The official Panasonic PT-AR100U Owners Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 159 Old 09-10-2012, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Please post comments, suggestions, and tips regarding the PT-AR100U projector.

I Originally owned a Epson 8350, however after many, many issues with the Epson See thread: The Offical Epson 8350 Owners Thread, and after receiving a full refund from Epson, I now purchased the Panasonic PT-AR100U. I have the unique opportunity to experience both great entry level projectors. And have personally installed 7 projectors myself. The AR100U is a small community but the projector is brand new and can outshine most entry level projectors so lets build our little community!

Steven Kelley

Update: You can also find another thread about the pt-ar100u here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1358778/panasonic-pt-ar100-msrp-1-999-4000u-replacement-kind-of

However feel free to post in thew now "unofficial" thead for the Panasonic PT-AR100u here if you wish.
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post #2 of 159 Old 09-10-2012, 01:26 PM
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Is this a new model? Sounds a lot like last years' living room unit.
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post #3 of 159 Old 09-10-2012, 02:45 PM
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Sorry man, but you are a little late to the party on making an official thread for the PT-AR100U.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1358778/panasonic-pt-ar100-msrp-1-999-4000u-replacement-kind-of
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post #4 of 159 Old 09-11-2012, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke Broadway View Post

Sorry man, but you are a little late to the party on making an official thread for the PT-AR100U.

I disagree. Although the AR100U first shipped in October 2011, almost a year ago, there is no sign from Panasonic that the AR100U will be replaced anytime soon. In fact, the AX200U (the predecessor to the AR100U) shipped from October 2007 - May 2011, almost a good 4 years. The previous thread on AR100U was an informational one - not an owner's thread so this thread is long overdo.

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post #5 of 159 Old 09-11-2012, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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No this isn't a brand new model. It is the 2011 model yes. There's no thread really dedicated to the projector so I started one. I also listed several other threads where the PT-ar100u is mentioned for easier research.
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post #6 of 159 Old 09-11-2012, 11:37 AM
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There is just so much great info in the original "unofficial" thread. Yes it does deserve its own thread.
The community would be better served if the title on the initial thread could be changed to "official". Either way mo info is mo better.
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post #7 of 159 Old 09-11-2012, 11:47 AM
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Well crap. I didnt realize the title of this got changed to unofficial....lol. Either way I will watch this thread closely if me and my newly acquired 8350. Hope my experience will be better that yours Steven.
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post #8 of 159 Old 09-15-2012, 07:32 AM
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Here are additional resources for people interested in this projector and some of the professional reviews available are:

Projector Reviews website (Art Feierman) - Panasonic PT-AR100U Projector.

Projector Central website (Bill Livolsi) - Panasonic AR100U 1080p Projector.

For owner reviews you can tap into the feedback on the Projector People website.

http://www.projectorpeople.com/projectors/projdtls.asp?itemid=26856&itmname=Panasonic+PT-AR100U

There is also Art Feierman's video review of this projector.

http://www.projectorreviews.com/panasonic/pt-ar100u/pt-ar100u-video-summary.php

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post #9 of 159 Old 09-15-2012, 12:01 PM
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Although the Darbee Darblet is not specific to the AR100U projector I thought I would add this in today. One reason is that the price for the Darblet will increase from $269 to $349 after today. Yes, I know - short notice.

http://shop.avscience.com/DarbeeVision--Darblet-DVP5000_p_351.html

I've been using the Darblet on the AR100U since Monday (set to HD 50%) and have been quite impressed with how the image is improved on the DVD's and Blu-ray's that I have watched so far. If you own the 100 and think the color, contrast and detail is already great the Darblet takes the image to another level. If you are unacquainted with the Darblet I recommend you read through the forum thread.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1399154/darbee-vision-darblet

FYI

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post #10 of 159 Old 09-20-2012, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Although the Darbee Darblet is not specific to the AR100U projector I thought I would add this in today. One reason is that the price for the Darblet will increase from $269 to $349 after today. Yes, I know - short notice.
http://shop.avscience.com/DarbeeVision--Darblet-DVP5000_p_351.html
I've been using the Darblet on the AR100U since Monday (set to HD 50%) and have been quite impressed with how the image is improved on the DVD's and Blu-ray's that I have watched so far. If you own the 100 and think the color, contrast and detail is already great the Darblet takes the image to another level. If you are unacquainted with the Darblet I recommend you read through the forum thread.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1399154/darbee-vision-darblet
FYI

Seems expensive for a slight improvement. I'd rather spend the extra $$$ on an upgraded projector or some blu-rays.
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post #11 of 159 Old 09-21-2012, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Kelley View Post

Seems expensive for a slight improvement. I'd rather spend the extra $$$ on an upgraded projector or some blu-rays.

smile.gif

Steve, I hear you. It's certainly not an impulse buy (especially with the recent price increase) and for many not a must-have. I myself was skeptic about it and monitored the Darbee Darblet thread for a few months before buying. In the end it was the favorable critic reviews that finally pushed me over the edge. I bought it from AVS who allow a generous 30 day return policy, you are only out the return postage if you don't like it. Mine is a keeper.

