Connectivity on the PT-AE200U is superb. It includes a whopping three HDMI inputs--more than any projector we've reviewed so far. Having multiple HDMI inputs is great if you're connecting gear directly to the projector, but it's less useful in permanent in-ceiling installations that utilize one long HDMI umbilical to the projector from an HDMI switch near the component rack. There's also a pair of component-video inputs, one S-Video input, one composite-video input, a VGA-style PC input, and an RS-232 port for custom remote-control systems.
The PT-AE2000U is a solid performer in the entry-level 1080p projector category, delivering deep black levels and sharp video processing, but falling short of the best projectors' color accuracy.
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.
|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|
|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|