Panasonic PT-AE900u Home Theater Projector – Who Should Buy

PT-AE900u Prices - vs. The Competition

My goal is not to provide the lowest projector prices for you at this time, as they constantly change, but rather to help put in perspective, how the PTAE900u projector – or the 900u as many call it – is priced compared to the competition.

For months now Panasonic has been providing large manufacturer mail-in Rebates on the 900u. Originally $200 a month, and more recently $400 a month. In addition, Panasonic is currently offering a Blockbuster Rental card good for 40 rentals as an additional rebate. That will have a lot of value for some, little for others. The point being that the typical price for a 900u (without considering the Blockbuster rental), is substantially below $2000 at this time.

By comparison the Sanyo PLV-Z4, typically prices about the same as the 900u is offering a free spare replacement lamp – a $400 value, keeping these two projectors almost dead even in pricing.

By comparison the two hot DLP projectors, the BenQ PE7700 and the Optoma HD72, are likely to cost between $200 and $400 more (they have no rebates) than the PT-AE900u.

Epson uses a different pricing strategy on their Cinema 550, and have not reduced the pricing since launched in December. At this time, the Epson is sufficiently more expensive to not really be a direct competitor, for the 900u at least price wise.

The Mitsubishi HC3000 DLP projector (the only one of these projectors that I haven’t yet been able to obtain for review), and the Sony HS51A, technically fit into this catagory, but are now significantly more expensive, to basically be in a different price range. They may, however, like the Epson, be within the budget of some Panasonic PT-AE900u shoppers, so that if they offer enough additional value to you, and you are considering the 900u, you might spend the extra (many hundreds – to about $1000 more), for one of these.

What's So Great About the PT-AE900u

The 900u offers one of the most flexible designs in terms of where you can place it in your room. Sporting a 2:1 zoom lens, with most home theater rooms or family rooms you can place the projector in any one of these locations:

  • Near the middle of the room, on a table, placed about even with the bottom of your screen or slightly lower. Yes, you can shine on a wall, but you’ll be amazed at the improvement with a proper projector screen.
  • In terms of distance, you could place it further back, all the way to the back wall of the room, unless you have a very long room, and a very small screen.
  • You can mount it on a shelf on the back wall (in most rooms) with the PT-AE900u mounted on a shelf located vertically anywhere from slightly below the bottom of the screen to slightly above the top edge of your screen.
  • Or, you can ceiling mount the AE900u, probably from the middle of your room to the back.

Now, that’s flexible positioning. The Sanyo PLV-Z4 is similar overall, and the Epson can be placed even higher or lower, relative to the screen, but doesn’t have nearly as much range as the 900u in terms of zoom, so may not get as close or as far away as you would prefer to place it. The DLP projectors, by comparison, are much more limited, so, in chosing them, you pretty much have to place them where they are designed to be placed. If your room can’t handle that restriction, you can’t use that DLP projector.

Also of note, the Panasonic AE900u has as complete a set of inputs as found on any of these other projectors. In fact it is better equipped, than most, with one HDMI and two component inputs.

The 900u also comes with a very good remote, and it is the only projector, who’s remote is a learning remote, so you can set it up to control your DVD player, Receiver and other devices, as well as use it to control a motorized screen that has an Infra-red sensor.

 

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