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The AE3000 has another key feature up its sleeve that will make it a really attractive option for gamers. For a Frame Response system curiously buried deep within the projector's ‘Option' menus allows you to adjust the rate at which image frames emerge from the projector's processing buffer. In Normal Frame Response mode there's a delay of around three frames between a source image arriving into the projector and that image appearing on your screen. But if you opt for the Fast option, the delay drops to just 1.5 frames - and those 1.5 frames, of course, can be the difference between dodging a Hunter in Left4Dead, or having one sat on your chest sucking the life out of you.
For the sake of not waffling on for another 2,000 words, it's probably best at this point to summarise the remainder of the AE3000's key features in list form. So here goes: you get both vertical and horizontal image shifting, using simple wheels on the projector's top; a Full HD native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080; multi-level standard and MPEG noise reduction circuits; digital keystone correction; a ‘Detail Clarity' option that can gently emphasise detailing in the image; x.v. Colour support; a Cinema Reality processor that automatically synchronises the picture for 24p Blu-ray playback; and last but not least a Frame Creation system that can reduce image judder and blurring by adding extra frames of detail.
Such motion fluidity isn't to everyone's tastes, though, so it's handy that Panasonic has left you the option to deactivate the feature.
Personally I preferred leaving the Frame Creation feature off, as I found the standard output to look the most natural or ‘cinematic'. But I accept that the slightly juddersome effect innate to film sources isn't to everyone's tastes. So the good news is that Panasonic's Frame Creation system does at least do its thing without throwing up many nasty side effects at all. In fact, I found it more easy to watch than the similar Intelligent Frame Creation technology found on Panasonic's LCD and plasma TVs.
Come to think of it, there really isn't much about the AE3000's pictures which isn't easy to watch. I've never been quite as impressed by previous ‘AE' models as some other reviewers, but there's no denying that the AE3000 is the real deal.
If there's one thing above all others that makes me love the AE3000 where I only liked its predecessors, it's the huge advances it makes in the key area of black level performance. LCD projectors traditionally find it tough to deliver dark parts of pictures without showing them with a pall of greyness over the top. But the AE3000's optical engine - complete with new Pure Contrast Plate technology - enables it to deliver dark scenes with what are quite simply the deepest and most natural black levels I've ever seen from an LCD projector. In fact they also challenge many DLP projectors in this department, and for my money outgun anything produced to date by Sony's SXRD system.
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