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PT-AE3000U Installation


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Glassjoe

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Posted September 18 2009 - 02:37 PM

Hello guys – I am building a home theater room in our house that is under construction and I need some guidance on the installation of the projector I recently chose. I decided to go with the Panasonic PT-AE3000U due to the overwhelming positive feedback I have seen on this model on the internet.

To familiarize you with my setup, here is what I have to work with.

Room dimensions – 22’L x 12’W x 9’T
All walls/ceiling will be painted Crimson Red (Roll Tide!)
No ambient light – all controlled dimmer lighting
Carada Criterion 92” 178:1 (16:9) Brilliant White Projector Screen (1.4 gain… whatever that means)

I read the online manual and see the recommended throw distance for that screen size is between 9 and 18 feet approximately. I plan on setting it up at about 13 feet. One thing I need to factor in (from what I read) is that the projector can only be 100% higher than the center of the screen when mounted to the ceiling. So basically I need to either raise the screen up the wall or lower the projector. My confusion comes in at what exactly is 100%? Does it mean that if the viewing area of the screen is 45 inches tall then my projector lens cannot be any higher than 45 additional inches from the top of the viewable surface? Very unclear on that and I would really appreciate some advice on this area.

Also, I based my projector and screen selections purely based on what I have read on the internet. I have never had a projector setup and have never actually seen a personal home theater with one either. I fought back and forth between just buying a really big LCD flat panel and a projector but from what I read on the internet it is possible to achieve very bright, sharp 1080p images with this projector and the right screen combo. Based on what I have written, what is your input on my selections? The room will not suffer from ambient light intrusion and I am looking for a bright, vivid movie watching experience that also produces good black level for the darker scene details. I would really appreciate feedback from everyone – thanks!

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 18 2009 - 04:07 PM

Yup that's exactly what it means.  Try using this projector calculator:

http://www.projectorcentral.com/Panasonic-PT-AE3000-projection-calculator-pro.htm

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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 18 2009 - 04:30 PM



Quote:
...One thing I need to factor in (from what I read) is that the projector can only be 100% higher than the center of the screen when mounted to the ceiling. So basically I need to either raise the screen up the wall or lower the projector. My confusion comes in at what exactly is 100%? Does it mean that if the viewing area of the screen is 45 inches tall then my projector lens cannot be any higher than 45 additional inches from the top of the viewable surface? Very unclear on that and I would really appreciate some advice on this area.

Also, I based my projector and screen selections purely based on what I have read on the internet. I have never had a projector setup and have never actually seen a personal home theater with one either. I fought back and forth between just buying a really big LCD flat panel and a projector but from what I read on the internet it is possible to achieve very bright, sharp 1080p images with this projector and the right screen combo. Based on what I have written, what is your input on my selections? The room will not suffer from ambient light intrusion and I am looking for a bright, vivid movie watching experience that also produces good black level for the darker scene details. I would really appreciate feedback from everyone – thanks!
I agonized over this purchase literally for years. The number of variables is daunting, but I eventually arrived at the same conclusion as you. A screen or display with the dimensions I need would be prohibitively expensive. My Panasonic projects a nice bright image about ten feet wide (BIG GRIN).

The "100%" figure is confusing to me also, but I believe it means the projected image can be shifted such that the top of the image can be moved to align with the bottom of the previous (unshifted) image. Does that make any sense?

I can say for certain the AE-3000U can shift the image up or down A LOT. The only caveat is that you can't shift it to its right/left limit AND its up/down limit simultaneously... one limits the other near their extremes. It's always ideal to place the projector right in the center of its image, but I can't perceive any degradation with reasonable amounts of lens shift.

Are you planning to use a ceiling mount? You can always use an extension column if necessary. Your room dimensions are nearly ideal so I wouldn't be concerned.

