Sharpness

Not bad, but still “average” Panasonic uses it’s patented SmoothScreen technology to make pixel structures a lot less visible – effectively, completely invisible with this 1080p projector, at anything approaching normal seating distance.

Panasonic, like many, if not most, home theater projectors these days, provides not only a standard sharpness control but dynamic sharpness abilities as well. I played with their Detail control at it’s default +2 setting, and it adds very little detectable sharpness, but also adds almost no noticeable artifacts.

I pushed it up and tried settings 3,4 and 5 (out of 7). Three I found usable, with a bit more crispness to the image, but a slightly noticeable jump in “noise”. 4 and 5 settings respectively increase the crispness of the image, but also start adding a fair amount of noise (artifacts).

From a practicle standpoint, I would suggest using either 2 or 3. I found 4 to be a little two noisy. To put this in perspective, using the 4 setting, seemed to be a touch more noisy than when I used the Epson UB projector with their two settings at 1 and 2 (Super-resolution), respectively. Thus, 4, you’ll probably like for sports, but many will avoid using that much for movies.

For your consideration, our usual close up images

Top left: Panasonic PT-AE4000, Top Left Center – JVC DLA-RS25, Top Right Center – Planar PD8150, Top right – Mitsubishi HC7000

2nd row left: Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, left center: Sanyo PLV-Z3000, right center: Optoma HD8000, right: InFocus IN83

Note, starting with this review, now that my DTS test disc died, for this sharpness demo, we will be using a closeup of the PS3 system screen, showing the Video icon

Panasonic PT-AE4000: Bottom Line Sharpness

Very typical in sharpness, overall. As I said, just average sharpness. You can definitely get a sharper appearing image from a number of DLP projectors (including the lower cost Mitsubishi HC3800. Of the 3LCD projectors the more expensive Mitsubishi HC7000, and similarly priced Sanyo PLV-Z3000 are a touch sharper. The Epson Home Cinema 8100 and 8500UB are, on the other hand, very similar to the PT-AE4000. You can use the dynamic sharpness related control to add more twinkle in someone’s eye, etc. to create a slightly sharper looking image, but most of these other projectors can also do the same, and some of those start out a little sharper to begin with.

 

Click Image to Enlarge

So far, we refer to all 1080p projectors as either average, or “sharper still”

All that said, when watching movie content (film based) there won’t be a great, obvious difference (at normal viewing distances) between the Panasonic and most of the “sharper still projectors. It’s when you switch to pure digital content (like all that eye candy on Discovery HD, or a good HDTV sporting event, where the difference appears greater.

I do like the Panasonic’s dynamic controls, and would recommend using them at least a little, for your digital content. Play with the settings, figure out what you like. I find such controls, on the PT-AE4000, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, JVC RS20/25, and other projectors to be of definite benefit, at least some of the time. I found my older JVC RS1 to be softer than I like. JVC’s detail enhancement settings added to the RS20 and RS25, by comparison definitely come in handy for my sports viewing, in particular.

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