place, and you are left to wonder what is happening to the picture. The more we work with projectors, the more we grow to appreciate these user-friendly features that appear on the AE4000.

Gaming Mode. Video delay is not a good thing for gaming, and audio delay does not fix the problem. So the AE3000 and AE4000 both have a feature which is not called Gaming Mode, but could be. It is called Frame Response, and it lets you adjust the speed of frame delivery from the buffer. Your options are "Normal" and "Fast." "Normal" will provide normal video processing and results in a frame delay of about 3 frames (assuming Frame Creation is off). "Fast" will eliminate some of the standard video processing overhead and cuts frame delay to about 1.5 frames. There is no way for a video picture to appear instantaneously with zero delay on any digital video display, so the Fast frame delivery feature on the AE3000/4000 is about as good as it gets.

Smooth-screen filter. Panasonic home theater projectors are famous for their Smooth Screen technology--essentially a filter that removes visible pixelation. The AE4000 has this same feature. We used to think that Smooth Screen reduced the sharpness of the image. It does not. Keep in mind when setting up a competing projector with the AE4000 in a side by side test, the "0" settings on the sharpness menus are not identical. Panasonic's models always have the sharpness setting default to zero with no artificial edge enhancement. Competing models usually default to zero also, but their so-called "0" setting often has some built in edge enhancement. On such models, the sharpness control needs to be turned off, or down to -5 or -10 depending on the model in question, to equal what Panasonic models are already defaulted to. Conversely, you can turn the sharpness setting on the AE4000 up to +5 or so to more closely approximate what 0 is on competing units. Once you balance out the edge enhancement, there is no significant difference in image sharpness between the AE4000 and other models in its price range. And if you boost the Detail Clarity Processor to +3 or +4, you get an extremely sharp picture with an abundance of detail definition.

On-board Wave Form Monitor. The wave form monitor assists in the calibration of the projector, and for those into serious tweaking it is a great tool to have available. Professional installers in particular will find this tool useful. The AE4000 and its predecessors are the only home theater models anywhere near this price range that have this feature.

Split Screen Calibration. Introduced initially on the AE2000, this as been carried forward in both the 3000 and 4000. It enables you to select a portion of the screen image, then duplicate it side by side. Having done this, you can apply image control adjustments, and they will appear on the right image while holding the left image static. This lets you see the changes you are making to the picture in "before and after" presentation. Thus 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.

Limitations

There are several things to keep in mind if you are planning to install an AE4000. The most important is that the combination of the zoom lens and eco-mode lamp can curtail lumen output significantly. The Cinema 1 mode is about 550 lumens with the lamp on full power and the zoom set to its shortest throw distance (largest picture from any given distance). Given the contrast of this projector, that is plenty of light to fill a 150" diagonal screen in a dark room, and still have a sparkling high contrast image.

However, if you move the projector back to its maximum throw distance, you lose 40% of the light, so Cinema 1 drops to about 330 lumens. You would probably want to either move the projector forward, or reduce the screen size, or switch to a brighter operating mode like Normal. These trade-offs should be taken into consideration during the planning phase. Similarly, putting the lamp into eco-mode sacrifices 32% of your light. That may or may not be something you can accept based on the screen size, throw distance, and desired operating mode.

Air Filter. Another thing to keep in mind is that the AE4000 has an air filter that should be cleaned every 100 hours of use. That sound like an onerous task, but it isn't. Cleaning does not entail replacing or washing the filter. It just needs to be vacuumed, so we suggest you get a hand-held vacuum cleaner for about $25 and keep it handy in your theater room. The air filter cartridge easily unsnaps from the side of the unit with a poke of the finger. Pulling the filter cartridge, giving it a thorough vacuum, and clicking the cartridge back into place takes about 30 seconds. The manual requests that you do this after every 100 hours of use, or once every 50 movies or so. Keeping the filter free of dust build up will give you maximum lamp life, and reduce the chances of getting any dust contamination inside the unit.

Focusing. If we are looking for tiny things to complain about, we could mention that it is a bit harder to focus the AE4000 than it is competing models. For one, the Smooth Screen filter pretty much erases any distinct pixel structure. On most projectors, getting the pixels as sharp as possible is the ultimate objective, but that is not possible on this unit since discrete pixels are not there. So you have to look at the graphics provided, which, for the purpose of fine focusing, is not quite as ideal.

Beyond that, the powered focus does not have a fine step function, so it is easy to overshoot the target. We found ourselves running back and forth through the sweet spot several times until we hit it just right. It takes a bit of fussing with, but once it is focused it stays there until you move the projector.

Warranty. The warranty is more limited that many in the home theater market. The purchase price includes parts and labor service for one year or 2000 hours of use, whichever comes first. By filing a claim form similar to a mail-in rebate, Panasonic will extend it to two years or 2000 hours, whichever comes first. The 2000 hour limit is not typical in the industry, and is something to be aware of if you plan on using your projector for many hours a day. If you run your projector for 5.5 hours per day, 7 days per week, you will hit the 2000 hour limit in 12 months. In this case the extension secured by filing the claim form does you no good. On the other hand, if you don't spend more than 2.7 hours a day, seven days a week, watching your projector, you get the full two years of warranty.

Conclusion

The Panasonic PT-AE4000 sets a new benchmark for price/performance in the home theater industry. In both picture quality and features, it easily surpasses the AE3000. And at just $1,999 it will have an earthshaking effect on prices throughout the industry. No other projector is as fully-loaded with user friendly features as this one; other than the AE3000, no other competing model even comes close in features and functionality. But what it always comes down to is picture quality. And in this regard, the AE4000 surpasses not only the AE3000, but all other 1080p models that we have yet seen under $3,000. It is not the brightness unit on the market by any stretch. Several other inexpensive 1080p models have brighter Cinema modes. But if you are looking for extremely high image quality and are willing to give up a little lumen output to get it, the AE4000 produces a refined, elegant picture that is extremely difficult to beat.

Since the AE4000's picture quality not only surpasses the competitors in its price range, but rivals and in some cases exceeds that of "high-end" models selling for five times the price or more, it warrants a solid 5 stars for performance. Since it has more features than any other home theater projector ever built, 5 stars is not even enough to illustrate its distinction in this category. Similarly, its ease of use is unrivaled-perfect color calibration out of the box in Cinema 1 mode, smart menus that are easy to navigate, lens memory to accommodate 2.40 super widescreen without an anamophic lens-no other projector has all of these things, and most have none of them.

All of this adds up to a remarkable value proposition: at a street of $1,999, we've simply never seen this much performance at this price. Panasonic has been extremely tight-lipped about this product launch. Until now many thought the company was dropping out of the home theater projector market. Today's announcement makes it clear that they are here to stay. The Panasonic PT-AE4000U will be one of the hottest selling home theater projectors of the fall season, and we enthusiastically give it our highest recommendation.


Reader Comments(135 comments)

Posted Sep 3, 2013 2:01:58 PM

By jamie

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i would like to know your opinion re pt4000. i will be using a constant height screen 2.35,gain 1.0-1.1.a little confusion as to what mode../suspect eco @ around 15' pro to screen,thanx so much

Posted Feb 25, 2013 5:48:18 AM

By Keith

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I purchased the AE8000 - love it. Question for anyone out there...my mount is not perfectly centered, so the picture on my screen is angled on top but level on the button. Is there an adjustment within the settings that I can use to tweak?

Posted Nov 29, 2012 12:59:07 AM

By suk

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my projector brightness keeps changing. it goes bright to a duller pic back n forth my lamp hours are 1480hours and ive ran it at dynamic mode for the whole 1480 hours. is this as sign i need to replace the lamp....

Posted Oct 4, 2012 11:16:33 PM

By steven

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could you please tell me how to do multiple inputs at the same time if possible. trying to connect two PS3's and have them side by side playing together. using HDMI input 1 and 2.

Posted Jun 22, 2012 9:49:14 PM

By Paul

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Please I have no Idea . If someone would be so kind as to explain a few things to me. I just bought this Projector for the purpose of a Video art Gallery installation, So I need the Image to come off a mac book Pro . Now if the image is not HD , in fact it's Analogue VHS , that has been converted to Digital , if I use a HDMI cable with an adaptor for the Mac book pro, will it work? I need the image to look grainy and rough , As this projector is true to what the director intends it to look like. What cables and adapters should I use to get it to work with my macbook pro.

I thank you

Posted Dec 30, 2011 1:12:08 PM

By apellön

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should i get this one or the epson powerlite 8700 ub ? both looks great ... thanks

Posted Sep 25, 2011 9:36:10 AM

By toju edun

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Please could you tell me where I can find the AE1000, AE2000, AE3000 and AE4000

Many thanks

Toju

Posted Jun 16, 2011 6:31:14 PM

By Miles & Dizzy

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Except for a room in complete blackout mode it's pretty much impossible for 'any' projector to show perfect black or close to it no matter how good it is, how could it be otherwise if you're 'projecting' onto a white and or grey surface with a certain level of ambient lighting and room reflections!

One test for ideal blacks is to look at the screen in your HT room without an image being projected and that's as close to black as you're ever going to get and as good a test as any for your PJ once you fire it up.

The comparison to CRT, LCD etc... is nonsense.

Posted Feb 26, 2011 7:04:09 AM

By DavidK442

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The raving attributed to this projector must be relative only to other mid-priced projectors. In absolute terms, comparision to a plasma or higher end LCD, the image from the Panasonic leaves a lot to be desired. In a black room, on a 106" screen with 1.0 gain, shooting from 12 feet away daylight sceens had insufficient brightness (think a slight veil of light grey) and night scenes were a muddle of dark grey (think cheap lcd tv from a few years ago). I'm happy for those who are satisfied with this mid-range, well featured projector. The image size blew me away initially and some scenes with hi-contrast content did look amazing but after trying to watch a few of my favorite movies (Descent, Underworld, Pirates of the Carribean) I realized that a large picture wasn't worth the sacrifice and returned it. What amazes me is that many professional reviewers rave about the Panasonic as well as consumers. Just recently, thinking maybe my projector was some how defective, I found a store that had the AE4000 set up in a light controlled, dark walled room. They were showing Ice Age 3, which being animated should have blown me away. No matter how much I fiddled with the settings (thank you salesman for your patience) the image I saw confirmed exactly what I had seen at home. This of course is only one opinion, although it is shared by many video enthusiasts. Back to watching my old CRT, waiting to see if the Panasonic AE5000 this fall has evolved enough, and saving my pennies for a JVC in case it hasn't.

