Panasonic home theater projector performance - Other
Two things have changed dramatically in the transition from the AE700u to the AE900u projector: There is a brand new learning remote, and Panasonic has finally updated the menus. The menus on the older machine were downright embarrassing, for as someone pointed out, they looked like what you would expect to find in a 1990 camcorder - all caps, extremely plain (and not exceptionally well organized.
Let's look first at this new remote. First let me point out that I did not have time to try the learning and programming features. I will get back to that in mid-October, when I return for a long overdue vacation.
At the top are the Projector's power button, a System power button (that for now I'll assume will power up/down other programmed devices, and on the right, the Light button.
The remote is bright enough, unlike many backlit remotes which just aren't bright enough to be easily read.
The next section is for learning, and for controlling devices like DVD players, cable boxes etc. (But no numeric keypad - just a Channel Up/Down).
Then comes the arrow keys with the Menu, Projector and Return buttons.
Further down is the shutter (video mute), buttons for the various inputs, aspect ratio setting, PC mode (sorry, didn't get to that) and MemLoad, for loading your user settings.
Lastly are the buttons for adjusting the picture, which bring up the main menu, the Advanced menu and CCM Cinema Color Management, which brings up various profiles.
I almost forgot, the display shows what device you are working with, and other functions are displayed, relating to the learning features, etc.
That brings us to the menus. The Panasonic PT-AE900u projector as great looking and well
laid out menus.
The Main picture menu has most of the classic controls - brightness, contrast, tint, and the like. Also there are the off/on for the dynamic Iris, Noise reduction, Cinema Reality mode (off/on), and color temperature. Lastly you can save and load user preferences.
Calibrating your projector, you'll love the Advanced menu, with separate gamma settings for low, mid and bright, and separate contrast and brightness each, for Red, Green, and Blue. Looks like a serious calibration can be done without having to mess with the "service menus" where we aren't supposed to visit.
Lot's of different items here, from controlling the on screen display (including position), but also front/back/ceiling/table position. In addition, you can control fan speed for high altitude (or very warm rooms), and lamp brightness.
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Projector Lamp Life:
The manual indicates that lamp life is 2700 hours in full power, with the Iris on. (which dims the lamp as needed, so with Iris off (why?) the lamp life is probably lower.
Choosing a projection screen
The projector looks great on most screens. I viewed it with different types of content, on my 128" diagonal Stewart Firehawk (light gray surface, high contrast, and a gain of 1.35). The Panasonic projector in full power mode looks just fine on that large a screen. I would feel comfortable recommending the Panasonic even on a 1.0 gain screen (no gain) on sizes to 110" diagonal. Of course the darker your walls, the brighter your projector will look!
If you go 92" or less, you'll probably run the projector a low power, or, go with a darker gray screen, to enhance the blacks.
I can't recall the claim, but it has to be down around 22-23db - in full power mode. It is the quietest projector I have tested to date, quieter than the BenQ PE7700 and the Optoma H78DC3. Noise - is not an issue, period!