AVS Special Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
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Just finished playing with my TH-AE100 from Japan for a few hours. I wired the money Monday morning and it was acknowledged around 9pm. I did not think to give my phone number or zip code, which I got a quick response back about. I got notice that it shipped sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning and I got it this (Thursday) afternoon via USPS. I heard stories of people ordering Monday and getting it Wednesday, but those people probably gave their whole address :) I passed on to the company a link to a USPS website that looks up zip codes so if anyone else is dumb like me in the feature, it can be compensated for.
It was shipped out via EMS, double-boxed, insurance. I don't see why one would opt for DHL. I've always been happy with USPS and it got here fast. I ordered some stuff from Googlegear in California last Friday (via UPS ground) and I'm getting that tomorrow. Something from Japan got here in about half the time :)
Even double-boxed, it is not that large. The projector itself having the surface area of a sheet of A4 paper. Just a few sheets of bubblewrap between the inside and outside boxes. The projector does not come with VGA cables, but the remote (with battery) is very nice. I ran out to CompUSA to purchase a Belkin E series switcher, but their price was TWO TIMES that I could find online so I just went with a cable. The projector itself is a very nice looking unit. Definitely not a clunky looking box.
I have it setup on a table-top about 9' away from an off-white wall it is projecting onto (no screen.) I have it zoomed in all the way since this is all the room I have in my final setup for it. I am currently sitting next to it, but will be sitting in front and right below it in the future (going to mount it on a shelf near the wall eventually.)
So far I've only played with it with my Naki Dreamcast VGA box + Belkin Gold series cable and I'm extremely impressed. Screendoor is evident, but not that bad as I'm choosing not to defocus it (looks too soft.) I've used both a 65" Mits RP HDTV (with 7" guns ) and a 27" Gateway SVGA monitor powered by a Faroudja NRS or a Radeon HTPC extensively, so that is my frame of reference. It is not up to the quality of the RPTV, but that is comparing it to a nice CRT. I have not even tried changing the settings besides setting it to eco mode and the picture is impressive. I'm going to try out an older PC with a Geforce on it tomorrow as I do not have access to my HTPC for a few more weeks. Since my Paradigms + receiver are with my HTPC, I'm stuck using the stunning "surround" sound from ...the projectors mini-speaker! Suffice it to say, I believe that is the one area it is lacking :)
I was worried about purchasing from a person in another country, but I have to say I'm quite pleased. It has no vertical banding or dead/stuck pixels, got to me quick, was extremely well-priced and backed up with responsive, interested customer service that strived to make sure everything went smooth and fast. If I sound like I've been paid, stop reading. I'm just a pleased customer!
I do need to kill my bank for not telling me until the last minute about the @$%@#$& $20 charge for a wire transfer. I will never use PayPal after having a transaction taken back from me personally, a friend screwed over for $500 and reading tons of other horror stories with them. I wish more payment options were offered but I believe a "credit card" surcharge would have been applied. I think that is common practice in Japan and Europe, but is outlawed in the US.