I spoke with BenQ management yesterday, and they said their first shipment should hit the US on Monday or Tuesday (yep 3-4 days from now). I expect that it will take a few days to prep the new projectors, that seems to be typical of first shipments of most models (they may have manuals to be added, etc.)
The really good news is that March 31st is end of the quarter for BenQ, so you can be sure they will want to get everything in their inventory shipped out before close of biz that day, including the 7700's.
This bodes well for those in a hurry. The west coast dealers will get product first, since the first shipment will land in S. Cal. The local San Clemente dealer expects to be shipping product by end of week, based on the same info. (See, no dealer names!)
As to Mike's question last week about who will be selling the product, I suspect (but failed to ask) that at least the intial shipment (something like 100 pieces) will almost certainly go out to their half dozen or so direct Home Cinema partners. However, I would be surprised if they didn't also offer the machine to the specialty HT distributors as they have with the 8700 and 7800.
BenQ relies on Ingram Micro (the world's largest computer distributor) as their warehousing and shipping facility, so I would be surprised if they didn't also allow Ingram to sell to approved dealers.
I wouldn't worry to much about price. The typical street prices found on the 8700 are about $300 - $400 above direct dealer cost, and there are enough of them to keep things competitive.
As to MAP, I haven't heard it officially, but $2995 is probably going to be the Minimum Advertised Price allowed by BenQ. (Of course MAP on the 8700+ only recently dropped to $3995, substantially higher than most direct dealers sell it for.
That's why you see the direct dealers advertising bundles with screens, mounts, etc. It allows them to show (more or less) what they are really selling the projector for, instead of a really high MAP price. MAP on the 8700+ was $5999 in Dec, despite the street price being 2/3's of that. That's why on one review site, all the dealers advertised $5999.
I am supposed to be able to pick up my 7700 press eval unit, to review the day after they land - so I'm hoping I'll have it Tuesday. (It's 20 miles to BenQ HQ).
I'll post a quick comparison between the 7700 and 8700 the first night I have the machine. I'll only be able to do DVD, and HD cable, my JVD D-VHS deck died and is out for service. I'll also get a more comprehensive prelim look on my review site, as quickly as possible.
Hang in - we are really close! -art