Re: recommendations on high end Blue Ray players
My first question would be how dedicated you are and have you spent too much money on your current or new video / audio system. My system started as an audio only with a bit of video added in. That means 85 to 90% costs to the audio. With that said I would SUGGEST you to spend at least 75% or 3x on your TV, understand that Blu-Rays disc carry a premium price points against DVDs. If you purchase your DVDs I would suggest allocating initially at least equal on your disc library as your player.
The one thing that I gave up/ con towards the player was loading speed. On the Pro side after a headache with a firmware update (Apple not Supported by Sony) was the aquistion of the Sony BDP-S1 (?retailed at $1,000?). I have yet to see a better combo when properly set-up other than at a CES or like show at 5 to 10x the cost. Yes, it also wasn't yet a released product. My TV is the plasma Pioneer Elite Kuro 1080p at 50" and The tradeoff with the TV is that it generates alot of heat....And, Yes, I currently own more than 50 Blu-Ray discs and over 450 DVDs.
Secondly, audio quality is benefited by the new format, but currently my front end audio is a stereo front end and has XLR inputs and the S1 doesn't support that. So, I take the RCAs out of the S1 and make due with only HDMI to the TV. The optical out goes to a previous top of the line Yamaha souround unit. So, whats so hi-end is this you may ask? I also have Krell Electronics wiith a KRC-HR stereo pre , because I haven't bought the RX-11 or the Krell Evolution 707 yet,, Yes, 10 channels of Krell amps, VTL amps, etc with 30 drivers in 12 speakers. Yes, my CD player is a Krell and it runs XLRS to the pre and optical to the Yamaha. Yes, Yes, with retail way in excess of $50k. Yes, I believe XLR / balanced connectors to a dedicated hi-end stereo audio preamp would generate better sound in the front channels than taking HDMI first to a processor and then to a TV which ALSO must generate some video degradation.
Hi-end Video with ONLY a combo souround unit/ reciever, IMO, is a waste and large flat panel video without full-range speakers that include subs misses the action. Supporting at least the equiv of 5.1 should a equal goal. So, this all costs money and the player is just one component of a system.
So, balance, balance, balance,, where IMO, Blu-Ray is a new technology where Mark Levinson and Krell, I don't thjink support it in their line, so, $5k or more for a player at this time is questionable. If you own the 707, then you could still add in the Evol mono preamps and amps. If you own a Kuro, then why buy a Oppo? If you like upgrading every year, then IMO find a top of the line player from last year with current firmware and you will save 25 to 35% on the costs of a player and you can track changes in video playback tech. Oh, you should realize that this also allows the discs to support the tech Yes, first hardware support, then software (disc) support. Thanks Erblichs