Projector Reviews

Home Theater Projector Report: PT-AE8000U: Best In Class – Special Award

1080p Home Theater Projectors, Our Award Winners:

Class: Medium Priced 1080p Home Theater Projectors: $2000 – $3500

Best in Class, Special Interest: Panasonic PT-AE8000U

Check out the Projector Reviews TV:  Video Summary of the Panasonic PT-AE8000The Viewsonic Pro8200 projector earns our Special Interest Award

The Viewsonic Pro8200 projector earns our Special Interest Award

The PT-AE8000U is a bit of an enigma.  It is truly a feature laden projector.  Yet the projector seems to have two personalities.

When you consider the feature set, you might quickly think here’s a projector for the hard core enthusiast/hobbiest.  It’s got all kinds of things for such folks to tinker with, and often, put to good use.

Gadgets abound. for the tinkerer, there’s the impressive Waveform generator that has been in the PT-AE series for several years. I rarely mess with it (I let Mike calibrate everything – I’m still “retired” of that type of tweaking). And there’s the split screen viewing (great feature) for when you are modifying the color settings.

On the other hand, the PT-AE8000 is very civilized.  This projector will also appeal to the “turn it on and enjoy it” crowd..  Zoom and focus are motorized. Panasonic’s Lens Memory allows one to own a true “wide screen” 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 “Cinemascope” or anamorphic shape, as some call it. Truly a great feature, and one that both of our winners – Epson and Sony, both lack. Also for those that like CFI which all the projectors in this class have, the Panasonic is perhaps the closest to having a CFI that’s not noticeable when watching traditional movie content.  Kudos for that!

People, more than anything else, it’s the the Lens Memory feature thar really earns the PT-AE8000U our Special Interest award.  If you want that wide screen, and don’t want to drop a whole pile more money on a JVC X35, this is the best player in the group.

Although black levels are ultra-high contrast, they are not a match for the class winners.

Brightness for 3D is a tie with the Epson projectors, and that makes this Panasonic about as bright as you can get for 3D these days, a major strength compared to other excellent projectors considered.  Of the projectors with Lens Memory – this Panasonic and the JVC X35/RS46, the Panasonic is roughly twice as bright, a huge 3D advantage.

Panasonic’s PT-AE000 is a very well balanced home theater projector, with excellent color, great (but definitely not the best), black level performance in the price range, and really good 3D. It’s user friendly, with its motorized features and well designed menus.

I really like the extra fancy features of the Panasonic, but my personal taste – focused on picture quality, especially black level performance had to put this excellent projector in a lower award than the similar but to my taste, better picture of the Epson, notably on dark scenes.

Gadget freaks should really like this PT-AE8000, while at the same time, it appeals to the “no hassle crowd” that wants to turn it on and watch, not fiddle.

I guess you could say that the PT-AE8000 serves not one, but two Special Interest groups. First there are those needing Lens Memory.  Then there’s those looking for lots of features, and a family room type location where there’s less need for “best in class” black level performance.  Since in the family room black levels aren’t quite so important, consider the PT-AE8000 to be more closely competitive in a non-theater environment when compared to to this Class’es top award winners.