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Panasonic PT-AE2000U Home Theater Projector Preview

By Art Feierman
Panasonic's PT-AE1000U, shortly to be replaced by the PT-AE2000U has been an excellent performer, with perhaps the most film-like picture quality ever, from a 3LCD projector. With the launch of the PT-AE2000U, Panasonic has addressed, at least the two "major" shortcomings of the older home theater projector. Overall, the PT-AE1000U looks like the older version, but there are changes "under the hood", for improved performance.

The PT-AE2000U should be significantly brighter, with Panasonic rating it at 1500 lumens, a dramatic jump from the 1000 lumen rating of the AE1000U.

Then, there is the Smooth Screen Technology, which makes pixel structure virtually undetectable, a real plus for LCD projectors, but, with a downside. The PT-AE1000U definitely produced a slightly softer image than the other 1080p home theater projectors out there, including the main competition, the Epson Home Cinema 1080 and the Mitsubishi HC5000, not to mention the new Sanyo PLV-Z2000 which will ship at the same time as the AE2000U.

Click to enlarge. SO close

This time around, Panasonic has added enhanced "clarity" control, a dynamic image sharpening system, that selectively analyses the entire image and sharpens areas that it believes need some extra help. Can't wait to see if there is a significant difference in perceived sharpness between the two projectors.

Of course the PT-AE2000U has the 2:1 power zoom lens, and vertical and horizontal len shift. Contrast has been "upped" to 16,000:1, and I believe they are wisely referring to it as "dynamic contrast", indicating that, it is the maximum contrast, possible, but contrast will vary greatly from scene to scene, as is true of all projectors with dynamic irises or dynamic lamp control.

Click Image to Enlarge

The basic specs for the Panasonic PT-AE2000U are

MSRP: $4995.00
Technology: 3LCD
Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 1500 lumens
Contrast: 16,000:1
HDMI Support: 3 HDMI 1.3 inputs
Lens: 2:1 zoom (from 10.2 feet to 19.8 feet, to fill a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen)
Lens Shift: Allows 100% vertical shift (anywhere from even with top of screen, to even with bottom), 40% horizontal (using both limits the range of both).
Noise levels: Not Published yet, but the older model was extremely quiet

Panasonic also claims to have improved on their CMS (color management system). The one on the PT-AE1000U was extensive, and extremely well implemented, probably the most complete I have seen, including its own waveform generator. The improvements should be interesting.

I could go on, but I'll let you glean other details from the press release below. Also our spec page should be up about the same time as this page, and that should also have a link to the PT-AE2000U brochure.

Panasonic PT-AE2000U Home Theater Projector: Press Release


New PT-AE2000U Delivers Powerful Theater Viewing Experience, Outstanding 1,500 Lumen Brightness, 10,000:1 Contrast Ratio, and Professional-Level Tuning Features

Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) EXPO – DENVER, Colo., (Booth #825) – September 5, 2007 – Panasonic Projector Systems Company, Unit of Panasonic Corporation of North America, today announced the debut of its newest LCD home theater projector with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) native resolution:  the PT-AE2000U.  Designed for savvy home theater enthusiasts and audio video professionals who desire an immersive home entertainment viewing experience, the new projector delivers 1080p images with a carefully-tuned lens system to reproduce remarkable detail and clarity with 1,500 lumen brightness and 10,000:1 contrast ratio.

The new PT-AE2000U model is the next evolution of its predecessor, the PT-AE1000U, which has been widely accepted and used to display professional movies.  The new projector reproduces the original picture quality intended by Hollywood movie and television directors – all within the comfort of consumers’ home theaters.

Beautiful Picture Quality with Improved Clarity
The PT-AE2000U model comes equipped with Panasonic’s new optical system that’s designed to display beautifully detailed images with a captivating brightness of 1,500 lumens.  Careful craftsmanship is incorporated into each individual optical system by highly skilled technicians to fully optimize the image for full high definition (HD) resolution.  The projector’s new Detail Clarity Processor analyzes frequency characteristics of each frame in three dimensions (horizontal, vertical, and along the time axis) and applies necessary sharpness at varying degrees to create natural, life-like images with exceptional clarity.

