“Which Projector Do I Need?” – A Guide to Selecting Your Next Projector

Perhaps the million dollar question when it comes to projection systems is “Which projector do I need?” There are so many models out there for all sorts of different applications… It can certainly be overwhelming. However, when you break it down, there are a few simple questions you can ask that allow you to ensure you’re getting the right projector.

When buying a projector, you want the perfect balance of functionality and affordability. You don’t want to overspend, but on the other hand, you don’t want a projector that doesn’t meet your needs. A projector that isn’t bright enough, doesn’t have the right inputs, or doesn’t fill the screen isn’t ideal by any means. Once you’ve taken that step and invested in a new projector, you want that investment to shine. Additionally, you want it to shine for years to come. You don’t want something that is always in for repair. You want it to be installed and to be a reliable addition to your meeting facility.

So, now that we’ve established the goal, how do we get there? Truth be told, there are about as many guides to selecting a projector as there are projectors themselves. Well, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find a guide that will be of help to you, and point you in the right direction. Prepared by one of our manufacturing partners, the following areas are ones to consider when selecting your next projector-

Budget: In today’s economy, budget is often the first consideration for any purchase. However, it is not wise to purchase a projector that does not meet your needs even if it is priced within a budget.

Application: First, consider how and where you plan to use the projector. Ask yourself questions, such as: Will it be a fixed installation or does it need to be portable? Is the main usage in your sanctuary/auditorium or in a classroom or board room? How large of a screen will you need so the person in the last row can see and read your message? Can the ambient light conditions be controlled or must you overcome some adverse direct sunlight from windows?

Content: What is the main purpose for the projector, video, data or both? Video content is typically 25% lower in brightness than computer data and will require a brighter projector.

Room Configuration: Long narrow rooms require larger screens than a short wide room when the audience is closer to the screen. On the other hand, narrow rooms require screens that reflect more light directly back to the audience, whereas screens used in wide rooms require a wider angle of dispersed light and will require a brighter projector.

Brightness & Contrast: Projector brightness is specified in lumens and contrast defines the ratio comparing the brightest white of an image to the darkest black. In most cases, brightness is more important than contrast. There are very few applications when a projector is too bright.

Aspect Ratio: Until recent years, both video and computer images were in the old TV format 4:3 screen ratios. Today however, with the advent of High Definition (HD) most video and computer images are now wide screen format 16:9 or 16:10 ratio. When considering a new facility or future projector replacement wide screen format is the way to go.

Technology: Currently there are two main affordable projector technologies on the market: DLP (Digital Light Processing) and LCD, (Liquid Crystal Display). Each offers their unique advantages and disadvantages, and depending on application and personal preference, both are capable of displaying great images. DLP is often preferred when the content is primarily live video. Images from a high-end DLP projector will closely resemble the images we see at the motion picture theaters. Small low cost portable DLP projectors are often bright with high contrast ratios, but are usually week in color saturation and do not always accurately display the colors the same as on a computer monitor. LCD is the older of the two technologies and is very similar to the flat screen TV’s and computer monitor except the image is magnified and projected on a large screen. LCD projectors are best known for their high color saturation and accuracy. Computer generated images are accurately displayed like you seen on a monitor.

Support: Probably the most important consideration is the support provided by both the manufacturer and the selling dealer. A professional sound and video dealer can offer valuable insight and critical analysis by doing a site survey. When necessary they can arrange product demonstrations to determine the best projector for your application and budget. Always consider the manufacturers brand, warranty and history of supporting the products they sell.

Ready to select your next projector? Begin by browsing through a variety of quality options available from Projector SuperStore here. Don’t see the one you’re looking for, or have other questions? Give us a call at 888-525-6696 and one of our sales team members will be happy to assist you! 

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This guide was originally published by ASK Proxima, a PSS manufacturing partner.

About ASK Proxima – ASK Proxima, Inc. is a leading subsidiary of Shenzhen ACTO Digital Video Technology Co., Ltd. a high–tech enterprise specializing in research, development and manufacturing of digital video technology. They distribute a full suite of high-performance projectors, ranging from short-throw, ultra short-throw, large venue, portable and developing new lampless models. Their wide variety of projectors offer the best display LCD and DLP imaging technology available, yet all our feature-rich products are priced competitively in this dynamic market. ASK Proxima can meet your projector needs by providing quality solutions that are designed for most display and presentation markets, including: Educational, Corporate, House of Worship, Large Venue, Digital Signage and Small Business. ASK Proxima boasts an engineering team that offers some of the best technical expertise in the industry.  Many of their top-rated talent originated from leading R&D facilities around the world.  They stand by our work through extensive quality testing and excellent warranty programs that will make you feel secure in your decision to select them as your projector supplier of choice. You can view additional information about ASK Proxima on their website here.

About Projector SuperStore – For over 20 years, Projector SuperStore has been the premier source for affordable Audio and Visual equipment online. We have worked with hundreds of businesses across the nation and have the expertise to help you integrate the right technology for your specific needs and bring your message to the masses. Whether you’re looking for a projector for a meeting room, a portable system for use in multi-purpose rooms, a state-of-the-art projection system for your main auditorium, the latest home theater technology or anything in between, we can help you create a system that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. View more information on our website here.

