Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector

PT-AE2000U versus the Epson Home Cinema 1080

Sorry, not even going to touch this comparison. True, they are both the same price, true, they are both LCD projectors with similar placement flexibility, and true, the Epson has the better warranty.

But, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 is on the way out, with the replacement model due to ship in the next two weeks. Like the move from the PT-AE1000U, to the PT-AE2000U, the new Epson – the Home Cinema 1080UB (ultra black), should prove to be a substantial improvement over their older model. As such, if Epson hasn’t cleared out all the Home Cinema 1080′s you can likely expect a significant price drop on them, perhaps below the price of the Sanyo. With unknowns like that – I’ll reserve judgement, until I review the new Epson Home Cinema UB in three weeks.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U and the Mitsubishi HC6000

Hmmm, The HC6000 is the most expensive of the 1080 LCD projectors. Those of you who read my review of it, know I was most impressed. The HC6000 took black levels and shadow detail to a level above the older model and the other first generation LCD 1080p projectors. The viewing experience is extremely good.

From a brightness standpoint, these two are about as close to a tie as possible. The HC6000 in best mode measured 449 lumens less than 50 lumens more than the pre-production PT-AE2000U. The Panasonic has more lumens in it’s brightest mode, but then, it’s brightest is uglier looking that the Mitsubishi. Overall, let’s call them pick in brightness.

When it comes to black levels, I have to give the nod to the HC6000. I was extremely impressed with the HC6000 in this regard, when I first fired it up, and all the way through the review. While the Panasonic is no slouch, the Mitsubishi, gave me the feel of producing “inky” or “jet” blacks. The Panasonic never gave me the feeling it could match the HC6000, although I guaranty you it’s a close thing. Both have plenty of placement flexibility, but the Panasonic has more (that’ s OK, as both should work in just about any room).

The Mitsubishi, like the Panasonic without adjustment crushes blacks just a bit, and a real calibration should improve both, so no advantage there.

If you like toys, the Panasonic has great built in tools, for fiddling with the projector’s image. It will appeal to those who love to tweak. For those who just want to get it set up, and enjoy, though, these two are comparable. I’d love to have them both at the same time, but failing that, my guess is that, if they were both the same price, I’d probably take the HC6000. Spending an extra $1000 for the Mitsubishi, though is going to be hard to rationalize for many.

More comments on the PLV-Z2000 Home Theater Projector

I said this in the recent Sanyo review:

“If the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 were 30-40% brighter, and if considering its lowest in class pricing, the PLV-Z2000 might well be the hands-down, best projector value on the market, in the 1080p resolution class.”

Well, the Panasonic does seem to fit that “if only” description above, although it only looks to be 25-30% brighter. And it is only a few hundred more…

Review continues below this advertisement.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U projector, Pros, Cons, andTypical Capabilities

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector: Pros

  • Very film-like
  • Good at revealing shadow details
  • Good out of the box performance, with only minor adjustments needed
  • Vertical and Horizontal lens shift with exceptional range for placement flexibility
  • Really good remote control (learning remote, can control other devices)
  • 2:1 zoom lens for great placement flexibility
  • Supports HDMI 1.3, with Deep Color, and supports 1080p/24 (plays at 48fps) content
  • Good remote control
  • User savable settings
  • Multiple movie modes, multiple modes for TV, HDTV, and Sports
  • Three HDMI inputs (yea!)
  • Bright enough to handle larger screens (up to perhaps 125″ diagonal), depending on your room situation
  • Excellent color management system
  • Has support for a 3rd party Anamorphic lens for those wanting true Cinemascope aspect ratio 2.35:1
  • Very quiet projector
  • Excellent Price/Performance and Value $2699 US.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector: Cons

  • Pre-production unit has uneven color across the screen (this will be updated when a replacement arrives in 12/07)
  • Dynamic mode is bright, and reasonable to watch, but needs a little tweaking to make it more natural.
  • Black levels could be a bit better (but they are good!)
  • Gamma in the low end range, tends to be too dark, crushing blacks a little, adjustable

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Average Brightness
  • Documentation – none provided, but expect it similar to the older model’s documentation, which was respectable, but could have used more explaination of a number of features
  • Lamp life
  • Out of the box color accuracy – this is not as good as the PT-AE1000U last year, but, the production version should be better – will be reviewed
  • Setup

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Summary: The Bottom Line

All considered, Panasonic may well be the best overall value out there.

We’ll know far more after the production unit arrives, and also the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB. (Hopefully they’ll be here at the same time!)

Of all the 1080p projectors reviewed to date, my opinion right now, is that if you need to keep your projector’s budget under $3000, the Panasonic looks to be the best overall projector out there.

Panasonic has done just about everything they needed to do, to make the PT-AE2000U, a much better projector than the older PT-AE1000U.

There is some stiff competition. Certainly the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 offers a comparable projector for less, for those that aren’t buying larger screens over 110″, as it isn’t as bright, and the Mitsubishi for a chunk more money, has a slight advantage in black levels, and it will appeal to those less price constrained.

For more than an extra $1000 there’s the new Sony VW60 (likely not as bright), and for twice the price, the top rated JVC, and it’s new replacement, the RS2, shipping in a couple of weeks. While there are better projectors out there, none cost as little as the PT-AE2000U.

This time around, the Panasonic, though, has established its price/performance credibility, nothing to date can beat it, dollar for dollar.

Perhaps more importantly, we have reached a level of quality in these new lower cost 1080p projectors, that promise to blow away their owners, and their owners’ friends, for years to come. Those seeking the maximum in performance may be willing to spend twice or more, but the vast majority out there will just love projectors like this Panasonic PT-AE2000U.

When you consider all these projectors with excellent price performance, and sub-$3000 pricing, I see the $2699 Panasonic as the one likely to have the widest appeal, and will predict that it proves to be the top seller in the 1080p class for 2008.

We shall see!

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