Have you bought the projector already? If not you might be interested to know its price dropped last week to $2299 from at least two reputable dealers.The "overwhelming positive feedback" is justified. There isn't a better one anywhere near that price; I'd argue it has no competition even at $3000. If you finish the room in the paint you've described, with a 1.4 screen gain, and there really is no light intrusion, you'll be very pleased with it. Some light intrusion would be tolerable with this projector, but none at all is best.

If it's not too late I have some suggestions regarding concealed in-wall cabling, power, receivers, speakers, soundproofing, etc. as well. New construction is the time to get those things right and I'm pleased with what I've done so far. But as far as this projector goes you can hardly do better. There's no way I could get the image size I need with anything else.

I haven't painted my room yet... wanted to determine the best place for the image and I'm planning to use Screen Goo unless someone else has a better idea. 'd be interested to know how you like the crimson red.



#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Glassjoe

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Posted September 18 2009 - 05:11 PM

Thanks for the feedback, guys! I guess I need to go to the house tomorrow and do some measuring to make sure I don't exceed the 100%.

Robert - I can't wait to sit in front of my monster as well... 10' wide... NICE! I do plan on ceiling mounting the Panny and I found some good Chief ceiling mounts that I will likely go with. Did you ceiling mount yours? Based on the setup in my bonus room I will be able to line up the projector's lens with the center of the screen and will only have to shift the image straight down. Being the ceilings are 9' I am going to have to get an extension for the projector mount to lower the unit. I don't want to position the screen so high that you get a crick in your neck while watching movies.

I have not bought the projector yet but plan to do so in the next 3-4 months as the house will be done Jan-Feb of next year. I did go ahead and buy cabling, speaker wire, pre-construction speaker mounts, etc., so I can get those things in before sheet rock goes up in 3-4 weeks. I have decided to eliminate any footprints in the room and have decided to go with in-wall/in-ceiling speakers (Polk Audio LC series). I am also having my builder make a built-in A/V cabinet so everything will be recessed. Nothing too fancy here just a way to get everything out of the way. I think having everything recessed will give me all of the usable space back and not make the relatively good-sized room feel small. Speaking of cabling, I am running conduit from the A/V cabinet to the projector so it will be "future-proof".

I would love to hear your suggesstion on this stuff so send it on! Thanks again!

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 19 2009 - 09:47 AM


I am planning to ceiling mount mine but I need to get a few pieces of hardware first, after which I'll decide on an optimum placement - it will likely be between 14 and 18 feet from the screen. The rearmost seats are about 22 feet back.

Projector People is including a free ceiling mount with their $2299 deal. It's a Chief mount and is a discontinued model. I nearly told them to forget the mount since I thought it would be a piece of junk, but was quite surprised to find it see it appears to be a high quality unit, so I'm planning to use it. I'll need to fabricate an extension which is the reason for the delay but I can't argue with free! Panasonic makes a ceiling mount for this projector but it's ugly and (as I recall) costs several hundred dollars.

I considered the Polk in-wall and ceiling speakers. Aesthetically I think they're great but I wanted more flexibility with speaker arrangement and aiming, so I'm not planning to recess anything. Maybe next time :-)

Conduit for the ceiling and other cabling is ideal. Size them much bigger than you think you'll need. Fortunately HDMI cables has made that task a lot easier. Look at Carlon's structured conduit systems - they make a full line of boxes to complement their flexible conduit products. You won't be able to find everything you need at the big box stores so get friendly with an electrical supplier.

Put a receptacle in the ceiling for the projector. Running its power cord through a conduit would almost certainly be a code violation. Running an extension cord definitely is. Hope you knew that already! Come to think of it, put more receptacles than you think you need near the audio equipment. I was surprised to find many units don't have built-in accessory receptacles, and you don't want ugly power strips if you can help it. Another thing to consider is Ethernet cable and enough receptacles where you're likely to want them - I pulled three Ethernet cables into the theater for my wired LAN. Don't count on wireless to be good enough for high definition streaming.