Posted Feb 17, 2011 12:46:28 AM

By Jason from Houston

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I have been eyeing this projector since it came out, cant wait to get my tax return, gonna buy this and the Pioneer Elite SC-35. Hope all the reviews are accurate

Posted Jan 26, 2011 8:30:55 PM

By David from Tulsa, OK

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I recently purchased the PT-AE4000U projector. I did as much research on line as I could before deciding on purchasing this home projector. This was one of the best purchases I have ever made. I look forward to every movie I get to watch. My friends and family all rave over the quality of the picture. For quality and price, the Panasonic PT-AE4000U is a fantastic buy.

Posted Jan 7, 2011 6:18:47 PM

By newopening

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Is it possible to rotate the focus ring on the lense of pt-au4000u manually instead of using remote control. Will it damage anything? Manually rotating ring should give more control on focus.

When I zoom the image, the image goes little bit out of focus and I have refocus it. Is this normal/expected?

Posted Dec 4, 2010 4:08:47 PM

By Sage

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A question on lens memory. I have a 4:3 screen and want tv pictures (480i) to fill the screen, and I want HD images to to letterbox. Can I use lens memory ( or multiple hdmi inputs) to do this automatically? Or will I have to manually zoom and focus everytime I change from HD to regular TV?

Posted Nov 2, 2010 9:32:20 AM

By george

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I just purchased a ae40000 a few weeks ago and I too noticed the "droopy right corner". However, after a week of using my projector it is much less noticable (either that or I am getting used to it).

Posted Oct 20, 2010 2:41:36 PM

By Ravi

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Just bought a PTAE4000 and installed in a basement ceiling. It does remember the Zoom settings for 16:9 and 2.35:1 modes, but the vertical shift settings need to be changed manually everyting the image shifts. I am sure I am missing something as no one else has reported this problem. What could I be doing wrong??

Again the problem is -

I have a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen. The projector is ceiling mounted. Hence, when the zoom changes - need to reset vertical shifts. I am able to save Zoom settings in memory, but not the vertical shift settings which needs to be changed everytime the input format changes. Please enlighten me on what I could be doing wrong. Thanks.

Posted Oct 11, 2010 6:22:00 PM

By PinballGeek

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@Budagog: Sorry for taking so long to get back on here. I gave my unit 6 months and could was not satisfied due to my lack of focus. The last straw was watching a movie and hitting pause and realizing that I could not read the time along the bottom of the screen showing how far into the movie I was in. I called Panasonic and after a few phone calls got them to accept the unit for repair. I just got the unit today. They replaced the focus unit, and it took maybe 5 days between when I shipped it to them and when I got it back.

All I can say is: I WAS RIGHT! I put the unit back up and went about correcting the zoom and focus. It was clear (no pun intended) that I was going to be happy, as the focus was already much better than I had ever seen. After going back and forth on the for a while, I was pretty sure I couldn't do much better. I put in Iron Man, sat back, and finally got to enjoy the purchase I made back in February. The picture is stunning, as I knew it should be from all of the positive reviews and editor's choice awards.

The bottom line is this. If you think that there is a focus issue, don't let someone talk you out of it. Call Panasonic and send it back. The unit is stunning when operating properly so stick to your guns and get what you paid for.

Posted Oct 11, 2010 12:21:45 AM

By umer awan

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dear sir, i am in china and want to purchase the projector panasonic ae-4000 so kindly give me the adress of panasonic distributor in china

Posted Sep 28, 2010 2:22:07 PM

By John

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I have a slight limitation when it comes to mounting my 4000 in the soon-to-be-finished basement theater room. I have a soffet that drops from the ceiling about 8 inches. I want to mount the projector as close to the soffet drop as possible to get the longest throw (and subsequent largest viewing) possible. The manual recommends having 19.75 inches of clearance around the projector. That would only give me about 10' of throw distance. I noticed that the back of the projector is actually the air input and not the exhaust, therefore can I cheat a little and drop that clearance to 8 inches or so? It's not really an enclosure; it's just a slightly lower segment of ceiling behind the projector. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Posted Sep 27, 2010 11:27:22 AM

By Brad Horstkotte

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Unless you're pairing it with an anamorphic lens, you shouldn't use a curved screen. Curved screens are used to correct pincushion distortion caused by an anamorphic lens.

Posted Sep 16, 2010 1:47:19 PM

By Robov

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Hi all, just wondering if this projector will work with a curved screen like the Elite Screens Lunette series in 120" 16:9 found here http://elitescreens.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=486&catid=12&Itemid=20&lang=en

Posted Aug 31, 2010 1:10:53 PM

By kingriek

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The projector is made in Japan, not China.

Posted Aug 24, 2010 2:23:06 PM

By DSSMASTER

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Yes the Panasonic PT-AE4000U is "Made In Japan".

Posted Aug 19, 2010 7:27:36 PM

By Bishop

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"For a price drop this big, some corners must have been cut. I'm wondering if the new model is "made in China" rather than Japan, and quality/durability could be a potential issue. Does anyone know? If so, I would take this into overall consideration rather than simply base my decision on price and initial picture quality."

Most if not all electronic products are made in China now and re-badged by leading brand names, especially Panasonic. Panasonic Corporation of China -- [link deleted]

I remember seeing a show on cable featuring an electronics show in China where products like camcorders and DVD players were being showcased and they were all blank names, waiting to be purchased by a known named corporation to put their label on it. That is why there are similar looking products but sold under different brand names, like the BenQ W1000 and Vivitek H1080FD for example.

Posted Aug 17, 2010 1:31:12 AM

By manual focus on pt-ae4000

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Hey, I've read through most of these comments about the focusing on this unit and you don't have to ride the remote back and forth to get a fine tune focus on it! Nowhere is it mentioned that the silver ring around the lens can be used to manually adjust the focus! I discovered it on my own....

Posted Jul 8, 2010 3:25:11 AM

By JES

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I am waiting for mine to arrive , From what i've seen in the previous models like the pt-ae2000, i was surprised with the picture detail performance etc. this should be much better in terms. Cant wait till i unpack the pt-ae4000.

Posted Jun 19, 2010 7:39:55 AM

By Zippy Washington

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A few discrepancies on this review.

A. The AE4000 DOES have a fine step micro focus ability. In facts the microsteps are smaller than most.

B. Focusing this model to its best ability requires a test pattern screen like the SMPTE 133 screen found on a blu ray copy of DVE. The first step is to focus the center pixel bar structures so they are sharp, then go to the corner pixel bars in the corner of the screen and tap the focus button until they become razor sharp as well, there is a fine line between getting the corners and center sharp at the same time, but the fine microsteps of the 4000 will allow you to do that. When prop3erly focued this is one of the sharpest 3LCD pj's I have ever seen in honesty. Much better than the 8500UB.

C. I had the 8500UB for a week along with the 4000. I actually found the AE4000's blacks were deeper once fully calibrated. WHen the gamma and low IRE grey scale tracking is dialed in, the 4000's blacks are definetly a shade deeper than the 8500UB and of course the shadow detail is vastly superior. For those hung up on blacks and black level detail the AE4000 is better in both regards, but it does require a full calibration, and that means tweaking the gamma and greyscale in the low IRE. DO this and the 4000 is superior in every way to the 8500UB. In fact its actually very close in black level performance to my JVC RS25, and thats no joke. SOme of the professional reviews would lead people to believe otherwise, but I have found pretty much all reviews lack a true ISF quality calibration to get the full potential out of the PJ, and there are a number of discrepancies, like not explaining how the motorized zoom function truely works or the very fine microsteps it actually does have.

So, if you want a pj that is VERY CLOSE in performance to the LCOS based pj's like the RS25, this is the one to get. It has honestly 98-99% of the performance abilities of my RS25 for literally $5-6k less. I would never have paid the money for my RS25 if I was familiar with this pj months earlier, its that good when in the hands of someone who is capable of using its advanced calibration functions PROPERLY.

Posted Jun 15, 2010 8:14:06 PM

By Shawn

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Ok, I'm new to all this! But I have a 10ft by 20 ft wall and unlimited mounting distance! I have researched the Panasonic PT-AE4000U, and believe it's the one to get for clarity and price! Thinkink of painting the wall for the screen, any suggestions? Also, any suggestions on mounting distance? Wanna go big, but don't want to compromise clarity! Using it for sports, movies and video gaming. You guys are amazing with your wealth of knowledge!! Also, anyone heard of a mount that would retract, so one can lower it to project under a fan and then retract for storage? Thanks Shawn

Posted May 26, 2010 8:11:24 PM

By Cal

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this may b simple but i am installing this projector at 16feet, and i want a standard hi-def picture. i want to go about 100inches. so what size, ratio and type of screen would b best??

Posted May 26, 2010 4:51:48 AM

By Andy

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I bought this from Visual Apex 4 months ago along with their screen and ceiling mount. I have nothing bad to say about the projector or screen. I have it mounted about 19 feet from my 106" screen and it is AMAZING. I have it connected to my PS3 as a blu-ray player and Netflix streaming device. I can't wait for family movie nights so I can sit back, relax, and get excited over the small details that pop out of the screen.

Posted Mar 30, 2010 11:01:18 AM

By katy

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I am considering the Panasonic 4000 for a theatrical venue, 3 day film fest where the screen size is 11x14 at a distance of 39 feet. Do you think this will work? we could put the screen at 38 feet since I think we may be at the limits of this projector for screen size.

Also will we need a scaler for the output of a dvd player if we play the films back from a dvd player? thanks for any comments you can give.

Posted Mar 29, 2010 7:13:05 PM

By Gray

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Planning an installation with 119" 16:9 screen with throw distance of exactly 23'. Will this unit be bright enough in fully-dark or semi-darkened room? Should I go with Matte screen or some degree of gain? Comparing this unit to the Epson 8500/9500. Thoughts?

