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, Samsung 32" LCD, Oppo BDP-83, Pioneer Elite BDP-62, Toshiba A35, Panasonic LX-1000U, Pioneer Elite CLD-95, 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, Sansui SR-4050c->Shure M91ED, Alternative Acoustics preamp, Kyocera R-861, Polk Monitor 10A