Panasonic PT-AE2000U review: Panasonic PT-AE2000U

Our biggest complaint with the PT-AE2000U is in overall color fidelity, which is compromised by poor primary and secondary colors. Panasonic claims on its Web site to be delivering "Digital Cinema" primary colors. We prefer them to be as close to the HDTV specifications as possible, and they are definitely not very close. Blue was good, but red and especially green were way off from the standard (see the Geek Box).

The PT-AE2000U produced a deep, compelling level of black, which provided for great "snap" indicating good contrast ratio. With that said, we believe the 1,500 Lumen light output rating is way too generous. We couldn't meet the film specification of 12 footlamberts on our Stewart Grayhawk RS screen, which is 92 inches diagonal or 80 inches wide, without losing detail in white areas (a sure sign of overdriving the projector). For that reason, we recommend going with a relatively small screen--no larger than ours and preferably even smaller. White fields were quite uniform for an LCD projector, which normally exhibit some visible discolorations in bright white scenes.

Its resolution measurements were actually better than most 1080p projectors, and it more fully resolves a 1080p/24fps signal than even our current favorite, the Sony VPL-VW200, which costs about six times as much. The difference is slight, however, and the Sony handily outperforms the Panasonic in all other areas.

The early chapters from the excellent transfer of Batman Begins on HD DVD are torture tests for black-level performance. The little Panasonic delivered during these tough scenes--Chapter 1 where he falls down the well as a kid, and Chapter 2 in a Chinese jail cell--with good depth and shadow detail. For more colorful and natural scenery, we watched our old favorite Seabiscuit on HD DVD. It is a very natural-looking film, and therefore a good test for color, among other things. Green objects like grass and hedges really looked a bit cartoony or punched, but the rest of it looked impressive.

Standard definition from my Time Warner Cable system looked as good as we'd expect on the big screen, an indication of the PT-AE2000U's solid video processing.

TEST RESULT SCORE
Before color temp (20/80) 6475/6600 Good
After color temp 6350/6525 Good
Before grayscale variation +/- 116K Good
After grayscale variation +/- 67K Good
Color of red (x/y) 0.669/0.325 Poor
Color of green 0.266/0.684 Poor
Color of blue 0.144/0.059 Good
Overscan 0% Good
Black-level retention All patterns stable Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Y Good
480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps Y Good
1080i video resolution Pass Good
1080i film resolution Pass Good

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