Projector Reviews

Under $5000 1080p Home Theater Projectors 2

Panasonic PT-AE1000U Home Theater Projector

It really was hard not to give the PT-AE1000U top honors, or the Runner-up spot. Why, you ask? Price/Performance. First and foremost, the PT-AE1000U is definitely the least expensive 1080p projector out there. It started with a $3995 MAP (minimum advertised price), and while discounting is very limited below that, there is currently a $400 rebate. That tends to set the Panasonic’s street price a good $500 below any other 1080p projector.

So, why didn’t it get top honors? Simply, because, I ultimately concluded that “pure” performance in this class is more important than price/performance. Afterall, people are spending twice as much or more (than a 720p projector) for 1080p. You are paying for more performance. One could argue, that from a price performance standpoint, people should, for the time being, stick with the much lower priced 720p projectors (more bang for the bucks), And that’s why our final decision turned out the way it did.

Thanks to Panasonic’s SmoothScreen Technology, this LCD projector has the least visible pixels of any projector on the market, LCD, DLP, or even LCOS, and that’s saying something. There is a tradeoff, however, with the Panasonic also having perhaps the softest looking image. Image quality overall, is very, very good, and it is always a pleasing projector to view. Of particular note, it is more forgiving on good old regular low definition TV, than most other projectors. It offers superb placement flexibility.

The Panasonic is a projector that is probably the Toyota Camry of 1080p projectors, very good overall, but lacking the pure performance of, say a BMW. Like the other projectors in this class, it is not very bright, and normally should be limited to screens no more than 110″ diagonal, and preferably a bit smaller. Like the Camry, it is a product that most people can own, and fully enjoy, and recommend to their friends, but those seeking absolute performance will likely end up elsewhere. Still if budget is an issue, keep in mind, it is an excellent projector for $500 – $1000 below the closest 1080p competition, and unless you sit there, like me, doing side by side comparisions, I doubt you’ll have any issue at all with the PT-AE1000U home theater projector.