 

PANASONIC INTRODUCES NEW COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT 12,000 LUMEN 3-CHIP DLP™ PROJECTOR!

Panasonic offers new, innovative projectors for the early 2013 models!

Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a provider of professional projector solutions, announces the PT-DZ13K Series of projectors the latest addition to its 3-chip DLP projector lineup. The PT-DZ13K Series’ has a combination of high brightness, a compact, lightweight body and professional features. It is ideal for a variety of applications, including rental and staging and digital signage. The PT-DZ13K Series is also well-suited for large venues, such as museums, auditoriums, lecture halls and more. Who wouldn’t be happy with such innovation!?

Read More Here: http://www.projectorcentral.com/news_story_1858.htm

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PANASONIC ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY OF NEW SOLID SHINE™ SERIES LED/LASER LIGHT SOURCE PROJECTORS

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PANASONIC ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY OF NEW SOLID SHINE™ SERIES LED/LASER LIGHT SOURCE PROJECTORS

 

BUY NOW – FREE SHIPPING

 

The World’s First 1080p Lamp-Free Professional Projectors with Digital Link Technology Delivers up to 20,000 Hours of Virtually Maintenance-Free 24/7 Operation

Secaucus, NJ, February 25, 2013 – Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a provider of professional projector solutions, today announced the immediate availability of its new SOLID SHINE™ Series of lamp-free projectors with DIGITAL LINK technology. This new product line includes the PT-RZ370 Series, which will begin shipping this month and the PT-RZ470 Series projectors that will be available in March.

The LED/laser light source in the SOLID SHINE™ Series of 1-Chip DLP™ projectors delivers up to 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation, representing a new and important milestone in the evolution of projection. All models in the Series deliver 3,500 lumens of brightness and provide features that make these projectors ideal for educational institutions, as well as museums, command and control centers, and digital signage applications.

All SOLID SHINE™ Series projectors are equipped with a DIGITAL LINK terminal, and by combining the optional ET-YFB100G Digital Interface Box with its HDMI and other input terminals, transmission of uncompressed HD digital video, audio and control signals (Ethernet, RS-232C) for up to 100 meters (328 feet) through a single CAT5e (STP) cable or higher is made possible. This simplifies cabling and system upgrades, making the projectors ideal for ceiling-mounted and other permanent installations. The combination of DIGITAL LINK with this lamp-free lighting technology significantly reduces end user installation and maintenance costs.

DIGITAL LINK is an original function added to technology based on the transmission standards used in Crestron’s DigitalMedia 8G+ and Extron’s XTP Systems, as well as others. Signals from the ET-YFB100G Digital Interface Box can also be relayed to a non-DIGITAL LINK-ready projector by using another manufacturer’s equipment based on the same technology.[i]

The PT-RZ470/RZ370 Series projectors offer installation flexibility, with a 2x zoom, wide lens shift capability, HDMI/DVI digital inputs and Crestron RoomView compatibility. The PT-RZ470 Series offers additional flexibility with Portrait Mode projection capability, as well as Edge Blending, Color Matching and 3D projection.

Availability and Limited Warranty

The PT-RZ370 Series, which includes the PT-RZ370U and PT-RW330U, are available immediately through authorized Panasonic resellers at an MSRP of $5,899 and $4,599, respectively. The PT-RZ470 Series, which includes the PT-RZ470UK/UW and PT-RW430UK/UW will be available in March at an MSRP of $6,799 and $5,499, respectively. The projectors come with a standard 3 year limited warranty and illumination parts are warranted for 10,000 hours.

Panasonic Solutions for Business

Built on a celebrated engineering foundation, Panasonic architects business technology solutions that help build a better world. Customers in government, healthcare, production, hospitality, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises, large and small, depend on integrated solutions from Panasonic to help them acquire, manage and interpret the information that drives innovation. The complete suite of Panasonic solutions addresses unified business communications, mobile computing, security and surveillance, retail point-of-sale, office productivity, high definition visual conferencing, visual communications (professional projectors, displays, digital signage) and HD and 3D video production. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic engineers reliable and long-lasting solutions as a partner for continuous improvement. Panasonic solutions for business are delivered by Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, which is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic solutions for business can be obtained by calling 877-803-8492 or at http://www.panasonic.com.

About Panasonic Corporation of North America

Based in Secaucus, NJ, Panasonic Corporation of North America provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products and services for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC), and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic was the only Consumer Electronics company to be listed in the top ten brands on the Interbrand Best Global Green Brands 2011 ranking (http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/Best-Global-Green-Brands/2011-Report/BestGlobalGreenBrandsTable-2011.aspx). As part of its continuing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, Panasonic Corporation of North America will relocate its operations to a new eco-efficient office tower adjacent to a mass transit hub in Newark, NJ in 2013. Information about Panasonic Eco Ideas initiatives is available at http://panasonic.net/eco/ecoideas/. Information about Panasonic and its products is available athttp://www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is also available at http://www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

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[i] Input selection and other ET-YFB100G operations can be performed only when connecting to a DIGITAL LINK compatible projector.

