Projector Reviews

Panasonic PT-AE1000U Projector Review – General Performance

PT-AE1000U Projector Menus

The PT-AE1000U uses the same basic menu structure found on other recent Panasonic home theater projectors. There are four main menus, with the bulk of the “action” on two of them, the Picture menu, which controls almost everything relating to color handling, preset modes, and, brightness and contrast. In addition most of the dynamic controls – iris, Cinema Reality, etc. are located. Also found on the first Picture menu is the sharpness control, Memory Save, and access to the Advanced (Picture) menu.

One interesting feature is Panasonic’s Waveform monitor which I’ll touch on, in the Calibration section below.

If you select the Advanced Menu, there are separate Red, Green, and Blue controls for Contrast and Brightness. There are also separate controls for Gamma (High, Mid, and Low).

Also found on the Advanced menu is the Color Management setup, and two noise reduction features, one for general image noise, and the second for motion (MPEG) noise reduction. For my viewing I had Noise Reduction on, and MPEG noise reduction off.

Last on the menu is the Cinema Reality off/on option. Cinema Reality relates to support for 24 frame per second content. Normally you will want this on.

The Position Menu (not shown), allows you, among other things to choose from multiple aspect ratio settings, including 4:3, 16:9, as well as several “zoom” settings. You can also control vertical and horizontal positioning, although of greater interest is the vertical position, which, could allow you to eliminate letter-box bars at top and bottom, if you have a motorized screen and limit the drop. You can then only show the shape for Cinemascope (2.35:1) instead of 16:9. Then move the image up on the screen so the top of the actual content is even with the screen top, and the bottom of the movie even with the bottom. The end result – no letterbox. Whether many with such a screen will even bother, is a big question, but the Panasonic supports this, as do many other projectors, including all the Optoma home theater models.

The third menu- Language – allows you to choose your favorite language for the menus. (not shown).

The fourth menu is the Lens menu – which controls focus and zoom. When you select this you get a white background image filling the screen, with horizontal and vertical bars to help you get the best focus.

Lastly, is the Options menu. Most notable is the lamp power (Normal or low power – eco). Other options include those for the menus, including look and position, whether the projector when turned on, goes to the last input source, or searches through all inputs until it finds a live one. There is a sleep feature, for conserving lamp life. There is also a high altitude option (runs the fan faster), and the usual orientation (ceiling/floor/front/rear).

Overall, I really like the menu layout, especially in that you can see most of your controls on the main Picture menu. I still wonder, howeverwhy Panasonic and most other manufacturers refuse to put the lamp brightness mode on the Picture menu, with the other most heavily used features. Still, that’s hardly a real negative.