'Finally made a decision I'm extremely happy about regarding a projector. I received my 8700UB this morning while I was at work busy tracking it every 3 minutes on FedEx. They left it on my doorstep of all places. I called 7 minutes after and had my daughter take it inside. My heart rate subsided and cheerfully beat until I made my way home. I could not be more pleased. I also, a day earlier than anticipated, received my ceiling mount. I went with the Premier Mounts PRG-UNV-W. I like it, it's solid, easy to adjust. Just gotta take it slow with the directions and have the right tools. It uses some #14 x 2.5" phillips hex head screws which you need to pre-drill and if you have an impact driver it goes very smoothly.
My last two PJ's were a Panny AX100 for 3-4 years, about 1600 hours on the bulb, then an AX200 I bought used with 99 hours on the bulb, used it for another 20 and then started having the bright-dim-bright-dim problem. Iris, electronic, I don't know, don't care. It's a $1000 brick now. Enter: Epson. After reading all the reviews on customer care, the issues some have had, it seems as though my purchase is wiser than previously. I will never, NEVER, purchase a Panasonic product again. It's unacceptable that something 3 months outside of warranty with so little hours would not be within their ability to rectify. Great picture, lousy service, I moved on.
Impressions: Out of the box WOW. I haven't even put a tester on it or changed the settings other than changing it from desk to ceiling. I "broke it in" for about six hours and watched Iron Man, Star Trek, How to Train Your Dragon and am very pleased. Oh yeah, Despicable Me. Not me, the movie! Clear, clear, clear. I actually noticed the pupils of the girl dilate when they were being put to bed the first time! I never noticed that kind of detail previously. Now I have to watch all my movies all over...
If you're contemplating buying this model, I can only say the quality thus far is wonderful. Free bulb? Magnificent. Sold. 4000 hour bulb? Really? We'll see, but I believe it. I read and spent a lot of time researching and looking for my dream projector. A lot of the comments in this thread helped me arrive at my purchase, so thank you all.
The fan: Not loud at all. I have a 106" screen that seats 10', stadium seats at 14' and the pj at 18'. It adjusted easily, very easily, and is very bright. It's light controlled but even with a light in the back of the room it's hardly affected.
On an aesthetic note: It is a little boxy, but still sexy. It is larger than I thought it would be (who looks at dimensions?) but not too outrageous, just moderately larger than the AX100. Check the measurements if you are concerned about room.