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What's the Best Blu-ray Player under $599?

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#1 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 27 2007 - 04:05 PM

Been doing some research and as usual, over analyze things. Posted Image Looks like we have some great options in the following players. I have listed 3. For those who've seen these in action or have an opinion that is not biased, I would really like to know your thoughts. I suppose having a projector, High Def images are my most important thing. I love great audio too don't get me wrong but if there are some minor compromises to be made, I'd rather they be on the audio side of things.

My pj is the 720p DLP Mitsubishi HD1000u. Have a 8 year old Pioneer Elite THX Ultra reciever that does have analog outs that I use with my XA-1 to achieve lossless sound. But at least for now, I'll have to either get a switcher or use the coaxial digital connection for the BD player. The reciever upgrade is way on down the line.....

Panasonic's DMP-BD10a $599. General consenses seems to be that it has the best audio decoding of any BD player.... and is ready for any BD title that has a lossless track whether via PCM or True HD.

Doesn't do 1080p 24 fps but my pj doesn't either. Might be another year or so before I will upgrade this to a full featured 1080 unit.

The Panny is also said to be lightning fast with loading and the might be the most bug free of all HD players...

Sony BDP-S300 $499
Does output 1080p 24 etc...but not sure if that really matters in my setup. Some avs members feel they see an image improvement over the Panny. Some don't too. Posted Image

Audio appears to be good, although no current True HD decoding. As much as Sony is behind the BD format, I can't imagine them NOT having a firmware upgrade to address this. The other thing is that only a few titles have True HD anyway but Sony is going to use this more it seems. The Disney films have all used PCM....Thiis player just came out so the jury is also still out.

Samsung BD-P1200 $499 Great upscaler like Toshiba's XA-2. Not really a major factor for me though. Like the Sony, it can't decode True HD nor does DTS-HD??? Robert, from VE stated before that Samsung's 3rd Gen player will possess all the audio decoding needed. Some users have reported rather low volume levels and some lip sync issues....

Image on BD's is said to be as good as it gets.

I suppose the bottom line is wanting the BEST image I can get from Blu-ray discs. I want the best audio too. Posted Image

The Panny is $100 more. I guess that's not much more considering everything but $100 is still $100.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance. Posted Image

#2 of 44 OFFLINE   David Norman

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Posted June 27 2007 - 05:10 PM

10A owner. I wouldn't call the player lightning fast, but it's certainly adequate in load times even with Pirates. By all reports faster than most any other player besides a PS3. I'm pretty sure the audio options exceed the other two players. The lack of 24p does limit this a bit, but unless you upgrade your projector it may not be important anyway. By the time you upgrade the projector and receiver, you could at least get 1-2 years out of the 10A and retire it as a second system or upgrade to a 3rd/4th generation player which by then might be significantly less costly. The 10A adds $100, but also gives you 5 discs which should at least even that score if not make the deck a bit cheaper whether you buy the same discs separately or sell them off. With a little luck, many of us have gotten the 12% off coupon to work at Best Buy. The new 5 Blu Ray campaign will begin soon though the titles are pretty limited -- again worst case scenario is to sell off the discs and recoup some more dollars. Buy the 10A on 7/1 and get 10 discs free.

#3 of 44 OFFLINE   ppltd



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Posted June 27 2007 - 11:47 PM

I just bought the Panny 10a. It has not shipped yet, and I certainly would have considered the Samsung at that price. Where did you find it for 499 ?
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#4 of 44 OFFLINE   JasonTil



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Posted June 28 2007 - 12:20 AM

Are the Sony and Samsung players you've mentioned able to pass the TrueHD or DTS HD signal to a reciever that can decode it? I havent' been able to get the answer to that question. Regards, Jason

#5 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 28 2007 - 05:42 AM

Amazon has it for $499 Thomas. Posted Image


Jason. Currently NO BD or HD DVD player can pass the bistream to the reciever for decoding. I think all HD players decode internally for now...

Thanks David for you input. Posted Image

#6 of 44 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted June 28 2007 - 06:56 AM

Dare I ask why not a PS3? Has 1080p 24fps and Dolby Tru HD decoding, is the fastest loading, firmware updatable via ethernet and really excellent firmware support from Sony. As an upconverter it beats all but the Samsung and AX2. It is also the only currently available player that stands a chance of being able to use the upcoming BDJ special features. Yes, it looks like a George Foreman grill, has a bluetooth remote, and has a bit of fan noise and has no analog multichannel audio outputs. Mine only had problems with one BD, Speed, and those went away after a firmware update. The Bluetooth remote means you can't use a universal remote to operate it without a cumbersome workaround, but on the other hand it's kinda neat in that you don't have to aim the remote at the player to make it work.
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#7 of 44 OFFLINE   Grant H

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Posted June 28 2007 - 10:55 AM

Don't forget, NONE of those players will decode DTS-MA. They're limited by hardware. At least with the PS3 there's a chance, even if there's nothing official. Seems to have ample processing power, just a matter of writing the code. But it seems the boys at Sony really like doing that., judging by the major upgrades every quarter, and lately minor updates every couple weeks.
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#8 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 29 2007 - 01:28 AM