PANASONIC ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY OF NEW SOLID SHINE™ SERIES LED/LASER LIGHT SOURCE PROJECTORS

The World’s First 1080p Lamp-Free Professional Projectors with Digital Link Technology Delivers up to 20,000 Hours of Virtually Maintenance-Free 24/7 Operation

PANASONIC ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY OF NEW SOLID SHINE™ SERIES LED/LASER LIGHT SOURCE PROJECTORS

 

BUY NOW – FREE SHIPPING

 

The World’s First 1080p Lamp-Free Professional Projectors with Digital Link Technology Delivers up to 20,000 Hours of Virtually Maintenance-Free 24/7 Operation

Secaucus, NJ, February 25, 2013 – Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a provider of professional projector solutions, today announced the immediate availability of its new SOLID SHINE™ Series of lamp-free projectors with DIGITAL LINK technology. This new product line includes the PT-RZ370 Series, which will begin shipping this month and the PT-RZ470 Series projectors that will be available in March.

The LED/laser light source in the SOLID SHINE™ Series of 1-Chip DLP™ projectors delivers up to 20,000 hours of virtually maintenance-free operation, representing a new and important milestone in the evolution of projection. All models in the Series deliver 3,500 lumens of brightness and provide features that make these projectors ideal for educational institutions, as well as museums, command and control centers, and digital signage applications.

All SOLID SHINE™ Series projectors are equipped with a DIGITAL LINK terminal, and by combining the optional ET-YFB100G Digital Interface Box with its HDMI and other input terminals, transmission of uncompressed HD digital video, audio and control signals (Ethernet, RS-232C) for up to 100 meters (328 feet) through a single CAT5e (STP) cable or higher is made possible. This simplifies cabling and system upgrades, making the projectors ideal for ceiling-mounted and other permanent installations. The combination of DIGITAL LINK with this lamp-free lighting technology significantly reduces end user installation and maintenance costs.

DIGITAL LINK is an original function added to technology based on the transmission standards used in Crestron’s DigitalMedia 8G+ and Extron’s XTP Systems, as well as others. Signals from the ET-YFB100G Digital Interface Box can also be relayed to a non-DIGITAL LINK-ready projector by using another manufacturer’s equipment based on the same technology.[i]

The PT-RZ470/RZ370 Series projectors offer installation flexibility, with a 2x zoom, wide lens shift capability, HDMI/DVI digital inputs and Crestron RoomView compatibility. The PT-RZ470 Series offers additional flexibility with Portrait Mode projection capability, as well as Edge Blending, Color Matching and 3D projection.

Availability and Limited Warranty

The PT-RZ370 Series, which includes the PT-RZ370U and PT-RW330U, are available immediately through authorized Panasonic resellers at an MSRP of $5,899 and $4,599, respectively. The PT-RZ470 Series, which includes the PT-RZ470UK/UW and PT-RW430UK/UW will be available in March at an MSRP of $6,799 and $5,499, respectively. The projectors come with a standard 3 year limited warranty and illumination parts are warranted for 10,000 hours.

Panasonic Solutions for Business

Built on a celebrated engineering foundation, Panasonic architects business technology solutions that help build a better world. Customers in government, healthcare, production, hospitality, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises, large and small, depend on integrated solutions from Panasonic to help them acquire, manage and interpret the information that drives innovation. The complete suite of Panasonic solutions addresses unified business communications, mobile computing, security and surveillance, retail point-of-sale, office productivity, high definition visual conferencing, visual communications (professional projectors, displays, digital signage) and HD and 3D video production. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic engineers reliable and long-lasting solutions as a partner for continuous improvement. Panasonic solutions for business are delivered by Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, which is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic solutions for business can be obtained by calling 877-803-8492 or at www.panasonic.com.

About Panasonic Corporation of North America

Based in Secaucus, NJ, Panasonic Corporation of North America provides a broad line of digital and other electronics products and services for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC), and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Panasonic was the only Consumer Electronics company to be listed in the top ten brands on the Interbrand Best Global Green Brands 2011 ranking (http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/Best-Global-Green-Brands/2011-Report/BestGlobalGreenBrandsTable-2011.aspx). As part of its continuing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, Panasonic Corporation of North America will relocate its operations to a new eco-efficient office tower adjacent to a mass transit hub in Newark, NJ in 2013. Information about Panasonic Eco Ideas initiatives is available at http://panasonic.net/eco/ecoideas/. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is also available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

# # #

[i] Input selection and other ET-YFB100G operations can be performed only when connecting to a DIGITAL LINK compatible projector.

 

BUY NOW – FREE SHIPPING

 

CIMA SCREENS BY STEWART – TOP OF THE CLASS

Projector SuperStore is proud to introduce Cima Screens, by Stewart Film Screens to our product catalog.

 

The leader in high quality, custom, application specific projection screen solutions is proud to introduce the top of the class in standard commercial and residential projection screens.

 

 

THE CIMA™ ADVANTAGE: 

Designed and manufactured in the USA by Stewart’s award winning team, CIMA™ targets an audience that is broader and less need-specific. The utilitarian design and features of this product address the needs of most common residential and commercial 2-piece projection applications without compromising the superior performance, quality and durability you have come to expect from Stewart. The key difference is, while Stewart professional projection screens are custom-engineered for optimal performance within a given application, CIMA™ will only be available in standard sizes and with a limited selection of high-quality screen materials.

