A thorough job, Gary. I know you swap hardware in and out of your system all the time, so one thing I do miss in your review is direct performance (rather than build) comparison with some of the other BD players you've used.
I echo Gary's sentiments. I picked up this player a couple months ago from Circuit City. I was expecting a big step up from the Panasonic BD-10A that I got from the HTF/EMA deal last year, but not expecting it to outshine an admittedly wonderful player this much. It boots quickly, loads quickly, and performs admirably. It even interacts well with the Logitech remote software, a problem I had with the BD-10.
If you can find one--I got mine during a very short window when Circuit City had them in stock in the warehouse, had to get it e-shipped home--then you should get one. If Panasonic gets off their collective butts to get the BD-35 or BD-55 into production, they should make them available in stores so this format can have an example of excellence.
Thanks for the review. Question though: are you saying in "Normal" picture mode the white level isn't clipped? I've done a few calibrations that included BD-30s, and in normal mode the white level was clipped (second brightest gray step same as brighest). Putting it to user mode and bringing the contrast down to -1 or -2 yeilded whites that were not so hot.
Granted it isn't as fast as the PS3, but it is the fastest I've used. That includes the original BD-10 (which took several minutes to get a movie to play) and the 350 from Sony, the Samsung BD-1500, and the LG Super Drive dual-format player. But considering the trade-offs (the BD-50 is whisper-quiet whereas my PS3 sounds like a hair dryer) I am willing to sacrifice 30 seconds.
Mike, with the BD50 set to 1080p/24 HDMI output in 4:2:2 feeding the DVDO VP50pro the unit had perfect white levels in my system, all the way out as far as the test patterns went, my output from the VP50pro scaler was 1080p/60 4:2:2
this kind of thing(black and white levels) is so subjective, one system shows what you are seeing, another is perfect, I think a scaler is a stabilizing force is getting rid of these type of problems
Bob, the BD50 had up until the time of the review been the best BD PQ I had seen at direct 1080p/24, the Pioneer Elite 05FD(review just posted) is actually even better and is now my top pick of what I have personally seen