We suspect one of the main reasons it’s taken Panasonic so long to get the AT5000E out has been a desire to suppress crosstalk noise - the dreaded double ghosting phenomenon that still troubles many 3D displays, including Sony’s much more expensive VW90ES projector. With this in mind, the AT5000 runs its trio of LCD panels at 480Hz.
There’s also apparently some other technology going on under the hood designed to keep crosstalk to a minimum, but Panasonic refused to explain how it worked, referring to it with a knowing smile as exclusive ‘black box’ technology. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to squeeze something less mysterious out of them when we’re actually reviewing the projector.
The extent to which Panasonic has catered for 3D in the AT5000’s set up tools is startling. For one thing, you can adjust separately the colour balance for each ‘eye’ of a 3D source, to correct for potential imbalances in the stereoscopic source material. Even more intriguing is the facility on offer for adjusting a 3D image’s convergence point.
Designed to make 3D viewing less tiring, this feature displays a little chart showing the maximum and minimum parallax levels for comfortable viewing at different screen sizes, and then shows the actual parallax level of the image being watched as a yellow line that should sit between the two white ‘extremities’. If any part of the yellow line sticks out beyond the min/max parallax levels, then the image you’re watching could cause tiredness. So the projector allows you to reduce the convergence point of the image until it fits within the min/max lines.
There’s an obvious issue with this tool in that film-makers who actually care about 3D like to define parallax levels when they’re mastering their films for home cinema reproduction. So they may not take too kindly to the idea that this key setting can be adjusted by the end user.
However, it seems to us that since different viewers can have widely different tolerance levels and personal preferences for 3D viewing, it’s perfectly reasonable for a projector to try and accommodate this variety. Especially if it helps more people enjoy 3D without feeling tired.