Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector
First, I’ll remind you that this was a pre-production sample. As a result, I fully expect the full production projector due in 2 weeks or so, of this writing, to be a bit brighter.
In the Panasonic’s best movie mode – Cinema 1, the projector cranked out 388 lumens, after adjustment (slightly more, before), with the lamp in full power mode.
There were no significant differences in brightness between Cinema 1, 2, and 3, despite significant color temperature differences.
Moving to Normal mode, the prefered mode for TV/HDTV/Sports, this PT-AE2000U measured 640 lumens. Not bad for a really good mode for non-movie viewing.
And of course, there is Dynamic mode. Inherently a compromise, sacrificing color accuracy and balance for maximum “cutting through the ambient light” lumens, Dynamic measured 1019 lumens. That makes it the brightest of the new LCD projectors, so far. The Dynamic mode does it’s job. For football, I set the Panasonic PT-AE2000U, to fill just about every square inch of my 128″ Firehawk screen, with low levels of lighting coming from overhead recessed lights, plus some daylight coming in around my shaded windows. The Panasonic took a small hit, but overall, the games looked great. It will be interesting to see how that full production Panasonic will measure out.
PT-AE2000U Audible Noise Levels
Reasonably quiet. The Mitsubishi is definitely quieter, but the Panasonic (which doesn’t have a published noise level, even in full power), should please all but the most silence demanding theater owners. The Panasonic is definitely quieter than the Epson Cinema 1080 and theOptoma HD80, as well.
PT-AE2000UProjector Screen Recommendations
Since the PT-AE2000U is average in brightness, your screen surface choice will likely be determined by the size of the screen you plan on, and also, of course, some of your room conditions. With off white walls, the Panasonic had no problem in Cinema 1 at 110″ diagonal. I tried filling my 128″ Firehawk screen (high contrast gray surface), but found the Panasonic to be a little thin to do a really good job. Certainly as the lamp ages, and dims, screens over 110″ are going to be too large, with a screen like the Firehawk.
Of course high contrast gray screens lower black levels, and I think that helped my opinion of the PT-AE2000U. Overall, I would go HC gray, with screens of 100″ or less, At 100″ to 110″ you could go either way, depending on whether your walls are light or dark (lighter walls make the projector seem dimmer), and whether you favor brightness or blacker blacks.
For 110″ or over, I would generally recommend a white surface, with gain in the 1.1 to 1.4 range. However, Light gray surface screens with gains over 1.0 such as the Da-lite Cinemavision, would be an excellent choice, if you have a little side ambient light. Still, I would stick to white surfaces at 120″ or over.
The tough part, is that your final choice is subjective. One person will prefer the darker blacks, the next, the punchier brights!
PT-AE2000U Projector Measurements and Calibration
This section will be redone, and expanded when the production version arrives.
Because of the unevenness of color of the image, getting accurate readings and adjustments is most difficult. Moving my light meter over even 10% of the screen width, in some cases caused a color temperature shift of 500K.
Overall, however, the whole screen stayed within about 700K. Still lower areas and especially the left side were warmer – more red.
So, I ballparked (estimated) the readings, trying several points of the image, and picked an “average” number.
|In Cinema 1 mode, default:|
|80IRE (light gray)||6585K|
|50IRE (medium gray)||6770K|
|30IRE (dark gray)||6840K|
As you can see, those are already excellent numbers.
|After adjustments consisting of setting color temp to -1, and green brightness to +1, red brightness to -1, and contrast to +2:|
|80IRE (light gray)||6375K|
|50IRE (medium gray)||6555K|
|30IRE (dark gray)||6530K|
Now that is nice and tight, and about as close as one can get to 6500K, with a total range of only 175 degrees (K).
Of additional note, Dynamic mode is a bit strong on green (most “brightest modes” on projectors are very heavy on green, rather than just a little), but without adjustment the color temperature gets out of control, hitting 10,500K in the middle gray range. That’s a couple thousand K too high. On the other hand 100IRE in Normal mode, was 7870K, which is very close to ideal for TV viewing.
PT-AE2000U Image Noise
The Panasonic performed well on the HQV 1080 test disk being fed 1080i and 1080p sources, and did fine at 480p resoution (using the older HQV disk). I did not test it with a 480i source. No jaggie issues at all, and general image noise was very low. Well done.
Other, odds and ends: Panasonic does not quote lamp life on the PT-AE2000U, copying Sanyo (who has never published lamp life). When a manufacturer doesn’t provide that information, the best we can do is suggest that in full power, lamp life is likely around 2000 hours which is considered average. Note though, that a 2000 hour rating tends to mean that half will fail before 2000 hours, and half, after. In low power mode, it would not be unreasonable to expect a life of 2500 to 3000 hours.
Changing the lamp out can be done without unmounting a ceiling mounted projector. Unlike many projectors, where the lamp door is underneath, Panasonic has put theirs on the top, where it is easy to access.
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