Panasonic Shows sub-$2,000 Media Room Projector

The AR100U is bright enough for non-dedicated theater rooms.

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While many of the projector makers at CEDIA Expo this week were busy showing off their latest 3D light canons, Panasonic launched a 2D projector for flat movie fans.

The new 1080p resolution AR100U LCD projector, with an MSRP of $1,999, packs solid picture specs. It features 2,800 lumens and 50,000:1 contrast ratio. The bright image means it will work in various lighting levels, making it good for family rooms that aren’t always 100-percent theater dark. It even includes a Sports mode to minimize frame delay making fast motion clearer.

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A feature called Light Harmonizer 3 (which includes ambient light and color sensors) automatically adjusts the picture quality to match the room conditions by changing the gamma curve and sharpness settings.

Panasonic believes DIY users will be especially attracted to this projector, so they’ve built in a number of features to make installation and maintenance easy for most consumers. First, the AR100U offers a wide range of mechanical lens shift (done with a handy joystick on the front of the projector) which makes aligning with a screen less difficult. Second, the lamp bay can be accessed from the top (bottom when hung upside down on a standard mount), so users don’t have to take the projector down to replace the lamp.

The projector will be available in October.

Also at CEDIA Panasonic was demonstrating the new 3D PT-AE7000U.

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