Cima utilizes newly developed, highly efficient, environmentally friendly, patent-pending methods of production, ensuring the customer will receive the highest performance at the best value. With CIMA™, you can receive high quality, dependable performance for many standard commercial or residential applications at a competitive price. And, of course, when your application requires a higher standard of performance all the way up to perfect image fidelity from a screen that is finely tuned to the environment, the Stewart team stands ready to assist with the highest quality, most professional projection screens in the world…by Stewart Filmscreen. Welcome to the Stewart Family!

CIMA™ main product line features:
• Perfect balance between overall performance and value
• Exceptional screen material uniformity and performance in a highly versatile screen material
• Superior quality and durability you have come to expect from Stewart Filmscreen
• Standard sizes and aspect ratios provide ease of ordering
• Available in one of two materials, a white screen for environments with good lighting control and a gray screen to help compensate for uncontrolled ambient light

Other features:
• 4k+ ready (as are all Stewart Filmscreen materials)
• Greenguard approved
• Made in the USA

ENJOY THE 3D EXPERIENCE WITH PANASONIC PT-AE8000U

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If you are looking for clarity, precision and intense image quality in projectors, narrow down your search to the Panasonic PT-AE8000U. Equipped with three HDMI input terminals, a 220 Watt red lamp for rich red intensity like never before and two 12V triggers for full automation of home theater, this is a power packed 3D projector that spells top quality and perfection.

 

Overview

The Panasonic PT-AE8000U is packed with power, provides an enhanced 2400 lumens of brightness through its advanced red rich lamp and offers a startlingly high contrast ratio of 500,000:1 because of its Pure Contrast Plates. The 3D Picture Balance and Viewing Monitor are specifically designed to ensure a larger than life 3D experience for the viewers. The deep blacks within the images because of the Pure Contrast Plates and the rich and bright color reproduction resulting from the Red Rich Lamp all make up for an unforgettable experience.

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Key Features and Highlights

The Panasonic PT-AE8000U is a perfect example of quality meets perfection. Some of the main distinguishing highlights of this projector system include:

 

  • Enhanced Brightness – Compared to its predecessor the AE7000, the Panasonic PT-AE8000U offers a 20% increase in the brightness making even low-light images appear sharp and clear. The contrast ration of 500,000:1 is a classic addition that ensures rich and detailed imagery and a riveting cinematic experience at home.
  • Amazing Picture Quality -The Picture quality is sharp and provides amazing purity in color because of the presence of the red-rich lamp. The brightness and color perfection is especially evident in 3D viewing.
  • HD Optimized Optical Lens – The lens unit in the Panasonic PT-AE8000U employs a fully HD Optimized optical system that provide a uniform focus and stunning image quality in enticing colors and clarity.
  • Color Filter Pro Technology – For enhanced richness and vibrancy, the Panasonic PT-AE8000U  has employed a pure color filter pro technology and a striking optical filter that makes even low quality movie images become sharp and deep in color. Experience deeper blacks and stunning contrast in every shot! Its digital cinema par excellence!
  • Added Picture Modes – There are seven picture modes for both 2D and 3D viewing to increase the functionality and ease for the user.
  • Smooth Screen Perfection – The Smooth Screen Technology in the Panasonic PT-AE8000U projectors make sure that no ‘chicken wire’ effect occurs during the movie and a film theater-like experience is achieved for distinguished quality and perfection.
  • Dynamic Iris Perfection – The Dynamic Iris feature analyzes each image and makes way for the best possible quality and adjustments in both dark and bright scenes. The brightness and contrast level is analyzed through a histogram so that each frame is a symbol of perfection in its own accord.
  • Dual Core Processor – A powerful dual core processor offers enhanced speed and power.
  • 3D Motion Re-master – The active shutter technology displays the left and right eye imagery at alternating instances, making the 3D effect more natural, real and comfortable.
  • Depth Control – The 3D Waveform monitor in Panasonic PT-AE8000U offers you two separate viewing modes that reduce eye strains and make way for more comfortable viewing and enhanced picture depth.

 

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The PT-AE8000U Glasses

Incredibly light and extremely stylish, the Panasonic PT-AE8000U glasses are the perfect addition to get the 3D effect at your home! The 3D active shutter technology gives you the power of high precision control that ensures that the image quality is crisp, clear and sharp at all times and any unwanted after images are effectively filtered for comfortable viewing. The PT-AE8000U glasses can be easily used along with your ordinary glasses to enjoy the cinematic experience without any hassle.

EPSON 5020U VS PANASONIC AE8000U…PROJECTORCENTRAL HELPS YOU DECIDE

Home Theater Shootout:
Epson 5020UB vs Panasonic AE8000

Bill Livolsi, November 7, 2012

ProjectorCentral.com

The most obvious competition in home theater this year is between the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB / 5020UBe and the Panasonic PT-AE8000, another sub-$3000 1080p 3D LCD projector released this year. With similar specifications and features at a similar price point, the two are going to go head-to-head for the attention and dollars of many home theater consumers this year. Below are the salient differences between the two.

