Panasonic PT-AE900U Projector Review

Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<A href="http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/PanasonicPTAE900UProjectorReview1.php"><IMG style="WIDTH: 125px; HEIGHT: 94px" alt=[PanasonicPTAE900U] hspace=10 src="http://www.audioholics.com/news/thumbs/PanasonicPTAE900U_th.jpg" align=left border=0></A>Say what? I thought you just reviewed the... Yeah, we know. We got our first glimpse of the Panasonic PT-AE900U at this year's CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis. While the projector wasn't displaying picture at the booth, we were excited to see that it sported the new D-5 LCD panel and had a significantly improved contrast metric, a tweaked ANSI lumen output and dynamic iris optical system. What really, mattered, of course, was whether it outperformed the PT-AE700U. We quickly lined up a review unit from Visual Apex, one of our recommended online retail partners and an authorized Internet retailer for many Panasonic Electronics products. Being a fan of LCD projection technology already, I was curious to see how much better the Panasonic performed with its "Smooth Screen" pixel-smoothing technology and enhanced contrast ratio spec. And, yes, the 900 is significantly better than the 700 - I got to experience both up close and personal.

[Read the Review]
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Time to update that 'Our Picks On What To Buy' list. :D

It would be interesting to see how the Z4 compares in your opinion as Proj. Central thought the Z4 was a bit better.

I personally think the smooth screen technology has an overall softening effect on the final image not making it as crisp as I felt it should be. At least, with the AE700. Still a killer image.

Should also be noted that not one mention was made of vertical banding which was THE story of LCD last year. Seems that Epson took that seriously with their new chips and really has made it pretty much go bye-bye.

I've GOTTA say you are digging in the dirt when you write this as a 'CON' for the projector: "More optical zoom would be welcome"

Because, of couse, most $25,000 projectors don't have that much optical zoom built in. Most user about a 1.2:1 -> 1.5:1 zoom range vs. a full 1:1 -> 2:1 zoom range. I guess, more range is always welcome - but I would list the existing range, and placement versatility as a HUGE pro, not even mention it as a 'con'.

But - you definitely struggle to find issues with that projector.

How about: Lens shift function joystick can be a bit jerky which makes it tougher to use than 'wheel' based lens shift. That's one of my pet peeves with it. Also, I don't think there is a way to turn 'smooth screen' off, so if you actually want a sharp distinct pixel, you can't do it as far as I know.

Meh - I love the new LCD projectors and forget the shootout with the old AE700 - people really want to know how it stacks up to the Optoma H78, the BenQ 7700, the InFocus 7205 or 7210... Or, in simple terms, DLP 720P units.

Great review!
 
Takeereasy

Takeereasy

Audioholic General
Home theatres really are going to be the norm soon. Nice affordable front projectors will see to that. Nice review and a darn nifty product. Thanks again AH.
 
jcPanny

jcPanny

Audioholic Ninja
BMXTRIX said:
Meh - I love the new LCD projectors and forget the shootout with the old AE700 - people really want to know how it stacks up to the Optoma H78, the BenQ 7700, the InFocus 7205 or 7210... Or, in simple terms, DLP 720P units.
Projector Central did a head to head with the new Panasonic AE900 and the BenQ 7700. They preferred the Panny.
They are also planning a comparision of the Sanyo Z4 and the high end Optima H79 DLP.

It looks like the new LCDs are stepping up the compitition in the $2K projector market.
 
jeffsg4mac

jeffsg4mac

Republican Poster Boy
This is just what the doctor ordered. Bye bye, 47in panny CRT RPT, hello 100in screen:D I am getting one after the the first of the year. Anyone want to buy a slightly used 47in HD panny?:)
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
jcPanny said:
Projector Central did a head to head with the new Panasonic AE900 and the BenQ 7700.
Thanks... I am definitely aware of what Projector Central did and the upcoming Z4 vs. H79 head-to-head.