Posted Mar 16, 2010 8:09:23 PM

By Budagog

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To PinballGeek: Hello, do you have any update on your focus problem? I have exactly the same focus/sharpness issue with my new AE4000 and (co)incidentally my previous projector was an Optoma HD72... I am planning some side by side comparisons now. Thanks!

Posted Mar 15, 2010 6:37:53 PM

By Dave Michael

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Thanks for that - I am using Color1 when attempting to activate this option. I have since read that unless the Blu_ray disc is mastered for this option, it is unnecessary anyway. I am still trying to figure out how to activate 24 fps for film viewing. The projector offers several modes for frame creation - I am using mode 1 at the moment and the camera pans are quite smooth. Thanks again for the info.

Posted Mar 15, 2010 1:36:35 PM

By CinemaPete

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To Dave Michael: Per Panasonic's specs: The x.v.Color adjustment system is available only with HDMI signals when using the AE4000u in COLOR1 mode of PICTURE MODE menu.

Posted Mar 13, 2010 2:21:16 AM

By Dave Michael

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X.V. Color?? I am using the PT-AE4000U with a Panasonic DMP-BD55 blu-ray player into an Onkyo TX-SR706 A/V receiver which outputs the HDMI feed to a Vivid HDSP0102M 1x2 splitter (HDMI 1.3b compatible) then on to the projector with a 30 foot Belkin Pure AV cable. Everything is working normally and I am getting a solid 1080p signal lock, but the X.V. color option in the projector menu is greyed-out. I have enabled X.V. color on the Onkyo. I have disconnected the Sony Bravia LCD from the splitter just in case, but I still cannot select the X.V. color. Any ideas? Thanks for your time. Dave

Posted Feb 22, 2010 4:37:00 PM

By CinemaPete

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To Shammi: If your screens viewing area is precisely 2.35:1 a 153" diagonal implies a width of 141" (11.75') and a height of 60" (5') and in terms square footage equates to around 58.75 square feet. With a theoretical screen gain of 1 (zero gain), if the maximum lumen output of the AE4000 (according to specs) of 1600 lumen actually hit your screen your foot-lambert would equate to approximately 27.23. However, it's not likely that any screen gets the full lumen output of a projector simply because actual lumen varies depending on a number of factors such as the lamp mode, the projectors display mode it may be in, not to mention distance from screen. Also, even if lumen output were constant for all projector modes, distance would affect the amount of lumen hitting the screen and therefore the amount of lumen being reflected. Note that projectorcentral easured 950 lumen in Normal mode (and presumably the lamp was in full and not economy mode). The "Normal" display mode on the AE4000 produces the brightest output regardless of the lamp mode. If we used the 950 lumen as measured in the Projectocentral review instead of the theoretical 1600 lumen we'd get 16.17 Foot-Lambert for your 153" diagonal screen which is a fraction above 16. Using your screen gain of 1.3 and 950 lumen, we get 21.01 foot-lambert, somewhat of an increase. According to the Panasonic specs, for a 2.35:1 screen your allowable throw distance is within the range of 15' to 23' - and you're asking about 24' which according to specs is theoretically out of the max range for a 2.35:1 screen. My gut feeling is that you would get 16 foot-lambert with a new bulb in full mode but you'd be working with the upper limit of the throw distance. And, if you're using a 2.35:1 screen I'd presume, too, that you'd be using an anamorphic lens (otherwise there's no point to a 2.35:1 screen) which, depending on its quality, would also decrease apparent lumen output. In my opinion with such a large screen and throw distance you'd probably have sufficient foot-lambert but not much, if any, to spare, and you'd have to run the lamp in full mode. If you have the option to move the projector closer than 24' that would obviously increase your foot-lambert but if you are using an anamorphic lens depending on its design, you may be restricted in terms of how close you can get to the screen before interactions between focusing take over. If anyone else has a more precise calculation please offer it.

Posted Feb 21, 2010 6:11:39 PM

By Shammi

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I am considering this projector for a 2.35:1 screen with a 153" diagonal, and a throw distance of 24' in a room with very good light control (no ambient light), and a screen gain of 1.3 (Stewart StudioTek 130). Will this projector produce a screen brightness of 16 foot-lamberts or above? Or, would I need a much more expensive projector that can fully light up the screen? The Panasonic website has a calculator that predicts an 'illuminance' of 222 lux on the screen with the above information. I am not sure if the specs. are correct, and how I should convert that information to foot-lamberts. Thank you.

Posted Feb 18, 2010 5:58:32 PM

By CinemaPete

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PinballGeek: Sorry about your experience with VisualApex.com. I passed them up because of their vague return policy. (I went with projectorpeople.com who have a very clearly spelled out return policy). In my opinion it's very poor customer service to sell you a potentially defective item and have you as the customer issue repairs. A more customer oriented business would have taken your unit back, send you a new unit and deal with the possible repair themselves. I strongly advise anyone making a projector purchase to carefully review the return policy and if it is not clear and fair to pass up the company. Good luck with your repair efforts.

Posted Feb 17, 2010 8:38:26 PM

By Matt

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Sold! Thanks for the great review!

Posted Feb 17, 2010 5:31:07 PM

By PinballGeek

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Thanks for all the help CinemaPete. After sending you pictures and movies of what I am seeing, you helped me decide that in fact my projector does have some kind of issue (most likely the lens) that keeps me from being able to focus it at my zoom level. Sadly, I have been told by VisualApex that I cannot return the unit.

After submitting my issue to them, they had a tech support person call me to basically talk me out of thinking there was a problem. He suggested I watch some movies on the unit and get used to the look of the unit, and that I would be satisfied. Now that I have more than 5 hours of time on the lamp bulb, I can no longer return the unit. They conveniently left out that fact when they told me to use the unit and wait out the issue. I will work with Panasonic on the issue to get my unit repaired or replaced.

I just wanted it known here that if you purchase from Visual Apex and have an issue with a unit, you are charged a 15% restock fee (others charge 10%), and have a limited lamp use time that you can return in (others allow up to 10 hours, not 5). I guess the old adage is true in this case, you get what you pay for. I chose to buy from a retailer who has a great price on the unit, but whose policies and customer service leave much to be desired.

Posted Feb 11, 2010 8:20:15 PM

By CinemaPete

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Sample Focus Pattern Images for AE4000u: To PinballGeek: I've taken a screen shot of the focus pattern on my own AE4000u. I posted two photos on a website that you can refer to: http://www.convergencewebs.com/ae4000u/ . Now what I have noticed with my particular unit is that the menus as they appear on the screen will have some lines to that do not appear to be in focus while other portions of the menu lines are sharply delineated: there seems to be no specific pattern to this, and it can change depending on what sub-menu is shown. It also appears to be an issue with the internally generated menu screens because some areas seem slightly out of focus and other more in focus and the areas that previously appeared out of focus suddenly are in focus when switching to a different menu selection and the opposite is also true, in that areas that previously appeared in focus may show out of focus when switching to a different menu. While this sounds rather strange and would be disconcerting, as I mention in the photos I've posted, it does not seem to translate to a focus problem when I view normal videos from DVDs or Blu-ray. On the contrary, as I explain in the photos, once I perform the focus as I describe there, my actual images are as sharp as a tack on my 97" wide screen and any "fuzziness" can be directly traced back to the source material and not the AE4000 - in short, don't get hung up on how the menu screens appear but rather focus the unit as I've described and see if that makes any difference to your actual projected images. Hope this clears up some mystery and no doubt will add some, too.

Posted Feb 10, 2010 3:08:07 PM

By CinemaPete

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To PinballGeek: Thanks for the feedback: Well, it may be true that since you're coming from the Optoma HD72 which is already HD that your expectation to be "blown away" may be unattainable. But whether or not you're being "blown away" (which is subjective) would be less important (to me) than determining if the unit you have in hand truly has an issue with focus. Everyone's eyes are somewhat different in terms of visual acuity and color perception but I would tend to believe that your perception of a fuzzy image is valid, especially after you mentioned that the issue goes away when you reduce the zoom to an image of 74". Perceptually, smaller images look sharper than larger ones but aside from all the theoretical stuff the real issue boils down to this: Assuming there are no extraneous factors affecting your screen to projector geometry that is contributing to the problem, then, is the image you're seeing with the AE4000 truly in focus as much as it can be, and if it is, is it your perception (or expectation) that is at issue, or is there a definite difference because of a subtle problem with the unit you have(?). The AE4000 has various modes that can affect the focus, more specifically, the softness of the image such as the various cinema modes. And I would presume that your focusing efforts have been made with the projector in Normal or Cinema 1 mode since these provide the highest lumen outputs (with the lamp in either Full or ECO mode) and with all other setting at their factory defaults. With my own eyes I don't perceive an issue with my particular AE4000 in terms of focus, and my own screen is 120" diagonal. When I do focus I concentrate primarily on the center cross pattern and the extremely tiny pixels within that pattern (I don't see the kind of subtle distortion you describe). I have definitely noticed a wide range in perceived focus, more correctly, sharpness of lines (which is somewhat different than focus because something can still be in focus but the lines are not as differentiated making it appear "softer"). And I have experienced images that are sharp as a tack and much less so - but these differences are from the source material and not a focus issue. However, what I would be concerned with is that if there is an issue with your unit "living with it for a while" as your technician suggested, might not be the best way to resolve the issue, especially since you have a limited time in which you can assess whether or not you will keep it. So I don't think anyone should take a wait and see approach with something like this - unless, it's really a matter of expectation rather than a real issue. My personal opinion would be that if the focus issue is so disturbing (whether it's a real problem with your particular unit or what you're expecting) then if your not totally happy you should return it and perhaps try a different AE4000. What I am going to do is take a look at the test patterns on my own AE4000 this evening and see if I can see the same issues you're describing and I'll report back here.

Posted Feb 10, 2010 1:04:51 PM

By PinballGeek

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To CinemaPete: Thanks for the very detailed response. I do believe that my unit is level. I checked the unit leveling both across the front of the projector as well as front to back and the bubble is true center.

