Panasonic AE1000 1080P 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
$5,999 MSRP Discontinued

UPDATE [Fri, 12/15]: The original review of the Panasonic AE1000 was published on November 17 based on a late generation pre-production sample. We received a final production unit on Wednesday, December 13 which incorporates several important enhancements that were not present in the sample previously reviewed. All production units that have been shipped contain the updates, so buyers need not be concerned about whether a unit they get from a dealer is up to final standards.

The primary concern we had with the original unit we tested was a softness in the HD image. Due to this flaw we had rated the AE1000 4 stars in performance. However, Panasonic changed the lens and lens housing in the final production unit, and the softness problem has been completely eliminated. Its HD image is now as sharp as any 1080p projector we have seen to date. Accordingly, the performance rating has been raise to 5.0 stars, and the value rating, previously at 4.5, has been raised to 5.0.

With the last minute improvements to the final production models, Panasonic has delivered a phenomenal projector that stands out as a truly remarkable achievement, especially in light of its aggressive price point of $3,999. We are pleased to give it our strongest possible recommendation. [EP]


Original review text, dated Nov 17, 2006:

Panasonic has just begun to ship their new and highly anticipated 1080p resolution projector, the PT-AE1000U. This fully loaded projector has a wide assortment of preprogrammed operating modes, long zoom lens range and extensive lens shift to make it as easy as it gets to install and operate. Unlike their new PT-AX100U 720p model which has very high lumen output options for ambient light "home entertainment" use, the AE1000 is designed for dark room viewing—a projector for the purist who wants elegant home theater performance and high definition 1080p imagery.

Panasonic has achieved a black level performance with the AE1000 that surpasses anything we have yet seen with LCD technology. And their Smoothscreen filter erases any hint of pixel structure. Very low levels of digital noise and excellent scaling produce the best standard definition images we've seen on any of the new 1080p products. The only weakness in image quality is a relatively soft rendering of 1080p material from HD DVD and Blu-ray. [See update above.]

Though the AE1000 can produce a bright picture, once it is calibrated for ideal cinema viewing it is not one of the brightest models on the market. Moreover, lumen output can vary greatly based on whether you use the wide angle or telephoto end of the zoom lens. So its trade-offs need to be understood and thoughtful planning needs to be done before proceeding with an installation.


ANSI lumens: 1100

Contrast (full on/off): up to 11,000:1, variable iris

Light Engine: 1920x1080, native 16:9, 0.7" three-panel PolySi LCD, with a 165W UHM lamp.

Video Compatibility: 1080p/60/50/24, 1080i, 1125i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.

Connection Panel: Two HDMI, two YPbPr component, one VGA, one composite, one s-video, one Serial port.

Lens and Throw Distance: 2.0:1 power zoom/focus lens with vertical and horizontal manual lens shift. Throws a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 9.7' to 19.6'

Lamp Life: Unpublished.

Warranty: Three years, as of 4/18/07.

General Impressions/Feature Set

The AE1000 comes in a simple rectangular case with a flat black finish that has an industrial, no nonsense appearance compared to the more stylized, flashy, consumer oriented packaging of projectors it competes with. It is designed from the ground up for function over form.

As far as installation options are concerned, really anything goes with the AE1000. The very long 2.0x zoom lens range, and three full picture heights of vertical lens shift provide more latitude for placement than any other 1080p model on the market. However, there is one important note of caution: The AE1000 produces its brightest images with the zoom lens set at its widest angle (shortest throw) setting. Moving the projector back as far as possible and using the extreme telephoto end of the lens reduces lumen output by 45%. Using the middle of the zoom range reduces brightness by about 25%. Thus, there is a trade-off between maximum recommended screen size and the maximum recommended throw distance for each screen size.

The manual horizontal and vertical lens shift range enables coffee table, rear-shelf, and ceiling mount deployment. In the neutral position the centerline of the lens intersects the middle of the projected image. From that point the image can be moved up or down one full picture height. Horizontal shift will allow for movement side to side of 0.5 picture widths. At the extreme ends of the shift ranges there is a drop in brightness uniformity along the far edges of the image, so if possible, it is best to avoid an installation that requires you to place the lens in those positions.