Clearly the majority of owners like or love what it does but some people have mixed results or some don't like the look. To me it seems directly tied with the hardware used. I bought the Darbee to watch Blu-ray's and occasional DVD's and I know it works well with the AR100U and is the only reason I mentioned it in this thread. The change in the picture clarity is like going from soft to focused, it has to be seen to be believed.

As you said you can spend the extra $$$ to upgrade your projector - and I believe I have.

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post #12 of 159 Old 09-27-2012, 09:24 AM
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Any AR100 owners tried Darbee on this pj? How's the result & mind to share your reviews?
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post #13 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 07:13 AM
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WereWolf84, here are a few pictures taken last night using my old Canon PowerShot A720IS camera. The camera was set on a tripod about 10 feet back from the 119" (1.1 gain) screen. The AR100U is in Cinema Vivid and eco-mode. Detail Clarity on the AR100U is set to zero. The Blu-ray player is the Panasonic DMP-BDT210. The movie screen shots are from the Battleship Blu-ray, a dumb action flick but an excellent demo disc. The camera saved the photos as jpegs and I cropped the originals, plus uploading the pictures introduced even more compression. So take these photos as approximate examples as one increases the effect of the Darbee. The Darbee is set to HD mode. The first is the Darbee set to HD 0%, the next at HD 50% and the third at HD 120%. The HD 120% example is only included to show what happens when you over crank the setting. I have additional pictures and I can provide you with a link where you can download the zip file. Send me a PM if you're interested.







For persons interested in the Darbee Darblet there is a dedicated thread here:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1399154/darbee-vision-darblet

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post #14 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 08:08 AM
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Thanks a lot & appreciates your review wink.gif Nice sharing
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post #15 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 08:13 AM
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For the thread started, and anyone else who may be able to chime in here, can you tell me how this projector will look in a darkened theater setting? I am between the 100U and the 8350 form Epson (and also possibly a refurbished 8500UB from Epson). The thing that worries me about the Epson is that I will be using it on a 128" screen and sometimes with all the lights on in the basement (for sporting event parties, gaming and other such situations). What worries me about the 100U is that it may be too bright for a darkened theater (which is what I will have at night for movie watching) and the black levels are not up to par at all (at least compared to the 8350).
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post #16 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

For the thread started, and anyone else who may be able to chime in here, can you tell me how this projector will look in a darkened theater setting? I am between the 100U and the 8350 form Epson (and also possibly a refurbished 8500UB from Epson). The thing that worries me about the Epson is that I will be using it on a 128" screen and sometimes with all the lights on in the basement (for sporting event parties, gaming and other such situations). What worries me about the 100U is that it may be too bright for a darkened theater (which is what I will have at night for movie watching) and the black levels are not up to par at all (at least compared to the 8350).

I generally only use my AR100U at night, if I watch any HDTV programming or Blu-ray movies it's usually in the evening when darkness has set in. In order to subdue the AR100U's brightness you have to switch to eco-mode and if you want to reduce the brightness to the least amount of lumens you use the Rec 709 or Cinema modes. I have got over 800 hours on my projector and I recently calibrated the Rec 709 settings which brings the picture closer the ideal 6500K temperature and it looks very good. However truth be known I rarely use the Rec 709 mode and instead opt for the added pop in Cinema Vivid mode (I know I've strayed from the path). I own a 119" screen so your 128" screen should work nicely with the AR100U. It's okay to have lights on when watching sporting events just make sure they are directed away from the screen, I have 6 track lights in the room and they pose no problem. The Darbee screen shots in my earlier post were taken in my family room/home theater around 11 PM.

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post #17 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

For the thread started, and anyone else who may be able to chime in here, can you tell me how this projector will look in a darkened theater setting? I am between the 100U and the 8350 form Epson (and also possibly a refurbished 8500UB from Epson). The thing that worries me about the Epson is that I will be using it on a 128" screen and sometimes with all the lights on in the basement (for sporting event parties, gaming and other such situations). What worries me about the 100U is that it may be too bright for a darkened theater (which is what I will have at night for movie watching) and the black levels are not up to par at all (at least compared to the 8350).

I went through 4 separate units of the Epson 8350, until i got a full refund. So reliability may be an issue with Epson, especially with a refurbished one.
I honestly can't tell the difference in darks between the AR100u and the 8350, maybe if they were side by side but who has that?

The pt-ar100u is our main TV as well as our home theater. i'd say 50% of the time the lights are on and because the ar100u is one of the brightest projectors in the price range you can get, it has no problem displaying in moderate to low light areas. As far as darks the blacks look like black with the lights off and the blackout curtains closed.