Shootout

2D Image quality. Our comparison uses the AE8000′s Cinema 2 mode and the 5020UBe’s Cinema mode, which are (a) very similar and (b) the best images that the projectors can produce for home theater use. The 5020UBe has a slight black level advantage over the AE8000. Both projectors have sufficient brightness, excellent color, and razor-sharp pictures. It is becoming more and more difficult to make a distinction between two projectors, especially two projectors exhibiting this high level of polish. We’re ready to call this a draw.

3D Image quality. As 3D is newer and less established than 2D, there are still some important differences in these two projectors’ 3D images. The AE8000 has a number of interesting features such as 3D Depth Control and 3D Motion Remaster that make it easier to watch 3D comfortably, and Frame Creation is available in 3D on the AE8000. The 5020UBe does not have thesse features and 3D Frame Interpolation is not available. On the other hand, the 5020UBe has radio-frequency synchronized glasses, while the AE8000 uses infrared. RF glasses are less prone to interference and losing synchronization than their IR counterparts. The AE8000′s glasses have a 3D-to-2D function, which is a nice touch if you want to watch in 3D but someone else in your household prefers 2D. Neither projector needs an outboard signal emitter. Both projectors do an outstanding job of controlling crosstalk, but we were more likely to see slight crosstalk on the 5020UBe than on the AE8000.

Light output. While there was a light output difference between the AE7000 and 5010, that difference has been eliminated in these new models. In Dynamic mode, the AE8000 measures 2471 lumens; the 5020UBe measures 2432 lumens. Living Room mode on the 5020UBe measures 1725 lumens after calibration while Cinema 2 mode on the AE8000 measures 1612 lumens. Cinema 1 mode on the AE8000 measures 822 lumens to the 5020UBe’s 914 lumens in Cinema mode. These differences — all under 150 lumens — are near invisible to the human eye. They are functionally irrelevant.

Contrast. We’ve come to the point where you can safely ignore contrast differences on spec sheets. The 5020UBe is rated at 320,000:1 on/off contrast, while the AE8000 is rated at 500,000:1. However, the 5020UBe has a more aggressive auto iris. The difference boils down to a small black level advantage for the 5020UBe in most scenes. Both projectors maintain shadow detail exceptionally well.

Color. Neither projector is perfect out of the box, but both of them calibrate very well. This is a tie.

Sharpness and clarity. The AE8000 and 5020UBe both have smart sharpening systems (the AE8000′s is called Detail Clarity instead of Super Resolution) but Super Resolution on the 5020UBe seems more aggressive than Detail Clarity on the AE8000. That could be good or bad, depending on how much you enjoy the effect.

Frame Interpolation. Both FI systems have three settings, but the AE8000 has an edge in maintaining the film-like character of the picture on its lowest setting. Even on the 5020UBe’s Low setting, there is still a touch of the digital video effect that one can see. The AE8000′s FI system is also available in 3D.

Placement Flexibility. Both projectors feature extensive zoom range and lens shift. The 5020UBe has an incrementally larger shift range while the AE8000 has powered zoom and focus. While both projectors can be focused to razor-sharp clarity, the powered focus helps to get your focus adjustments done quickly. On the other hand, the larger shift range of the 5020UBe makes it easier to mount.

2.4x Cinemascope compatibility. The AE8000 has an anamorphic stretch mode for compatibility with anamorphic lenses. It also has automated Lens Memory, which can zoom the picture from 16:9 to 2.4 widescreen based on the aspect ratio of the content. This gives you the option of a constant image height (CIH) setup without using a costly anamorphic lens. The 5020UBe lacks both of these options. Anamorphic stretch mode is available on the Epson 6020UB and 6020UBe, but those models cost significantly more.

Connectivity. The AE8000 has three HDMI inputs while the 5020UBe has two. The AE8000 has two 12V triggers while the 5020UBe has one. The 5020UBe has a wireless transmission option, but you pay more to get it; the UBe model sells for $2900 versus $2500 for the AE8000. Comparing apples to apples (5020UB versus AE8000), you get more ports for less money with the AE8000.

Input Lag. We saw noticeably more lag on the 5020UBe in Cinema mode — 84 milliseconds (5 frames) — than we did on the AE8000. Considering that the AE8000 itself measures a pokey 67ms of delay (4 frames) in Cinema, this isn’t much of a victory for the AE8000, either. On the other hand, the AE8000 has a game mode which measured 34ms (2 frames) while the 5020UBe’s Fast processing is one full frame slower at 50ms.

Fan noise. Both projectors are dead silent in Eco mode, but the AE8000 is quieter than the 5020UBe in its full power mode. If you plan on running the projector that way and positioning it near the audience, it is something worth thinking about.

Lamp. Both projectors have lamp lives of 4,000 hours in full power and 5,000 hours in Eco mode. However, replacement lamps for the 5020UBe cost $299 while replacements for the AE8000 cost $379. Over the life of a projector, that may be a minor cost factor to consider.

Warranty. Both projectors come with a 2-year warranty.