Air intakes and connection panel are on the rear of the unit, and air exhausts out of the front corners. This is the ideal configuration for rear-shelf placement. The air filter is easily removed from the side of the projector for periodic cleaning, and the lamp is accessed through the top. Both can be changed without needing to take the projector down from a ceiling mount should it be installed in that manner.

As with several of their most recent 720p home theater projectors, Panasonic has incorporated their "Smoothscreen" technology on the AE1000 as well. This is essentially a filter that eliminates all trace of visible pixelation, even when the screen is viewed from just a few inches distance. Rather than seeing distinct pixel structure up close, one sees what looks like a finely textured fabric.

Panasonic has used three 1920x1080 resolution inorganic LCD panels in this model. The inorganic design increases the stability of the panel and eliminates the concern that the panels might eventually degrade with usage over time.

There is no lamp life specification quoted for the AE1000. It has two lamp power settings—high and low. The low lamp setting reduces lumen output in all operating modes by 28%. Fan noise is low and not much of a concern when the projector is in high lamp mode, so users will not be opting for the low lamp setting to reduce fan noise. There is no indication from Panasonic how much additional lamp life is to be anticipated from operation in low mode.

The preprogrammed video-optimized calibrations that are designated "Hollywood" quality in the Owner's Manual are not particularly bright, even with the zoom lens at maximum wide angle. Use of the telephoto end of the zoom will significantly curtail what light there is. We would not be opting for low lamp mode if we were to install the AE1000 permanently in our theater, and any potential incremental lamp life in that mode would be moot. Due to the degradation of brightness of all high pressure lamps over their lifetimes, we would anticipate wanting to replace the lamp on the AE1000 every 1000 hours to keep it at or near peak performance. Replacement lamps currently retail at $400.


When we think about 1080p projectors, we generally think of the primary benefit as being able to get the maximum picture quality from the highest resolution sources available such as HD DVD or Blu-ray discs, or broadcast HDTV. But even if you acquire a 1080p projector, you'll probably want to continue watching a great deal of standard definition DVD for some time to come. And we can state unequivocally that owners of the Panasonic AE1000 will enjoy higher picture quality from standard DVD than will owners of any of the other low-priced 1080p projectors released this fall.

There are numerous factors in combination that account for this. Certainly contrast, black level, color saturation, deinterlacing, and scaling are all functioning at highly competitive levels. But in addition, the AE1000 has much less digital noise in standard definition than any of the competing products. It also has noticeably less ringing along boundaries between dark and light, and along the edges of saturated color boundaries. The result is a surprisingly clean, natural, smooth, detailed image from standard DVD that stands out as a uniquely impressive achievement.

When it comes to high definition sources, the AE1000 still performs admirably, but it loses a bit of its competitive edge. With pristine images from an HD DVD disc shot with an HD video camera, the AE1000 rendered a beautifully balanced picture as far as contrast, black level, and color was concerned. However, it was not quite as razor sharp as it should have been. The softness in the image is subtle, and it would not normally be noticed except in a side by side comparison with a sharper projector, and then only with an excellent HD DVD or Blu-ray source disc. When switching to a lesser quality HD source like broadcast HDTV 1080i, the weakness in image acuity becomes less evident. We do not know the source of the softness, but we cannot help but wonder whether the Smoothscreen filter might have smoothed out the pixels a little too much, such that the super-fine detail in the best HD sources is compromised. [See update above.]

As noted previously, the lumen output of the AE1000 can range from quite bright to very dim depending on how it is set up. In its brightest and least color-precise mode, which is Dynamic, it measured over 900 ANSI lumens with the zoom lens at its widest angle setting and lamp on high. Two other relatively bright preprogrammed modes were "Normal" and "Cinema 3," both of which measured around 500 ANSI lumens. Color showed much better balance in these two settings. In addition, there are two preprogrammed calibrations which the Owner's Manual defines as optimal for Hollywood quality color reproduction. These are labeled "Cinema 1" and "Cinema 2." Both of these calibrations produced about 250 ANSI lumens, again with the zoom lens at its brightest setting and lamp on high.