When I focus the projector, I use the menu for lens control or something like that. It has the vertical and horizontal green lines in the middle of the screen, and allows you to adjust zoom and focus on that page. I get close to the screen and slowly adjust the focus, since any more than two presses at a time in succession causes the focus to change rapidly. My biggest issue appears with the vertical lines, as it just isn't a distinct green line black space green line image. I also look at the text on the screen being projected to help tell what the buttons do. As I adjust the focus, I get some shadowing/ghosting of the letters to the left of the letter. As I move the focus, the shadowing to the left gets less and less until there is virtually none, but then I notice that there is now shadowing below the letter. I have played with it until I get it to the middle point where there is a slight amount of shadowing both to the left and below the letter.

I have changed the zoom level and ended up with a 74" image on my screen that I can focus and it is absolutely perfect. No shadowing at all and all the vertical and horizontal lines are crisp with solid black between the lines.

I bought the projector from one of the more reputable vendors for projectors and they had a tech call me to go over the issue. His assessment was that I am just being picky, and that with the units image smoothing technology, getting a true crisp focus on a 92" image is not going to happen. He stated that going from my 720p Optoma HD72 with BluRay to this unit is too close of a comparison for me to expect the image to blow me away and be as crisp as I was expecting. He suggested I live with it for a while and see what I think. I put in a movie and the text at the beginning of the movie (white text on black background) stating that director commentary was not endorsed was fuzzy / blurry to me. I don't know if I can live with that, as my HD72 at 720p was never blurry in this manner.

I am thinking of taking some pictures or video of the screen and send them to the tech and ask if he thinks this kind of distortion is normal as he was suggesting.

Posted Feb 8, 2010 5:40:14 PM

By CinemaPete

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To PinballGeek: The AE4000 is a bit of a pain to focus. As the projectorcentral review mentions it's easy to go past the "sweet point". Before you decide to send the unit back what I would suggest you do the following: 1) be absolutely certain that your positioning of the projector is not contributing to a fuzzy image: The horizontal alignment of the projetor should ideally be aligned 90 degrees with the screen's vertical. You can misalgin the projector's horzonal placement as much as 30 degrees but I would not, epsecially since you're experiencing a focus issue. So get a level (from a hardware store) and place it on top of the projector in the center and adjust the positiong of the projector so that the bubble in the level indicator is perfectly centered - that way you'll know it's horizontally level. 2) This is probably not of concertn and may sound silly, but be absolutley sure that your screen is hanging free and clear of any obstructions and that no part of it is not perfectly vertical - I've seen screens that don't hang correctly and wall mounted screens where the wall is on a slight angle, enough to affect perfect focus. 3) Presumming 2 and 3 are met, position a test image (from the AE4000) onto your screen and fill it to the size you want with attention to how it aligns with the four corners of the screen: While it's possible to have a horizintally leve projector, it can still be misaligned in terms of it's direction with the screen and that will also produce some distortion making it hard if not impossible to focus well. So the bottom line is the geometry between the screen and lens needs to be on horizontal and ideally at 90 degree angles. 4) it's almost impossible to focus the AE4000 from a distance because there are no dicernible pixels to reference. What I have found to work for me is to project the test image with the cross in the center and walk right up to the screen and look at it. With the remote pointed to the AE4000 play with the focus adjustment while looking at the cross pattern on screen until you can see the individual pixels as clearly as possible (they are there in the cross pattern but are very, very small). You might need to practice a bit with the remote and not hold your finger very long on the button to focus as it's very easy to pass-through the "ideal" point. The remote is sensitive to short bursts so you can "pump", so to speak, the focus in either direction until the pixels seem perfectly focused to you right at the screen. If you've done all the above, and still are getting a fuzzy image (and presuming it's not from your source material) I would have to say you've got some sort of issue with your unit and in which case send it back and see if your replacement clears it up. Good luck!

Posted Feb 8, 2010 5:09:17 PM

By CinemaPete

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Hi Brad, thanks for your reply: Your current screen sounds awesome (whos anamorphic lens are you using? feel free to contact me at CinemaPete@gmail.com rather than in this column - we probably shouldn't tieup this column with back and forths). I should probably also mention that with your current screen size you would definitely be running most if not all home cinema projectors close to their maximum lumen output to get a bright enough image - so I can see why you'd have an issue with the RS2 with its relatively lower lumen output. According to the specs, for a 2.35:1 aspect screen, the AE4000 can throw a 200" inch (diagonal) image within a throw range of between 21.0 feet (minimum) and 31' 6" (maximum). As usual of course, the further away you get the less aparent lumen would hit the screen. And adding an Anamophic lens will also eat up some lumen (whether or not it's noticable would depend on the quaility of the lens). I suspect that if you did get the AE4000 you'd have to run the lamp in non-Eco mode (and perhaps along with Normal picture mode which produces highest lumen output) to compensate for the Anamorphic lens and your throw distance. But again, when dealing with lumens, it's touch-and-mis in terms of any particular certainty unless you can measure actual losses and lumen outputs. And as I previously mentioned, while I think the AE4000 would meet most of your quality expectations I don't know if you'd be happy with it's black levels after being acostomed to the RS2. I'm amazed that your lamp explosion didn't damage your projector - says something very positive about quality construction of the JVC to contain the lamp damage. In terms of Judder, I have not noticed any particular issues with fast motion scenes or spurious movement. The Projectorcentral review did mention that the AE4000 produce a clean and stable image, especially when comparing it side-by-side with a projector that does not have the Frame Creation system. My own experience so far is that I have not seen any judder in anything I've viewed to date - but I limit my content to DVDs and BLuRay disks, I don't watch broadcast HD on the AE4000 at all.

Posted Feb 7, 2010 7:35:07 AM

By PinballGeek

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I just installed this projector yesterday in my media room. I have a 92" screen about 14' away from the projector. I have been trying to make the image clear, but there seems to be some kind of ghosting going on. When I try to focus the projector, the menu has some graying around the letters keeping it from appearing sharp, even though it is in focus.

When I use the image menu and control the focus, the initial pattern of green lines that go horizontal and vertical in the middle of the screen do not appear as sharp individual lines, rather a heavy line with some light green surrounding the lines. Moving to the image of the cross hatch shows that what I believe should be distinct thin green lines are in fact about 1/2" wide with the surrounding blur of the green.

Is this normal? Will a simple calibration using an old Video Essentials DVD clear this up, or is this something that would require a factory return? I could send it back to Visual Apex as defective, since this is supposed to be calibrated out of the box.

I watched Iron Man on BluRay and it looked like a DVD playing, not a stunning crystal clear 1080p image.

Posted Feb 6, 2010 9:31:41 PM

By Brad

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CinemaPete: Thanks for the great info. I think you're right...I better check it out before deciding what to do. I can't move the RS2 any closer because the anamorphic lens is at the min distance possible to shoot a 200" image (My screen is actually a 15 ft curved wall I built specifically for viewing movies in their original theatrical aspect ratio). This is My 3rd projector, the 1st an Epson pro cinema 800 (720p), Then a Sony VPL-VW50. I loved the Epson because it was great in ambient light, but it was a noisy rascal and I wanted 1080p after a year or so. I hated the Sony because at the time it was an expensive projector (~$3800.00) but the thing had spurious light emissions so bad it created a 6" wide halo around the outside of my screen frame! (at that time I had a 130" 16:9 DIY hanging on the wall...the wall I later converted to my current screen). I was tempted to haul that piece of crap outside and drive over it several times. Anyway I'll check out the new Epson also. Thanks for reminding me why I bought the RS2 in the first place...it is an awsome projector. The only complaint I have is the low lamp life and inconsistant quality from lamp to lamp. My 1st lamp lasted approx as advertised (2k hrs), the 2nd I used to about 3k hrs, but it was pretty dim by then. The 3rd started going dim at about a 1k hrs and at 1200 hrs I turned the lamp pwr setting to high to compensate (2 days ago). About 15 minutes later there's a real loud POP and no more picture. The lamp literally exploded, blowing a hole out the back of the lamp while welding the remains of the bulb to the reflector. Now I'm using lamp #2 while waiting for lamp #4 to arrive. Thats after I cleaned as much of the broken glass out as I could. I have one more question for you... You're projector has frame interpolation, one feature I really, really, really want. Especially since I'm hyper-sensitive to judder and can see every horrible artifact during high motion/fast panning scenes. Do you use that feature, and if so, how do you like it, and does it help with judder problems? Thanks again for your informed opinion. Brad

Posted Feb 6, 2010 7:23:22 AM

By CinemaPete

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To Brad: Here's my opinion: I've seen the JVC RS1 more than once at a friends house and it produces a jaw-dropping image and I own the AE4000u. Both projectors put out a fabulous image. As you know, the RS2 has double the contrast numbers than the RS1 (30,000:1 vs 15,000:1) and actually less lumen output, but it's pretty much similar to the RS1 (with supposedly even better black levels). It's also well known that JVC's RS Series can not be beaten (at least so far) by any current projector out there in terms of black levels. So in my opinion, I don't think the AE4000 is your choice especially if you've become accustomed to the RS2 and expect the same black levels. However, in terms of picture quality, color vibrancy, shadow detail (and other items) the AE4000 is hard to beat and can give the JVCs a run for their money. And the AE4000 does have higher lumen output than the RS2 which may help solve your lumen level issue. But you really should see an image on an AE4000 to see if you can live with what it produces, or take a look at the top Epson's which are supposed to have slightly better black levels than the AE4000. Assuming you can, you might also want to consider moving your RS2 closer to increase apparent lumen output.

Posted Feb 5, 2010 11:03:51 AM

By Devon

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Would I notice a major difference between the Panasonic PT-AE4000U and a Sanyo PLV-Z2000?

I bought the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 two years ago and have loved every minute of it! It is my first HD projector and it has made everything, from tv to games to movies, much more enjoyable.

But I hate to drop another $2000 on a projector when my Sanyo works just fine and looks beautiful!

Somebody help me, will this Panny blow my socks off?

Posted Feb 4, 2010 8:53:02 PM

By Brad

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This looks like a possible solution to my problem. I have a JVC RS2 shooting through a hometheaterbrothers anamorphic lens (a great lens @ $500) onto a 200 inch 2.4:1 screen from '17. The JVC is almost bright enough with 0% ambient light. Any ambient light is a problem though. My concern is whether any other projector can match the RS2's great contrast, black levels, shadow detail, and rich color. Has Anyone here seen both and can offer an opinion? Thanks, Brad.

