Panasonic AE7000E, AR1000E Projectors Hands-On

Panasonic ducked by the Gizmodo offices to give me some hands-on time with its new ultra-bright and 3D home theatre projectors. They're not pitched as TV replacements, but for those who want a 100-inch display without breaking the bank. I'd already covered the basics of the AE7000E the other day; it's a 3D-capable projector with an asking price of $4179. Glasses for the AE7000 cost $169. It was raised in the comments on the original story as to why Panasonic's gone for comparatively expensive active shutter glasses rather than passive ones, and the answer I was given was that a passive 3D projector would require double the number of lenses, significantly expanding the cost of the overall unit.

In terms of image quality, things were great in 2D. I'm in the camp that gets made nauseous by 3D all too quickly, so could only stand a brief bit of 3D projection, but I'm happy to say that it at least worked well, if 3D is your thing. You'll ideally want a darkened room to make the effect work best.

The same isn't true of Panasonic's other projector, the AR100E, which is still a home projector, but one designed with home sensibilities in mind. Its contrast ratio is a little lower than the AE7000 at only 50,000:1, but its brightness rating is much higher at 2800 lumens. There's a reason for this; it's designed to be used in home environments where you might not be able to get things perfectly dark. Most people's living rooms, in other words.

Panasonic demonstrated the effectiveness of this with the Blu-Ray version of Pearl Harbour. I'm told that it will also display good movies, but that aside, it did a good job of presentation with the lights up, and an even better one when they were dipped. The AR100E goes on sale in a couple of weeks with an asking price of $3079. Replacement lamp pricing for both models should come in at around $650.