Menus. The 5020UBe’s menus, including single-line pop-out items, will stay on screen until you cancel them with the Esc button. This is infinitely more helpful than the AE8000′s menus, which cancels pop-out items after a few seconds with no way to change the timing. When you are making fine adjustments, sometimes it is helpful to watch the picture for a few seconds before deciding what to do, and the 5020UBe’s menus make that task easier.

Conclusion

The Panasonic AE8000 has a number of features and picture enhancements that the 5020UBe lacks. However, the 5020UBe has a few unique features of its own, such as a wider lens shift range and RF glasses. In terms of picture quality, the two projectors are evenly matched, and this becomes a very difficult shootout to call one way or the other. It ultimately comes down to which projector’s features have more appeal to you, as the picture you get from either one will be stellar.

PANASONIC INTRODUCES THE PT-AE8000U–READ THE REVIEW FROM PROJECTORCENRAL.COM

Panasonic PT-AE8000U
3D Home Theater Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, September 4, 2012

ProjectorCentral.com

Almost every year, Panasonic comes out with a new home theater projector, and each time it incorporates several significant improvements to the previous year’s model. Last year’s AE7000 was a groundbreaking home theater projector that, in addition to being the world’s first LCD projector capable of full 1080p 3D, also raised the bar on what one should expect from 3D home cinema.

Now Panasonic has introduced the PT-AE8000. The AE8000 is not as outwardly different from its predecessor as was the AE7000 from its own, but outward appearances mean very little. The AE8000 has significant improvements in all areas of picture quality, from brightness (both in 2D and 3D) to contrast (both in dynamic range and shadow detail) to color accuracy and the clarity of detail. Any one of these improvements can seem rather small, but taken in sum they constitute a major upgrade that will interest both videophiles and more casual users.

Update September 12: We have received further information from Panasonic regarding the price of the AE8000 and its replacement lamps. We have also been told that Panasonic will offer consumers two free pairs of 3D glasses with the purchase of a Panasonic AE8000.

The Viewing Experience

The AE-8000 is Panasonic’s newest home theater projector, offering several improvements over the AE-7000 that will be of particular benefit in a dark room home theater environment.

We set up our AE8000 on a rear shelf above and slightly behind our seating area. The projector has manual H/V lens shift with a joystick-style adjustment mechanism. This system allows for a total shift range of three image heights by 1.5 image widths. In other words, you can move the picture one full image height either up or down from the central position, or a quarter of the image width in either direction. As always, the shape of the lens shift range is an oval, not a rectangle, so one cannot reach full horizontal and vertical shift simultaneously.

The AE8000 has received a brightness boost over its predecessor of 20% on paper, from 2000 to 2400 lumens. However, our actual measured increase is more than the specs indicate. The AE7000′s Cinema 1 mode measured 529 lumens on our test sample, whereas the new AE8000 cranks out 822 lumens in that same mode, which is more like a 50% increase. That’s enough light to power a 140″ diagonal 1.3 gain 16:9 screen at 18 foot Lamberts.

Our AE8000 was set up for a 100″ diagonal image on a Stewart Studiotek 100, a 1.0 gain screen, using Cinema 1 in low lamp mode with the lens at its widest angle setting. That produced 534 lumens, or 18 fL, and still left plenty of room to increase brightness when it came time for 3D. (Btw, Stewart doesn’t recommend the neutral Studiotek 100 for home theater; the Studiotek 130 (1.3 gain), is usually preferred for home theater installations.)

Viewed by itself, the AE8000 is a stunning projector. However, viewing the AE8000 next to the AE7000 is when things start to get interesting. There’s a clear increase in contrast, especially in low-illumination areas; shadow detail is better defined on the AE8000. The brightness difference is readily apparent to the naked eye. Detail appears more clear and sharp, though there is no sign of anything resembling an edge enhancement artifact. In 2D, these improvements combine to give the AE8000′s picture a touch of refined elegance as compared to the AE7000, a quality that will be appreciated by dedicated videophiles. In 3D, a substantial improvement in brightness and stability may have specific appeal to those who view a lot of 3D material.

Key Improvements

3D Depth Control. Some 3D movies have entirely too much depth. By “too much depth,” I mean the filmmakers intentionally or unintentionally abuse 3D technology to create exaggerated depth and pop in their films. What this ends up doing is causing eyestrain. To fix this, the AE8000 has a depth control for 3D in the form of its 3D waveform monitor. This tool allows the user to adjust overall picture depth to fit within a “safe” range, thereby protecting viewers from sore eyes and headaches.

The control has two modes. One of them is more involved, and shows 3D depth across the image in real-time. The other is more of a summary of this information and instead shows maximum depth of the image in each direction at any given time. Both allow for the adjustment of depth, so which one you prefer is a matter of taste.

3D Motion Remaster. The big 3D problems that everyone knows about are brightness and crosstalk, but they are not the only issues out there. For example: when an object is in motion, your left eye and right eye are shown the same frame at slightly different times, but your brain expects to see the second image advance slightly in the direction of motion during the time interval between left eye and right eye viewing. This creates an odd bulging or bowing effect as your eye interprets the images’ positions, also known as a parallax error.