Posted Feb 1, 2010 4:32:22 PM

By CinemaPete

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AE4000e vs AE4000u: According to the specs both the 4000e and 4000u are exactly the same. According to Panasonic there is no difference between the two versions electrically or feature-wise although they don't state why one has the 'e' and the other has the 'u' - these may simply be indicators of "European" and "US", respectively. The other issue is that of honoring a warranty for an "e" vs a "u" projector: if you purchased a "u" version from the US at a lower price would you be able to obtain warranty support, if you ever needed it, in Denmark as opposed to having to ship the unit back to the US for repair which would take considerably more time and shipping costs. Before you make your purchase you should visit/call Panasonic Global or telephone them at: Telefon: +45 43 20 08 60

E:mail - Du kan sende dit spørgsmal til: support.dk@eu.panasonic.com

Specifically, asking them what your liabilities would be in terms of warranty coverage for a US purchased projector.

Posted Jan 29, 2010 5:23:11 PM

By CincemaPete

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Triple-J: The lenses on projectors are not all the same so it's not possible to say with certainty if your image will properly fill your 79" screen (or a 100" screen) at 10' 10". If you're using a 16:9 aspect screen and its diagonal dimensions are 79 inches, your allowable throw distance will be in the range of 7'10" to 15'5" approximately. For a 100" diagonal screen, your allowed range is between 9' 10" to 19' 4". Your current position is within these two allowed ranges but you'd have to position the AE4000 at your current distance and get an empirical idea if it works for you.

Posted Jan 27, 2010 8:57:48 PM

By Triple J

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Can anyone tell me if this projector should work with a throw distance of 10'10" onto a 79" screen (or 100" even as I may buy a new screen). The reason I ask is that I have a current setup that is that far from the center of the screen and would prefer not to put more holes in my media room ceiling if possible. Thanks in advance for the thoughts/opinions.

Posted Jan 26, 2010 7:37:26 PM

By Jimmy

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I've had two Panasonic projectors the 300E and the 900e and now I'm thinking about buying the 4000 but it's really expensiv were I live in denmark. I found it's much cheaper in the US but what's the difference between the 4000U and the 4000E modell.? The specs are the same but the are different certificates. Does it make are difference if I buy the 4000U?

Posted Jan 24, 2010 8:41:45 AM

By Abhi

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I am thinking of upgrading from a Panasonic AE900U (max 1080i) to the AE4000. I would like to hear any opinions on the viewing experience. I am happy with the AE900, but the lamp has logged over 2000 hours and I have a choice of replacing the lamp for $400 or get the AE4000 for $2000 with an expectation that the viewing experience will be worth it.

Thanks, Abhi

Posted Jan 17, 2010 11:24:32 PM

By Tommy from Chicago

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I highly reccommend a "Da-Lite" HIGH CONTRAST SCREEN with this model. I have the AE3000 and shopped around for an entire year looking at every screen manufacturer and type in Illinois! Trust me, you want the High Contrast with these Panasonic projectors because it gives you the best colors. Usually with other projectors you'd worry about light issues being low but not so with this. I bought my 106" permanently fixed screen for about $1,400 off the internet.

----------------------------- In response to: Mike mrozinski Alert Moderator

Can anyone recommend the best screen to use with the Panasonic PT-AE4000 Projector? It will be in the basement with no windows, so lighting will be controlled. Thanks ! :)

Posted Jan 14, 2010 9:00:59 PM

By CinemaPete

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To Ryan Snyder: You didn't say whether the projector worked normally when you first started using it and the problem "suddenly appeared" after a while, or it had the problem as soon as you projected your first image. Presuming you have a new (not class-B stock) projector and also presuming that the projector is not facing downward, upward, or sideways to the screen at some angle greater than 30 degrees as opposed to being perfectly horizontal and your screen is OK then what you describe sounds like a really bad case of Keystone distortion ut worse. There are adjustments for keystone and overscan on the POSITION menu within the AE4000u that you can check and see what their control positions are currently at. (But before you mess with them be sure the projector is properly mounted). If you had the projector calibrated (or did it yourself) save your settings, then select all factory default settings and see if that resolves the distortion. If not, and presuming your signal input uses one of the HDMI inputs (there are 3) try using a different input and see if it makes any difference. Also try a different signal source if you can and see if the problem is solid, though I don't think it's coming from your source. If setting everything to the default factory settings doesn't resolve it you may have a defective unit. Give Panasonic a call - they may be able to confirm whether it's a hard defect or something related to the color managements system settings.

Posted Jan 14, 2010 7:31:52 PM

By mike mrozinski

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Can anyone recommend the best screen to use with the Panasonic PT-AE4000 Projector? It will be in the basement with no windows, so lighting will be controlled. Thanks ! :)

Posted Jan 12, 2010 6:16:06 AM

By Ryan Snyder

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I have a Panasonic ae4000u projector and I've noticed that the picture on the bottom right corner is lower than the rest of the corners - it goes off the screen while the rest are seemingly aligned. the top of the screen is square and the botton seems to droop gradually downwards from the left side to the right...the left side being on the screen, the right coming off.

Does anyone know what would cause this ?

Posted Jan 8, 2010 5:10:34 PM

By Mike

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I am looking at picking this model up, but I would like to know (just as g~man) if it can play HD movies as well as 3D Movies? And without losing any quality?

I just started looking and reading most of your comments has been helping. Maybe someone else may have this question as well.

I may answer my own question, but my interpretation is that YES it can. It is basically just projecting a signal that it is receiving from a DVD player or cable box. Correct?

Thanks guys/gals,

Posted Jan 7, 2010 3:57:46 PM

By Nate

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whats the optimal distance from screen and screen size for the 4000.. my basement is unfinished and I get to either go with 60+ lcd or projector...

Posted Dec 31, 2009 8:20:16 PM

By Wil

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at Hong Kong this PJ MSRP is HKD 24800, which is over USD 3000. but Mit HC3800 only HK$ 12500, about USD 1600.

the price between these 2 models is over USD 1000 different, not USD 500; which one you will buy then?

Posted Dec 28, 2009 1:56:55 PM

By Home Theater Hero

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@Doug - Not sure where you're located, but Home Theater Hero (San Diego, CA) charges $200 to ceiling mount a projector. That price includes the mount. Professional CMS calibration (done with a colorimeter) is $199. Hope this helps.

Posted Dec 25, 2009 5:26:03 PM

By Venky

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Doug,

You should probably get 2 or 3 more quotes. Its really not that difficult to mount the projector, if you are handy. Also you may have to do the calibration more than once. So I suggest you learn it so you can do it if needed in the future. Where do you live?

Good Luck.

Posted Dec 25, 2009 2:00:59 PM

By CinemaPete

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Doug: CEILING MOUNT PRICE: Presuming you already have the correct ceiling mount hardware and there are no other potential issues with your ceiling (needs reinforcement, etc) then $300 seams within a reasonable range. If you don't have the ceiling mount hardware and the $300 includes it, then it's a very good deal indeed. In any case, be sure that you use the supplied safety cable for the AE4000u that attaches to the case of the projector and to the ceiling mount - refer to the user manual for specifics. Also, for warranty reasons, your ceiling mount should be purchased from an authorized distributor and compatible with the AE4000u. CALIBRATION: This is more touchy: $400 may be too much or too little depending on a) the experience level of the person, b) the quality test equipment used, c) the amount of time involved, d) the final results. Some professional colorimeters (a piece of test gear used to take screen and projector measurements) or other calibration equipment can cost more than the AE4000u itself. So if professional calibration equipment is being used, that's good - but it's not a guarantee of professional results. There are some specific issues with the AE4000u that require a "work-around" (due to the way certain adjustments in the color management system are designed) and if your person has never calibrated an AE4000u or knows of the specific issues it may take longer to calibrate. Not having had experience with an AE4000u is not a reason to disqualify someone, but it's something to be aware of because the AE4000u has some quirks when it comes to calibration and you want someone that can manage these if you're paying $400. If I were paying for it I'd ask that the person provide before and after colorimeter response charts of your projector so that you can see what was calibrated and WHY. However, keep in mind that unless for some reason your projector is wildly out of calibration, the Cinema 1 and the Normal mode should require little, if any, calibration. Of course, what you see on the screen is influenced by your room furnishings reflective qualities, your walls and ceilings colors, type of screen (matte-white, grey, silver, gain / loss), screen size, throw distance, ambient light levels, and lamp brightness - not to mention the accuracy of you source material. The AE4000u can memorize its settings so if you don't like what is supposed to be a "calibrated" results you can always restore it to its factory settings. The other issue with a $400 calibration is that down the road, and how far down the road depends on how much you use the projector and at what lamp levels (normal or Eco), you may need to recalibrate and another $400 plus your original $400 is almost half of what the projector currently sells for. Presuming you have an issue with the current image you're seeing, before you plunk down $400 I'd run the Auto Adjust feature (on the Waveform Monitor menu) and see if it makes an "improvement". My point being that unless your projector is highly off, I would reconsider spending $400 on a calibration - unless of course you have deep pockets, in which case please contact me ASAP (my email is in a post below).

Posted Dec 23, 2009 11:04:59 PM

By Doug

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I just bought an AE4000 and am trying to find someone to install it for me. I got one bid to mount the projector to the ceiling for $300, plus $400 to "calibrate" the projector. Does that seem like a reasonable charge to those of you who know more about this than I do? The article above indicates that it is calibrated out of the box.... Am I missing something? Thanks!

Posted Dec 17, 2009 12:37:00 PM

By CinemaPete

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To Westcoaster, again: I should have also added that while the AE4000u can scale the image to a 2.35:1 screen ratio without the aid of an Anamorphic lens (after it detects that the source image has a suitable aspect ratio), it also has additional zoom options to alter the image so that it can also work with an real outboard Anamorphic lens. So it would seem you can eat your cake and have it, too!

Posted Dec 16, 2009 4:43:27 PM

By CinemaPete

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To Westcoaster: Yes, you are correct.

Posted Dec 15, 2009 7:31:17 PM

By CincemaPete

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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.

