Ok, folks, I got my AE200 today from Price Japan and have been switching cables back and forth for about two hours now to get an idea of the things this baby is capable of. Note that this is my first projector, and I'm upgrading from a 19" Hitachi television that had only composite input and is older than me (I'm 19). A lot of this may just be boyish exaggerations. :D
First off, the machine comes set in Japanese, but changing it to English (or German, French, Spanish, Italian or Chinese) is a matter of going to the second from the bottom menu option. From there, I went to options, and set PC Priority (VGA In) to WIDE. This gave the image that Li On was talking about many months ago on the AE100.
I popped in Star Wars Episode 1 (yes, I know about the edge enhancement, but had only seen it on my 19" Hitachi and my 17" computer monitor). WOW, what a great image! I had expected very little considering I was projecting on my gross colored wall in order to determine what size screen to get.
This picture was amazing! I have it the image size set at 92 inches wide and had it at the sharpest focus, and even sitting only 135 inches away (1.5x), screen door is not an issue for me (and I stress this). I can see screen door, but it is not distracting in the slightest. Slight defocusing basically eliminated it, but I prefer the sharper image. I have no comparisons with other projectors. The only other projectors I've seen were some DLP models a few months back, and I immediately dismissed them due to headaches after watching for a while.
I took some ordinary printer paper (no idea on the gain :)) and tacked it up on the wall to get an idea of what it would be like with a screen. Colors were far better, and screen door remained the same. I went all the way back to about 200 inches away (I'm in an apartment and don't have much room), and it pretty much disappeared. Sounds pretty typical for an LCD. I'm sure the AE300 will be better in this regard.
Ok, more about the image. My Nintaus N9769 has a VGA output and the AE200 detected Wide 480 perfectly. Setting PC Mode Priority to Wide gave me a very nice image. I tossed in a 4x3 DVD and set PC Mode Priority back to Normal, and I got a very nice image, with black bars on the side.
The only complaint I have is that "Zoom" mode is not available in VGA mode. This will pose a problem for non-anamorphic DVDs, and I'll address it later.
I then tested composite and S-video connections (I don't have enough RCA lying around for component, but I hooked up the one composite and my findings were the same except the quality sucked for obvious reasons :)) by putting on my Playstation and my laserdisc player.
As expected, on composite input, laserdisc was far worse than DVD. I don't have a very good player, and I can tell that I won't be as excited about LDs in the future. :(
Apart from that, the image was about as good as it can get, plus the addition of Zoom mode lets me use the full LCD panel on letterbox laserdisc titles.
I then tested s-video connections with my Playstation (yeah, I know :D). Since Playstation is so old, the graphics were clunky at such large sizes, but playing Wipeout 3 on such a giant screen was soooo much fun. The image was considerably more stable than the composite image, which resulted in a nicer image overall.
I then hooked up my Dreamcast with its VGA output to the AE200. As expected, this was a far greater gaming experience. It also was a lot easier to see inherent flaws of the projector due to the digital nature of the image. I'm happy to report that the image is still very pleasing. This is very much a good gaming projector. Dead or Alive 2 and Jet Grind Radio were both very vibrant and full of life.
I didn't test my Gamecube because I don't have the component video cable yet. I will once I get it.
Anyway, overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase. There are no dead pixels, delivery was very quick, and the product is very high quality. I admit I had a lot of doubts about the projector even after I ordered it. I am VERY happy I did, though.
One thing that does concern me is how to deal with letterboxed DVD titles. Since the VGA input cannot do zoom, the only hope is to have a scaler or an HTPC do the work. Those doing the transcoding from component progressive are out of luck. I haven't tested the component progressive input, but if it is better than the AE100, it may be an option to hook up your player both ways, one for 16x9 and 4x3 DVDs, and component with zoom for letterbox DVDs. A hassle, but it is a workable situation.
I'll be testing HTPC output next, but gotta post this message first. :)
Any questions? I'll be your guinea pig! I'm having so much fun! :D