Panasonic PT-AE2000U Home Theater Projector Review

Unlike last year, when the PT-AE1000U was the least expensive 1080p projector when first shipped, this time around, the PT-AE2000U is in the middle of the pack – in terms of price, among the 1080p LCD projectors. The new Sanyo PLV-Z2000 which I also really liked, is several hundred dollars less, and has a longer warranty. The Epson competition is priced about the same, while the Mitsubishi HC6000 is definitely more expensive.

Uh-oh! Not again! Last year, the PT-AE1000U reviewed was a pre-production model sent directly from Japan. That pre-production projector had some serious problems, most notably very uneven color across the screen (something, it seems that is fairly common on pre-production projectors). As a result, the PT-AE1000U initially did not receive an award. Less than a month later, we got in a full production version, and it was significantly improved, and we awarded the AE1000U, our Hot Product Award in December 2006.

It almost seems to be an instant replay. The PT-AE2000U I received this time, was again a pre-production unit (the top cover wasn’t even fully secured.) This time it came to me indirectly – from Japan, to another reviewer, then to me.

And, once again, there is a definite problem with color unevenness. I should also mention, based on experience, pre-production units almost consistently tend to be a bit less bright than full production projectors. As a result, I have asked for a full production version (which should arrive within two weeks or so of posting this). Unlike last time, however, even with the color unevenness (which is definitely not as bad as last year’s), and with the likely lower brightness than a production projector, the PT-AE2000U puts an image on the screen fully worthy of our award. In other words, it does a great job even with the minor flaws that should be attributed to this unit being pre-production.

The color imbalance, however, makes grayscale calibration a problem. Settings that make the center of the screen just right, are too warm (red) or two cool (blue), in different parts of the screen. This has been showing up in many of the photos found in the review. I have rejected about half of the images that I usually use. I will reshoot those when I get the production unit in, and I will add them to the existing review, along with some additional commentary about the production version of the PTAE2000U. This problem also calls in question the actual temperature measurements, and grayscale settings I am publishing on the General Performance page (they will be updated with the new unit).

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