Opinion of EjIMBo - Dec 28, 2009

Panasonic PT-AE900U Projector
HD 720 (1280x720), 1100 ANSI Lumens,
7.9 lbs, $3,199 (MSRP)


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by EjIMBo - Dec 28, 2009
Image Quality 5.0
Features 5.0
Construction 4.0
Ease of Use 5.0
Reliability 3.0
Value for Money 3.0
View Specs

Personal Experience
Overall the projector is quite good, as it is my first projector. The picture quality is outstanding as long as it's working as it should... the first time I used it I was blown away and had never seen anything better in any kind of home environment before that. I bought the machine when it was first released.

I have about 500 hours on the bulb and no problems with it blowing yet (knock wood).

There were a few times that the projector would not turn the bulb on for some reason, had to turn the PJ off and on a few times to get it to come on.

Also, most annoyingly, there has developped a permanent convergence problem. Happened right after the warranty ran out (naturally!) It's not very noticeable when watching DVD movies (I don't have a BLU-ray yet) but if you turn on the menu it's really obvious, looks like a rainbow. I've been scouring the net to find a solution but there isn't one. I find it amazing that with the technology there is with these things that they can't put a convergence fix into them by just having you be able to line them up manually by digitally moving pixels with a setup menu... hard to describe but I think you know what I mean. If they'd put that in there it'd solve a lot of problems. Convergence problems on old TV sets were possible to fix, but they couldn't think to do it here?

I don't use the projector every day, just for special ovcccasions when I want to watch a good movie. That's why it's taken several years to rack up 500 hrs on it. I'm very particular and careful when handling such devices, I slavishly follow maintenance instructions (cleaning filters etc.) and I have done everything I could to "baby" the machine so that it would last a long time, including running the fan on high to keep the bulb cool and using the bulb on low brightness (I use the projector in a totally dark room, purpose built theatre, it's plenty bright enough). I'm a modelmaker so I know how to handle delicate objects. But the truth is, we seem to live in a throw-away world where things simply are not designed to last. I guess Panasonic expects you to throw away the machine after a year and buy a new one. Too bad. Three grand (here in Canatax)is a lot to pay for something you toss after such a short time. If this projector blows soon I'll just have to go without. I can't afford to buy a new one so often. I would expect something like that to last at LEAST ten years before developing a problem. The old time film projectors we used decades ago lasted twenty or thirty years or more, and didn't cost anywhere near three thousand dollars, even when adjusted for inflation. And the replacement bulbs didn't cost anywhere near $300-500 a pop either!

Ah, the good old days.
 
Problems
Glitches occasionally lighting the lamp. Sometimes it takes several tries to get it to come on.

Annoying convergence problem and no way to fix it. Beautiful picture when it works properly but it only worked perfectly till the warranty ran out.