Since the zoom lens setting can reduce light output by as much as 45%, the precalibrated "Hollywood" optimized modes could come in under 150 ANSI lumens if the projector was installed at its maximum throw distance from the screen. This is not enough light for anything but a small screen of 80" diagonal or less. Cinema 3, with some tweaking, yielded what for us was the best combination of color, contrast, and lumen output. From that starting point at a bright 500 lumens, it gives the user the flexibility to put the projector on a rear shelf and use more of the zoom range without ending up with a picture that is too dim, or alternatively, go for a larger screen size and ceiling mount the projector to get the maximum lumen performance.


The Panny AE1000 is unique among the 1080p competition. Assuming it is set up to deliver sufficient lumen output for the desired screen size, it is capable of producing a thoroughly engaging and competitive image from high definition sources, and a truly outstanding picture from standard definition DVD. It offers a lot of versatility as far as installation options are concerned, but it is restricted to some degree by the need to avoid certain combinations of color calibrations and lens settings that can yield an excessively dim picture.

Our primary concern was the subtle softness in the image that becomes evident only with the highest resolution HD sources. The performance score needed to be reduced because of this. On the other hand, since there is still a great deal of standard definition material on the market, and since the AE1000 clearly outperforms the competition in this area, the performance score needs to reflect this too. We have decided on a 4.0 star performance rating to average it out, but this rating is unable to reflect the true trade-off that the buyer faces: If you are willing to give up a little bit of image sharpness with HD DVD or Blu-ray in exchange for truly beautiful pictures from DVD, then the AE1000 is an outstanding choice for you. If maximum image resolution with the highest quality HD sources is really what you are looking for, and you don't care as much about getting the best possible picture quality from DVD, then the AE1000 is not your best choice. [See update above.]

Either way, the required investment may be a deciding factor. The current official estimated street price on the AE1000 is just $3,999, making it the least expensive of the 1080p models on the market at this time and an outstanding value. This projector has its quirks and idiosyncrasies as they all do. But overall, the AE1000 is an impressive product for a great price. Anyone who upgrades their home theater with the Panasonic AE1000 will be amazed with the exciting visual experience that it can provide.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Panasonic PT-AE1000U projector page.

Comments (39) Post a Comment
tdiguy1 Posted Dec 1, 2006 7:29 AM PST
I fro one would like to know the type of screen you use for your evaluations or if you use mutiple screen types and if so what screen type you would recomend with which models.

Just a suggestion:-) Posted Feb 2, 2007 2:42 PM PST
This isn't the first example nor the last when Panasonic has whined and/or made some changes and had the reviews changed.

I have to question the honesty of the product. I've heard many people who have demo'd many of the Panasonic units and state that they're way overrated and they feel similarly to the comment above.

(EDITED BY AV_Integrated - please don't post unsubstantiated comments)
TMat Posted Feb 9, 2007 6:19 AM PST
I would not consider this to be whining but rather that they listen to the cosumers and fix things early on so that there is not a major problem later. I have used and tested many panasonic projectors and find that they make a great product and are always on top of new ideas.
chriswilliams Posted Jan 2, 2008 4:44 PM PST
i have this projector and it is nothing short of fantastic. it is ceiling mounted and I have 120" screen and the projector is about 16' back with the center of the lens set above the top edge of the screen. my only compliant is i cannot find discrete codes for the input selection...
Dug Posted Aug 12, 2008 7:49 PM PST
I have had this projector for close to two years. Over the past month or so, when the projector is off for over 30 minutes or so, the Projector shuts itself off after being on for just 2 minutes. It will not take any remote control commands. I have to turn the power off via the side switch. Once I turn it back on it operates fine for hours. Anybody else have this experience? I will be calling Panasonic soon.

BTW: The picture is fantastic. I have a 100" Stewart Filmscreen Greyhawk screen. The Projector is ceiling mounted about 15 feet from the screen. With this setup I can have the lights on in the back of the room is very little interference.
Seattle Theater Guy Posted Sep 4, 2008 11:04 PM PST
Dug - I have been having the EXACT same experience with my AE1000!

It happens when I first turn it on. It starts up fine, runs for about 3-5 minutes and then shuts itself off. I have a wall mount switch, so I turn it off and on, and hit the button on the machine, and it starts up again and runs fine for the rest of the night.

