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Panasonic PT-AE1000U 1080p Home Theater Projector Review

Posted on November 29, 2006 by Art Feierman
Update 12/16/06: We received a second review unit, and it performed much better than the original pre-production projector written about here. Please be sure to read the Update, as it sheds important new light on this projector.  In fact, the 2nd PT-AE1000U has caused us to reconsider our overall opinion, and we have now awarded this Panasonic projector our Hot Product Award!

Specs Preview

Panasonic PT-AE1000U Specs
Price 5995
Technology 3LCD
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 1100
Contrast 10,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 2:1
Lens Shift Yes
Lamp Life 2000 hours full power, 3000 lumens eco-mode
Weight 15.9 lbs
Warranty 1 year

It's fall 2006 and the first crop of "affordable" (under $10,000) projectors with native 1080p resolution, are hitting the market. With a half dozen announced or shipping so far, none has garnered more interest than Panasonic's new PT-AE1000U. Don't let the "under $10,000" scare you off, as most are selling from under $4000 and $7000.

There are three primary reasons. First, brand recognition, the PT-AE1000U home theater projector's lower cost sibling, the PT-AX100U (720p resolution), is almost certainly the best selling under $2000 home theater projector, and has an excellent reputation, as have its predecessors. Second, the PT-AE1000U provides excellent color handling out of the box, which will provide a very satisfying image on your screen, without needing to calibrate or "tweak" its settings. Finally, and perhaps even more important, the PT-AE1000U projector comes to market as the the least expensive of the new 1080p projectors.

As is usual, the Panasonic, being LCD based, offers a tremendous amount of placement flexibility, even more than the other new LCD driven 1080p projectors, and far, far more versatility in this regard, then the DLP entries.

The image above, and the one immediately below are from Starship Troopers (standard DVD). You may click on either for a larger image.

Although the PT-AE1000U has a $5999 MSRP, more significant, is its MAP pricing (MAP = Minimum Advertised Price). MAP pricing, at least on the Internet - pretty much ends up being the normal selling price, with some dealers discounting slightly below MAP, in conjunction with other equipment, etc. In the case of Panasonic's new 1080p home theater projector, the PT-AE1000U has a MAP of only $3999, placing it a full $500 less than its closest competition, the Mitsubishi HC5000 home theater projector, recently reviewed. Other 1080p projectors recently shipping, include Optoma's HD81 (DLP) with a $6995 MAP (making it the most expensive of the group), BenQ's W10000 (our next review) with a $5995 MAP) - also a DLP projector - and Sony's VPL-VW50, (SXRD technology - Sony's name for their LCOS technology). A sixth projector - a new JVC (also using LCOS) is scheduled to ship in February, with a $6995 MAP price.

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