The AE8000 includes a new 3D Motion Remaster feature designed to eliminate this parallax problem. Essentially, it is a highly-specialized offshoot of frame interpolation that detects 3D objects in motion and advances them slightly so your brain correctly interprets their motion. This is a hard effect to describe, but suffice it to say that 3D Motion Remaster makes 3D motion appear more natural. As with other frame interpolation systems, the user retains the option to disable it from the projector’s menu.

Detail Clarity Processor. The AE7000′s Detail Clarity system was designed to bring out superfine detail in HD content. The AE8000′s Detail Clarity Processor accomplishes the same task, but it has received an upgrade that makes it appreciably better at its job. Tiny details, such as foliage on far-away trees or the texture in fabric, is now easier to see than before. There is still no sign of artifacts related to this control, provided you use it at a reasonable level — cranking it all the way up will cause some artifacts. The default for this control is 2; we set our test unit to 3 for most viewing.

Lens Memory now works in 3D. A number of features that only worked in 2D on the AE7000 now work in 3D as well. Among these are the powered zoom, powered focus, and Lens Memory system. If you prefer a brighter 3D image and want to shrink down the picture when watching a 3D movie, you can set up a Lens Memory position in advance and save yourself some time.

Frame Interpolation now works in 2D to 3D. Previously, the Frame Creation system was unavailable in 2D to 3D conversion, but it now has its full functionality available.

Glasses have 3D to 2D function. Panasonic’s third-generation 3D glasses are light and comfortable, but they also have a neat feature for those who don’t enjoy 3D. By sliding the power switch all the way to the right, the glasses will show both eyes the same image, thereby turning 3D into 2D. Plenty of folks out there have family members or friends who just don’t enjoy 3D, and this feature means you can all watch a movie together, some seeing it in 3D and some seeing in 2D, so you can make everyone happy. The glasses are not included with the projector and cost $99 per pair.Edit: Panasonic now reports that they will offer two free pairs of third-generation glasses with the purchase of an AE8000.

Gamma adjustment. The AE8000 also has an overhauled gamma adjustment system that makes it easy to make subtle tweaks to get the gamma curve you want. For starters, the new system has 15 adjustment points instead of 9. When adjusting gamma, there is an option to place the adjustment menu in the bottom corner of the screen instead of the center, which makes it easier to either see the content on screen or use a meter without having to stop and disengage the menu every time.

Performance

Light output. The spec on the AE8000 is 2400 lumens, which is a 20% increase over the AE7000′s 2000-lumen rating. The spec understates the brightness differences we see on our test samples. Here, in table form, are the lumen readings we saw on our AE8000 compared to our AE7000 readings from last year:

Mode AE7000 AE8000
Cinema 1 526 822
Cinema 2 1089 1612
Game 1204 1673
Normal 1300 1752
Dynamic 1685 2471
Rec. 709 592 821
D-Cinema 544 872

As you can see, the average brightness increase between our samples is more like 35% rather than 20%. Some of this may be due to manufacturing variances in the individual samples, so the testing of two random samples cannot be used to make comparative statements about the product lines in general. Suffice it to say we are seeing more than the 20% increase claimed by Panasonic in all operating modes. This makes it possible to use the AE8000 on larger screens, but it also makes a significant and valuable difference in 3D.

Last year’s AE7000 did not quite have the brightness required to make a compelling 3D image at large screen sizes. 3D light output has received a 25% boost on a pure white signal, but in actual use the difference appears more substantial than that. We are eager to see how the AE8000 stacks up to this year’s crop of 1080p 3D projectors, as we expect it will fare better than the AE7000 did.

If the AE8000 produces too much light for your screen, you can either engage Eco lamp mode, which reduces brightness by 35%, or you can use more of the projector’s zoom range. Going from the wide angle to telephoto end of the 2.0:1 zoom lens causes a 39% reduction in light output. With a projector like the AE8000, many people will opt for the super-simple rear shelf mount and then zoom the projector to their screen. Even doing this, there will likely be lumens to spare.

Contrast. Dynamic range has been improved on the AE8000. The projector reveals quite a bit of detail in shadows that was not previously visible without causing those shadows to look too light. And despite a sizable increase in light output, the AE8000′s black level is still rock-solid.

Color. The AE8000′s Rec. 709 mode nails the specification almost perfectly, while Cinema 1 mode is more or less Rec. 709 that has been tailored to fit how humans see color in large images. As you may know, color perception is less black-and-white than other aspects of human vision (pun fully intended), so Panasonic has attempted to adjust for how the eye perceives color on large screens as opposed to smaller televisions. In other words, while Rec. 709 might look perfectly correct on a television or monitor, it can look a bit flat on the big screen — and that’s what Cinema 1 is for.

The AE8000′s Rec. 709 mode recreates the specification almost perfectly with no adjustment

Cinema 2 factory default settings produce a very different picture than Cinema 1. It is almost twice as bright and has less green in it. With a little bit of tweaking, Cinema 2 makes a beautiful bright picture that many users may prefer.

