IFA 2012: Panasonic launches PT-AT6000E 3D HD projector

Last week Panasonic invited me to the opening of its new AV demo suite at the company’s headquarters in Bracknell. As well as experiencing the full cinema effect of the new suite – which is very impressive by the way – Panasonic also wanted to show off a new product.

Throwing its image over those lovely cinema-style seats onto the large, dynamic screen at the front of the room, was Panasonic’s latest home cinema projector, the PT-AT6000E. As its name suggests, this projector is the natural successor to Panasonic’s PT-AT5000E, which itself was a superb example of the breed.

Despite the impressive performance offered up by its predecessor, the PT-AT6000E manages to move the game on in a number of areas. A new lamp designs pushes brightness up from 2,000 lm to 2,400 lm, and if you’re wondering if that boost creates a noticeable difference in image brightness, I can assure you that it does.

Panasonic had both projectors set up in the suite, with the same active settings and both showing the same content. Switching between the older PT-AT5000E and the new PT-AT6000E showed a significant improvement on the latter. And, of course, that extra brightness makes itself even more apparent when viewing 3D content.

The new 220W Red Rich lamp doesn’t just improve the brightness though, there’s also a distinct improvement in black levels, with the contrast ratio rising to 500,000:1, compared to 300,000:1 on the older model. Richer and more vibrant colours generally go hand in had with improved black levels, and the PT-AT6000E certainly delivers in that department.

Although 3D is clearly a major focus on the PT-AT6000E, its 2D performance is very impressive too. Although the time I spent auditioning the PT-AT6000E was somewhat limited, the level of detail resolved was excellent, with Full HD Blu-ray content looking incredibly natural and immersive.

The PT-AT6000E has an in-built transmitter for sending its 3D signal to Panasonic active shutter 3D glasses. An extender can also be used to ensure that the 3D signal reaches viewers in larger rooms – to cater for oligarchs and Premier League footballers no doubt.

Despite not being the biggest fan of 3D, I will admit that Panasonic’s implementation of the format is surprisingly good. I also have to admit that the 3D experience is far more impressive via a projector, where the viewing image can be significantly larger than almost any Plasma or LCD TV.

The PT-AT6000E debuts Panasonic’s new 3D Viewing Monitor and 3D Picture Balance technologies. The 3D Viewing Monitor allows you to tune the amount of parallax in your 3D image, in real time, and ensure that a safe level of parallax is being employed, according to 3D Consortium Committee guidelines. 3D Picture Balance displays both left and right eye images side-by-side, so that you can match the colours.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Lens Memory has been carried over from the previous model, but now it works on 3D content as well as 2D. The Intelligent Lens Memory automatically detects the aspect ratio of the source material and adjusts lens focus and position. This is particularly useful if you’re planning to invest in a 2.35:1 screen.

The PT-AT6000E will hit the shelves in September, but Panasonic has yet to announce a price. Regardless of that, from the short time I spent with this new projector, it has jumped to the top of my home cinema room shopping list, so expect a full review soon.