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Panasonic PT-AE900u Home Theater Projector - Who Should Buy-3

Posted on September 19, 2005 by Art Feierman

PT-AE900u Brightness and Sharpness

Brightness - Home theater projectors like the PT-AE900u are meant to be used in near or fully darkened rooms for watching movies, and can handle some ambient light for watching HDTV, TV, or video games. The Panasonic 900u isn't the brightest projector in its class, rather its about average, however, the difference in brightness from one projector to the next, while significant, isn't drastic. The PTAE900u is brighter than the Sanyo, or the Sony, close to the BenQ, and definitely not as bright as the Optoma HD72, or the Epson Cinema 550. If you really need the brightest projector of the group, but are limited in dollars, that would be the HD72.

Sharpness and Screen Door Effect- There is something called the Screen Door Effect, that is present to some degree on all home theater projectors. Typically it is much greater on LCD projectors, than DLP projectors. It effectively limits how close you can sit to a screen of any particular size, without a certain type of distortion becoming annoying. The Panasonic AE900u is the exception, it is an LCD projector with, by far, the least issue with Screen Door, than any other we have tested. In fact, it's virtually as good as the DLP projectors, a real plus. The 900u's sharpness does seem to pay a slight price for the ability to sit 25-35% closer than with other LCD projectors. This is a good trade off. Sharpness overall is good on DVD and very good on HDTV. DVD sharpness ( as these are all pretty close on HDTV), is not as sharp as the Sanyo, or the Sony, close to the Optoma and BenQ, and sharper than the Epson.

As to the seating distance, with the Panasonic AE900u, you can sit as close as 1.1 times your screen width and not suffer from Screen Door. To give you an idea, by comparison, we recommend almost 1.5 times screen width for the Sanyo, and slightly less than 1.5 for the Sony and Epson. The DLP's all allow you to get just slightly closer to the projector screen, than the 900u.

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