The 200W lamp at the AT5000’s heart is built into a new enclosure
designed to improve the efficiency of its light output – another factor
in that 300,000:1 contrast claim, we suspect. The lamp also delivers an
improved version of the ‘red rich’ technology Panasonic introduced on
the AE4000, designed to counter the colour balance issues you commonly
get with LCD projection technology.
Impressively, considering how
bright it is, the AT5000 can apparently run with just 22dB of operating
noise. Certainly we could scarcely hear it at all from our position in
the second row of theatre seats behind the demo unit.
It was also
pretty easy from our viewing position to see that the AT5000 is a
vastly superior projector to its AE4000 predecessor. With 2D material
its images contain much richer colours, much deeper black levels, and a
generally much punchier look that shows instantly that the AT5000’s
claim to have three times as much contrast as the AE4000 is more than
Add in a marginal improvement in sharpness with HD
sources, and the AT5000’s 2D performance seems to have outstanding
potential for a sub-£3k model.
Its 3D performance, too, seemed mostly impressive during the 20 minutes
or so time we got to spend watching it. Crosstalk, while not completely
absent, appeared to be the lowest we’ve seen on any projector besides
Sim2’s staggering but £30k Lumis 3D-S.
Partly thanks to this, the levels of detail and sharpness visible with
3D Blu-rays were immense, and motion in the 3D image looked impressively
If we had any concerns from our demo, it would be the
amount of brightness taken out of 3D pictures by Panasonic’s 3D glasses.
But we should stress that our demo wasn’t done under our usual test
conditions or using any of our usual test materials. Furthermore,
mention was made of different 3D glasses brightness settings being
available with the AT5000, but we weren’t able to test these out to see
what a difference they might make.
All in all, though, the
AT5000’s launch, with its mix of extensive technical presentations,
supporting presentations by genuine Hollywood film ‘folk’ (including
cinematographer Steven Poster, above) and the impressive results of the AT5000
demo sequences, can be considered a resounding success. As a result,
frankly the projector’s mooted September launch just can’t come fast