I always say that this site needs to link up with them for some good cross-reference information. I post there regularly and am constantly referring people back here for audio info... then over to AVS Forum for DIY screen info.

AVS is great, but often a little to deep for newbies just looking for basic solid and good info. Plus, none of the great articles that are here.
 
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photodyer

Audioholic Intern
Just a quick question for those in the know . . . I too am feeling the epiphany hit and saying goodbye for now to the RPTV's I've been researching for months!

Anyway, one of the remarkable things about the Panny AE7000 was that it was capable of doing the image acrobatics needed to work with an anamorphic lens for 2.35:1 projection. Am I assuming correctly that this ability has been maintained in the the AE9000? If so, WOW . . . a 2.35:1 setup for under $5000 including screen and lens . . .please say it is so!!
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
BMXTRIX said:
How about: Lens shift function joystick can be a bit jerky which makes it tougher to use than 'wheel' based lens shift. That's one of my pet peeves with it.
But the fact that you unscrew the joystick to loosen it and tighten it down to fix it in a locked position gives it a one up on many other lens shift systems I've seen. The Yamaha wheel system doesn't do that and as a result gives you a "looser" lens shift function.
 
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The Dukester

Audioholic Chief
Hey, Clint, Gene, anyone....have you had a chance to see Sony's new pj? It is the model hs60 overseas. Not sure if it will be that or the hs51a in the US. Just wondering how the Pannasonic, etc stack up. I can't even find much here on the hs51. How does it stack up as well? AVS has a fair amount on these but I was wondering what you guys have seen/think.
Dukester
 
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photodyer

Audioholic Intern
Clint,

Are you saying that a 1.3/1.4 gain screen is the most appropriate for this PJ? I've no practical experience with front projection yet, but I thought the rule of thumb with LCD's was "go gray" to enhance blacks. We have total light control, medium rose walls with a dark burgundy accent area where the screen will be, rich brown carpet, but white ceilings varying from 7-8' high (basement).

Are screen fabrics available standalone, such than one could get reasonable test swatches and compare in the actual environment?
 
REWJR

REWJR

Junior Audioholic
EPSON Cinema 800 D5 720P LCD beats them all

IMHO the EPSON Cinema 800 with 3 year warranty ( 24 hour turn around for replacement units ) and comes with 2 bulbs and mounting bracket it is the clear winner. It also has 5000:1 CR and a blazing 1600 ANSI lumens so it will definetly allow bigger pic than either Panny AE 900 ( 1100 ANSI ) or Sanyo Z4 ( 1000 ANSI ).

Since all the panels are made by EPSON rest be assured there PJ will have the better display...

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_Pro_Cinema_800.htm

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/HomeEntertainment/hedetails.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=-13224&category=
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
REWJR said:
IMHO the EPSON Cinema 800 with 3 year warranty ( 24 hour turn around for replacement units ) and comes with 2 bulbs is the clear winner. It also has 5000:1 CR and a blazing 1600 ANSI lumens so it will definetly allow bigger pic than either Panny AE 900 ( 1100 ANSI ) or Sanyo Z4 ( 1000 ANSI ).

Since all the panels are made by EPSON rest be assured there PJ will have the better display...

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-PowerLite_Pro_Cinema_800.htm

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/HomeEntertainment/hedetails.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&oid=-13224&category=
Haven't seen any reviews yet of the Epson... Do you have any or are you just reading numbers.

I mean, going by the numbers it looks like I can buy 2 Z4s or AE900s for about the price of that one projector. An extra lamp is nice, but not if it costs me $1,500 more for the projector. ;)

Really, price for that unit better put it on another level if it is not hitting the streets under $3K.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
photodyer said:
Are you saying that a 1.3/1.4 gain screen is the most appropriate for this PJ? I've no practical experience with front projection yet, but I thought the rule of thumb with LCD's was "go gray" to enhance blacks. We have total light control, medium rose walls with a dark burgundy accent area where the screen will be, rich brown carpet, but white ceilings varying from 7-8' high (basement).
Loaded question, but I tend to go with a 1.3/1.4 (i.e. Studiotek 130) when I have a light-controlled room and not a terrific amount of bright, reflective surfaces. If your white ceiling causes the entire room to light up when the projector is on (probably not) then you may want to go with a gray screen.