I agree you will not want to look up at the image. Watching it from a comfortably seated position means the bottom of the image will be fairly low.

One reason it took me so long to eventually get this done was that I settled on Panasonic's earlier model, the PT-AE2000U. When the 3000U came out the price of the earlier model dropped dramatically, but I really liked the features of the newer one so I waited. The 2000 is an excellent projector and the new one was over $3000 - more than I planned to spend. Then, the 2000U couldn't be found at any price! Then Sanyo announced their new 1080p model at a really attractive price, and I had to wait to see if it was a viable alternative to the Panny (I eventually rejected it, but forget why right now). Projector manufacturers seem to introduce new models about this time of year so don't be surprised if this happens again.

Hope this helps!



#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 19 2009 - 10:20 AM

You guys DO know the AE3000U replacement has been announced, right?

http://www.trustedreviews.com/home-cinema/news/2009/09/03/IFA-2009--Panasonic-PT-AE4000-Cinemascope-Projector-Unveiled/p1

http://www.whathifi.com/News/Panasonic-aims-its-PT-AE4000-projector-at-high-end-home-cinemas/

http://panasonic.net/avc/projector/products/ae4000/specifications.html

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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 19 2009 - 11:53 AM

I do now! /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif Can't find any pricing info, though it's rumored to be over $3000. Makes me wonder why the price of the 3000U hasn't dropped even more than it has. One vendor refused my offer of $2500 just last week, right before I bought it from someone else for $2300.

Specs appear to be similar, though I'm working from memory. Contrast ratio is an even more impressive 100,000:1 but nothing else stands out as markedly different. I'd imagine the price of the 3000U may drop a bit more, but I doubt it will get as low as the $2000 that its predecessor hit (briefly).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

You guys DO know the AE3000U replacement has been announced, right?
 


#8 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 19 2009 - 12:00 PM


Oh one more thing to note... Panasonic is offering to double their standard one year warranty for the 3000U if you buy one by the end of the month. For what it's worth. 

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Glassjoe

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Posted September 20 2009 - 10:10 AM

Wow - didn't know the 3000 was going to be replaced soon. I referenced the links you sent and eventually pulled up a side by side comparison of the specs for the 3000 and the 4000. I didn't really see any differences that influence the decision for me except that the contract ratio is higher. Being I will have no ambient light affecting the experience the already stout 60,000:1 ratio should do fine for me. Thanks for the heads up though, Sam!

RL - I see that the prices have come down and a few places are selling them at the $2300 price point - good news for me! I think I am going to get the Chief RPA-181 ceiling mount which has a mount plate specifically for this Panny projector. I will likely use the 4"x4" base plate with a 3" extension rod. The Chief branded products appear to be of very good quality.

I went with the in-wall & ceiling speakers solely for the clean look without giving up any floor space. I have never owned in-walls before so hopefully I don't regret it! This Polk series (LCi) are supposed to sound really good (all voice matched) and the in-wall center channel is specifically made as a center channel so it's not a "jack of all trades" speaker and should be more refined for dialog. Hopefully it works out.

I'm definitely going to put a receptacle by the projector for the power and will have a brush wall plate for the HDMI & component cables to pass through into the conduit and into the wall plate attached to the A/V cabinet. The brush wall plate allows the cables to feed through easily without having to bend the cables at right angles to connect to a standard HDMI/component wall plate. I think it is going to work out nicely.

You and I think along the same lines - great minds think alike, right? LOL... I love the internet and it has educated me on so many projects I have undertaken in the past several years. Thanks again for your insight - take care!

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 23 2009 - 01:09 PM


Seems to happen every year about this time /img/vbsmilies/htf/smile.gif"> All it meant for me was the price of the 3000U dropped to the affordable range. I don't believe the 4000U offers any great improvement for what is likely to be a lot more money - probably the entry price of the earlier model, at least initially.

