Mitsubishi HC3800 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Ahh! Very interesting, but the PT-AE3000 is pretty much history, and the PT-AE4000 is coming soon, but not reviewed. Fundamentally, although the PT-AE4000 is improved, both old and new share the same differences with the HC3800. The Panasonic projectors are 3LCD. They will definitely have a softer image, in part because the HC3800 is a very sharp DLP, and partially because Panasonic uses their SmoothScreen Technology, to make pixels essentially invisible, but sharpness while respectable is a little soft by comparison to the HC3800.
I describe the Panasonic as rather film-like, but it's got nothing on the HC3800 in that regard. Where the real difference is, is the black levels. They are a definite step up (to the AE3000) and likely more to the AE4000. It's enough difference to really matter. As a bonus, the Panasonic has creative frame interpolation, and their Lens Memory feature for those that want to go with 2.35:1 screens for no letterboxing on Cinemascope movies.
Placement flexibility also favors the Panasonic. But the older Panasonic isn't a match for the Mitsubishi HC3800 projector, which has almost twice the lumens in best mode. The newer Panasonic is reported to be brighter, but still short of the HC3800.
Movie fanatics likely will favor the Panasonic thanks to the black level performance, but the Panasonic has nothing on the HC3800 when it comes to other aspects of picture quality including skin tones, and overall color handling. The Panasonic, though, is a feature laden projector, more bells and whistles than almost anything else around. Hard to resist.
The PT-AE4000 launches at $1999 in the US, and will likely street price for $500 - $600 more. I should be reviewing it in a few weeks of this writing. For my take on how it stacks up to this Mitsubishi projector, check the competitive section of that review.