updated 04:50 pm EDT, Wed September 3, 2008
Panasonic AE3000 Projector
Panasonic this afternoon used the CEDIA home theater expo to update its AE series with a new high-end home theater projector. Replacing the AE2000U, the AE3000U nearly quadruples the contrast ratio from 16,000:1 to 60,000:1 courtesy of both new imaging hardware and new contrast plates that cut out unnecessary light from the image; a new polarizing filter also boosts the brightness slightly from 1,500 lumens to 1,600.
The projector is also said to provide better response in fast-moving scenes thanks to an interpolation mode that, like with some LCD TVs, inserts frames in between those from the actual picture. TV shows and other content running at 30 or 60 frames per second is automatically boosted to 120Hz. Movies, which often run at a native 24 frames per second, are interpolated up to an effective 96Hz.
Customization is also a focus with a split-screen mode that lets users make color and quality changes on one side while leaving the other as a reference; viewers can also set up to three lens presets to adapt to different picture formats, and a waveform monitor helps experienced owners match pro-level calibration.
Panasonic ships the HDMI 1.3-equipped AE3000U in October and will price it at the level of an equivalent high-end HDTV, selling it for $3,499 through home theater shops.