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Panasonic PT-AX200U home theater projector: Sharpness

Posted on October 27, 2007 by Art Feierman

Panasonic PT-AX200U home theater projector: Sharpness

Last year, Panasonic introduced their Smooth Screen technology. Without getting into the technical aspects, the end result is that the pixel structure of the LCD panels, normally definitely more visible than that of DLP projectors, tends to cause some "screendoor effect" for those sitting on the close side of normal to their screens. You can almost always see the pixel structure on titling, credits, and signage, as well as large bright stationary areas, like cloulds. With the PT-AX200U, pixels are noticeably far less visible than even DLP projectors. In solving this one problem, however, there is a price, and that is a slight softness to the PT-AX200U's image. How soft is it?

Not bad at all, in fact, comparable to many of the DLP projectors out there. By comparison, other LCD projectors seem sharper, but many of us acknowledge that that perceived sharpness, isn't revealing more detail, but is an impression associated with the pixel structure being slightly visible or just below visibility with other LCD projectors.

DTS disk start screen in Panasonic PT-AX200U
DTS disk start screen in Mitsubishi HC1500 (DLP)
DTS disk start screen in BenQ W500 (LCD)

Our next image is from Aeon Flux, Blu-Ray. Please note the sharpness in her eyes, and in the strands of her hair:

Our last sharpness image is a close-up of this computer monitor from Space Cowboys on Blu-ray. You can click for larger images to compare the readability,

When you are viewing 1080 sources, none of the 720p projectors can match the detail and sharpness of a 1080p projector, but then, that's why 1080p projectors start at over double the price of the PT-AX200U

Click Image to Enlarge

Bottom line: The Panasonic PT-AX200U is on the soft side for a 720p projector, but not much different than the typical DLP competitor. The LCD competition definitely looks a bit sharper, most notably the Sanyo PLV-Z5 and the Epson Home Cinema 400, but there is a major trade-off. Both of the LCD competitors mentioned, do have slightly visible pixels, detectable on some scenes, such as those with signage. By comparison, the Panasonic never reveals any pixels or screendoor effect, giving the Panasonic a less hard looking, and more film-like image.

The PT-AX200U
The BenQ W500 projector
The Mitsubishi HC6000 (LCD)

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