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Projectors

Panasonic PT-AR100E

We're not so sure about its white plastic body, but the rest of the PT-AR100E package is pretty compelling.

In brief

3D is the big new feature in this year's crop of just-in-time-for-Christmas home theatre projectors. But if you share the view that this is just a passing and passable fad, and want to do without, there are plenty of new options out there. One of those is the Panasonic PT-AR100E.

Boasting full HD output and two HDMI inputs, the new projector is powered by a 280W "red rich" lamp that delivers a claimed 2800 lumens and a 50,000:1 contrast ratio. That's more, in fact, than the 200W lamp and 2000-lumen output of the more expensive, 3D-capable PT-AE7000E.

If you don't want to watch everything whilst being enveloped in darkness' embrace, the unit features ambient light and colour sensors that can adjust not only the white balance, but also the gamma curve and sharpness; horizontal and vertical lens shift is also included.

The bulb is rated at 4000 hours of service and should cost around AU$650 to replace. To help stretch its lifespan out, as well as reduce your power bill, the PT-AR100E can be configured to switch itself via a timer and will also cut its power usage when it detects that there's no signal input.

There's also a feature dubbed Dynamic Iris Pro that compares the current image against its store of some 3 billion patterns. If there's a match, the projector can use the more efficient settings required to display the current image. In this mode, power consumption is said to be reduced by as much as 10 per cent.

Outlook

The PT-AR100E goes on sale in December for a recommended asking price of AU$3079.

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