I've also noticed that coinciding with this weirdness is the iris will sort of "hunt" for a while...almost like it's trying to find focus. I've never noticed this before, but maybe I wasn't paying attention.

Please post what you hear back from Panasonic.

Thanks - it's good to know I'm not alone.
Golem 191 Posted Sep 30, 2008 3:46 AM PST
Dug You are not alone. I have exactly the same problem, to the T. I'll call Pansonic tomorrow, and probalbly they'll say they haven't heard about this issue. I'll give them the link to this forum ;-) Seriously, I'll post the result of my endevour.
Brian Posted Oct 18, 2008 2:21 PM PST
Same issue as others, projector shuts itself off and requires manual cycling of the power supply to bring it back. I just chagned the bulb and reset the hours to 0. That did not solve the issue. If you have an answer to this problem please email me.

cogman Posted Oct 29, 2008 2:56 PM PST
WOW! Brian, Golem, seattle, Dug. I have the same problem and came to this site looking for help. It started when I had approx. 1600 hours on it. Turns off after a couple minutes and then I manually "reboot" it by turning off the switch at the wall, and then using the remote again. It works then for the rest of the night. I noticed though that it gets progressively worse. Now I have 1835 hours on it and I have to go through this routine 5 times before it will stay on. It is getting real old. I thought I had to replace the bulb ( about that time anyway) but according to Brian, thats not the answer. Any help would be appreciated.
Cogman Posted Nov 4, 2008 1:51 PM PST
I reported my problem to Panasonic and this is their reply:

Thank you for contacting Panasonic.

I went to the link you provided us and noted the customers who are having the same problem that you are having but so far there has not been a notable increase in failures of this type for your model. I will make sure our management is made aware of the issue so that we can start tracking it more closely. I would recommend that your unit be sent in for service to find out what is causing the problem and have it repaired. The best way would be to contact us by phone so that we can gather the rest of your information and connect you to our service company. Our Phone number is 1-800-211-7263. Remember to refer to your case number ######## anytime you contact us concerning your projector.
Andre Posted Nov 29, 2008 10:25 PM PST
My unit works great but all of a sudden it does not respond to the remote. I have tried the factory remote and my Harmony to no avail. I now have to manually power it on/off.

Andy ideas?
Andre Posted Nov 29, 2008 10:54 PM PST
I just solved the problem...


I used an aerosol canistor of air and blew the hell out of the front panels and viola! It nows responds to the remotes again.
Andre Posted Nov 29, 2008 11:04 PM PST
I thought it was dust but it was the auto power-on after the main power switch is turned back on. Damn, still no response to remotes.
Andre Posted Nov 29, 2008 11:12 PM PST
I thought it was dust but it was the auto power-on after the main power switch is turned back on. Damn, still no response to remotes.
paul Posted Jan 9, 2009 9:21 AM PST
Hey has anyone found out exactly what the issue and fix is for the sudden shutting off of the unit after 3-4 minutes mine needs to be cycled twice before it stays on Please anything
Peter Day Posted Jan 20, 2009 7:47 AM PST
Automatic shut-down due to sticking iris:

The iris lubtricant(grease) dries up, mixes with dust and becomes too sticky and the iris fails to power up during the self test that is run each time the projector is turned on. Panasonic is planning to fix this, in current production, by using a different lubricant for the iris.

The only solution is the send the unit to Panasonics Heartland repair service.

