Have you check your local BestBuy for closeouts/open box units? I picked up a Pioneer BDP-320 for $69.00. Their stock will differ at different locations and I have seen Pioneer, Panasonic, and others with 7.1 audio. Excellent audio and as you guessed slooow load times, but well worth the wait in my opinion.
HT, Mitsubishi HC6500, 106" screen, Panasonic TC-P50G10, Oppo BDP-103, Toshiba A35, Panasonic LX-1000U, Pioneer Elite CLD-95, Faroudja NRS, DirecTV H21-100, PS3, Pioneer Elite SC-85, Def Tech; SM 450, CLR 2002, BP2X, Klipsch KSB 1.1(X4), Pro Sub 100, Polk PSW125
Old School, Sony PS-5500->Denon 103r->AU-320 SUT, Dual 1219->Shure M91ED, Kyocera DA-610cx, Pioneer SA-1000, Polk Monitor 10A