"Continuing our close collaboration with leading Hollywood colorists and image experts, we’ve taken our projector technology to the next level to meet the growing demand for high-definition home entertainment content,” said Thomas Zitelli, president of Panasonic Projector Systems Company.  “For home theater connoisseurs and audio video professionals who desire the richest colors and the best image quality, our new PT-AE2000U LCD projector enables viewers to easily enjoy movie theater-quality entertainment at home.”

The PT-AE2000U projector reproduces Hollywood movies, independent films and other entertainment with exceptional color accuracy.  Its enhanced unique Pure Color Filter Pro uses optical adjustment to achieve a higher purity level of the three primary colors; it also helps displays deeper, purer blacks.  The color space has been extended even more to match the approximate level specified in the digital cinema industry.

The new projector also incorporates Panasonic’s well-known Smooth Screen technology that reduces the black lines between pixels that mar picture quality.  The technology has been tuned together with the new full-HD optical unit, allowing consumers to enjoy vibrant, smooth images found in commercial movie theaters.  In addition, Panasonic’s original Dynamic Iris has also been improved for further stability and response by controlling the iris speed at finer increments to help reproduce darker blacks and brighter whites.

The image processing system has been improved dramatically, with a maximum of 16 bit digital signal processing making it possible to reproduce subtle hues and brightness variations faithfully with greater smoothness.  Furthermore, the projector also incorporates next-generation, full high definition LCD panels (C2Fine D7TM)1, which are characterized by inorganic alignment layer and vertically aligned liquid crystals for enhanced black level performance.

Professional-Level Features

The new LCD projector also comes equipped with professional-level features that let users personalize the images they see on the screen. First, the projector’s Split Adjust mode allows users to split the screen into two halves, one to make picture adjustments and one to see those adjustments as a baseline reference.  Second, the PT-AE2000U’s waveform monitor – seen mostly on professional video and film equipment – measures the level of brightness output from a given video signal source. This feature also now automatically verifies that the source device is outputting at full dynamic range, and quickly makes adjustments to optimize it for your home theater setting. Users can easily see a graphical representation of any changes made to the unit’s color settings.

In addition, the Cinema Color Management feature helps color correct approximately 1,070,000,000 different colors for a more refined, customized control of individual colors — closely representing the process used by Hollywood’s motion picture color correction specialists.  The PT-AE2000U also incorporates picture modes demanded by film production studios to help them with production and post-production activities.  You can now store up to eighteen personalized settings with customized names.

Ease of Use

The PT-AE2000U is now equipped with three HDMI  inputs2, so you can connect multiple HD sources without a HDMI switcher. Set-up and installation are a snap with the PT-AE2000U projector’s 2x powered zoom and its wide lens shift range.  Thanks to both features, the new model can cast a 120-inch diagonal image from as little as 3.6 meters (about 11 feet) to 7 meters (24 feet) from the screen.  The new projector’s lens shift capability enables full, 100 percent vertical adjustment and 40 percent horizontal adjustment so that viewers can suspend the projector close to the ceiling in a stylish fashion, or conveniently place the projector on a book shelf.

The projector’s lens-centered design and maintenance features, such as the replaceable side filter and top lamp, make the ceiling mount very easy to install. The PT-AE2000U’s jet black color and sleek cabinet design also fit well in home theater environments, and its universal remote control enables viewers to easily control their entire home theater system from one device.

The Panasonic PT-AE2000U LCD home theater projector will be available starting in October at authorized presentation systems dealers. Pricing will be announced at CEDIA 2007. =

About Panasonic Projector Systems Company
Panasonic Projector Systems Company is a prominent supplier of projectors and presentation systems in the United States.  It is a unit of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE:MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations.  For more information on Panasonic Projector Systems products, visit the company’s Web site.

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