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The Panasonic PT-AE1000U is a 3-LCD projector delivering a native 1080p picture for the competitive price of $2999.

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Noise is a non-issue

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Individual pixels are indistinguishable

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Great black levels for an LCD, comparable with DLPs

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Fantastic picture quality out of the box

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Affordabled 1080p projector (price drop to $2999)

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Image is a bit soft for 1080p sources

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Can't play Xbox 360 1080p with VGA adapter

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Output lacks brightness

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The Panasonic PT-AE1000U is a 3-LCD projector delivering a native 1080p picture for the competitive price of $2999. A versatile lens system offers top-in-class zoom, and shifting capabilities that let you install the projector in a variety of rooms and configurations. Similar to other projectors in this class the AE1000U contains a slew of brightness modes, both manual and automatic, to accommodate different lighting conditions. Being a device marketed towards the higher end market, almost all of the settings relevant to the projector's output can be adjusted. Even with this professional level of control, Panasonic touts its "Hollywood" calibration to give a high quality viewing experience out of the box.

The lens offers a two times zoom that can create an image ranging from 40" to 200", or a 100" screen in rooms that range in size from just under 10 feet to over 19 feet. However, the brightness of the resulting picture is dependent upon how much zoom is used affecting the resulting lumens output by as much as 45%. Alongside the zoom is the large range for lens shifting. In the neutral position the projected image is displayed at the center of the lens. From this position the image can be moved higher by 100% of the image's size, or lower by 100%. Horizontally the picture can move by 50% of the image's size. Similar to zooming, shifting the picture to the extreme positions can have a negative effect on the brightness output.

Two lamp modes are available: high, and eco (low) that reduces the brightness by 28%, reduces fan noise, and increases the lamp life from a rated 2000 hours to 3000 hours. The lamp itself is accessed through a movable panel at the top of the projector, allowing you to replace the lamp without unmounting the projector itself. The air filter is accessed from the side for streamlined removal for cleaning. Inorganic technology are used for the LCD chips eliminating the continual degradation in quality that plague organic chips.

At a FullHD 1080p resolution individual pixels become difficult to distinguish for the average person at any reasonable viewing distance. However, LCDs traditionally suffer from what is known as the "Screen Door" effect where it looks like you're watching the picture through a screen door. To compensate for this effect Panasonic incorporated their Smooth Screen technology into the AE1000U virtually eliminating this effect at the cost of a very slight softening of the image.

  • HDMI x2
  • Component x2
  • Composite x1
  • S-Video x1
  • VGA x1
  • RS-232
Extra Notes

The AE1000 is a direct competitor of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 that is also priced at $2999. Gizmodo has done an excellent head-to-head comparison of these projectors stating that they are very evenly matched.

There is a problem with this projector in that it can't play 1080p HD content from the Microsoft Xbox 360 with its VGA add-on.

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