I'm currently using a 123" screen with Theater projector paint for my wall. The pt-ar100u was $100 more than the Epson 8350 but it comes with a lot more features that make up for the extra $100.

Hope this helps.
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post #18 of 159 Old 10-03-2012, 10:06 AM
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Thanks for the info Mr.G and Steven, it is very helpful. the only lighting I have in the basement is dimmable recessed ceiling cans, one row 3 feet from the front of the screen, another row above the seating area and the last row just behind the projector location and I can control each row independently, therefore I have total lighting control. Even if I open the front row of lights, it is far enough away from the screen that the lighting cone will not hit the screen. Mr.G, from what I understand, this type of lighting will not directly hit the screen so I should be OK right?

Steven, as for the 8350, the thing that draws me to it is the improved blacks (of which you state is not that great) as well as the somewhat subdues light output (as compared to the 100U). That along with all the praise and positive reviews for the projector on various sites. I am torn between the two and I just don't want to make the wrong choice. I am a Pioneer Elite Pro 101-FD Plasma owner so I have been spoiled with perfect blacks over the last 3 years. Now I do not expect to have the same level from any of these budget projectors but I definitely want dark blacks (without crush) at the very least when watching in a completely darkened environment (which should be 70% of the time). Is that too much to ask for from these models? When watching 2.35:1 material on my 16:9 screen in a completely dark theater room, will the top and bottom bars be a dark grey and detract from the viewing or will they blend in to the black velvet border of my screen? Obviously I like the 100U for the viewing freedom with lights fully on and during daytime so that is a big plus there. Just so much to consider in order to make the right choice.
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post #19 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

...Even if I open the front row of lights, it is far enough away from the screen that the lighting cone will not hit the screen. Mr.G, from what I understand, this type of lighting will not directly hit the screen so I should be OK right?

...When watching 2.35:1 material on my 16:9 screen in a completely dark theater room, will the top and bottom bars be a dark grey and detract from the viewing or will they blend in to the black velvet border of my screen? Obviously I like the 100U for the viewing freedom with lights fully on and during daytime so that is a big plus there. Just so much to consider in order to make the right choice.

The front row of lights should be easy enough to test, turn them on. Is the reflected light prominent on the screen? Even so I can't think of a reason to have them on during prime viewing.

You seem to be considering the AR100U solely for its light output but the truth of the matter is that it throws out a damn fine picture and as a projector has had few problems. And blacks are black in a darkened room not a dark gray. If the blacks in the bars tend to be slightly more gray it's the flaw of the Blu-ray or DVD mastering. I can provide a test of sorts. I just took pictures of the AR100U and the Darbee projecting Battleship. I have the photos in a zip file (10 MB) you can download. They are the full resolution and uncropped pictures taken straight from the camera. Take any of the photos and look for the edge of the picture (it's a scope movie) and the velvet frame. Can't make them out? Then increase the brightness using your viewer and the borders will be easier to pick out. If you're interested send me a PM and I will forward you the download link. I will do the same for anyone else who's interested.

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post #20 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 07:26 AM
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Mr.G, i have reviewed the pictures and I can barely make out the black bars, it is extremely hard to notice. Is this how it looks for you in person or are the bard even more black? Furthermore, is it the Darbee that is helping make the black bars look so dark or is that how the projector naturally makes them look? If that is how black the black bars will look in my darkened theater, then it is quite good. I'm guessing that as the lights go up, the black bars get more evident as well.
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post #21 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

Mr.G, i have reviewed the pictures and I can barely make out the black bars, it is extremely hard to notice. Is this how it looks for you in person or are the bard even more black? Furthermore, is it the Darbee that is helping make the black bars look so dark or is that how the projector naturally makes them look? If that is how black the black bars will look in my darkened theater, then it is quite good. I'm guessing that as the lights go up, the black bars get more evident as well.

The photos with the Darbee set to zero means that there is no processing being done by the Darbee so that is what you would see.

I understand that you have never owned a projector before and are used to watching a large size HDTV. No matter what projector you end up purchasing it will call for a change in your viewing habits. Your HDTV emits light directly to your eyes, a projector reflects light off a screen, they are completely different animals. The screen thing is another altogether different (and important) subject and is why there is a forum dedicated to just that. You will find there are compromises no matter what projector you eventually buy.