Push Panasonic to pay for the repair even if your unit is out of warranty as this was a manufacturing defect. Maybe a class action is needed to compensate the out of warranty costs for consumers ?
BasementDoc Posted Jan 27, 2009 7:01 PM PST
My PT AE1000U is doing the exact same problem. Starts for ~2 minutes but then shuts down (orange light). Only by switching the main power switch revives it and it works the rest of the time. I will be contacting panasonic for a repair. (3 year warranty will be my MINIMUM for expensive equipment)
adam Posted Apr 3, 2009 9:43 AM PST
Email me with a fix to the iris issue Posted May 21, 2009 6:08 AM PST
email me with a fix for the shut off isssue please I dont want to pay heartland tons of money this is about 2 yrs old.
Dale Posted Jun 17, 2009 10:05 AM PST
Same problem at my 2 year old projector PTAE1000 with 1800 hours on it. Power on, watch a minute of glorious picture, projector shuts down, turn off switch, turn it on again and it's fine for the rest of night. Seems like a pattern here! Has anyone else tried blowing out the dust? Has anyone sent in their projector to be serviced? Does anyone know for sure what the problem turns out to be?
martincito Posted Jul 3, 2009 12:41 PM PST
My remote control can not turn on or off the projector. Some days it works but some don't. I don't know what to do. Once I turn it on from the unit( is hanging from the ceiling and a pain in the but to get there)all the features in the remote control work fine except turning it on or off. I never experienced auto shut down or similar, is ust the freaking remote control. What can I do? It is the projector or the remote control what is failing? I don't want to send it to Panasonic. Many thanks for your input. Martin
Mike Posted Jul 29, 2009 10:34 AM PST
I had the same shut-off problem about six months ago. Panasonic had me send it to a service center(third party) for diagnostic and repair. They replaced the Dynamic Iris and did a firmware update and two weeks later I was up and running again. Panasonic paid for the repair since I was still under warranty but I had to pay shipping. Upon return, the projector worked great until now, 5 months later, when to my great dissmay it started doing the same thing again. While speaking to the service center they said that they see this problem alot with the 100 series but not as much with the 1000. They also said that if the same problem occurs 3 times, then and only then will it be escalated to Panasonic for a possible replacement or upgrade. At this point I'm hoping it happens again soon so that I can just get the thing replaced with a new one.
Barry Posted Sep 28, 2009 5:47 PM PST
I am having the same problem with the AE1000U. It turns itself off within the first few minutes of powering it on. I have to unplug it and then plug it back in for it to work again. Has anyone figured out this issue? Panasonic wants me to send it back for repair.

I have also noticed that the bulb seems to flicker. The image brightness will change ever few seconds. It doesn't always do this and appears to do it more frequently when I am showing the Windows desktop. I have tried a new bulb and different video cards.
AddMeToTheList Posted Sep 29, 2009 2:55 AM PST
I've had the same issue with the projector powering down and having to manually flip the power off, then on, and starting over. Repeating this would eventually result in the projector staying on, but then that stopped working. I thought it may have been the lamp and I replaced it, and reset the lamp minutes. It's still doing it though.This seems to be pretty common. It's too bad, because it's a nice projector for the money.
Simeon Posted Nov 1, 2009 4:26 PM PST
AE1000 I've had for approx 15 months. After running for about 2-3 minutes the projector shuts off and I have to reset with the main power...then it works fine. I'm noticng a trend. Please email a fix if anyone has any ideas.
Dgreen1069 Posted Nov 11, 2009 12:23 PM PST
As others have said, the problem seems to be with the iris. I have been having this same issue, but stumbled upon a DIY fix on Youtube. The fix only takes a minute....I've got my fingers crossed that it works. Here is the video:
bondisdead Posted Dec 1, 2009 12:59 PM PST
Has anybody gotten the "fix" suggested on YouTube to work? I was just about to try it myself, but am paranoid about voiding the warranty! Panasonic just wants me to send it in for repair, which is a royal pain in the midst of the NFL Sunday Ticket season!!
Brad Posted Dec 8, 2009 6:24 AM PST
I just preformed the you tube fix last night and it totaly fixed the shutting down issue. The iris was sticking and once the I dabbed the WD-40on the bar and spring it was fixed. It is as easy as it looks on the video.
bondisdead Posted Dec 11, 2009 5:40 PM PST
You made the fix to the PT-AE1000U projector? The YouTube is for the PT-AX100U, a totally different projector. I followed the directions, but did not see the iris apparatus and rocker arm like shown in the video. If you have the PT-AE1000U, how did you go about doing it? TIA.
SJQ Posted Dec 16, 2009 3:53 PM PST
I have a ae-1000 with the dreaded shut-down problem.I modified the technique on You Tube and it worked! Take the bulb out and the whole top cover off (about 8 screws). The automatic iris appears to have two hinges. The first can easily be reached from the top of the projector just next to the bulb bay, the second is directly below and can be seen and reached via a cut-out in the (empty) bulb bay. Dab both with WD40, rock the brown plastic back and forward on the hinges until it springs back of its own accord and you're back in business!
bondisdead Posted Jan 21, 2010 1:34 PM PST
Thanks for the tip! Took me a bit of hunting around to find the two iris "rocker arms", but I got 'em lubed up and everything works great!!

