LCD projectors are among the most cost-effective ways of getting a really big picture, and Panasonic's offerings have shown steady improvement over the last two generations of 1080p models. Now comes the third-gen PT-AE3000, which improves on its predecessors in three ways. First, it has an advanced optical system with manually aligned aspherical glass lenses.
Second, it can display 60Hz material at 120Hz and 24Hz movies at 96Hz using frame interpolation; in fact, this is the first front projector I've heard of that multiplies the frame rate as 120Hz LCD flat panels do. I was told that 96Hz is used for movies because it looks better than 120Hz on big screens.
Finallyand coolest of allthe PT-AE3000 includes several "lens memories" that store the zoom and focus settings. Why is this important? Because it lets you zoom in so a movie fills a 2.35:1 screen and then zoom back out for 16:9 HDTV at the touch of a button; no need for an expensive anamorphic lens. The projector, shown here with a TH-50PZ800 plasma, should be available within a month for a list price of $3500.