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post #22 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 08:54 AM
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I understand all that very well Mr.G and trust me I am looking into the screen option very carefully too. I do not expect a 128" plasma from my projector but I am sure we can get relatively close. I just know that certain things would bother me and one of those is having the black bars being grey in a completely darkened theater. If your pictures are true to form in a dark environment with the 100U then that would not pose a problem for me at all. I just got worried because all the reviews seem to indicate that the 100U's blacks were not realy great and that the 8350's were significantly better. If you tell me your pictures are what you see in a dark theater, then I can be very happy with that. How is the black crush on the 100U by the way?
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post #23 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

I understand all that very well Mr.G and trust me I am looking into the screen option very carefully too. I do not expect a 128" plasma from my projector but I am sure we can get relatively close. I just know that certain things would bother me and one of those is having the black bars being grey in a completely darkened theater. If your pictures are true to form in a dark environment with the 100U then that would not pose a problem for me at all. I just got worried because all the reviews seem to indicate that the 100U's blacks were not realy great and that the 8350's were significantly better. If you tell me your pictures are what you see in a dark theater, then I can be very happy with that. How is the black crush on the 100U by the way?

Owning both I really can't tell the difference, and this being your first projector not to compare it too you wont either. The bars don't distract me at all but I may not be as picky as you are with the blacks. I completely agree it's the source that has a lot to do with the blacks, as for a lot of TV seems a lot more washed out and gray then a bluray's shades.

However if you're very concerned about blacks I recommend you don't go with either entry level projector and save your money for one that can suit your needs, because any 3LCD entry lvl projector may not be black enough for you, Or maybe look into a DLP projector if blacks are a concern.
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post #24 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for the reply Steven. This being my first venture into the world of projectors, I do not expect to get black levels that will rival my Pioneer Elite Plasma, especially at the budget of projector I am looking at. I just want something that I will be pleased with for the next few years until I can afford myself a better projector down the line. i believe the size factor will be a huge WOW so that will definitely trump everything else for the rest of the family and guests, I'm the only picky one at the house. As for considering a DLP, I believe the only one in the price range is the BenQ W1200 and for just under $2k you can now pick up the W7000 as well. However, DLP does not necessarily mean better blacks, maybe for the higher priced models but some 3LCD projectors have much better blacks than DLP (Epson 5010 being a prime example).

So for your 2 cents Steven, you would easily recommend the 100U over the 8350. I don't think I can go wrong with either one to tell you the truth but now a local dealer is also bringing in the BenQ W1200 into the picture as a comparable to these other 2 models. More choices, more decisions....ahhh, I just want a projector!!
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post #25 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 01:41 PM
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Mits hc4000 is slightly better than the Benq w1200 as far as black levels (but not a huge difference).
Mits is much better for gaming though because the Benq has a ton of lag.

If your willing to spend a bit more, call AVS and see if they have any JVC HD-250 B-Stock, that will give you pretty good black levels and a better overall image than both these LCD projectors.
Otherwise, the best black levels besides the HD250 under $2000 is the Epson 8700ub refurb.

You could also look into the 8500ub refurb or 8700ub refurb, I think the 8500ub refurb were going pretty cheap.
For a DLP, I might look at the Optoma hd8200 refurb.


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post #26 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 03:48 PM
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All good choices, I will contact AVS and see what they have to say. So you would recommend the 8500ub over the 8350? For the Optoma, isn't the 8300 the model that is out there right now?
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post #27 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 04:08 PM
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8200 is basically the 8300 without 3D, and you can get an Optoma hd8200 + Square Trade warranty for less than the hd8300 with only a 90-day warranty.


Quick and Easy Shelf Mount Method for both one projector or dual stacks

Web Calculator v023 & v025
- Quick Peak at the new upcoming calculator
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post #28 of 159 Old 10-04-2012, 07:07 PM
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Don't think the Optoma 8200 will be bright enough, at least the lumens figures seem to indicate this.
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post #29 of 159 Old 11-01-2012, 05:49 PM
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Nice forum you have here. After reading some of the great reviews, I was thinking of buying the Panasonic PT-AR100 from Amazon.com for $1300, which is $700 cheaper than what it goes for in Canada. I'm thinking it will still be cheaper even with shipping, and I gather from my Google searches that duty is not usually charged on electronics (please correct me if I'm wrong). My one remaining concern is warranty. Apparently some companies require that you live in the U.S. for the warranty to be valid if the item is bought in the U.S. Does anyone happen to know if that is the case with this product? Is there any other reason I shouldn't buy online? I feel a little guilty not supporting local business, but between that and the speakers that I have my eye on, I would be saving $1300. Hoping there are some Candians out there who can fill me in on their experience in general buying electronics online cross-border.
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post #30 of 159 Old 11-03-2012, 07:14 AM
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Amazon is not selling the AR100U, it is being sold by third party sellers and that's a whole different thing. The three third party sellers Amazon lists are Antonline, Galaxy Technology and Fusion Imports. I don't know anything about these companies.

Better known companies like Projector People and B&H will ship to Canada but you have to pay the shipping cost, duties and taxes. If you contact either of these two merchants they will be able to tell you if the U.S. warranty is good in Canada. I'm guessing it may not be.

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