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Updated with first impressions: New Panasonic 3D 1080P Projector: PT-AE7000U $3500 MSRP

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#1 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 28 2011 - 04:46 PM


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PANASONIC INTRODUCES ITS FIRST FULL HD 3D HOME THEATER PROJECTOR


The PT-AE7000U delivers exceptional 2D images and rich 3D features in a 3D Home Entertainment Center setting


Los Angeles, CA, July 28, 2011 – Panasonic Solutions Company, provider of collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for government and commercial enterprises, today announced the PT-AE7000U, its first Full HD 3D home theater projector with 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) resolution. The PT-AE7000U is also the world’s first*1 3D projector to use transparent LCD panels driven at 480Hz that, combined with Panasonic’s original Overdrive Technology, realize significantly low crosstalk. Thanks to the newly-developed optical engine, which produces an incredible 300,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,000 lumens of brightness, the PT-AE7000U delivers both stunning 2D images and a comfortable and immersive 3D viewing experience at home.


“When we create our projectors, our goal is to produce images that mirror movie directors’ artistic vision and intent,” said Art Rankin, director of Projectors and Higher Education Sector at Panasonic Solutions Company. “The PT-AE7000U’s key 3D projection technologies were developed in collaboration with Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory engineers who are heavily engaged in the authoring and mastering of 3D Blu-ray Discs™. They have taken key roles in establishing the industry standards for 3D and bringing the experience from large screens to homes. Through this joint effort, the PT-AE7000U has been redesigned from the ground up to achieve higher basic 2D performance and is packed with unique 3D features to deliver studio-grade 3D content to the consumer.”


The optical system of the PT-AE7000U features a new 200-Watt Red-Rich Lamp and new LCD panels with larger aperture ratio for increased red luminance and brightness output. The combination of fully-optimized Pure Contrast Plates, Pure Color Filter Pro and Dynamic Iris Pro has resulted in a 300,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,000 lumens of brightness. This produces brighter images with excellent coloring and deep blacks with fine shadow details.


The PT-AE7000U uses frame sequential technology for 3D image projection. The Overdrive Technology has been carefully tuned together with the 480Hz LCD Panel that greatly reduces 3D crosstalk, or double images, for comfortable 3D content viewing. The projector is also equipped with a newly-developed dual-core processing engine so that the projector can process 3D signals with all of the benefits of 2D image enhancements. Frame Creation, Detail Clarity Processor and other innovative image processing technologies are optimized for 3D images in the same manner as for 2D images. They bring out fine details and three dimensionality for natural, life-like visuals with excellent clarity, and create sharp, clear images of fast-moving scenes in sports and action movies.

Comfortable 3D viewing can also be adjusted with the 3D Viewing Monitor and the 3D Picture Balance features. Because the 3D effect changes with varying screen sizes, the 3D Viewing Monitor ensures that the viewer’s stereoscopic effect is within the safety zone set forth by the 3D Consortium Committee. The left and right eye images can be displayed side by side on the PT-AE7000U with the individual Waveform Monitor to adjust 3D picture balance.


Other 3D features include 2D-3D Conversion, which converts 2D content into 3D images for 3D projection with five different 3D effect modes. 


The projector is equipped with a built-in 3D IR transmitter that lets the user enjoy large-screen 3D images with optional eyewear, which is sold separately. The models, TY-EW3D10U, TY-EW3D2LU, TY-EW3D2MU and TY-EW3D2SU, also used for the Panasonic VIERA 3DTV, are convenient for those looking to enjoy 3D content on both their Panasonic TVs and projectors.  An optional IR transmitter (ET-TRM110) is available for extended transmission distance.


The PT-AE7000U comes rich with features for those looking to customize their home theaters.  Many Blu-ray Discs and DVDs come in aspect ratios that are even wider than the projector’s 16:9 aspect ratio to match the image size (2.35:1) seen in movie theaters. The projector’s Intelligent Lens Memory feature makes it possible for the user to easily program up to six different zoom/focus positions. Automatic switching between 16:9 and 2.35:1 video content is also possible thanks to the signal aspect detection capability on the PT-AE7000U.


