HD1000U Black levels and shadow detail
As you are probably familiar, one of the challenges of a good home theater projector is to handle blacks well. None of the current technologies (except CRT) can actually project a true black (that would be projecting no light at all) LCD, DLP and LCOS technologies differ, in how close to black they can do, with DLP being the reigning champ, and LCD and LCOS a step down in this critical area. Fortunately today's non DLP projectors and also a number of DLP home theater projectors, use other advanced techniques, such as frame by frame, AI, and opening and closing of an iris in the lens, or brightening or dimming the lamp, frame by frame, to improve overall black levels. This has made some LCD projectors come out with amazing specs, but they cannot consistently lower the black levels to that of the better DLP projectors.
Unlike its more expensive sibling, the HC3000, the HD1000U home theater projector lacks a dynamic iris, and this results in a lower contrast rating (2500:1). Until all that AI, and dynamic irises and lamps, the contrast rating was a pretty consistent indication of black levels, but that is no longer true. 2500:1 is typical of DLP projectors using the Darkchip2 DLP chip (virtually every DLP projector shipping in the US for less than $2500).
After providing you with all that background, let me say that the HD1000U surprised me in its overall performance relating to black levels and shadow detail. Black levels were good overall, whether or not the scene you would be watching has bright areas or not. (Bright areas affect all those fancy adjustments). Not stellar, but perfectly acceptable for most people. Matching it with the right screen, takes black level performance up a notch, for those who want to focus on this aspect of the picture.
More importantly, the shadow detail was excellent. In this case, it definitely beat out the more expensive Panasonic. If you go back to the comparison image above, and click on the larger view, look to the dark areas for detail, the HD1000U will reveal slightly more than the PT-AX100U.