Panasonic PT-AE8000U Home Theater Projector Review

On this page we take the grand tour of the Panasonic PT-AE8000. Some of these images below, and some commentary, are from last year’s review of the PT-AE7000.  There are no physical differences to report between the two generations projectors.  That’s not to say that firmware hasn’t improved performance of some physical features such as inputs or Lens Memory.

Panasonic PT-AE8000 Projector - Appearance

As always let’s start at the front!

The PT-AE8000 is a medium sized home theater projector. The dark gray finish works well in rooms with dark ceilings.  The lens is located to the right (if facing the PT-AE8000). The projector weighs a little less than 20 pounds, and can be operated when ceiling mounted, on table top, or on a rear shelf, in most rooms, thanks to truly excellent placement flexibility.  When you also consider the lens shift feature, this Panasonic may have the most flexible placement abilities of any projector without interchangeable lenses.  That means it will almost certainly work in whatever kind of setup you have.

The 2:1 zoom lens provides lots of front to back placement, and the lens shift has plenty of range as well. Details on that below.

Also found on the front of the AE8000 is a joystick for controlling lens shift. The joystick is a bit course and tricky to get exactly where you want it, but at the worse that might add another minute to your getting the setup perfect.

Heat vents out the front, making the PT-AE8000 suitable for rear shelf mounting.  If the projector’s on a tabletop, things get a bit warm sitting a couple feet in front, and slightly to the side.

There’s an infra-red sensor on the front, as well.  Below are two screw thread adjustable front feet.

Moving to the right side of the projector, you’ll find the Panasonic’s control panel near the front. The top of the PT-AE8000 is empty but for three indicator lights: Power, Temp and Lamp, and the Panasonic name.

The inputs and other connectors are on the back.

PT-AE8000 Control Panel

The Panasonic control panel, at the front right side, is compact, and is laid out very nicely. Buttons are easy to “find” and feel good.

At the top left of the panel is the power switch (once for on, twice for off), and to its right, is the Input Select button which brings up your input choices.

The PT-AE8000′s navigation controls are right below, the four arrows in a round formation with the Enter button in the center.

Slightly below to the outsides are the Menu and Return button (called back or escape on some other projectors).

Finally, at the bottom of the panel are two buttons each to control the motorized focus and zoom.

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PT-AE8000 Projector - Input/Output

Located on the back, is a healthy selection of inputs and connectors.

Starting from the left, are three HDMI 1.4a inputs (consider HDMI 1.4a necessary for Blu-ray 3D). I’ve always asked manufacturers for a third connector, for those who don’t want to rely on AV receivers or external switch boxes to handle the load. Today, having 3 HDMI sources is common among users (ex: cable/satellite, Blu-ray/DVD, game machine). Kudos to Panasonic for that 3rd one. Three is pretty rare, except on more expensive projectors with expensive external processor boxes.

Moving to the right, next comes a pair of HD15 connectors. The top one is your standard analog computer input, and below it, a Serial port for command and control.

Next over is component video (with three color coded RCA connectors).

S-video (DIN connector) and composite video (yellow RCA jack) come next.

Then come two small jacks for screen trigger, and for 3D shutter out, (for an external, and optional IR transmitter should you need more coverage for the 3D glasses, such as in a large room).

That’s all for the back, folks, except of course, for the power receptacle, Kensington lock slot, and master power switch.

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