You'll like the Chief mount. I assembled mine, attached it to the pj and I'm very pleased with it. Even though it's a discontinued model that I got for free, it's solid and a good match for the Panasonic. I've settled on an optimum placement of 13 feet back from the screen, and a 102" horizontal image. It's capable of more but anything bigger is too big for the room. In my case I need an extension but was pleased to find the mount has a threaded 1" NPT hole which will work fine. I believe the newer ones are have a 1 1/2" NPT hole. Bigger is better Quote:
Originally Posted by Glassjoe 

RL - I see that the prices have come down and a few places are selling them at the $2300 price point - good news for me! I think I am going to get the Chief RPA-181 ceiling mount which has a mount plate specifically for this Panny projector. I will likely use the 4"x4" base plate with a 3" extension rod. The Chief branded products appear to be of very good quality.

I went with the in-wall & ceiling speakers solely for the clean look without giving up any floor space. I have never owned in-walls before so hopefully I don't regret it! This Polk series (LCi) are supposed to sound really good (all voice matched) and the in-wall center channel is specifically made as a center channel so it's not a "jack of all trades" speaker and should be more refined for dialog. Hopefully it works out.

I'm definitely going to put a receptacle by the projector for the power and will have a brush wall plate for the HDMI & component cables to pass through into the conduit and into the wall plate attached to the A/V cabinet. The brush wall plate allows the cables to feed through easily without having to bend the cables at right angles to connect to a standard HDMI/component wall plate. I think it is going to work out nicely.

You and I think along the same lines - great minds think alike, right? LOL... I love the internet and it has educated me on so many projects I have undertaken in the past several years. Thanks again for your insight - take care!



#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted September 24 2009 - 12:15 AM

hi guys


Chief makes some very nice mounts.

You dont want to be anywhere near 100% off from the screen when doing the PJ placement, get it as close to center as you can...or at the edge of the screen (even if you have to move the screen higher).



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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 24 2009 - 01:22 AM

Thanks for the tip Greg. If placing the projector in the center of the projected image area is ideal, and therefore shifting it using the lens shift results in a less than ideal image, how exactly does this degradation manifest itself? In other words, will it be impossible to have everything in focus, or will some colors be off, or... what exactly?

Tilting the projector down slightly (well within the pj's +/- 30 deg limitation) is also an option, since the resulting keystone distortion can be corrected, but this is also less than ideal. Could you explain why?

Sorry for all the questions, with all my research these phenomena have never been clearly explained to me. Right now the projector is temporarily mounted on a bookshelf in the corner of the room so I'm using the limits of the lens shift - both vertical and horizontal. I can't perceive any degradation but I'm not experienced enough to tell what I might be losing.


#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted September 24 2009 - 02:48 AM

hi

NEVER NEVER NEVER tilt a PJ, then use digital sizing and or digital keystoning correction. If you do you might as well have purchased a 480-720p PJ.

Image shifting should always be down mechanically. As the image moves towards the edges of the lense it will be prone to a greater amount of distortion, including focus errors, chromatic abberations, etc.






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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Leo Kerr

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Posted September 25 2009 - 12:31 AM

Greg's comment can't be reinforced enough: digital keystone correction is one of the few positively 'evil' things out there.  I think the only projectors where distorting the projected image isn't grossly fatal are CRT-based projectors, and maybe some of the laser-based projectors.  Maybe.

The more you use the optical adjustments, the more likely you are also to start seeing some geometry errors -- the picture being trapezoidal, rather than rectangular.  It's not much, but it is there.  I, myself, would love to be able to drop my AE3000 down by about 10-15 inches, but then it'd really be in the way.  (Mine is an 84" diagonal, about a 9' throw.  Just moved the screen, and didn't measure the throw-distance.  But I've not had any issues with the 3000.)

