Panasonic PT-AX200U


posted 3/21/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
Video Performance
In order to gauge how the AX200U worked as a Home Theater projector, I had a ton of HD video choices to choose from. However, what better way to gauge the HD performance than the single biggest stage in all of sports, the Super Bowl. I watched the entire first half of the game with the projector and all I can say is wow! The screen was big enough, but I was equally impressed with the detail and quality of the image at 92”of widescreen. A couple of challenges that LCD projectors generally present are a touch of lag and the image tends become less detailed at a larger size. Well, I experienced neither while watching the Giants beat the Patriots. The action was smooth and the images (including text and signage in the stadium) were detailed and sharp. The Fox Sports on-screen graphics were also displayed in exceptional detail with little to no line movement or artifacting.

In addition to the Super Bowl and its pre-game show, I tuned into some PGA, NBA and NHL action on this day. It was interesting to see how each type of sport (which has its own unique presentation style) displayed on the projector. Obviously Golf was the best looking with all the close-ups and still images of the lush landscape, but the NHL game particularly showed off the quality, with ice particles and puck scuff marks appearing very life-like.

After watching the Great American game, I figured what better way to test the smoothness of the projector than by watching the Great American Race (Daytona 500). This is a perfect way to see just how quickly the LCD projector can keep up with fast moving objects. Anyone that watches NASCAR knows the cameras, and action, never stop moving. Much like the Super Bowl, I was extremely impressed with how well the race and graphics were handled by the AX200U. Clarity and smoothness were the two adjectives that came to mind as I enjoyed the race.

To complete the video testing, I put the PT-AX200U through a series of tests using the HD-DVD format, HD Movie trailers and HD Game Trailers downloaded from Xbox Live.

Despite being a so-so movie, King Kong in HD-DVD is a perfect benchmark test for any LCD product. I cued up the sequence near the end when Kong escapes the theater and starts tearing up the streets of New York. These scenes are really good at showing off how well a projector will handles fast action, CGI reproduction and the deepest of blacks. I was very impressed with how well the projector handled the black levels and smoothness of reproducing those scenes. I didn’t see any lag or hitches in the image, and the details were very clear.

The other pure video test involved several animated 720p HD movie trailers. These included trailers from ‘Wall-E’, ‘The Simpson’s Movie’ and ‘Horton Hears a Who’. The AX200U performed as expected on each of these, with some minimal artifacting around the old-school logo announcing that the preview is approved for all audiences. Otherwise, the animated trailers were extremely crisp and looked very good.

As for using a game trailer, I decided to break out the latest Lost Odyssey HD trailer. I was simply blown away with how well the projector pushed through those highly detailed scenes with nary a twinge of hang up. All I can say is that this is not a trailer, but a work of art. I know, I’m exaggerating a bit, but watching it on the AX200U (made from in-game footage) in all of its 92” of HD glory was magnificent experience.

Overall, despite being billed as a Gaming projector, the PT-AX200U either met or exceeded my expectations with every HD video feed I threw at it. Watching the Lost Odyssey trailer was especially impressive, as it showed off just how incredible the gaming experience on a projector can be.
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