Panasonic PT-AE900u Home Theater Projector - Who Should Buy-4

October 19, 2005

AE900u Image Quality and Color vs Competition

The Panasonic PT-AE900u really shines here. The color faithfulness, "out of the box" is the best of all the projectors we tested. Reds are red, blues blue, etc., and flesh tones are impressively good, without any adjustment. Overall, there is a just a slight emphasis on yellow, which is very easy to correct, with an inexpensive calibration disk (that any non-technical person can use). To maximize your enjoyment, I recommend doing that calibration. By comparison, the BenQ PE7700 also has good out of box color, making only the 900u and the BenQ that do a good enough job with out calibration to be reasonably faithful, whereas the Sanyo Z4, Optoma HD72, and Epson all, in my opinion need that calibration before they are accurate enough to properly enjoy.

There is another important aspect, referred to as black levels, "blacker blacks", and shadow detail. All these projectors, including the PTAE900u, cannot do a true black. Their attempt comes out dark gray (true also of plasma displays and lcd displays). Some get closer to black than others, and that means you can see more details in areas that are very dark. Until recently the DLP projectors have had a significant advantage. The 900u and other new LCD's though use advanced "AI" technology to close the gap, and it is now a pretty even competition among these projectors. Only the Sony does a noticeably better job, until you get to $3000 DLP projectors

Summary: Is the Panasonic AE900u the right projector for you?

If price is a key factor, the 900u is pretty much the least expensive, current, hi-def 720p resolution home theater projector on the market, with only the Sanyo Z4 being roughly the same price. Everything else is at least a couple hundred more. The 900u offers close to the best room placement flexibility, and by virtue of minimal screen door effect, lets you sit closer to your screen than any other LCD projector in the group. On top of all that, the PTAE900u image is pretty sharp, and colors are the best out of the box. No wonder the 900u is the best selling projector in its class.

And, the 900u will work in just about anyone's room thanks to its placement flexibility.

If you need the brightest projector though, because you can't darken the room enough, look to the Optoma HD72, instead of the 900u, if your room placement supports it.

If you demand the absolute sharpest image (remember, these are not big differences), consider either the similarly priced Sanyo Z4, or the far more expensive Sony HS51A, remember though, that these are the two least bright home theater projectors in this class, that I've tested, and both are more in need of a good calibration.

If we were talking about cars, I might say that the Panasonic PT-AE900u home theater projector is the Toyota Camry, or Honda Accord of the field. Well designed, a good value overall, no serious deficiencies, and highly enjoyed by its owners. As an added bonus, unlike these two cars, the Panasonic is pretty much the least expensive in its field.

As a parting note, to make your home theater experience the most enjoyable and stress free, I recommend you not quibble over the last few dollars when choosing a dealer. Find a dealer that knows their stuff, has good policies, and can also advise you on the right screen, and recommend good performance cables. Spending a bit extra on better Digital (DVI or HDMI cables) will improve the image quality of the Panasonic AE900u or any good projector.

The Panasonic PT-AE900u, is just as deserving of its Hot Product Award today, as when released. Hopefully this projector comparison has helped you decide if the 900u is the best home theater projector for you. -art

To read the full PT-AE900u review click here:
The Full PTAE900u Review

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