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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 30 2009 - 05:43 AM

Here you go glassjoe. The pictures aren't very good - my good camera was stolen and this one doesn't have any manual settings but you get the idea. I used a flash for the projector pictures and there's a reddish hue. The lens cover is placed on top of the projector so you can't really see much mount detail but the mount itself is nearly invisible. It's attached to a 1" pipe that passes through the suspended ceiling and attaches to a flange mount screwed to a plate attached to the floor joists above, with the security cable passing through the pipe. This design results in a very rigid attachment. I was concerned about shaking the projector when people walk above but it doesn't happen at all. 

The pj's cooling fan is inaudible when the projector is shelf mounted upright. Inverting it apparently requires more cooling air, so the fan goes from inaudible to audible. Not objectionably though. It may require more frequent cleaning of its air filter. I could have mounted it on a shelf on the rear wall but I really wanted a ceiling mount for aesthetics. I like it the way it is. The wires are hidden well enough for me. These two - power and HDMI - are the only ones visible in my theater room (I hate wires!).

The image is projected on a drywall that I painstakingly made perfectly flat. At present it's only painted with flat white latex. When I decide the image is where I want it I'll get serious about some kind of coating - probably Screen Goo but I may experiment with some other coating. The obvious problem right now is reflected light from the other walls. Dark images look good but bright ones get washed out. So I'm interested in what you think of your crimson red - I'm leaning toward a reddish or brownish color for the walls.

The lens is 13 feet back from the wall. It's centered horizontally but vertically shifted down. As I suspected this results in an inability to perfectly focus the entire image, but from three feet away or more I can't tell. 

DVDs look spectacular and I don't have any Blu-Ray yet. Netflix streaming looks pretty good - I'm not sure what resolution I actually receive but is probably less than whatever DVD is. Is there a way to tell on Netflix? VHS tapes look horrible - how did we put up with them?

The surround system uses an Onkyo TX-SR607 7.2 receiver with Onkyo speakers and my existing enormous front floors. The receiver is wonderful and I've always liked my floor speakers. The Onkyo speakers are merely OK. They're probably better suited for a smaller theater. They're good enough for now. I am undecided whether to use "front high" or back surround speakers so I installed both :-) Right now the back surround arrangement is quite satisfying.

As for the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, I agree with what one reviewer wrote: this is a seriously sick projector :-)



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#16 of 19 OFFLINE   RobertLindemann

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Posted September 30 2009 - 06:02 AM

 A couple more lousy pictures showing a bit more mount detail

[img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/thumbs/9/9f/Library%20-%20158.jpg/1000x500px-LL-Library%20-%20158.jpg">

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   SherardP

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Posted September 30 2009 - 12:34 PM

Chief makes a very good mount as mentioned by others. Hopefully Proj People is offering you the RPAU model as it is a Universal Mount. I have one paired with my JVC RS10. Also Chief does make down extension pipes to pair up with the ceiling mounts, I personally use a 3" down pipe and it works very well with my setup. Of course if you need the PJ dropped more they offer those in different lengths as well. Actually Proj People can assist you with that, since I bought all of my mounting hardware through them. Also your room is very close to mine in size, 14x22 here. I would also suggest you think about a larger screen. Just food for thought, I run a 126" screen in mine. Surely you could do 110" easy. Some pics included and enjoy whatever you get.

 Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image



#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted October 06 2009 - 12:58 AM

BTW,
I have worked on a few of the Panny PJs now....not at all impressed.
you may want to consider Epson if you have not yet made a purchase (for anybody else reading this thread).


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#19 of 19 OFFLINE   SherardP

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Posted October 13 2009 - 06:41 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Loewen View Post

BTW,
I have worked on a few of the Panny PJs now....not at all impressed.
you may want to consider Epson if you have not yet made a purchase (for anybody else reading this thread).

 
Not to discredit the OPs choice of PJ, but I agree with you Gregg. I like the Epsons allot better. Not sure what the Panny 4000U will bring to table but I guess we shall see soon enough.