I had a chance to do some limited testing yesterday, comparing the BD-A1000 to my old Panasonic DMP-BD35 Bluray player. Previously I had the Panasonic player plugged directly into my 50" Panasonic plasma TV via HDMI, but when I got the new Yamaha bluray I also got a new Yamaha RX-A2000 receiver, some Vandersteen bookshelf front and center speakers, and a Velodyne sub. I am still waiting for my rear surround speakers to be installed, but basically I have a whole new system so it is hard to make direct comparisons. What I did yesterday was to alternate plugging in the Panasonic Bluray and the Yamaha Bluray through the same HDMI cable input to the receiver. I'm not sure how much of what I was seeing and hearing may have been signal processing by the receiver vs the player, but the connections were the same. I am still getting used to the receiver and don't know all the ins and outs of the controls. Also bear in mind I am an old time audiophile but haven't bought a new receiver in 20 years so I am somewhat of a newbie with this new type of AV gear, plus my hearing ain't what it used to be and I only spent an hour or so on this informal comparison. So those are my disclaimers.
What I can say is that the video from the bluray discs looked excellent through both the Panasonic and the Yamaha players, but I thought there was perhaps a bit more detail in the blacks through the Yamaha. However, there was clearly a huge improvement in the audio on the Yamaha player, both for soundtracks on DVDs and Blurays as well as on audio CDs. There was a level of clarity and presence and depth in the music that simply was not present on the Panasonic player. DVD image quality was superior on the Yamaha compared to the Panasonic. Close-ups of people's faces were somewhat jagged on the panasonic, but smoooth on the Yamaha, and the image quality of DVDs on the Yamaha was almost as good as that of the Blurays.
Regarding load times, I timed 20 seconds from turning the power on until I saw the "no disc" signal on the Yamaha, vs. 31 seconds on the Panny. From inserting a bluray disc (Planet Earth) until an image appeared on screen took 14 seconds on the Yamaha vs 30 seconds on the Panny, and for a DVD (A Beautiful Mind) 10 seconds on the Yamaha vs 22 on the Panny. I didn't time load times for audio CDs, but I listened to some Tchaikovsky and some Bob Marley on the two players and the Yamaha blew the Panasonic away on both of them.
I will add that I was surprised at how light the Yamaha bluray player was. It is replacing not only the Panasonic Bluray but also an old Sony S9000ES DVD player, which weighs probably 3 times as much as the Yamaha. But as I said in my last post the Yamaha has a solid feel to it, and I like the simple layout and the feel of the hard buttons. Definitely a keeper for me.
And in case it matters to anyone, this unit is made in Malaysia.