More theater automation, such as lighting and a motorized screen, is possible with the PT-AE7000U because it comes equipped with two programmable 12-volt trigger terminals and VIERA Link®. VIERA Link® provides seamless operation of multiple VIERA Link® compatible Panasonic devices by using the PT-AE7000U remote control with backlit buttons.


The PT-AE7000U is also equipped with three HDMI™ inputs (supporting x.v.Color™ and Deep Color), so multiple HD sources can be connected without an HDMI switcher. Initial setup and installation are quick and easy, because the 2x zoom can cast a 120-inch diagonal image from as close as 3.6 meters (about 11 feet) to 7 meters (24 feet) from the screen. The projector’s lens shift capability enables 100 percent vertical adjustment and 26 percent horizontal adjustment, so the user can suspend the projector either close to the ceiling or mount it to a wall.


In addition to its outstanding features, the new PT-AE7000U is also an eco-conscious product. Its intelligent power management system reduces the lamp power to the exact required level of brightness depending on the content being displayed. Advanced Panasonic digital circuitry intelligently determines the necessary power output by analyzing more than 3 billion different image patterns. This advanced analysis process reduces the main power consumption by as much as 10 percent when the Dynamic Iris function is operating, thus saving energy.


Other ecological considerations include an off-timer that reduces wasteful power consumption, an extremely low standby power consumption of 0.08 watts, and a 4,000 hour (normal mode)/5,000 hour (eco mode) lamp life.


The Panasonic PT-AE7000U Full HD 3D home theater projector is made in Japan and will be available in September 2011, through authorized Panasonic resellers, at an MSRP of $3,499.00.



#2 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 28 2011 - 04:49 PM

Not only will we have a full report on this at CEDIA, we will have a sneak peek in the next few days and a chance to talk with the engineering team.  Full details will be posted here.

In the meantime here is the official spec sheet:



 



#3 of 32 Tim Glover

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Posted July 28 2011 - 04:59 PM

Thanks Adam....I've been waiting (many have!) on this model and to see how it performs. On paper it looks to be pretty dang impressive. Looking forward to your thoughts from CEDIA.

#4 of 32 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted July 29 2011 - 04:42 AM

Crossing my fingers (until the reviews come in) and saving my pennies (until my ship comes in)...Posted Image


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Posted July 29 2011 - 07:19 PM




Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

Not only will we have a full report on this at CEDIA, we will have a sneak peek in the next few days and a chance to talk with the engineering team.  Full details will be posted here.

In the meantime here is the official spec sheet:



 




Can't wait for the details on the sneak peak!!!!



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Posted July 29 2011 - 07:21 PM



Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

Not only will we have a full report on this at CEDIA, we will have a sneak peek in the next few days and a chance to talk with the engineering team.  Full details will be posted here.

In the meantime here is the official spec sheet:



 







#7 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted July 30 2011 - 02:54 AM

Color me intrgued. I love my 900u but 1st gen 3d tech and a $3500 price may mean i wait another year to upgrade...

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#8 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 30 2011 - 08:35 AM

Sam keep in mind that the $3500 is street, and although this is Panasonic's first gen 3D projector, they have 2 years of 3D products under their belt.  There are enough subtle 2D improvements over the 4000 that even if 3D weren't important and I was in the market like you were I would take the PT-AE7000U over the PT-AE4000U.






#9 of 32 Mark-P

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Posted July 30 2011 - 08:55 AM

I've got the 4000U which I love because of the lens memory function. This sounds like it has identical features plus 3D. If I every decide to go 3D, this would be the projector I would get.

#10 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 30 2011 - 06:45 PM

I had a chance to look at the two engineering prototypes in existence. Keep in mind not all settings were production finalized on either unit. Due to time I wasn't able to play may own material or get “hands on” with the settings. We will work on getting a review unit to make that happen. In the meantime, here are some of my initial notes and observations:


3D:

One of my concerns prior to looking at the projector was brightness during 3D content....Would it be bright enough? Compared to the PT-AE4000U, Panasonic increased the bulb to 200W and 2000 lumens so they were thinking about 3D when they designed it.


