I went over to the Sony Style store in Tyson's Corner (northern Virginia) today to check out their Blu-ray demonstration, and get a chance to meet up with David Boulet and some other HTF/AVS folks, who I'm sure will probably chime in on one or both of the forums. The setup was a prototype of the Sony BDP-S1 on a 70" Qualia 006. The player looks better in person than it does in the pictures, but it's obviously too buggy for primetime (and it was only capable of 1080i, for now). Since it's not expected for another 2 1/2 months, I'm hoping they've got time to work out the kinks. The demo disc contained a bunch of ad-style reels, scenes from several movies, a bit on interactivity, and a split-screen clip. The ad-style reels contained footage from (off the top of my head): House of Flying Daggers, Stealth, Hitch, Hellboy, Lawrence of Arabia, Chronicles of Narnia, Sahara (2005), Underworld: Evolution, Lemony Snicket, Fifth Element, Spider-man 2, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, Constantine, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven, Moulin Rouge, and Ultraviolet. And--okay, okay, you want to know how it looked, right? Frackin' awesome! Images are crisp, with eye-popping colors, and are free of motion artifacts or horrible macroblocking, with such minimal EE that (to my eyes) it was essentially gone from 7' away. As I mentioned above, there were short (~3 minute) scenes from movies like Spider-man 2, Chicken Little, Chronicles of Narnia, Ultraviolet, Click, Underworld: Evolution, and Fifth Element. Of special note were the Chicken Little and Click demos. The former is digital animation, and the latter was apparently filmed with Sony digital HD cameras. Both were amazingly detailed, and would easily make you forget about getting them on DVD. The split-scene reel showed the choosing of the swords from Kill Bill, first in SD, then in HD, then split down the middle. The change in detail was amazing. Unfortunately, the Fifth Element clip was jarringly different from everything else. I don't know if it was the master or the clip, but it looked more like an upconvert of the Superbit DVD than HD. But everything else was top-notch. From all indication, this was all done in MPEG-2, and with the exception of Fifth Element, looked phenomenal. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the bitrate, but in comparison to the HD DVDs done in VC-1 that I saw later (if you read this, thanks again Jaffrey!), there was virtually no difference. It was pointed out that it made a tiny difference in text (such as subtitles), but if I was watching a movie, I can't rightly say I would notice it. I'll leave that up to the reviewers to harp on if it's still there. Overall, I was very impressed, and more impatient than ever*. I'm tempering my impulses by reminding myself that more brands (and cheaper players) are coming down the pike quite soon, but if they bring on the titles, I'm not sure how long I can hold back. *Yes, I know that HD DVD is here now, but they've yet to give me anything that I really want, either in brands or titles. ETA: I forgot the John Legend and Dido concert demos, which IMO is where a lot of HD broadcasts have problems because of fast cuts, high random motion, and lighting. The video on the JL bit didn't seem to be deinterlacing correctly, and was in 2.0. However, Dido's "White Flag" was flawless. It's the first time I've seen a concert in HD where the lights and audience didn't turn into a blocky blur. Again, motion and compression artifacts simply didn't show up. Concerts on HD disc might be a big draw, which is why I'm guessing one of the "ad" loops made sure to show SonyBMG and Universal Music Group.