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Home Theater Shootout:
Epson Home Cinema 5030UB vs Panasonic PT-AE8000

2.4 CIH Cinemascope Options

IF you are in the process of setting up your home theater, one of the biggest decisions you can make is whether to go with a 16:9 format screen, or with the wider 2.4:1 format, classically known as CinemaScope. If you have not sorted out this decision, read this before proceeding with this section. The screen format you choose will have a direct impact on the best choice of projector. The reason is that the AE8000 is designed to accommodate a 2.4:1 Constant Image Height installation and the 5030UB is not.

Powered zoom/focus: The story starts with powered zoom and focus, which the AE8000 has and the 5030UB does not. That sounds like a nice feature, but it may or may not be of any consequence to you. If you install your projector in a fixed location and fit the image to a 16:9 screen, a power zoom/focus feature is something you may use just once. It becomes a valuable feature only when you have a need to reset the lens periodically, as you would if using a 2.4 format screen.

Lens Memory: If you want to go with a 2.4:1 Cinemascope format screen and a Constant Image Height set up, this is where the AE8000 trumps the 5030UB. The AE8000's power zoom supports a Lens Memory system that automatically resets the zoom and picture position to fill the screen for 2.4 format movies, or readjust to center 16:9 and 4:3 material on the 2.4 screen. So it gives you much the same viewing flexibility as you'd get with an anamorphic lens.

Anamorphic stretch: Do you want to use an external anamorphic lens to achieve your 2.4:1 Cinemascope home theater set up? The vertical rescaling needed to accommodate the A-lens is a standard feature of the AE8000, but it does not exist on the 5030UB. If you want to add an A-lens to the 5030UB, you can do it by adding an external video processor to your configuration that will perform the vertical stretch before the signal gets to the projector. Or if there are other features you like about the 5030UB you can step up to the 6030UB, which includes vertical rescaling as a standard option.

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