One of the projectors was playing a loop from a darker scene in Ice Age 3 3D on a 120" 1.0 gain screen using the Cinema 1 mode. There were some low lights on in the room. It looked pretty good considering the screen gain and size, I might have preferred a tad brighter, but turning off the lights in the room might have taken care of that. I was able to turn up the brightness via the menu a bit and was satisfied. The LCD chips they are using are running at 480 Hz to minimize ghosting and I didn't see any even during some high contrast demo scenes.


The projector is compatible with Panasonic active shutter glasses and universal 3D glasses. There is a discreet built in emitter on the front of the projector that will reach up to 20 feet to the screen and bounce back up to 16 feet. If that isn't far enough there is a more powerful emitter that plugs into the back and has a greater range.


While I am not a huge fan on 3D conversion they played a 2D clip from Criterion’s Thin Red Line and I was pretty impressed at how well it handled the conversion. There are several 2D->3D modes.


There are some interesting settings that allow you to tweak 3D if there are some problem sources:

1) You can adjust basic picture settings on the right eye to match the left eye (color, etc.) in case the cameras used to film the material weren't color calibrated to each other.


2) Studies have been done to determine the what the best parallax settings are between the left and right eye. Too little ruins the 3D effect, too much can lead to a headache between your eyes trying to focus and your brain trying to combine the images. To minimize parallax problems, the projector has a proprietary "3D Viewing Monitor" that pulls up a graph on the bottom of the screen indicating recommended parallax settings based on your screen size. It shows if the material you are watching falls outside of that range. If it does, you can easily adjust it to reduce the parallax and bring it within recommended levels.



2D:

The lens is essentially the same lens that is on the PT-AE4000. It uses aspherical glass lenses and comes from the same plant that makes their Lumix camera lenses. It has motorized zoom and focus. You can save different lens settings as presets. This could be useful for some 3D viewing. In my instance I have a 124" woven acoustically transparent screen, so 3D might be a challenge even with the new bright bulb. I could have a preset that zooms in on the screen to give me a 100" screen for 3D resulting in a brighter picture. The AE7000 carries forward the vertical and horizontal lens shift, although you only have +/- 26 degrees of horizontal shift since the lens has moved from the center to the left side on the front of the housing.


They had their second production sample PT-AE7000U next to a PT-AE4000U and were playing the same 2D material over both. There were several subtle improvements to color, contrast and brightness. In addition to new faster LCD chips for 3D and the brighter bulb, they spent a lot of time "tuning" the design from the 4000 to get a lot of small improvements that make a pretty big difference when combined.


Since AE7000 uses a higher wattage bulb, it gets warmer. Even with this added heat, it is just as quiet as the 4000 (22dB) thanks to a quiet van and vent designed with internal baffles. Speaking of vents, they are another good example of subtle but measureable improvements. The new vent design directs air away from the lens using an internal wave design that directs air away from the lens while reducing light leakage to an almost imperceptible amount (when looking directly at the vents).


A redesign of the color filter next to the dynamic iris minimizes light leakage contributing to the increase in contrast over the AE4000.


A lot of companies measure things different ways to get different specifications. So things like the contrast ratio readings in each brands specs aren't usually an apples to apples comparison between brands. but they usually are between models from the same manufacturer. Measured the same way the TA7000 has a 300% increase in contrast ratio from the TA4000, so all those tweaks combined work together to get a pretty dramatic increase in performance over last year’s model.


For tweakers and calibrators there are 16 different picture memory settings that allow you to change and save advanced picture settings like color points, gamma, etc. with a custom name.


What Panasonic has shown in the PT-AE7000U projector looks like very promising, especially at the $3500 MSRP price point. I look forward to HTF getting a review sample to really have a chance to put it through its paces. Look for additional reporting from CEDIA and an eventual review. Expect the AE7000 to be available for purchase in late September.




#11 of 32 Towergrove

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Posted July 31 2011 - 08:05 AM

Im looking forward to seeing this projector and how it reviews.  I may make a purchase when its released.


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Posted July 31 2011 - 06:01 PM

It's too bad that they wouldn't let you put a test disc in it!  :)  Can't wait to get a review model.

Did they say anything about convergence adjustments by the user and what level of granularity they would have?


