UPDATE ON THE UPDATES:
-Threw in the towel on using the USB stick; I burned a disc for the Beta Firmware instead. No problems!
-All DVD-A problems appear to be fixed. Played "Fragile" by Yes and "The Beatles Love" with no skips, pauses, or pops. They sounded absolutely WONDERFUL
-SACD via DSD is still great (I didn't have the "popping" problem before). Played some Moody Blues and Miles Davis...fantastic sound!
-For some reason, things looked and sounded better after applying the firmware. Me or the late hour, LOL?
-I then applied the Region Hack after checking that the "base" Beta Firmware was fine. Oh boy, I am a happy camper! Region 2 discs played wonderfully (Network remasters of "The Prisoner" and "Space 1999 Season One" as well as "Blake's 7" and some old and new Doctor Who.). Look and sound wonderful! I have no Region B or C Blus yet, but I might give it a whirl.
Two more questions:
-Does the Anchor Bay Chip appear engaged when using Region 2 or not? I tried demo mode to check, and the two sides were *very* close comparison wise, which leads me to believe that perhaps it isn't. On the newer titles, they all look great; but on the older titles, the look great but not as good as the Oppo 981. It's late and and to tell too, LOL! Any opinions here?
-I plan on ordering the complete "Thunderbirds" on Blu. I've seen that they are region Code free on certain sites, and Region B on others. Amazon UK has no Region listed for them at all, whereas most of their titles are listed if there is a Region Code with a warning. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.
BTW, all my previous settings had to be restored after applying both sets of firmware...just a heads up for anyone considering an upgrade. Thanks for all your help (again)!
"May God stand between you and harm and all the empty places in which you must walk." - Harlan Ellison