Posted Dec 11, 2009 2:00:04 PM

By Venky

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CinemaPete,

I just saw a demo of the Epson 9500UB (not 8500UB but they are almost the same with some bells and whistles on the 9500UB). I saw the baraka blue ray disc and the picture was amazing. I cant compare it to the panasonic yet but based on what I saw it was a decent projector. The content itself was 2.35:1 and so I could see the bars on the top and bottom of the screen. It was a 0.95 gain accoustically transparent white screen and the bars were not completely black. (Not black enough to notice it) They were grey or whitish grey. I thought I will bounce this off of you and see how the bars look on a panasonic projected screen. Though there are other factors also that contribute to it, like ambient light, screen material etc..., I was just curious.

Its a shame that I cant see the panny beforehand. I may have to try your suggestion. Did you hear back from Panasonic? Were they able to answer your question?

Also how do you send a private message here? Instead of us communicating thru this we could exchange emails.

Posted Dec 10, 2009 10:16:19 AM

By Westcoaster

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Intellient Lens Memory?

So does this actually re-scale the video from the source to use the entire panel, or as I would suspect just zoom the image to fit the screen?

In other words, the 2.40:1 image is zoomed to fit the screen but there is no increase in the number of pixels being used as in a true anamorphic compression/lens set up.

Posted Dec 10, 2009 9:16:16 AM

By CincemaPete

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PART II - AE4000u Comments - Continued: Black levels looked quite good but I suspect black levels could be better with a gray screen without too noticeable a loss of brightness, rather than with a pure white as I have. There's sufficient brightness adjustments and modes to compensate for a gray screen with this pj. In terms of gray-scale and color accuracy: This is more difficult to convey in the absence of test data. But viewing the built in gray-scales show that it's pretty accurate (gray that is) and you can't get color accuracy unless your gray scale is correct. Switching between the various modes such as Cinema 1, Cinema 2, Color 1, Color 2, etc. was very interesting. I tend to agree with the Projectorcentral review that out-of-the-box the most "correct" mode is indeed Cinema 1 mode. I'm not color-blind but calibrating a projector is not something that should be solely relied on using the naked eye. I would strongly suggest though that if you really want to ensure even better accuracy in your own viewing room that you properly calibrate the projector using an accurate colorimeter and supporting software. If you don't want to do it yourself, it's worth a couple of hundred dollars to have it professionaly done. Keep in mind though, that as the lamp ages the PJ may need to be recalibrated periodically. So you may want to invest in learning how to do it yourself. But short of a calibration, Cinema 1 mode is quite good (at least on my unit). After seeing 2001 A Space Odyssey on a friends JVC RS10 I was amazed at the black levels but I also knew the Panasonic would not be able to duplicate the effect. I previewed 2001 last night and while the blacks are not equivalent to the JVC RS10, they were quite good. I also put in a call to Panasonic's support line with not so good results: I had a question about Anamorphic mode and the 2.4:1 feature (on the Panasonic it's indicated as 2.35:1). After finally getting to the right "group" of people that handle projectors they were totally clueless, and I really mean clueless. They gave me a case number, said they would escalate my question to a 2nd level, took my telephone and said I'd get a response back within 2 business days. It's been almost 4 days now and I've not yet heard back from them. My impression with the support personnel was that they are simply not at all familiar with the unit - they paused in their responses to me so that they could bring up information on their computer screens to even begin to answer me. I suppose for a new product this might be expected. But at the same time I think Panasonic needs to step up to the plate and realize that while the AE400Ou is sold as a "consumer" projector, it has lots of professional features and so should be given a better level of support. If you purchase a professional camcorder from Panasonic there's a completely different group that handles pro gear and they are very knowledgeable about the products. This was clearly NOT the case with the AE4000u. Perhaps telephone support for the unit will improve. But more than likely you will not need to call them. Aside from that, the AE4000u puts out a fantastic image and for the price, in my opinion, is a steal. If you get one, be sure to send in your rebate form to extend the warranty to two years or 2000 hours, which ever comes first.

Posted Dec 8, 2009 9:41:20 PM

By CinemaPete

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Hi Venky: It would be interesting to see an Epson 9500UB as I might have not gone with the Panasonic. But as I said, I'm quite happy with the Panasonic. It's always preferable to be able to see the projector's image, but as I said if you went with the Panasonic and didn't like it, as long as it had less than 4 hours on the lamp there's no restock fee (from projectorpeople.com). If you have the bucks you might even order both (from projectorpeople) and keep only the one you prefer. That way you'll know for certain if you prefer the Panasonic or the Epson. And the projectorscentral review gave the Panasonic the edge for its image even though the Epson has better black levels. As for my screen project: I've been considering building a 2.4:1 aspect screen and utilize the CIH approach (Constant Image Height) which maintains the same height for all material no matter what the aspect ratio may be (4:3, 16:9, or 2.4:1, etc). The problem with this is that although I can accommodate the width/height issues, I don't want to rearrange my living room so tht I can get back far enough from a wider screen (using the CIH approach with a 2.4 screen produces a very wide screen). I currently utilize a 4:3 screen (120" diagonally) that has an actual viewing area of 92" wide by 69" high and provides a very large 16:9 image, and a slightly smaller (vertically) 2.4:1 image but neither is small by any stretch. So I'm rethinking the 2.4 screen at this point.

Posted Dec 7, 2009 2:25:46 PM

By Venky

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CinemaPete,

Thanks for the nice long reply. I did contact the Atlanta area dealers and also the national customer service. None of the local dealers have them and the national customer service was not of much help. So I am really surprised that its so hard to find a showroom with it. It appears because of the price point nobody is interested in carrying one in the showroom. Something that Panasonic may have to think through if they are deliberately doing it.

In any case I am also doing the same thing that you did, which is to read reviews here and on projectorreviews.com. I think I am almost ready to order the panasonic or the Epson 9500UB this week. The latter mainly because I can see it in the showroom.

You mentioned about a custom screen you are building. How is it going? What kind of screen are you building?

Cheers!

Posted Dec 4, 2009 8:05:24 PM

By CinemaPete

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Hi Venky: Yes, I realized after posting that you were asking Mark Rogers re screen size. To answer your question on how I chose the Panasonic: I looked for as many reviews I could find on current projectors in general (not considering price) and came across the Projector Central review. I don't like purchasing something like a projector without having the opportunity to actually see an image because you'll be living with it for some time and I did not actually see an AE4000u locally, so I was taking somewhat of a calculated gamble purchasing it. Then again, there's no assurance that I had found one locally that it would be set up as perfectly as it could be considering some retailers intentionally alter an image being shown just to push a particular brand - but that's another matter I won't go into here. But based on the number of good things I heard and especially on the Projector Central review and my own awareness of Panasonic imaging technology with professional camcorders (I work with pro video gear), I decided to give it a try and I'm not sorry for it. I almost went for the Epson 8500UB which is not available yet as far as I know (but will be this month). However, there also is a Projector Central review that compares the AE4000u with the Epson 8500UB as you probably saw, and in terms of having an edge with picture quality the AE4000u seemed to be the winner although as the comparison review stated, the 8500UB has better black levels than the AE4000u - yet both put out an outstanding image and neither was categorically better than the other in all cases. I have not seen an image from the Epson 8500ub and perhaps if I did I might have decided on it instead (?). But I have seen the JVC RS10 (now discontinued in favor of the RS15) at a friends house with 2001 A Space Odyssey and the JVC image was jaw-dropping because of the incredible black level quality and as you can imagine in 2001 there's almost nothing but black all over. So when I saw the image from the AE4000 I was sort of comparing what I saw on the JVC RS10 ($5000) to the AE4000u in a sense. I don't have 2001 on Blu Ray so I could not compare apples to apples. But I did order it on Blu Ray and will be able to make an objective comparison (based on my memory of the JVC rendition) with the AE4000. I don't expect it will be better because nothing out there beats the JVC RS series for black levels, they seem to be famous for that very feature, but I think it will be pretty damn good. In term of finding a local dealer in Atlanta you might want to give Panasonic a call and ask them if they have any Authorized dealers that might be within traveling distance. Of course, your other option is to purchase it online, as I did, and if you don't like what you get or see you can send it back. But if you do that be aware of the return policy as you don't want to be stuck if you're not a happy camper. This is not a plug but I did some searching and wound up going with Projectorpeople.com only because they had the most definitive return policy spelled out on their website: If there's less than 4 hours logged on the lamp you can return the projector without a restocking fee, between 4 and 10 hours there is a 15% restock fee. And of course you can always trade up if you are willing to spend more. Now admittedly 4 hours is not a hell of a lot of time to work with something as feature laden as the AE4000u with its plethora of possible adjustments, but seeing the image out-of-the-box in Normal mode I had an immediate sense that what I saw was pretty fantastic (especially for the price), and that aside from potential tweaks, that I was going indeed going to keep it. When I do get 2001 on Blu Ray I will report back here how it compared to the JVC RS10. Good luck with your search.

Posted Dec 4, 2009 1:02:09 PM

By Venky

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CinemaPete, Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear you are enjoying your new projector. How did you decide on the projector? Based just on the reviews or did you actually see one before you ordered? I am trying to see one but having a hard time finding a dealer that would have it in a showroom. I live in the Atlanta area. In any case I will be looking for more feedback from you and others.

I was actually asking Mark Rogers, what kind of screen he has. Brand, size, material (bright white or grey etc ....)

Cheers!