I have a friend who had lots of white blinds and his room opened into a white kitchen... The room light up like a burning star when the projector was on, even though he painted the walls a darker color. He needs to stay with a gray screen.
 
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photodyer

Audioholic Intern
Didn't mean to put you on the spot, Clint!:D

I'm just trying to get frame of reference . . . I can see the merits of both options, but as of yet have no practical experience with PJ's. Placed an order for the the 900 a few nights back, so I guess I'll play around and see what works! I have some huge pieces of white muslin (photo backdrops) that should at least give me a ballpark idea of how blacks look on white and how my room reacts . . . just found out that a neighbor has the 700 and he's invited me over to see it in his environment as well.

Again, thanks for the great and timely review . . . regardless of screen and other setup logistics, I'm thinking we're going to get tons more enjoyment out of this than we would have an RPTV!


Clint DeBoer said:
Loaded question, but I tend to go with a 1.3/1.4 (i.e. Studiotek 130) when I have a light-controlled room and not a terrific amount of bright, reflective surfaces. If your white ceiling causes the entire room to light up when the projector is on (probably not) then you may want to go with a gray screen.

I have a friend who had lots of white blinds and his room opened into a white kitchen... The room light up like a burning star when the projector was on, even though he painted the walls a darker color. He needs to stay with a gray screen.
 
D

daman4799

Junior Audioholic
Hey Dukester you out there your pm is full.

Later,Daman
 
REWJR

REWJR

Junior Audioholic
Haven't seen any reviews yet of the Epson... Do you have any or are you just reading numbers.
This is based on my preliminary viewing at CEDIA 2005 show in indianapolis .I saw the Pan AE 900 and the Hitachi TX-200 as well.

Yes I would recomend waiting for test reviews before making final judgement .

P.S
pricing will be different up here in the Great White North ..
 
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Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
REWJR said:
This is based on my preliminary viewing at CEDIA 2005 show in indianapolis .I saw the Pan AE 900 and the Hitachi TX-200 as well.
They were only showing the Epsons on those tiny little screens, no? It will be nice to see them in a better environment - and I'm guessing Yamaha will put out it's LCD projector update using a D-5 panel and Epson chassis.
 
REWJR

REWJR

Junior Audioholic
Hitachi TX200 vs EPSON Cinema pro 800

I am considering flipping my Hitachi TX-100 for the new model TX200 based on agressive price point here in Canada same as AE900 and with reviews giving the nod to Hitachi on other forums .

The only delay may be in seeing valid measurement review between the two models and weighting the difference with the street pricing ...

Has anyone seen reviews on the EPSON ? if so please post the link here thanks.
 
Rob Babcock

Rob Babcock

Moderator
Somehow I'd missed this review until the PoY award came out. I'm glad to see it now- I've been planning to buy a new PJ and had it narrowed down to the new Sanyo and this Panny. I'd been leaning towards the Panny d/t the smooth-pixel technology and superior deinterlacing, but I'd heard rumors of banding. Since sadly neither is available at retail in my city, I know all I can do is research the hell out of it and hope for the best. But I think this review has put me over the edge towards the Panny.

It doesn't hurt that the link provided is the best price I've ever seen on it!:D If I don't find one on Videogon I'll likely buy there.

Great going, guys!:D
 
RLA

RLA

Audioholic Chief
Viewing projectors and displays at various trade shows and then forming an objective opinion about them is almost useless. Many times the manufacture will demo their projector or displAY with near static images usually from a computer hard drive.

There were a couple brave manufactures that demonstrated with real content at CES. Infocus was one of them and Pioneer was another I applaud these manufactures and hope the trend continues because many untrained eyes can be fooled into Ooo's and Ahhh's when viewing near static material.
 
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