Anyway, I picked up my 6500 UB today. Set it up side by side with my tw-700 (therefore, experienced user of Epson here and very familiar with noise levels and DI noises....i.e. on the 700 it sounded like a hard drive reading and writing)..
Well, some initial good news and bad news. First, the good news. I have not heard the iris yet at all and I expected to. I stood next to it when it was in "normal" and "high speed" and did not hear it at all. Makes me wonder, really, if for some reason it was not working. Really, I expected "some" noise. I will have to dig into this deeper because at this point I am over-joyed, but doubting this observation. Also, this is much quieter than my tw700 as well....even in the higher modes like Living Room and Dynamic. I have yet to find a 'separate' and unique way to move the lamp from low to high, rather, it appears that like the tw700 the lamp is low for the theater modes and ramps up (as well as fan) for the brighter modes.....but, again, noise level is a big improvement. [edited: I have since discovered that there is a separate mode for lamp level so one can use it in low or high lamp throughout all modes]
Obviously, in the 10 minutes of HD-DVD King Kong I have watched thus far the black levels and shadow detail are major improvements...but this should mean squat to readers since I am comparing to a tw700 that has 800 hours on its bulb.
Now, the initial bad news...this unit is going to have to go back to Epson. Without studying it fully, I have already identified 2 dead pixels (show up as blue stars ... one in the middle of the right half of the screen and one in the middle of the left half of the screen. AND, I "think" I have a convergence issue. when the screen is black, and there is no source content, but the input source text is on the screen (e.g. "component 1") in the bottom left hand corner, then I can clearly see that convergence is off. The blue is shifted down one pixel and the red up one pixel. You have to stand near (not right on top of, but close) to the screen to see....but it is clear. Further, it appears to be more than just the bottom left corner (at least the blue shifted down one pixel part of that description) BUT, I have not had good source to look at this in every zone yet. I will need to see if some test discs help on this. right now, when I put something like a 720p Dish Network program guide up it is obviously not possible to detect, but with fine lines of white on black it is obvious.
[edited: after further studying this and using a BR DVE test disc geometry screen on an RS1, AE3000U, and mine, I have determined that there is no real convergence issue on my 6500 UB..its native convergence is just fine...a tad better than the best dialing in my friend could do on his RS1...a very slight tad less tight than another friend on his AE3000U (and this one set at same screen size)...but, the lines were a bit smaller dimensionally on my same screen size adjustment as his so maybe smoothscreen had some small effect. Anyway, to any who read this original post and said uh-oh on convergence, chalk it up as a premature concern that is unmerited. however, I have verified that I have 3 stuck or dead pixels (on blue) and i will be calling Epson on Monday to understand if this is within their limits.]
But, very prelim pq observations seem like it is going to be rock solid....but, I have not even calibrated yet.