Posted Dec 4, 2009 6:31:18 AM

By CinemaPete

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As I said, I'd be posting some initial comments and observations after receiving the new Panasonic AE4000u: The projector is rather compact and easy to handle. It also comes with a CD of "Functional Instructions" - I thought I would be seeing some additional information that does not appear in the enclosed user manual, but it's basically the exact same thing that appears in the manual. The CD makes a good backup just in case you loose or damage your manual. The enclosed user manual is rather thick and I thought it would provide some pretty comprehensive information. It doesn't. It's thick because its printed in more than one language so actually about one quarter is relevant unless of course you like to read user manuals in multiple languages. The manual is typical of what I call "slash-and-burn" writing - just put in the basic minimum and nothing more. So anything else you might have a question about you'll have to figure out yourself such as how to really take advantage of the many features and tweaking options on the AE4000u. The manual goes over the various positioning options (4) and provides a detailed tour highlighting the remote control and what the controls on the projector do, functionally, that is, but nothing more. For someone that is looking for additional guidance, just to get started, on fine-tuning their image Forgettaboutit, it aint' there. This is the biggest criticism I have and it's not the fault of the projector but rather the marketing people. Bottom line is that the manual will give you basic information on starting and using the remote and what to expect on the menus. The only other criticism I would have is that the lens cover, while being very solid with a built-in metal protector for heat and being tethered to the projector via a cord, is a bit clunky and awkward to use. It would have been much nicer to have a cover that automatically opens or closes as the new RS series of JVC projectors do but then again at this price you can't have everthing. The other issue with the tethered lens cover is that if you've got a ceiling mount setup where the projector is in front of your seating position, if left hanging the cover might interfere with your viewing depending on how low you mount is. But most importantly it's the picture that really matters more than anything (at least to me) and it's here that the AE4000u really shines (no pun intended). The AE4000u produced a fabulous picture right out of the box in normal mode on my 120" diagonal 4:3 screen with a very large 16:9 image with the projector being 18 feet from the screen. The positioning ability of the lens is fabulous and gives you great leeway if the position of the projector is not dead middle and center to the screen (as shown in the user manual). My setup is with the projector behind and above my seating position and it was very easy to get the image positioned and properly sized without having to turn the unit upside down. The Cinema 1 mode, which is supposed to be more accurate color-wise did not appear to be to my eyes (and I do professional web and graphics work) but perhaps with some tweaking it will be. I found the normal mode color to be a bit more accurate but thought it had just a touch too much of orange. I was not sure if it was the projector or the source material - after changing some DVD and Blu Ray movies it turned out to be mostly the source material. I will be tweaking a bit this evening. But overall, I have to say the AE4000u produces a magnificent image and for $2000 is a fantastic bargain - just be sure you send in the "rebate" form to get the extra one year on the warranty. My suggestion is that you spend the extra couple of hundred dollars for an extended warranty because two years is not that long.

Posted Dec 2, 2009 8:57:17 PM

By CinemaPete

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If Venky's question on the screen was for me, CinemaPete, I currently have a 4:3 screen (120 inches diagonally) which would produce a very decent size 16:9 image - but I will be switching to a 2.4 screen size very shortly that I am building myself. I'm jumping directly to a 2.4 screen rather than go the 16:9 screen route so that I can take advantage of super wide-screen movies and most other movies on BluRay shot in super wide-screen mode( in conjunction with using the 2.4:1 anamorphic mode on the AE4000u). I don't mean to infer everything on BluRay is in 2.4:1, it's not, but having a 2.4 screen give you great flexibility especially with a projector such as the Panasonic ae4000u if your material and player produces a super wide-screen image. Just in case you might be wondering, some people (including a friend of mine who was a "projectionist") have said that a 16:9 screen is the same as 2.4 - it's not. I won't put the math here to show you why it's not but the number 2.4 in reality represents a screen that is generally wider than a 16:9 screen (and if you are strict with your math, slightly less tall (vertically) than a 16:9 screen) - it's a wider and narrower screen than a typical 16:9 screen is. Viewing typical 16:9 material on a 2.4 screen (without some kind of zooming or anamorphic treatment) would produce black bars not only on the top and bottom but also to the left and right and 4:3 material would produce even wider (relative to the wider 2.4 screen's width) black bars left and right of the image. But having the 2.4 screen imposes no limits other than having the width and space to accommodate it (and this is assuming your projector's throw distance and lumen output relative to its distance from the screen are not degraded). Hope this answers your question.

Posted Dec 1, 2009 7:22:14 PM

By Venky

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Mark Rogers,

Can you let us know what kind of screen you have? I am in the process of buying a projector and a screen and panasonic 4000u is one of the two I have shortlisted.

Thanks!

Posted Nov 29, 2009 11:14:48 AM

By CinemaPete

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Great review of the AE400u: Sounded impartial and comprehensive enough that I came away with the impression that the AE4000u is a miracle - and so I've ordered one and am awaiting its arrival. I'll be happy to post my experience and impressions with it soon.

Posted Nov 24, 2009 8:45:42 AM

By Mark Rogers

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The Panasonic AE-4000 is up and running in my 12 seat theater and my entire family is blown away by its picture quality. Based on the room size I went with the 100" screen and with such high clarity I could go far bigger without an issue in overall quality of picture. As with any projection TV room lighting is the most critical. Get it dark and be amazed!

Posted Nov 20, 2009 1:49:37 AM

By George Porter

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This unit works in Europe! I live in the UK and had one imported by B&H Photo Video in New York, it works perfectly with my UK power supply.

I upgraded from a PT-AE2000 and am impressed with the upgrade, it isnt a major leap in quality but is definately noticeable in brightness, black levels, and things looking a bit more 3D.

Posted Nov 18, 2009 11:47:28 PM

By martin

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As asked by EVERTSE earlier does anyone know if the american model can be used in Europe. I reason i ask is the new model gets a big price drop in US market but a significant increase in the European one. Am fed up with paying top whack for things overhere. thanks in advance for any replies

Posted Nov 10, 2009 7:17:50 AM

By P Lewis

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Outstanding projector. Fan noise is not noticeable, even with it mounted on the ceiling just above my head. With a Blu-Ray movie and a good screen (I bought a package deal from Visual Apex) the movie almost looks like 3-D.

Posted Nov 2, 2009 12:33:09 AM

By 3000u

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I own a 3000u and am totally blown away by the picture it produces!It's hard to believe that 4000u could have a better picture.I am actually using a flat white painted wall as my screen, at 91" diag. the picture is awsome and at times scary good even in eco-mode!All my friends and family are very impressed by this machine.If you are thinking about a new projector I would recommend a 3000u or 4000u.I've owned an Infocus DLP unit($5000 worth),and I've compared my 3000u to an Epson 1080P unit.Sorry,but nothing compares! I want a 4000u!

Posted Oct 31, 2009 8:29:45 PM

By PMW

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Pulled it out of the box yesterday after it shipped from Visual Apex the day before. It is a wonderful projector thus far. Now I just have to wait for a new mount.

Posted Oct 29, 2009 6:47:32 AM

By Joe

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I have a Sanyo PLV Z4 I use now. Would the difference between that and the AE 4000 be mindblowing or barely noticeable? I still think the Z4 has a fantastic picture but it is also from 2005.

Posted Oct 27, 2009 4:03:17 PM

By Gary

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I have an ae3000U. I do not think there could be a better picture at this price.

Posted Oct 25, 2009 7:06:03 PM

By George Jenkins

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This 4000 review looks really awesome, but I own a Panny AE700 amd now have a blue haze in the left corner. I do not know if I want to stay with Panasonic because of the short lifespan of my 700 (only 1900 Hrs.) A) Does the 4000 use organic panels? B) Will the 4000 also suffer the blue haze factor after only a short time? C) Should I be looking at a DLP?

Posted Oct 25, 2009 2:10:22 AM

By kevinp

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@dhung I can't recall why but I thought the frame interpolation was being done at 100Hz. If this panel is being run at 120Hz then perhaps thats the speed at which a new image can be sent to the panel and does not take account how long the previous image persists. Perhaps the Panasonic 3D system requires faster than 120Hz the new plasma runs at 600Hz. Either way if this projector was 3D ready Panasonic would be shouting about it.

Posted Oct 21, 2009 11:39:06 PM

By Olle

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Nice review! Wonding a couple of things though. How is the lumen output in dynamic mode? Similar to the 1200-1300 on the ae3000? I also have an ax100 and it was measured to 1400 lumen back in 2006. Are those old measurements comparable with the ones you do today? Would be nice to know for those days when you can't have a pitch black room.

Posted Oct 21, 2009 3:04:13 PM

By Evertse

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I have the PT-AE900 now and I live in Europe, Can I buy an american projector? Will this panasonic work on 240V? Do I just need to replace the cable? Or are there more problems. Please help me out guys.

Posted Oct 21, 2009 6:12:51 AM

By Carl

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I have had the PT-L500U for 5 years and it still works great. The only downsides are 1300:1 contrast and 850 lumen output. But with the CineGrey screen and a dedicated theater room (low light) it still puts out really good HD. I am considering an upgrade to this AE4000U, but wonder how much better it will look. I would hate to spend $2000 and not see much difference.

Anybody have a AE4000U that came from an older LCD that can comment? I asked a few local HT stores if they had a demo unit I could evaluate and they don't. Oh well, I tried.

Posted Oct 20, 2009 12:02:48 PM

By ratherbsurfn

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I want to buy a projector and my budget is 2k. What would be a better purchase this panasonic or a JVC RS1? I will be using a a 90" screen from 14'. Thanks.

Posted Oct 19, 2009 6:34:50 PM

By Raimundo R. Brandao

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I enjoyed very much your comments about PANASONIC PT AE3000U.Couple weeks ago I bought one, and I am very happy. My english is not good, so I'm afraid that I could be enjoing better than I have if I could make a good setup. Maybe you can halp me sending me a good setup step by step. Thank you so much

Posted Oct 19, 2009 10:35:11 AM

By wyse

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Please compare it with JVC RS25 and RS30

Posted Oct 18, 2009 10:51:19 PM

By Nando

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The 4000U is MADE IN JAPAN. Look in the product brochure. Do a google search.

Posted Oct 18, 2009 10:17:17 PM

By dhung

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@kevinp, can you (or anyone) elaborate on why these panels would be too slow for 3D, given that they can run frame interpolation at 120Hz? Can we get official clarification from Panasonic on this?

Posted Oct 18, 2009 2:47:13 PM

By max

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I wonder what the dodgy component will be in this next line of crap projectors from Panasonic

Posted Oct 18, 2009 1:42:51 PM

By Rocket15

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Strange to see that the price of the european version PT-AE4000E is more expensive than its predecessor the PT-AE3000E.

At panasonic.de the PT-AE4000E is listed for 2.699,00 EUR. So i think i will go for the Epson 8100.

Posted Oct 14, 2009 6:18:29 PM

By Lionel

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Projector prices just have to follow big screen TVs' prices

Posted Oct 14, 2009 3:00:34 PM

By storm9

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Even if the projector is made in China, it will not effect its quality. A lot of products ie: Apple are made in china that have extremely high quality standards. But i think the reduced prices is due to the economy and not much NEW tech is here, just a few spec bumps from last years.

