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Panasonic PT-AX200U Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance

Posted on October 27, 2007 by Art Feierman

Before we get started with the various topics here, I want to discuss some of the PT-AX200U's special features.

Dynamic Iris: Panasonic's Dynamic Iris, which you normally want on for movie watching, is multi-functional. It not only dynamically adjusts the lens' iris frame by frame, but also controls lamp brightness dynamically, and according to the literature, adjusts the gamma on the fly, as well.

Light Harmonizer 2: If engaged, this will adjust the image as room lighting changes. Someone turns on a light, and the picture adapts. I barely spent any time with this, and didn't find it annoying. Most of us won't have significant lighting changes while watching normally, so I don't know how valuable it is to most people. It is an interesting feature that some may like.

Panasonic PT-AX200U Game Mode:

This is what Panasonic has been hyping about the PT-AX200U. It has been optimized for gaming (in addition to movies and TV).

Thanks to special processing any lag time is minimized.

Equally important, gamma and color tables are in place to solve the problem of images being way too dark. A great many of today's games, from the Halo to the Resident Evil, and everything in between, are very dark. Since projectors aren't as bright as say a regular TV or Plasma, the darker part of scenes tends to get way too dark, and detail is lost. Panasonic has addressed this, and has demonstrated the difference at CEDIA. No question about it, those game scenes with areas too dark to make out, in other modes, are very watchable in Game mode.

Panasonic provides these images to show their claimed difference. One image from the PT-AX200U, the other, typical of the competition:

Panasonic Competitors

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus

The main image control menu is the Picture menu, shown here. The Picture Mode menu, lets you select from a wide range of presets for movie viewing, TV, and dynamic modes designed to cut through rather impressive amounts of ambient light. (Vivid Cinema, Cinema 1, Cinema 2, Natural, Normal, Game, and Dynamic.)

In addition, there are the usual brightness, contrast, color, tint, sharpness, and color temperature. There are other color management options as well.

Of note, there is also the Light Harmonizer function, where the sensor on the top of the projector adjusts many of the picture attributes to compensate for different ambient light levels.

From the Picture menu, you can select the Advanced menu, shown here. This is the area where we perform our grayscale adjustments.

There is the Position menu which handles adjustments to computer images if the auto sync isn't perfect, and other functions as well. The Function menu lets you assign one function to the programmable "Favorite" key on the PT-AX200U's remote control. When you select the Function menu, you can choose from any of the seven Presets, for the Function button (Cinema 1, Dynamic, etc, or any of about a dozen other functions including different sources, light harmonizer, or a favorite saved setting).

There is also the usual Language menu for selecting your favorite language for the menus.

That brings us to our last menu, the Option menu, which, like the Picture Menu, contains a number of important controls. It lets you control position of the menus, and their translucency, the background color when there is no source signal, and allows you to place a startup logo (Bob's Theater?) You can also set whether the projector will start back up selecting the last source used, or to auto scan for active sources.

But most importantly, you set the orientation (front, rear, ceiling, table), the auto sleep function (shuts off the projector if no source), and, of course, lamp power, either full power, or eco-mode. There is also a test pattern option.

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus Slideshow

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus

Picture Menu

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus

Light Harmonizer settings

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus

Color Management

Panasonic PT-AX200U Menus

Option Menu

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