We seem to have made great strides in overall picture quality since last year. This new crop of lower cost 1080p projectors, including the Panasonic, the Sanyo, and the Mitsubishi, all are definitely superior to the first crop last year. Not night and day, but, better. Better, and a bit less expensive.
Panasonic PT-AE2000U - HDTV Sources
Since this new Panasonic offers a step up in brightness from the older model, it now has the horsepower to do HDTV, sports, etc. on medium sized screens, with some ambient light around. I spent Saturday watching a couple of college football games, with modest room lighting, and the projector looked just fine at 110" diagonal in normal mode, and was quite happy at about 125" diagonal in Dynamic mode, on my Firehawk screen. (Of course Dynamic mode isn't as natural looking, but the crew that came over to watch, ultimately preferred the extra room light and Dynamic over the Normal mode).
Here are a number of varied HDTV images, with the first one repeated 3 times, all with the same camera exposure, first is Dynamic mode, then Normal mode (ideal), and finally Cinema 3, which has the right color temp, but is probably best saved for HDTV movies, as it is darker. Again, all are at the same exposure so you can appreciate the difference in brightness. Note also, that Cinema 3 and Cinema 1, though different color temperatures are about the same brightness.
OK, remember, I will add images and replace a few in early December, once the full production PT-AE2000U arrives.
Next up, General Performance, - everything from Menus and Remote Control, to Brightness, Measurements and Adjustments, and Screen recommendations.