Posted Oct 14, 2009 9:39:01 AM

By John H

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For a price drop this big, some corners must have been cut. I'm wondering if the new model is "made in China" rather than Japan, and quality/durability could be a potential issue. Does anyone know? If so, I would take this into overall consideration rather than simply base my decision on price and initial picture quality.

Posted Oct 13, 2009 3:11:34 PM

By Mike

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Bjorn, thanks for the reply. I've bought other Panasonic items in the past and have been very happy with them, so the issues with my current projector and the cost to repair them caught me off guard. I guess I'll weigh paying $600 for the new video block and $300 for a new bulb on my AE700 so that will hopefully get me a couple more years (during which features will increase and hopefully prices drop) versus jumping in and spending $2k on this new projector. My room setup will demand more flexibility than, say, the Optoma HD20 would provide (16 foot cathedral ceiling with 8 foot walls means center post, horizontal aimed projector, which the AE700 and AE4000 are well suited for). And add in to the equation my new Blu-Ray player...

Posted Oct 12, 2009 9:01:32 PM

By David

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I cannot tell from any of the write-ups on the AE4000 whether or not the Lens Memory With Auto Detection feature memorizes the horizontal/vertical lens shift positions that might also be necessary to center the various aspect ratio images when the projector has been mounted off-center from the screen.

I understand it memorizes various zoom positions necessary to produce a lower-cost CIH benefit, but what about the horizontal/vertical lens shift positions that might also be necessary in off-set pj mounting?

Thanks.

Posted Oct 12, 2009 4:01:31 AM

By Alan

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Most material of this review is about features of this new PJ. It looks to be a marketing promotion rather than a review. Any improvement on ANSI contract, any figures on the on-off contracts that you measure ? I am sure you can do better than this.

Posted Oct 12, 2009 1:07:39 AM

By Bjorn

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Actually they are Mike, because most newer 1080p LCD models are using inorganic panels, which are not supposed to degrade the same way that the older organic LCD panels that most older 720p models and even a few current low-end 1080p models do.

Posted Oct 11, 2009 7:10:41 PM

By Mike

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It sounds great, BUT... the reason I'm looking into a new projector is that my Panasonic PT-AE700U is experiencing failure of its blue polarizer or LCD panel, a common problem with the model, that is so expensive to repair (especially with a new bulb due soon too) that it's just as well I should get a new projector. What's to make me believe this Panasonic model will hold up any better, especially since they don't want to offer much of a warranty? Are the panels on this model any different, that would make them less susceptible?

Posted Oct 11, 2009 10:00:25 AM

By Mr_Hopper

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The New Panny 4000 for $2000? Sounds too good to be true. I'm looking for a really great projector and I will pay $10,000 if I "have to" --- My question is do I really have to? ---- I'm hearing that the more expensive ($6,000 and up) have visual qualities that cannot be based on metrics, but just need to be seen to appreciate why they are worth the extra $. I want to be blown away, but I don't want to throw away my $.

Posted Oct 10, 2009 8:52:49 PM

By patrick east

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Will the AE4000 in the econo mode still be bright enough for a 110" stewart firehawk G3 in a darken home theater.

Posted Oct 10, 2009 2:41:20 PM

By Noli

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An awesome review as usual for what appears to be an awesome projector. Keep them coming! The pace of progress seems very fast at the moment and I am almost/possibly tempted to trade up my Epson 1080UB (which I am otherwise very happy with!)

Well done Panny and great review

Posted Oct 10, 2009 2:05:21 PM

By SpaceDude

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Regarding the fan noise questions, I have no formal db numbers, but I own an AE3000 and I can tell you that it is absolutely silent. When video material is playing I cannot hear the fan at all and it's right over my head. The AE4000 will certainly be better or the same.

Posted Oct 10, 2009 6:33:05 AM

By kevinp

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As far as I know these LCD panels are still to slow to process 3D. Which is ashame because Panasonic seem to be investing in 3D with a 3D Blu-ray player on the way (Once the 3D standards are in place at the end of the year) and 50" & 103" plasmas. Surely a decent 1080p 3D projector would be a better (cheaper) way to go providing a much larger screen to give a real cinema experience.

Posted Oct 9, 2009 11:40:48 PM

By M. Johnston

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WHAT IS THE AUDIBLE NOISE RATING FOR THE AE4000 ??

Posted Oct 9, 2009 9:26:22 PM

By Carlos V

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Any comment about audible noise? This specification is always on blank. What are they hiding?

Posted Oct 9, 2009 4:01:14 PM

By Bayne

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Glad to see Panasonic doing something about their dust issue. Every 3 months like clockwork my AE2000 gets a new dust blob--and my house and home theatre room are very clean. I have to open the case and remove the lamp in order to clean it out. I'm buying a JVC RS25 this January and am looking forward to owning a projector with a sealed light path.

Posted Oct 9, 2009 11:48:16 AM

By Graham Bartlett

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Any news at all about Sanyo's offering to compete with this titan?

Posted Oct 9, 2009 10:09:09 AM

By John

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Can you comment on the noise of the AE4000 vs the AE3000? I currently have an AE900 and want to upgrade to one of the new projectors. My projector is mounted only 3 ft above my seating position so if I can get something quieter than the AE900 that would be great.

Posted Oct 9, 2009 2:02:10 AM

By Bjorn

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Thanks for the review, but can you please add some measured numbers to the review?

* ANSI contrast, to properly compare with ae3000 and others * Full on/off contrast with and without the DI, without screenshots or numbers, "better contrast & black levels" really doesn't say that much... * lamp hours, low vs high lamp mode * noise level, low vs high lamp mode

Sounds like the AE4000 will shake things up QUITE A BIT this year with a $2000 price tag!! It will be interesting to see how the Epson's, Sony's and JVC's will react to this. Seems like they are going to have SERIOUS problems selling their new models with the AE4000 priced so low...

Posted Oct 8, 2009 1:56:03 PM

By DOuG pRATt

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How's the panel alignment? Having the panels lined up is more important to me than an incremental improvement in contrast. Only top-of-the-line LCOS seems to have mechanical panel shift.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 1:55:41 PM

By widlan

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Hi,

The PT-AE3000U seems very interesting. I see everywhere that the retail price is 2499$ MRSP and you say in article that it will be at 1999$. Is it an error or not?

Posted Oct 8, 2009 11:44:57 AM

By Anthony

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You HAVE to compare this to the Epson 8100. Please include gaming frame lag comparisons.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 11:19:02 AM

By Steve Atkinson

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Hi Evan... thanks for the review and information. It sounds like Panasonic is shaking things up... good news!

Like Tom I am more interested in its performance on larger screens. I was going to be using a 150" (Elite with the 1.8 power gain material) 16x9 screen in my new theater room.

I have always gravitated towards DLP due to an aversion to SDE and gratefully no issues with RBE. LCD's of the past always just looked lifeless (IMHO), but to be honest I have not viewed any of the '08 or '09 crop.

For this reason I have been "looking forward" to the InFocus 8602 or BenQ W6000 as possible replacements for my InFocus 7210.

Can you give me a little image comparison between the AE4k, W6k, and the HC3800?

Thank you for your time and assistance,

Steve

Posted Oct 8, 2009 9:51:07 AM

By Wyatt

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I wish there was more information on how the high-lumen modes (like Dynamic and Normal) affect the picture quality. I know some people consider these modes useless, but for someone who uses the projector in both ambient and controlled light, it is very useful info. I am hoping that the new "Red Rich" technology can help offset the bad color balance.

Also, 3D capable would have been great, but I guess I have to wait until next year for that to start showing up...

Posted Oct 8, 2009 9:39:14 AM

By Randy Ochsenbein

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Great review! I have been wondering when Panasonic would come out with their new replacement for the AE3000. The news here is even better than expected. I can't wait for this to start shipping. Christmas is going to come early for our home! Keep up the great work guys.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:24:40 AM

By James

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How do the brightness numbers compare to the Epson 8100? How much light can the AE4000 output in it's brightest mode? Can this be used in a room with ambient light?

Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:10:15 AM

By Ken

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Regarding contrast and aperature management: - What is the native contrast, with no automatic aperature (Assuming that's how such a high number is achieved)? - Is the aperature response time short? It's objectionable to have a scene started, then have the contrast/picture change about 1 sec later, so I've turned mine off.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 8:04:20 AM

By Ken

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Good article, thanks.

Does the 4000 use inorganic panels?

My units with organic LCD panels have definitely lost some snap over time.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 7:56:08 AM

By Ryan

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What about fan noise? Any idea on bulb life in eco?

Posted Oct 8, 2009 7:12:54 AM

By ROB STAHL

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Wow nice review! I have been a 2000U owner for a year or so and am hooked. So hooked I'm ready for my 2nd purchase. I have considered several other projectors, but find myself back to Pani. This was my conclusion last year. Looks like I will be lowering my asking price.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 6:40:42 AM

By DoubleDeuce!!!

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Holy lord! I was waiting for the Epson 8500UB but this blows that projector out of the water, especially at $2000. I'm scrapping my 16.9 screen plans and now I'm going 2.35.

Do you have a ship date? I'm hoping as soon as possible!

Posted Oct 8, 2009 6:38:09 AM

By Tom Maguire

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Thanks for the review of this product.

I'm very interested in this projector. Do you feel it has enough light output to handle a 120" Studiotek 130 16:9 screen in a totally light controlled room? If so what would be the ideal mounting distance from screen to projector?

Posted Oct 8, 2009 4:29:57 AM

By jimjlord@yahoo.com

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I want one!!!

Posted Oct 8, 2009 3:16:31 AM

By MaI

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Thanks for another great review! How about the fan noise in normal and eco-mode? How is it compared to AE3000 and 720p models AX100/AX200? What about full tele zoom light output compared to AX100/AX200 - they are listed to have 2000 ansi lumens, but loss of light output in tele end is quite high as well. Thinking of upgrading and wouldn't want to lose any of the current overall lumen output.

Posted Oct 8, 2009 2:58:19 AM

By g~man

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im definately getting a projector sometime soon, mostly for gaming, this one seems to be the best for the buck

my question is... with 3d media being the next big thing, how will these projectors handle that? there a new tv's coming out marketed especially for 3d viewing, can these projectors output the latest 3d video or is it entirely new technology?

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