Sunday, September 11, 2011

Panasonic PT-AR100U Full HD Home Theater Projector

Panasonic just announced a second new home theater projector to be launched at CEDIA - this one the PT-AR100U, a 1080p projector that is especially bright, and therefore should be great in the family room, and for sports with friends.

While it seems that many new announcements at CEDIA this week will be for 2D and 3D capable projectors, the PT-AR100U, is "just" a good, old-fashioned 2D projector. That said, based on the specs Panasonic just put out, the PT-AR100U should be impressive home projector, none-the-less. Let's get started:

Panasonic PT-AR100U Projector

For the US market, the just announced PT-AR100U, is a new designation. One way to consider this new, extremely bright 2800 lumen projector, is as a logical, but far superior, replacement for Panasonic's old PT-AX200U, whichdiscontinued last year. Panasonic's PT-AR100U. The AR designation is new to the US, not sure if it's been used in the EU before, (but it sounds familiar). Call it a home theater projector, or a home entertainment projector, the PT-AR100U likely be fine in a family room or a dedicated home theater or cave.

With 2800 lumens, this projector should be able to handle quite a bit of ambient light while you are watching your favorite sporting event or HDTV program, and have plenty of horsepower to fill a really large screen for movie viewing.

Not only is the PT-AR100U projector bright, but contrast is claimed to be 50,000:1, so look for some very impressive blacks. I'm looking forward to running it through its paces.

Note, the older PT-AX200U was optimized, as well, for gaming. I would therefore expect this PT-AR100U, to likely share that focus, especially considering Panasonic mentions playing games with the PT-AR100U, in the opening paragraph of the data sheet.

Before we go a bit further, here are you basic specs and assorted features.

Panasonic PT-AR100U Specs and Features

• Brightness: 2800 lumens
• Contrast: 50,000:1
• 2:1 manual zoom lens
• Vertical and Horizontal Lens shift (with plenty of range)
• Seven picture modes
• 280 watt "Red-rich" lamp
• 16 user modes for saving different settings
• Dynamic iris to improve blacks and hit that 50,000:1 spec
• Multiple dynamic features
• CFI - creative frame interpolation for smooth motion - called Motion Effect
• Color Management system (CMS)
• Two HDMI inputs
• 3000 hour lamp life (eco mode - no published spec for full power)
• Two screen triggers
• Anamorphic support with two modes
• 19 lbs. (8.6 kg.)
• MSRP of $1999

Panasonic PT-AR100U Picture Quality

This article is simply a preview, based on information recently sent out by Panasonic, as such we have not yet seen the PT-AR100U in action. For that reason, comments relating to picture quality will have to wait for the review.

Panasonic PT-AR100U Projector: Value Proposition

With a sticker price of $1999, for a home projector, the value behind the PT-AR100U lies first, in its brightness. On paper, it should be the brightest serious 1080p home projector in its price range. There are a couple of other bright ones out there, such as the BenQ W6000, but this projector should prove to be the brightest of the under $3000 projectors, excepting a couple low cost, sub-$1000 720p projectors. Those 720p proejctors are mostly "cross-over" designs. That is, those others share much with their business projectors. None of those has great contrast, the PT-AR100U's higher, Full-HD resolution, wide range zoom lens, and many other significant features.

Some of those other features include lens shift, Panasonic's waveform generator, and split screen control when adjusting many features so you can compare "before and after".

That's it for now. I'll be seeing this projector in operation in a couple of days at CEDIA and will blog about it. Stay tuned. Hopefully I'll also be able to report when I will have one in for review.

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