So, I got my Epson, here are my first impressions, keep in mind that I just upgraded from a Panasonic AX-100. My projector history goes like this; InFocus LP350 (DLP XGA) to Toshiba MX-700 (DLP 720p) to Panasonic AX-100 (LCD 720p) to Epson Home 1080.
First off, I'm now done with DLP. Done done done. Both the AX-100 and the Epson have teriffic blacks, great colors and great fill.
Now for the interesting stuff: The AX-100 is definately brighter, but the 1080 is plenty bright. I tried watching it with the lights in my living room turned on full and it was completely watchable (Natural setting and my screen is a DaLite Cosmopolitan Electrol 2.5 gain, 10 feet wide) The screen is nice because it reflects light back along the projection axis, so it tends to disregard ambient light, not sure what it would look like with a different screen.
Screen door effect: I actually saw a little bit of it, sitting back 10 feet or so from the screen. Interestingly, I didn't see any SDE with the AX-100 thanks to their Smoothscreen tech.
1080p vs 720p: not a huge difference, at least not as much as the change from standard def to high-def. Somehow there's is a difference in perceived quality though. Things just look _better_. Hard to explain exactly what it is, but I'm sure the added resolution isn't hurting.
Some strange things I'm seeing: I can output 1080p from my XBOX 360 _over component_ and the projector happily accepts it and displays it. I had heard that was impossible. Looking in the menu, it is indeed getting a 1080p signal. I'm confused but pleased. As far as I could tell, however, watching a HD-DVD in 1080p vs. 1080i was an identical experience (which is what you would expect given that HD-DVDs are encoded at 24p)
The signal from my Comcast HD DVR looks way better. The Comcast box's internal scaler pretty much just sucks, so bypassing that is great.
My main reason for ditching the AX-100 is that I went through two of them, each of which had moderate to severed quality control issues (the second one was actually turning itself off after 5 minutes of use). I'm confident that the Epson is going to be much better in that regard. Also, I'm happy to have a D6 panel as I shouldn't have to worry about panel degredation. Another plus is that the 1080 pro version has been out for a while, so any issues that might come up already have.
I still don't know if the Epson will output at 48Hz (or 72Hz for that matter). So far it's been sticking with 60. I was kinda hoping that it would take the 1080p output from the XBOX and convert it to a multiple of 24 but that doesn't seem to be the case.
So, all in all I am extremely happy. I would probably have been happy sticking with an AX-100 if only I could have trusted that the projector wasn't going to crap out on me, and living with the constant wondering if and when that would happen was really very stressful. With the Epson I feel comfortable that I've got a rock-solid projector of the highest quality and an image that is simply outstanding.