performance and price of the new line of LCD projectors have made the
large screen cinematic experience available to anyone with the appropriate
room size. Panasonic has long backed LCD technology and their latest PT-AE2000U
1080p projector is an example of just how good the technology has become.
The PT-AE2000U creates some of the most impressive pictures we have seen
in our theater room with feature unheard of just a few years ago. The
new PT-AE2000U incorporates Panasonics Smooth Screen technology
which greatly reduces the black lines between pixels (known as the screen
door effect) that can diminish overall picture brightness. The optics
include 16 Lens elements in 12 groups to produce clear images, free of
distortion and color bleeding. The Dynamic Iris has also been improved
allowing finer gradations and achieving deeper blacks and brighter whites.
The 2.00:1 powered zoom/focus lens, with the manual horizontal and vertical
lens shift, makes it easy to set up. The Pure Color Filter Pro
expands the color gamut to approximately match the level specified by
the digital cinema industry known as SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture
and Television Engineers) DC28 Digital Cinema committees.
all projection systems, room lighting control is essential for optimal
picture quality. Any ambient light hitting the screen will likely affect
picture quality. The PT-AE2000U incorporates next-generation LCD panels
(C2Fine D7TM), which utilize inorganic alignment layers and vertically
aligned liquid crystals for enhanced black level performance. Panasonic
claims 1,500 lumens of brightness with a contrast ratio of 16,000:1. The
PT-AE2000U has an industrial look with its dark gray exterior and squared-off
The PT-AE2000U includes a powerful new digital image processing circuit,
called the Detail Clarity Processor. This video processor analyzes
the frequency of the video signal in each scene and extracts information
based on the distribution of the high, medium, and low-frequency image
components. It then applies appropriate sharpness to each portion of the
image based on the extracted frequency domain information. The result
is greater clarity and sharpness, by reproducing fine nuances that were
lost due to image compression. Panasonic says the resulting images have
a more natural, lifelike expression than those of previous image-processing
methods. The PT-AE2000U handles up to 16-bit digital image processing,
which provides four times the gradation capability of the previous model.
The end result is a picture that faithfully reproduces even subtle hues
and brightness variations to bring out extremely fine image texture and
depth. The color space has been extended to better match the approximate
level specified in the digital cinema industry.
manual lens shift on the PT-AE2000U is very flexible and allows for a
near perfect geometric image on the screen. The alternative is usually
using keystone correction. However, we always avoid using any keystone
adjustments to prevent image artifacts due to the processing required.
Lens shifting is the best way to achieve an optimal picture from non-ideal
mounting locations. In our installation, we some have vertical flexibility,
but are limited horizontally due to the stud placement on our back wall.
The PT-AE2000U has both horizontal and vertical lens shifting allowing
the picture to be offset up to ±100% vertically and up to ±40%
offers a lot of flexibility, producing a 100" image on the screen
from a distance of about 10-feet to 20-feet. Our setup placed the projector
about 12-feet from the screen. Even with the projector overhead, the fan
noise was virtually inaudible. We could hear the noise level increase
when changing modes from low power to normal, but was otherwise quiet.
The PT-AE2000U is a good sized projector measuring 18" W x 12.5"
D x 5" H and weighing a modest 16 pounds. We inverted the projector
and mounted it on the rear ceiling of our theater room using a Peerless
PRG mounting system. We projected the image onto our reference 100"
diagonal 16:9 Stewart FireHawk filmscreen. This screen has worked well
for us and is capable of producing deep black levels with high performance
projectors. We set the lamp power to low, which keeps the black level
in check and reduces the fan noise. The powered zoom and focus allowed
us to dial in the picture while standing right next to the screen with
The rear panel of the PT-AE2000U has a nice selection of interfaces including
three HDMI inputs, two analog composite inputs, RGB/computer, s-video,
and composite video. We found little use for the composite and s-video
inputs since we use an outboard scaler (DVDO HD+) for these type of video
signals. The composite and s-video inputs are fully compatible with NTSC,
PAL or SECAM standards. The component video inputs (YPrPb) use the standard
three RCA jacks. There's also an analog 15-pin D-sub connector. This input
accepts many computer VESA and HD standards from a PC.
connected a 20-meter Vizionware Hi-Wirez HDMI cable from our Sony PlayStation3
directly to the projector's HDMI 1 input. We ran multiple video sources
(analog and digital) to our DVDO iScan HD+ scaler and then sent the video
through a 25-meter Accell 1.3 HDMI cable to the HDMI 3 input on the PT-AE2000U.
