Panasonic PT-AT5000 3D Projector Review

Sections

Key Specifications

  • Customisable aspect ratio
  • Viera link
  • Three HDMI inputs
  • Automatic lamp brightness

Considering Panasonic was the driving force behind bringing full HD 3D
technology into our living rooms, and remains the most vocal proponent
of the alternate frame 3D approach, the amount of time it’s taken the
brand to produce a 3D projector seems bizarre.

After all, nobody
doubts that 3D looks its best on really big screens of the sort you can
only get – for remotely sensible money, anyway – with a projector
system. And nobody should be in any doubt, either, that Panasonic knows
its projector onions; there are multiple generations of home cinema
models, culminating in the PT-AE4000, to prove that Panasonic is actually one of the best LCD projector makers around.

Yet
the fact remains that until the official Los Angeles launch of the
Panasonic PT-AT5000 at the end of last week, Panasonic hadn’t given us a
single 3D projection solution – despite a growing public clamour for
one.

What’s taken the brand so long? According to the PT-AT5000’s
senior product manager, Rena Yotsu, it’s a simple matter of quality:
“We wanted to create a premium quality product in keeping with
Panasonic’s uncompromising approach to 3D. We didn’t want to go out at a
premature stage – we wanted to be safe.” Panasonic PT-AT5000 3D projector
These are bold words that obviously set the AT5000 up for a fall. But
based on what we saw at the launch of the projector at Panasonic’s
Hollywood Labs (PHL) in Los Angeles, a ‘fall’ is not likely to be on the
cards.

The first thing that struck us as Panasonic whisked the
cover off the AT5000 for the first time in its suitably awesome PHL
cinema room was that thankfully it’s a more attractive beast than the
frankly industrial PT-AE4000. It features less of the grilles that
dominate all sides of the AE4000, its finish is slightly flasher, it’s
slightly less chunky, and most amazing of all, it’s actually got – gasp -
a few curves.

It’s still got a pretty expansive footprint for a
projector that’s likely to retail for under £3k when it launches in the
UK, though, ensuring that it looks suitably serious rather than like
some casual ‘shove it in a cupboard when you’re not using it’ affair.

It’s
been nearly 18 months since the AE4000 came out, so it’s good to see
that the AT5000’s specs offer some major improvements beyond the ‘mere’
addition of 3D. Particularly eye-catching is the doubling of the claimed
contrast ratio to 300,000:1, thanks in part to a completely new dynamic
iris design. But also potentially significant given the AT5000’s 3D
ambitions is a significantly higher brightness output of 2000 ANSI
Lumens. Brightness is particularly important with 3D projectors, because
they need to combat the inevitable dimming effect of active shutter
glasses.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.