I just got off the phone with the Canadian Marantz distributor, who said that the new units coming off the line have a modified video board that is supposed to fix that annoying vertical sync issue whenever there are particularly bright flashes in the program material. He also mentioned that existing units can be brought in for the modification. We didn't discuss the popping issue when changing input sources. I'm assuming that problem has also been fixed on the line. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Marantz finally has a decent offering without major flaws. Too bad it took over four months after the product launch! === UPDATE === More recently I spoke with someone in the USA repair centre, and asked him about the popping noise. He assured me that the new units coming off the line do not have this problem. As for the chance of getting an older unit off the shelf, this is possible, but less likely as time goes on. Regardless, affected units can be fixed. And regarding the digital audio drop out issue - this is highly dependent on the player/receiver combo, for any brand. The Onkyo 797 I had in my home for a week exhibited the same dropout problem as the Marantz, using two different DVD players (Toshiba and Panasonic). Other people using these receivers have had better luck with their DVD players.