Well, I finally turned purple last Friday by adding the 1500 to my HT arsenal, which proudly includes Toshiba HD-XA2, Onkyo 805 receiver and Hitachi 42HDX99 (1080i/60) plasma. I bought it at Circuit City in Bellevue, WA as they price matched the then-out-of-stock WallyWorld unit @ $348. It was the next to last unit they had boxed on the shelf.
I've only watched a few Blu-ray rentals from Blockbuster so far - Cars, Hellboy and Spiderman 3. All gear is connected via HDMI cables (MP and BJC), and the 1500 is outputting bitstream to the 805 for decoding. The 805 display clearly shows all the sound formats being received. My Hitachi is calibrated using both DVE (HD DVD) and my SpyderTV gizmo.
For the time being the Sammy is on the floor, sitting on an adequately-sized wood cutting board as I need to add/adjust the shelves in my Salamander Twin 20 later his week as each component sits on its own shelf. So ventilation right now can't get much better without adding a fan...
My first impressions are as follows:CARS
As expected, the PQ was impressive, though I thought my XA2 upscaling my SD DVD of Cars held its own quite well (thanks, Uncle Reon!). Some of the scenes of the mountain vistas during the "cruising for fun" really popped with the BD version, though. So my first BD in the 1500 was a good start...
The AQ was a definite improvement over the DD from the SD DVD as I selected the Uncompressed soundtrack. Low end was more full, most sounds seemed a bit more crisp/detailed, and the scene of Doc racing solo around the track literally put me in the drivers seat at full throttle. And this with the Onkyo cranked only to -5 dB...scared to see what happens if I push into into the +5 dB neighborhood!HELLBOY
For the record, this was my first foray into this flick, and I actually enjoyed it! I though the PQ detail was excellent, seeing all the facial bumps on Red's face. AQ was also great as I again chose the Uncompressed soundtrack. I did switch between this and the DD version, and preferred the uncompressed audio. So far, so good with my new 1500...SPIDEY 3
Another impressive PQ performance, though I personally think my XA2 was not too
far behind on certain scenes regarding performance. There was definitely more detail with the sand effects with the BD player and disc, so that was kinda fun.
NOTE: I did notice the weird jitter/combing during the end credits mentioned earlier, so not sure of this is something that is future-firmware fixable.
AQ was just fine as I selected the Dolby TrueHD soundtrack - NO AUDIO DROPOUTS WERE NOTICED, as far as I could tell. So not sure of some of you have a bad player with the dropouts that have been noted here, so I may be one of the lucky ones.BEWARE - HOT TEMPS!!!
Tonight after watching the last hour of Hellboy and a full viewing of Spidey 3, I can tell you that the bottom of this unit was extremely
hot! Like someone else mentioned, it was the back right area, though I found it hottest right in line with the vent holes. And remember that this is sitting off by itself - no other gear above or below. The top of the casing was barely warm, so the heat sink is definitely doing something. But does it really have enough room below the unit to dissipate the heat? This 1500 has to have the smallest rubber feet and minimal bottom panel clearance of all gear I currently own.
This is my main concern about the longevity of this unit - a better design would have provided vent openings on the top of the casing because, per basic physics - HEAT RISES! Or a built-in cooling fan, but I know they can be noisy per my XA2.
And I see some benefit to the laptop coolers mentioned by others, but believe these will not do too much as they try to draw the heat downward
, away from the 1500. A much better design would be to intake air from the side of the cooler and blow upwards
at the bottom of the 1500. This would be more efficient in removing heat. Here's a great way to visualize this concept: Hold a lighted match in front of you, say about 3 inches from your mouth. You can easily "blow" the flame out, but it's nearly impossible to "suck" the flame out. You need to get that heat away as best you can!
I'll put my 1500 thru the paces over the next few weeks and see if it's something I want to keep. If I have any audio dropouts or more weird jitter/combing, then it'll have to go back and I'll remain a "red only" fan for a while longer...EDIT
- I forgot to add this last night - without doing any customization yet, my Harmony One remote seems to operate the 1500 just fine. I do need to remap the "popup menu" from the original remote to the hard MENU button on the H1. I thought the original remote was a bit quirky during initial setup, as if a single button press of the directional arrows was received as two presses. This was an occasional occurrence, but I also believe that the original remote has a narrower "line of sight" than my Harmony. Gotta aim it just right...