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After spending an enjoyable half hour with a few test signals and the AE3000's Waveform and colour management tools, I also found myself hugely impressed by the projector's colour response. The image's vibrancy is outstandingly high for LCD technology. But also the projector's tonal range is astonishing for such an affordable machine, as everything from the trickiest, low-lit skin tone to the most vibrant of sun-drenched red cars and most verdant of tree-filled landscapes is portrayed with equal credibility. It does no harm, either, that the extreme sharpness of the image - together with what must be some pretty potent colour processing - means that colour blends are superbly natural, with little if any sign of colour ‘striping'.
The Smooth Screen system, meanwhile, means that I never once noticed the screen door effect from anything like a sensible viewing distance on my 110in screen. And of course, since the AE3000 uses LCD technology, you don't have to worry about the rainbow effect or motion noise that can trouble DLP rivals.
Next, the AE3000 enjoys some good standard definition video processing that upscales even relatively ropey Freeview broadcasts without exaggerating their inherent noise. And putting the icing on the projector's genuinely spectacular performance up is the fact that it runs surprisingly quietly for such a powerful, bright projector, meaning that you can if necessary position it reasonably near to your seating position without it distracting you.
The PT-AE3000 is truly a coming of age for Panasonic's LCD projection technology. All of the various projection innovations the brand has been refining and experimenting with over the past few years have leapt forward and come together here in sensational fashion, delivering a level of performance I'd frankly doubted LCD could ever produce.
What's more, when you couple the AE3000's ground-breaking AV talents with its endless, superbly thought-through set of features, then its price starts to look like one heck of a bargain too.