Panasonic PT-AE1000

Panasonic PT-AE1000
  • Panasonic PT-AE1000
  • Panasonic PT-AE1000
  • Panasonic PT-AE1000
  • Expert Rating

    5.00 / 5


  • Excellent image quality, Versatile lens-shift options, Remote-controlled zoom and focus, Quiet and cool operation, Learning remote.


  • Nothing worth noting

Bottom Line

If you have the cash to spend and you want the very best, the PT-AE1000 should be at the top of your shopping list. With impeccable image quality at 1080p, 1080i, 720p and SD modes we have no hesitation in recommending this unit.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 7,699.00 (AUD)

When it comes to high-end LCD projectors, the Panasonic PT-AE900 was easily the best one that came out last year. With 1080p becoming more prevalent, it was just a matter of time before Panasonic made the leap into 1080p projection. We love and adore the AE900, so we were understandably excited to get our hands on the PT-AE1000. If Panasonic could implement the high-quality projection of the PT-AE900 into this 1080p product, then we were in for a treat.

We're pleased to report that the PT-AE1000 not only met our expectations, but far exceeded them. We would even go so far as to say that this projector has the best image of any projector we have ever reviewed. Our testing procedures are extensive, and it's not easy for display devices to pass flawlessly, but we couldn't find any problems at all with the AE1000, no matter how hard we tried.

The PT-AE1000 is a three-LCD projector (one for each primary colour - Red, Green and Blue) and measures 460mm x 130mm x 300mm. It weighs 7.2kg and is rather large. However, when it comes to image size, there aren't many units on the market that can match it.

Before we plunge into the review and the long list of testing that we performed, we should first note that there have been reports of image softness in some US publications. Panasonic uses a smooth pixel technology when processing video signals that is designed to lessen the space between each pixel and make images look more realistic. In the US, they use the NTSC video standard and, from our research, it appears that softening occurs due to the NTSC conversion when using the projector's various cinema modes. However, since Australia uses the PAL format, this shouldn't be an issue for the AE1000 down-under. We checked and double-checked and can confidently say that the softening seen in the US won't be seen here.

Full high definition (1080p)

We ran two tests to test the 1080p capabilities of the unit. Firstly, we viewed underwater scenes from Into the Blue using the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Player. We also ran games at 1080p using the Xbox 360. The Blu-ray test looked stunning with clear visuals and high detail. Fine details like body hair, bubbles and marine flora were rendered impeccably without any pixelation or over-sharpening. The black levels in this film tend to look a little green on most display devices and the AE1000 was no different. However, compared to some 1080p TVs that we have reviewed, this discolouration was greatly reduced and, overall, colour reproduction and black levels were both excellent.

To test 1080p gaming, we playing Tony Hawk's Project 8 and found no problems at all. The detail was impressive, especially on graffiti and stone textures. There was no pixelation to speak of and motion was handled without any ghosting or excessive blur.

If you are looking to run one of the high definition film formats, or you are a keen HD gamer, this projector will definitely hit one for six.

High definition (720p and 1080i)

Testing 720p and 1080i modes ran the same course as the 1080p testing. Once again, the Xbox 360 was used for gaming at 720p and for HD-DVD playback at 1080i. We realise we sound like a scratched record when we say that the image quality was flawless, but the test results can't refuted.

Using Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, we tested the image quality at 720p and found no problems whatsoever. The black levels were excellent, contrast showed no blemishes and the dot pitch was non-existent. Viewing the Empire State Building finale from our King Kong HD-DVD, we discovered a minor level of noise in some background textures. However, it was barely noticeable and won't present a problem from a comfortable viewing distance. Apart from this, the rest of the HD-DVD tests were good, with no discolouration, pixelation or contrast stepping to speak of.

The PT-AE1000 breezed through the HD testing without a problem. If you're looking for a HD experience, this projector is on-par with the best of the 720p projectors we have reviewed.

Standard definition (576i/p)

When it comes to 1080p TVs, the one thing we have noticed is that they're extraordinarily poor at scaling to standard definition. Naturally, we expected a 1080p projector to be similarly flawed, but the AE1000 displayed standard definition content convincingly, without any major problems.

We tested the standard definition performance at 576i using the Digital Video Essentials (DVE) DVD and by viewing the lobby scene from The Matrix. The DVE tests were delivered without a fault. The greyscale bars showed no noise or discolouration and there was a good blend along the greyscale ramp. The colour tests were delivered well and contrast tests didn't show any stepping. In The Matrix, we saw a similar result with no over-sharpening and no discolouration. There were some scaling artifacts at times, but this was far below the expected level and completely understandable considering the mammoth job of scaling a 576i source.

The projector's performance in these tests was excellent and will make most users happy (especially those with extensive DVD collections). In addition to being capable of displaying HD content at high quality, it's good to see that the AE1000 can also display DVDs well. This makes the unit rather flexible in its applications and it will appeal to a much wider user base.

Heat and noise

Considering the size and brightness of this projector, we expected it to run very hot and have loud fans keeping it cool. This wasn't the case. While it's undeniable that the unit produced a fair amount of heat, it wasn't as intense as other units we have reviewed and it didn't heat up the testing room anywhere near as quickly. The fans are quiet and couldn't be heard while viewing a film. While this means that it can be used as a desktop projector, we still recommend mounting this unit to the ceiling if you are able to, simply because of its sheer size.

Throw distance

In any projection environment, a factor that needs to be considered is the amount of room a projector needs to produce an image of a desired size. The PT-AE1000 has a throw distance of 1.2m - 12m (3'11" - 39'4"), which is able to produce an image size of 1.02m - 50.8m (40" - 200"). Assuming the user is looking for a large screen size, this makes it suitable for a medium-to-large area, but may preclude it from being used in a small living room.

Design and extra features

Compared to the PT-AE900, the PT-AE1000 is a monster. Its design is functional rather than stylish, and has all the inputs and functions you would expect from a high-end projector. The large lens is centre-mounted and has lens-shift options allowing 40 percent horizontal and 100 percent vertical movement. Not only can the lens position be controlled, but thanks to the mechanised zoom feature, the image can be tweaked even more, allowing it to fit the screen size perfectly. There is also a powered focus button too, which makes focusing the image remarkably simple.

The connectivity options are extensive. It has two HDMI, one Component, one Composite, one S-video and a D-Sub port for connection to a PC. There is also a SCART connector, but this is rarely used in this country.

The unit also comes with a learning remote that can be programmed to work with a wide range of infrared controlled devices in your home. This is an excellent addition and an added bonus in an already excellent package.

If you have the cash to spend and you want the very best, the PT-AE1000 should be at the top of your shopping list. With impeccable image quality at 1080p, 1080i, 720p and SD modes we have no hesitation in recommending this unit.

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