Home Theater Loving From Costco

February 22nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Hello all! My name is Dave and I’m doing a guest post to addictedtocostco.com. Why? Well, if you’ve ever read my blog then you’ll know that I’m the resident A/V expert in our little abode. I’d recently pointed out to Kimberly that costco.com now has the exact same front projector for sale that we use in our ‘media room’ — a Panasonic PTAE2000U. Since we absolutely love using this to watch TV and movies (we have a 120″ picture using this!) she asked me to write up a brief description about the details and why you might want to buy it from Costco.

The PTAE2000U is what is known as a “front projector” type of TV. Basically, it works just like a projector in a real movie theater in that it projects a beam of light onto a screen and you watch the screen rather than looking at the device itself. The PTAE2000U is one of the new, outstanding quality, low-cost, native 1080p HDTV projectors on the market. In fact, as of the date of this post, the PTAE2000U is the highest rated 1080p home theater projector according to projectorcentral.com. Some of the critical features that make this an outstanding projector, besides the native 1080p resolution, are:

  • Ease of setup. This projector sports two critical features that make it outstanding in this category. First is the large zoom range that gives a rather significant amount of flexibility in how far the projector can be placed from the screen. And second are the two dials that allow you to position the picture relative to the projector placement in the vertical and horizontal dimensions. When combined, these settings allow you to place the projector practically anywhere in a room from a table top, to a bookcase at the back wall, to a ceiling mount. You could probably even place it on a bookcase or other piece of furniture on the side of the room if you needed to!
  • Picture quality. Panasonic invested significant effort in ensuring that the color balance achievable in the projected image can match the standards specified by Hollywood studios. Unlike any other past projector we had researched, they have a specific picture mode that comes pre-configured out of the box to best reproduce this color fidelity, in addition to the standard modes for brightest picture, lamp-life saving picture, various color temperature calibrations, etc. We use the color-optimized mode almost all the time as it just looks stunning for movies.
  • Noise. Simply put the PTAE2000U is QUIET. Unlike our old Sony HS-10, there is absolutely no noticeable fan noise when the projector is on. This is amazing given that we have the projector on a bookcase literally right behind our couch which means the projector is at most 4, perhaps even only 3, feet away from my head when I’m sitting and I still can’t hear it.

The best part is that Costco has managed to latch onto enough of them to sell through their online site for $2,699.99. While this cost is pretty much what everyone else advertises, at Costco.com, it also comes with a number of noteworthy extras and that famous Costco return policy. The extras are a full-set (HDMI, component, S-Video) of 25 foot length video cables which means you can immediately play around with a large number of possible positions for your projector without having to spend the $100’s of dollars that these cables would cost your at your local big-box electronics retailer. (They’re significantly cheaper if you buy them online btw — read more at my blog.) They also throw in a 6 foot long TOSLINK (fiber optic) audio cable but I can’t imagine what they expect you to do with that in regards to setting up a projector.

The return policy is especially note-worthy, because, if you’ve never tried out a projector based TV solution instead of a direct view solution (plasma, LCD flat panel, old tube-based TV) you’re probably a bit worried about what it may be like and this is a significant chunk of change to spend to try it out. Not to mention any concerns you might have about how it looks in daylight (you will want to control light somewhat though not as much is necessary as with older projectors,) whether you need a screen or not (we projected on a tan wall for over a year until we found a good deal on a screen,) and decor and WAF (Wife-Acceptance-Factor) effects. With the Costco policy, you can try it out in your own home over a matter of days, or even weeks (up to 90 days from purchase), and figure these things out without having any risk of being stuck with a $2,700 paperweight!

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1 Response so far ↓

  1. 1 Dave // 2008.04.01 at 5:03 am

    Costco recently advertised this projector, and its lower-resolution sibling the PTAX200U (with an optimized processing engine for video gaming) here: http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/200803/?pg=56

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