New YouTube Video by someone:
Paul Posted Jan 29, 2010 3:35 PM PST
My PT AE1000U also had the same shut down problem, till I saw the Youtube video posted by members here and it solved the problem!. It took me under an hour to get the job done just be careful you don't get WD40 anywhere except the pivot. Youll see it loosens up. Guess it is a design flaw that shows up only after a couple of years of use.
PannyProblem Posted Mar 4, 2010 6:08 AM PST
I bought a PT-AE1000U three years ago. The first unit was dead on arrival and was replaced. The current unit--after three years and about 1000 hours of use--would shut down within two minutes. It would usually work fine after turning it off then on again, sometimes twice. I tried lubricating the iris rocker as in the YouTube video but it didn't work for me. I contacted Panasonic and they sent me an email asking for information on the unit and the problem. After I replied, I received instructions to ship the unit to a Kansas repair center. I sent the unit (cost was about $40 for bubble wrap, insurance, and shipping), then I received a call and email with information on the repairs--new Iris, lead wire, dust protection sheets, diagnostics, firmware update, projector box, labor, insurance, and shipping. Total cost = $316.23. I received the unit yesterday and it is working fine so far. Total elapsed time was about two weeks; total repair cost of about $350; damage to Panasonic's reputation, permanent. Unfortunately, my confidence level in Panasonic projectors isn't very high. They haven't acknowledged the problem (which you can see from notes here is prevalent), they didn't cover the cost (which obviously is an engineering error they made, not wear and tear), and haven't acknowledged they have addressed the problem in subsequent projector models. I have friends who have asked me to help them with their home theater, and I'm afraid I'll have to steer them away from Panasonic products.
joshua clark Posted Jan 17, 2012 5:31 PM PST
is it possible to put a ea1000u bulb in a ae900u projector just the bulb?not the housing bare bulb.i was told they are the same just different watts. and it will add lumens and contrast. sounded like a good story but i wanted to ask more people
Mike Posted Jan 15, 2013 12:35 PM PST
Ugh!!! I just bought one of these through craigslist two days ago and am having some problems. The picture dims and flickers, sometimes creating a strobe effect, making it unwatchable. Does it just need a new bulb? If so, can I 'upgrade' the lumens by using the bulb for a newer model? Also, where's a good place to buy bulbs? I'm in Colorado and would rather buy locally, but would buy online for the right price, from a reputable dealer.
Dave Posted Mar 15, 2013 7:50 AM PST
If you have encountered the dymanic iris problem encountered in many of the posts below before you send your projector for service consider doing the repair yourself! As best I can tell it is not an electrical or electronic problem but a mechanical one. I have had this problem serveral times in the 6 or so years that I have owned my projector and have successfully fixed it!

This video on Youtube is poor quality but lays out the preceedure accurately. The Dymanic iris has serveral moving parts! 2 of them are linked by gears and these two parts turn about 2 seperate metal axis. The lubicant used eventually dries out and the parts get stiff and do not move freely. The projectors self test detects the problem and either does not allow the projector to start or shuts it down shortly after it starts. eventually after some time the projector just doesnt start at all. There is a tell-tail noise from the dymanic iris that sound like grinding or electrical arcing that is a give-away that this is your problem.

Be patient and have a clear area to work on the projector. You must lubricate both Axials as in the video. I took out the main board as well for better visibility.

If you are handy do it yourself and save hundreds of dollars.

If you are a cluts dont even pick up the screw drive:-)
korn vongyai Posted Jun 28, 2013 10:26 AM PST
my projector pt-ae1000u shutt-off after 5 minute when turn swith off and on again it will shutt-off after 5 minute again ,please anyone please to fix it, Thanks,
Jeff Posted Feb 10, 2014 7:03 PM PST
My Panasonic Ae 3000 projector won't turn on at all after changing lamp. It's like it dead! No lights come on at all. Can u help?
Jim Posted Jan 2, 2015 11:56 AM PST
Did the lubrication of the iris fix. This fixed my problem thanks for the tip

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