Panasonic PT-AE1000U 1080p Home Theater Projector Review

PT-AE1000U Screen Door Effect and Rainbow Effect

As you have probably gathered, there is no screen door effect. Panasonic’s Smooth Screen technology requires you to be only a couple of feet back from a 100″ screen to see the pixels. No way you will ever sceen a “screen door” at anything even close to normal seating distance. The trade-off, of course is a certain amount of softness in the image.

Rainbow Effect, of course is that color strobing affect that only affects single chip DLP projectors, and thus, is not an issue for this 3 panel LCD projector.

PT-AE1000U Light Leakage

No issues here, the usual tiny amount from the lens but never any I could actually spot on the screen or nearby wall.

PT-AE1000U Projector – Audible Noise

Quiet – very quiet. Definitely no issues here. Although not quiet as the Mitsubishi HC5000 (the quietest projector we have never heard), it is very quiet, even in full power lamp mode. It certainly is a bit quieter than the BenQ W10000 (a DLP – and they are typically a bit noiser than LCD models), and since the BenQ W10000 (our next review) is a PT-AE1000U competitor, and is sufficiently quiet, we certainly have no complaint with this Panasonic.

PT-AE1000U Projector – Brightness

An important note: Please remember that this review unit, is pre-production, and has a definite problem with a color shift. As a result, I am not confident that the lumens measured below would be accurate with a properly working production model. As a result, when the replacement review unit arrives in two weeks, I will remeasure and post the new results. I’ll comment further, that I expect it will measure a bit brighter, just based on looking at the specs of the Panasonic vs the Mitsubishi HC5000: Lens brightness – f-stop, lamp wattage and a similar zoom ratio, Considering that the two projectors are very similar in all these areas, the Panasonic should produce results very similar to the Mitsubishi HC5000, but this review unit came up low.

All the lowest priced new 1080p projectors are LCD, and collectively, they are not particularly bright. The 1080p DLP projectors (typically $2000 more than the LCD 1080p’s), are a bit brighter than the LCD’s and probably the way to go if you want a really large screen (say 120″ diagonal or larger).

Before I get into lumen measurements, a note regarding brightness and zoom lenses. Due to normal lens design, zoom lenses pass less light when in telephoto mode (smallest image size from a given distance) than wideangle mode (largest image). Because of the extreme zoom range (2:1), the difference in brightness is significant, with the Panasonic outputting a little less than half the brightness in full telephoto as full wideangle. In doing these measurements the zoom lens was set as close to the middle of it’s range. That said in full wideangle, expect about 30% more brightness and about 30% less in full telephoto. This is common for LCD home theater projectors with their wide range zooms. By comparison, it’s less of an issue with DLP projectors which normally only have 1.2:1 to 1.35:1 zooms where the difference in brightness is barely significant.

Getting back to the Panasonic PT-AE1000U projector’s brightness:

The Cinema 1 mode comes across as the best preset mode for movie watching. In full power mode, we measured an expectedly not very bright 295 lumens. Drop into low power, and lumens drop to 236, an almost perfect 20% drop.

For the rest of the measurements, I will quote only full lamp power “normal”. If you want to figure low power brightness, reduce the lumens by 20%.

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Jumping to the other end of the spectrum is the Dynamic mode, where the Panasonic actually cranks out a fair amount of lumens for handling ambient light (especially for TV/sports). Although still no match for the brightest 720p projectors which are now putting out around 1500-2000 lumens in their very brightest mode.

The Panasonic output a respectable 844 lumens. Of course like any other projector, the color balance in brightest mode is compromised to best fight ambient light.

Normal mode – Not as bright as Dynamic, but better overall color balance, more suitable for HDTV and TV, then movies due to a much higher color temperature: 586 lumens.

Other Panasonic PT-AE1000U preset modes:
Cinema 2 348 lumens
Cinema 3 580 lumens
Color 1 331 lumens
Color 2 359 lumens

Note, Color 1 is almost identical to Cinema 1 in performance, including color temperature, and also it’s green content (relative to Red and Blue) is dead on the money, as is Cinema 1.

OK, last note: Since I had the Brightness in Cinema 1 mode at -2, at default 0, the projector is likely 5-10% brighter than these measurements suggest.

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