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Top Five Most Popular 1080p Projectors

Evan Powell, August 1, 2008

Panasonic PT-AE2000U

Panasonic has succeeded in loading the AE2000 with a breathtaking array of features. Some of these features appear on other units as well, but some do not exist on any other projector in this class. The AE2000 doesn't have a GPS system or cruise control, but just about everything else you could think of comes standard.

Key advantages

• 2.0x zoom lens, and 3.0 picture height lens shift for easy placement in a variety of rooms.

• Powered zoom and focus, manual horizontal and vertical lens shift

• Highest ANSI contrast of any LCD projector we've measured yet (305:1)

• Excellent lumen output (over 900 ANSI lumens in Natural mode)

• Zero pixelation via use of SmoothScreen filter

• Superior connectivity (3 HDMI ports and two component video inputs)

• On board split-screen video calibration.

• On board wave form monitor.

• Anamorphic lens compatibility.

• Learning remote that will control up to four devices in the theater.

Limitations

• Price. The AE2000 is priced up a bit in this group, with an officially advertised price of $2,695 and actual street prices somewhat less. All of the other projectors in this group are at least two or three hundred dollars less, and the Sanyo Z2000 with its current rebate is well under $2,000. So the question is, do you want to pay extra for the extras that you get on the AE2000? Of course, we can't answer that, since only you know how important a third HDMI port, or split-screen calibration, or powered zoom and focus, or a learning remote will be to you.

We can say this. If the extra features that are offered by the AE2000 are not that important to you, then the actual image quality and performance you get from the AE2000 may not, in and of itself, justify the extra cost. The Sanyo Z2000 will deliver a beautiful, natural, smooth 1080p image that rivals that of the AE2000, but it is at this writing about $700 less, with a three year warranty to boot. And since money talks, the Sanyo Z2000 is in a highly competitive position.

A closing word on pixelation. Clearly Panasonic has created a lot of enthusiasm with its SmoothScreen filter, for the simple reason that it really works. There is absolutely no pixel structure visible in the AE2000's image, even standing inches from the screen. And some of us used to think that the SmoothScreen filter tended to soften the picture a bit. It doesn't, at least on the AE2000. You get a sharp, clean picture with this projector despite the absence of pixel structure. If you are gun shy of pixel structure, the AE2000 is the only model in this group that is entirely free of it. However, in our experience, since 1080p resolution is so high and the pixels are so dense, none of the 1080p projectors have any screendoor effect or visible pixel structure when viewed from normal distances. However, if you are among those that prefer to sit close, say at a viewing distance of less than about 1.3 times the screen width, then the complete lack of visible pixel structure on the AE2000 should be considered as an important advantage.


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Review Contents: Intro and BenQ W5000 Epson HC 1080UB Mitsubishi HC5500 Panasonic PT AE2000
  Sanyo Z2000

Buy the BenQ W5000 online here:

 

Buy the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 UB online here:

 

Buy the Mitsubishi HC5500 online here:

 

Buy the Panasonic PT-AE2000U online here:

 

Buy the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 online here: