Panasonic PT-AE4000

Other than the TH-85PF12U plasma and an extensive 3D demo, Panasonic has been pretty tight-lipped about what it's going to be showing at CEDIA. But late-breaking news from the IFA trade show in Berlin has revealed a new LCD projector, the PT-AE4000. Like it's predecessor, the new model lets you store lens zoom and focus settings for content with different aspect ratios, such as 16:9 and 2.35:1, providing a poor man's anamorphic capability. New to the AE4000 is an aspect-ratio detection function that automatically selects 16:9 or 2.35:1 depending on the incoming signal. The projector should be available in October for less than $4000.
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Will's picture

Scott, I wonder if might be able to check something when you hit the Panny booth: a video of the unit on the British site AVForums showing the zoom/memory aspect ratio (AR) functions also revealed a series of menu items related to Left. Right, Top and Bottom masking; the menu items are apaprently right below the AR controls. Nobody in the press has broekn the story on this feature/capability yet, but it would be interesting to learn whether this is an internal masking option, or if it might be tied to the new 12-volt I/O triggers (and zoom/memory AR controls), i.e. to control external masking devices mounted over fixed screens. Thanks for your show coverage--and have fun! Will

Scott Wilkinson's picture

I'll see what I can find out about that...

SM's picture

See the answer from Phil Hinton at AV Forums to my very same question about the masking menu options as quoted below and also accessible at the link near the bottom of the page:

Will's picture

Thanks, Scott, I do appreciate it, and I'll keep a tab open for this link; SM, very cool getting the skinny from Phil Hinton, even if the reply was not so cool (I can't imagine an engineer sitting down to design a function like this and NOT making it applicable to the black bars off the top and bottom of the screen when zoomed for 21:9...what else could they POSSIBLY be used for? Absurd. Rather like the "Processing" notice that flashes when the auto/AR function switches ARs...why? We can SEE it happen! Anyway, perhaps the masking function can be updated with firmware in time for THIS model's lifespan (perhaps Scott can tell us whether this is a function driven by software-only, or whether it's a combo SW/hardware system. Not that I know whether one approach is easier to upgrade, but, if so, I'd assume the former. Thanks, gentlemen! (And, sorry for the typos in the first post, I was tired.) I've posted the Hinton reply and a link to this UAV post in the 4000 thread ove

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Unfortunately, Panasonic is not showing the PT-AE4000 at CEDIA, so I won't be able to find the answers to your questions at the show. Thanks to SM for pointing Will to Phil Hinton's comments about this.

"A" for Effort, Scott!'s picture

Thanks for your efforts! I think the early concensus (among folks who haven't even seen it, yet) is that the 4000 is merely evolutionary; the new red-biased lamp may help in getting a brighter calibrated picture and slightly closer to ideal grayscale at low IRE; it has slightly better contrast specs that may (or not) help in actual calibrated modes. Still, the PT-AE3000U was by far the segment leader last year, so...not too shabby a set of coattails to ride, I suppose. Many of us hoped for better, however--esp. in terms of contrast--at least to last year's Epson UB-level. And, after having been teased with the possibility, a shutter-type masking system to eliminate light overspill in zoomed 21:9 mode seems like such a no-brainer, now! (Then again, so many of us thought we'd see all the other PJ manufacturers following Panny's lead with the zoom/memory feature...guess we're the ones sans brains...) ALl the fun at CEDIA this year seems to have been at the very high (UAV) end!

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Thanks a lot for your high marks! It was a tough show, and I did my best to cover as much of it as I possibly could, so I'm really glad to know you appreciated it. CEDIA is indeed geared toward the high end, though not exclusively. However, that's what I was covering at the show, in keeping with UAV's mission to bring you the ultimate in audio and video. As for projectors with zoom memories like the Pannys, I'm also surprised—and disappointed—that more manufacturers haven't jumped on that bandwagon. One company that has is Sony with its 4K projector, but that's in a different league altogether.

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