The side of the unit has controls for operating the projector, particularly
when it's sitting on a table top where the unit is easily accessible.
Most users will opt to use the remote for convenience. Menu and navigation
buttons are included along with focus and zoom controls. There is also
an input select button that sequences through the video inputs. The side
controls are limited, but gets the job done when not utilizing the IR
The infrared remote supplied with the PT-AE2000U is a full size design
that provides all the basic functionality needed to control the projector.
The backlight works well and the buttons are spaced nicely apart making
it easy to use. At first glance we were disappointed not to see dedicated
input buttons for the projector, but soon found out that the three function
buttons located just below the screen can be defined for any input. In
addition, the dedicated Input button cycles through each of the
inputs on the projector. The user can customize the names (3 characters)
displayed on the LCD screen for each device. The Device button
chooses the component to control whether it be a DVD player, VCR, receiver,
or set-top box. The remote also has the ability to learn IR commands from
any existing remote control using the built-in IR receiver. Standard controls
for DVD players are also included along with channel up/down and volume
+/- buttons. The backlit LCD screen is rather small, yet provides soft
key names for the three buttons just below the display. Several dedicated
buttons are provided for adjusting the picture and for setup purposes.
Six macros can be programmed into the remote, each supporting up to 16
commands to control your home theater system from a single button push.
Delay times can also be programmed in between each of the commands. The
backlighting worked well in our dimly lit theater room.
The PT-AE2000U comes with a built-in waveform monitor that resembles the
test equipment used by professionals. The monitor lets the user tweak
the picture on the screen while examining the input levels coming into
the interface. The user can select the total luminance (Y) or any of the
primary colors (red, green, or blue) to monitor on the screen. All video
lines are shown to give the user a complete picture of the levels being
received by the projector. The waveform monitor displays picture intensity
as a function of time, so the image represent the picture on the screen
with varying intensity. Black is the lower portion of the waveform and
white represent the top of the waveform.
to the all inclusive waveform monitor, an alternate waveform mode displays
the intensity of a single line of video. Here the waveform represents
the image intensity as it moves from the left to the right on the screen.
A faint line on the screen represents the line being monitored. Like the
full waveform monitors, the user can measure total luminance (Y) or any
of the primary colors. These waveform tools can be used to verify that
the source device is outputting at full dynamic range of the projector's
input. This is a great feature that has never been seen in any product
that we have reviewed.
The PT-AE2000U also has a Split Screen Adjust mode that allows the users
to split the screen into two and compare the changes to a baseline picture.
To use this feature, the user needs to freeze the frame and enable the
Split Screen mode. A marker covers the "area of interest"
to be adjusted. The user can adjust color temperature, color saturation,
brightness, contrast, or gamma and see the original next the the image
with the applied changes. Humans are not so good at absolute changes,
but are very sensitive to comparing slight changes when looking at a reference.
One can clearly see if the adjusted picture looks better than the reference
image. This reminds me of the optical comparator that was used by the
Imaging Science Foundation to set the color temperature of the
picture without using a measuring device. The calibrator would try and
match the color temperature using a 6500° K reference.
The PT-AE2000U has a comprehensive and easy to use menu system. Each group
of settings is saved differently for each of the inputs. The Picture
menu has all the options for adjusting the picture quality. Standard controls
for Contrast, Brightness, Color, Tint, Sharpness,
Color Temperature, and Picture Mode are available. The Dynamic
Iris control can also be turned on or off. The Waveform Monitor
and Split Adjust menus aid the user in setting up the projector
as mentioned earlier. The Advanced menu allows the user to adjust the
video setting for optimal picture quality. Up to eighteen personalized
settings with customized names can be saved, loaded, or edited.