One of the biggest issues I have with three chippers is convergence being all over the map with each PJ.  JVC offers convergance, but it is too coarse to correct the real errors.

What do they believe is there differentiation from JVC projectors, outside of price?



#13 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 31 2011 - 07:15 PM




Originally Posted by Kevin Collins 

It's too bad that they wouldn't let you put a test disc in it!  :)  Can't wait to get a review model.

Did they say anything about convergence adjustments by the user and what level of granularity they would have?


One of the biggest issues I have with three chippers is convergence being all over the map with each PJ.  JVC offers convergence, but it is too coarse to correct the real errors.

What do they believe is there differentiation from JVC projectors, outside of price?



The big difference between the JVC and the Panasonic is LCoS vs LCD.  With the fast switching LCDs and contrast improvements it will be interesting to see both the JVC and the Panasonic at CEDIA.  I asked about the convergence issues and there is no adjustment on the Panasonic.  During assembly they set the convergence when they are installing the three chips.  Once they have it set they glue the three chips down to the assembly to prevent them from getting out of alignment.  There take was its best to avoid the errors in the first place.  We will have to check using test patterns at CEDIA to see how close they are.




#14 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted August 01 2011 - 10:49 AM

To be fair I need a house before I settle on the pj so there's still hope for me, but this will need to be a lot closer to $2500 than $3500 for me to consider jumping aboard...

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#15 of 32 FoxyMulder

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Posted August 02 2011 - 07:49 AM

The 3000,000 1 contrast is nonsense, thats on dynamic and uncalibrated and measured in a way to give a false impression, tests have shown that the last models real native contrast was around 5000-1 and with dynamic iris engaged in cinema 1 calibrated mode it became around 10,000-1, if these new D9 panels can do three times what the old panels did then maybe we'll get 15000-1 native and 30-000-1 dynamic iris engaged. ( Cine4home is the site that measured the last model )


Lumens quoted by Panasonic are also nonsense, expect real world figures of maybe 900 lumens and then drop that figure by 70 percent for 3D.


Manufacturers need to cut the numbers game out and give us real figures.




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#16 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted October 01 2011 - 07:23 AM

Was MSRP dropped to $2999? Via twitter just now:

Did You Know: @panasonic hooked us up with 600 of the first 800 Panasonic PT-AE7000U projectors off the production line! http://ow.ly/6JLwA 2 hours ago

Good impressions and a vid i havent seen yet there. Sam

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#17 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted October 13 2011 - 05:52 AM

Website and new owner reviews are beginning to roll in (er, at that other site), raves all around so far. http://www.trustedre...rojector_review

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#18 of 32 FoxyMulder

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Posted October 15 2011 - 04:07 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

Website and new owner reviews are beginning to roll in (er, at that other site), raves all around so far.
http://www.trustedre...rojector_review



Rave reviews tend to be the norm for new projectors, i like to read a few negative comments just to balance things out and one comment i have read suggests there is a bit of minor sharpening being applied even when the sharpness is set at - figures and that the dynamic iris has been set too aggressively which results in a few issues, bear in mind that most people won't be looking as closely for faults and i myself have not seen the unit but if you can trust a positive review then i would suggest its worth believing in a few of the negative comments too and then balancing everything out.


I have seen this minor sharpening halo effect on Panasonic HD camcorders even at minus sharpness figures ( i own one ) reviews of those models are all positive too and no one mentions any issues thus i take online reviews these days from major sites with a big grain of salt since i believe certain things get glossed over or missed.


Oh and heres a great review, scroll down the page, these people actually open the projector up and take real world measurements, use Google translate for an english laguage version,


http://www.cine4home.de/






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#19 of 32 tcomolli

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Posted October 20 2011 - 09:35 AM

I've had my 7000u up and running for over a week. So far I have mixed impressions. I'll put some notes and reactions down as soon as I finish the install and testing.

#20 of 32 Adam Gregorich

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Posted October 20 2011 - 11:56 AM




Originally Posted by tcomolli 

I've had my 7000u up and running for over a week. So far I have mixed impressions. I'll put some notes and reactions down as soon as I finish the install and testing.

Thanks Tim, looking forward to it!