Panasonic announces AE7000
For everyone who has been wondering what happened to Panasonic in the home theater business, the wait is over. TWO UPDATES....
Panasonic is unveiling its newest generation home theater projector, the PT-AE7000, today at their labs at Universal Studios in Hollywood. This next generation 1080p unit is 3-D enabled. We are at this event, and will post more details on this development later today.
UPDATE: The new model will be known as the PT-AE7000U in North America, and the PT-AT5000E in Europe.
This is the first 1080p 3-D projector to utilize LCD technology. This has been accomplished with higher refresh rate 480 Hz panels.
Contrast rating is 300,000:1, up from 100,000:1 on the AE4000.
Lumen spec has been increased from 1600 lumens on the AE4000 to 2000 lumens on the AE7000, primarily by increasing lamp wattage from 165 to 200.
This unit has all new casework--more elegant than the industrial design of previous models.
Many of the features of the AE4000 have been brought forward in this new model, including the 2x powered zoom lens, Lens Memory for switching from 16:9 to 2.35, frame creation (including frame creation for 3D), splitscreen calibration, wave form monitor, etc.
MSRP is $3,499, with street prices expected to be lower. Delivery in the US commences in September.
UPDATE 2: After seeing a couple of demos of the AE7000 and AE4000 side by side, my initial impression is that the AE7000 is a substantial step forward in 2D performance, and worth a premium price well above the AE4000 even if you have no interest in 3D. We won't know for sure until we see them side by side in our own test facility, but the demo staged by Panasonic was compelling.
As far as 3D is concerned, the company has concentrated on reducing cross talk, and the 3D demos showed cross talk to be minimal to non-existent. Again, we will see what we see in our own test facilities shortly. Brightness is always a big issue in 3D, and it is no different on this new model. But overall, it appears from one day of looking at it that Panasonic may have quite a substantial product in the AE7000.