Normal mode is a staple of Panasonic home theater projectors, combining higher light output than the Cinema modes with decent color balance to make a pleasing “living room” picture, thereby allowing the projector to multitask when required. Normal mode does not have the typical washed-out colors, gray blacks, and green push found in the maximum light output dynamic modes of this and other projectors.

Sharpness and clarity. The AE8000′s Detail Clarity Processor has had an upgrade, and the difference is visible. Fine details in hair and foliage — really small details, in other words — are easier to see on the AE8000 than they are on the AE7000 when viewed side by side.

Frame Interpolation. The AE8000 uses the same frame interpolation system as the AE7000. At the moment, the AE7000′s FI system is still the best available. That might change as new projectors come to market, but suffice to say that the AE8000 has a clean, smooth frame interpolation system with comparatively little lag and very few artifacts.

Input Lag. The AE8000 has slightly less input lag than its predecessor. On the AE7000, Game mode measured 41 milliseconds of delay, whereas Game mode on the AE8000 is improved to 34 milliseconds. That improvement works out to half a frame at 60 frames per second. It’s not quite as fast as Panasonic’s AR100U, which at 25 milliseconds is their fastest projector for gaming.

As it turns out, Frame Creation does not have much of an effect on input lag in the AE8000′s Cinema or Rec. 709 modes. With Frame Creation set to Mode 1, Mode 2, or Off, Cinema 1 mode measured 67 milliseconds of delay — the setting made no difference. Mode 3 did increase delay slightly to 73 milliseconds. So if you are going to be playing games on the AE8000 and are concerned at all about input lag, stick with Game mode.

Fan noise. Despite its high brightness, the AE8000 is quiet during operation. In Normal lamp mode, which is the highest-power setting, fan noise is a low pitched whisper is only audible at distances closer than about five feet. Meanwhile, in Eco lamp mode the fan is barely audible at all.

4000/5000 hour Lamp life. The AE8000′s lamp’s life of 4,000 hours in Normal and 5,000 hours in Eco mode is state of the art and competitive with many competing home theater projectors. We know people are hoping for longer life LED-based projectors, but unfortunately, LED technology cannot yet generate the lumen power of high pressure lamps for anywhere near the price. Replacement lamps for the AE8000 have an MSRP of $379.

Two-year Warranty. The Panasonic projector warranty used to cover one year, plus an additional year if the purchaser filled out and sent in a warranty card. Since then, they have changed it to two years, standard, with no mail-in requirement. While the change went into effect in February, the AE8000 is the first home theater projector to launch with the new warranty coverage in place.

Limitations

It is getting very difficult to find things to complain about on Panasonic’s flagship home theater products since they tend to be loaded with features that competing units don’t have, and picture quality gets better every year. Nevertheless, here are a couple nits we could mention:

Lens Shift. In a projector where everything else is polished to perfection, the AE8000′s non-motorized lens stands out as something less than perfect. The manual lens shift control is a small joystick, which is handy for quick-and-dirty adjustments but can be finicky when trying to make smaller, more precise changes. It is more refined than the AE7000′s joystick, but still not as slick as a finely geared motorized adjustment. On the other hand, let’s be practical. Lens shift is rarely used after the projector is installed. Does it make any sense to add the cost of a motorized mechanism to assist in an adjustment that is no longer an issue after installation? Not really. Power zoom and focus have a great deal more utility during actual use, and the AE8000 has both of those.

Menu system. The AE8000′s menus are detailed and extensive. As mentioned previously, Panasonic’s home theater projectors offer more unique and useful features than any other manufacturer’s products. That said, there is room for improvement in the menu system. For one, sometimes there is no indication of what a given control actually does, and the average user may not know the difference between Frame Creation and 3D Motion Remaster. It would be helpful to include an onboard help system, perhaps accessible via a button on the remote control, that would explain the function of a highlighted option.

In the AE8000′s menus, you can press “enter” on most items to pop them out. This makes the rest of the menu disappear while the item you’ve selected is presented in low-profile format at the bottom of the screen, which makes it easy to adjust while watching the picture for changes. This is great, except the menu pops back to the main screen after a few short seconds, and there’s no way to adjust this timing. There are exceptions; if you are using the waveform monitor or gamma adjustment system, then the menu will persist. But the single-line function would be more helpful if there were a way to adjust its persistence.

Conclusion

Panasonic has been making home theater projectors for many, many years. The AE series, of which the AE8000 is the latest edition, started with the AE100 way back in 2001 — ancient history by today’s standards. It is clear by now that they’ve gotten very good at it.

Last year’s AE7000 was a big step forward over the previous AE4000. Not only did the addition of 3D make the projector noteworthy, but the AE7000 also improved almost all of the projector’s core systems, resulting in a 2D picture that was significantly better than that of its predecessor. The step up from the AE7000 to the AE8000 may appear less dramatic on the spec sheets, but overall picture quality shows a very decided improvement. And for videophiles, that is what it is all about.

The AE8000 is easily the best home theater projector Panasonic has ever released, and has the most natural and film-like image in both 2D and 3D yet seen on a Panasonic home theater model. The3D brightness boost makes the AE8000 a more exciting option for 3D fans. With an MSRP of $3499, the same as last year’s AE7000, the AE8000 represents a strong value in today’s home theater projector market.