Panasonic launched its new top-of-the-line full HD home theatre projector, the AE2000, yesterday and announced a retail price of $5699. That's right shoppers, the Christmas price war has begun. The AE2000 steps into the market at $300 cheaper than Epson's recently announced TW2000, and it is more than $2000 cheaper than the launch price of the model it replaces, the AE1000.
The AE2000 shares the same 0.7-inch D7 LCD panel from Epson that the TW2000 uses but apart from that, it's Panasonic all the way.
Panasonic maintains a projector lab in Hollywood in order to learn from movie colourists and directors of photography and incorporate those findings in its projectors. This process has been going on for a number of years now and the AE2000 continues that evolution.
The first new feature of this projector is a lens made under licence from Leica in the same factory as the Panasonic Lumix camera lenses and the lens on each projector is aligned by hand to ensure focus and image uniformity.
The 2000 also introduces a new Detail Clarity Processor, which is an advancement on the traditional Sharpness control. Instead of searching for and sharpening everything in the image that looks like an edge, thereby creating what is often called a ringing or halo effect, the Clarity Processor looks only for high-frequency areas of the image to sharpen. As high-frequency areas are the parts of the image that are most detailed and clearly in focus, this sharpening is able to increase clarity without unwanted side-effects.
The AE2000 also incorporates the Pure Colour Filter introduced with the AE1000 that slides in and out of the light path depending on the chosen image mode. This filter works to deliver more accurate film-like colours, as opposed to a television or video look.
In fact, Panasonic was so confident of the quality of this projector that it held the launch in the colour grading suite of Auckland post production company Toybox Studios. Toybox has installed an AE2000 in the suite to be able to show visiting clients what their final film or TV advertisement will look like when it its screened. This means the AE2000 must be able to produce an image identical to what the colourist sees on their $40,000 professional grade monitor with its $12,000 HD card. Toybox manager, Michael Bach, said the AE2000 had been installed straight out of the box, with no further tweaking, and everyone on his staff agreed it looked spot on.
if tweaking is your bag, however, the AE2000 is a dream come true. It offers split-screen adjustment so that you can freeze frame an image and then split it so that you can see the original image, and the adjusted image beside it. There's a waveform monitor so you can measure the incoming signal and adjust it to ensure blacks are black and whites are white, and all colours inbetween line up accordingly. You can also adjust individual colours within the image, and there are a total of 16 user-definable memory positions in which you can store and name your tweaks!
More info: panasonic.co.nz
Oops, looks like Panasonic NZ is a little slow getting this projector on the website so try the US site in the meantime.