We set the projector mode to Color1 and adjusted the color temperature
to the middle setting before we started taking measurements. We began
with the 15-pin D-sub (RGB) input and calibrated the projector using our
Sencore VP300 video generator. Using 1080i video in the RGB/HV mode, we
set the black level and verified the stair step levels on the screen to
ensure we had properly adjusted the display. Using our Sencore CP5000
All-Display Color Analyzer, we measured the color temperature in 10 IRE
increments starting with 20 IRE. The desired 6500 °K setting was very
accurate and deviated no more than ±300 °K across all measured
IRE levels. The Advanced Menu options allow the user to adjust
RGB contrast (high IRE) and brightness (low IRE) as well as high, mid
and low gamma. The pre-calibration levels were very good for such an inexpensive
ratio (Full On / Full Off) was measured to be 2800:1 (11.20/0.004) in
the calibrated mode using the Color1 setting. This increase slightly
when going to the Normal and Dynamic mode at the cost of color accuracy
and black levels.
Color primaries were measured using our GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer
along with the ColorFacts PRO System from Data Color. Measurements were
taken directly from our 100" Stewart FireHawk filmscreen. We used
the HDMI 3 input connected to our Gefen 1080p Video Generator. The generator
allows us to easily select the full screen primary and secondary colors
with a push of a button. The CIE chart shows where the ideal primary and
secondaries are located with the smaller three diamond shaped points making
the darker triangle. The measured primary and secondary colors have the
red, green and blue markers connected together with the white triangle.
The primary colors produced by the PT-AE2000U were quite accurate, just
barely missing the ideal marks with blue and red. However, we found the
projector produced accurate flesh tones without looking over-saturated.
In addition, color gradations were smooth and free of banding artifacts
often seen with earlier projectors. This is certainly one of the better
projectors we have seen in the past few months and is reflective of the
latest designs improvements such as the 16-bit video processing.
Light Output (foot-Lamberts)
PT-AE2000U has the ability to produce substantial light output and is
rated at 1500 Lumens. However, the most accurate picture was found when
using the Color 1 mode where the light output was reduced to produce
an accurate picture. In addition, the lamp was set to low to help produce
deeper black levels. If brighter light levels are desired, the user can
set the lamp mode to normal and change the picture mode to Normal
or Dynamic, which substantially increases the light output at the
cost of color accuracy. These modes work well in some situations where
ambient light is negatively affecting the picture quality.
provides support for an anamorphic lens with the ability to stretch the
image vertically for 2.35:1 movies. This fills the picture without black
bars on the top and bottom of the picture. The advantage is the image
uses the full picture, maximizing the light output of the projector. Once
the anamorphic lens is attached, the 2:35 image is created.
both HD-DVD as well as Blu-ray for reference high-definition source material.
Picture quality on the PT-AE2000U is absolutely stunning with superb detail
and excellent contrast. The PT-AE2000U exhibits virtually no pixel structure
thanks to the SmoothScreen filter. No other projector that we have
seen looks this smooth while still preserving extreme clarity in the picture.
Black levels were great and with the image projected onto our 100-inch
Stewart FireHawk, the experience was engaging. Our PlayStation 3 provide
the video source for Blu-ray material. We ran the video directly to the
projector using a Vizionware Hi-Wirez 20-meter HDMI cable. The timely
arrival of Alvin and the Chipmunks and other Blu-ray movies provided us
with some great source material for this projector review. On a 100"
screen it is much easier to see flaws in the picture. Surprisingly, there
were few and the picture was outstanding with smooth gradations across
varying brightness levels.
did little testing with 480i material using the built-in deinterlacer and scaler.
However, some sample 480i material from our HQV and Faroudja test patterns exhibited
some motion artifacts. The high-definition source material we sampled did not
exhibit any of these problems since little processing was required.
The Panasonic PT-AE2000U is an amazing product especially given its price
(Street $2700) and should be considered if you are looking for a 1080p
LCD projector. The powered zoom and focus on this projector make it easy
to adjust the picture using the remote while standing right at the screen.
While the vertical and horizontal lens shift controls are manual, they
are easy to use to get the picture just right. The PT-AE2000U's is virtually
free of pixel structure exhibiting very little screen-door effect in the
picture. This is one of the best projectors currently available with a
price that makes it very affordable. Pushing the screen size beyond 100-inches
will likely affect the picture brightness in a negative way. The PT-AE2000U
clearly makes the short list and based on the performance of this projector,
it's tough to find many competitors in its price range.