Is is true that the new Sony has the same image/sound performance as the first Gen Sony? Somewhere I read that? Or at least it should perform the same based on the data sheet? Posted Image

#9 of 44 OFFLINE   Jaxon's Dad

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Posted June 29 2007 - 01:47 AM

Tim-Obi, I opted for the new Panny. The instant Blu-Ray library cinched the deal for me. I thought about the 2nd gen Sony, but even at online prices getting 5 BDs for $100 is a stretch. Of the 5 movies included, I've seen both Pirates movies, Crash, and FF. I enjoyed each and would have purchased them at some time or other. From what I've read about The Transporter, I'm sure it'll be lots of fun.
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#10 of 44 OFFLINE   Ron-P



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Posted June 29 2007 - 05:49 AM

So Tim, when do you make the jump into Blu? You're starting to cave...Posted Image

My Outlaw 950 only has one set of Analog in's so I use it for my BR machine, the A1 gets coax. You'll find many, many more BD discs have lossless audio then HD-DVDs.

I'd love to find a low cost analog switcher but they just don't seem to exist.
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#11 of 44 OFFLINE   RickER



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Posted June 30 2007 - 02:42 AM

I have the Sony BDP S300. I have had it for only a week or so? I had the first generation Sony, but took it back and exchanged it for the new one, since i was still in my 30 day return. The picture was wonderful for both players. Of course my first player couldnt play 1/2 the Blu discs i threw at it cause it needed a firmware update. When you buy anything new it should work like a charm out of the box, IMO. I exchanged instead of updating. Anyway, my regular DVDs look great, and all my Blu discs play. I am very happy.

#12 of 44 OFFLINE   Brian Kaz

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Posted June 30 2007 - 04:29 AM

This would be my vote as well, especially this early in the game (before 1.1 profile). A top tier blu player with media center, internet and gaming capabilities.

By the way, it only looks like a Foreman grill sitting down. Real men stand theirs vertical. Posted Image

#13 of 44 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted June 30 2007 - 04:46 AM

I leave my horizontal...so it fits. I think the PS3 has a great image, plus can do some extra stuff. The fact that it gets frequent updates is nice as well. But they'll all serve you well, Tim. There are some nice BD exclusives (and some nice HD exclusives, but you have those!) out there.
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#14 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted June 30 2007 - 11:47 AM

I haven't really considered the PS3 since these prices were dropped on standalones.... Not sure why...but I know it's a great BD player too. Now if it were $499....

Haven't caved yet Ron. I'm getting close though. I think listening to the soundtrack cds for Dead Man's Chest & At Worlds End recently might have sealed the deal. Posted Image

My only roadblock that despite the greater studio support....there's just not alot I want that I don't already have in HD DVD. If I was starting out now and didn't have those titles then it would be a little different. I know the potential is there but truthfully, where are those title announcements?

I'll decide something within a few weeks. The Dark Side will be glad to get me though as I like to buy movies. I'm the guy studios credit for getting to go on vacations. Posted Image

#15 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted July 03 2007 - 02:56 PM

Anymore thoughts on these players? Posted Image

#16 of 44 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted July 03 2007 - 05:13 PM

Being a Panny owner, I can say it is one of the most versatile players around and solid as a rock. Moving this one to the Blu-Ray area.
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#17 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted July 03 2007 - 05:56 PM

Thanks Neil. I know you and Ben have been very happy owners and are quite pleased with the image the Panny puts out. Especially since you both have front projectors. Having a tough time trying to decide. All 3 of these will be terrific I know.

#18 of 44 OFFLINE   Ron-P



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Posted July 04 2007 - 05:35 AM

Tim, seeing how BD is still undergoing changes why not just opt for the cheapest BD player you can find to hold you over for the next couple of years then once all the dust settles you can buy a third gen player that will be fully equipped and you won't have to worry about future firmware upgrades or what your player has or doesn't have. See if you can find an open box somewhere or a refurb.
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#19 of 44 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted July 04 2007 - 11:48 AM

Ron, funny you mentioned that because that is what I've been telling myself today. Posted Image I don't want to wait until November for the java live or whatever that's called to take effect. And even then, we're not sure what players will be out then anyway. There's a Sharp Blu-ray player coming out in August I hear that according to Robert from VE is stellar. But, still, getting one as inexpensive as possible-even if it's for a year-seems like the better alternative with so much evolving in regards to the Blu-ray players this summer and beyond.

Thanks! Posted Image

#20 of 44 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott


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Posted July 04 2007 - 12:49 PM

I think that's the wisest advice so far- go as cheap as possible, and open box or refurb if available. Makes no sense at all to spend any more than is absolutely neccessary as all of these will be essential feature deprived in less than 5 months. I'm still enjoying using the Sony...more than the A1- but PQ is not quite as good as the Toshiba. I think when the Sony gets evaluated for the "Secrets" benchmark tests, it's going to fail in a few key areas. I'm assuming one of the epsiodes in a series set I watched last night was improperly flagged, as there was quite a bit of combing on the Sony, and none on the A1. Apart from a situation like that though, I would rather watch things on the Sony. It seems refreshingly less clunky.

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