So my Philips BDP2205 came in today - as advertised, I can set it to 480i over HDMI and I have disabled all picture settings. Onkyo 3010 does the upscaling to 1080p as well as picture adjustments. Contrast had to be increased, and my preference is for intense colors, so saturation was slightly increased - everything else off or at 0. For reference, the tv is Samsung UN75F8000 (75" 1080p) and my eyes are 8' from the screen.
Watched scenes from The Fifth Element superbit and The Incredibles, and first impressions are very good. There are some noticeable improvements over the Panasonic DVD-S77 - not huge, but noticeable. More detail / less detail smearing is the first thing I notice, especially in The Fifth Element. The faces of the general and the scientist reconstructing Leeloo have a whole heck of a lot of detail in them, a surprising amount for a dvd in my opinion. When Leeloo is on the building ledge and you see all the cg cars flying by, that also appeared more crisp. I didn't capture before pictures with the Panasonic, but all of the output resolution settings of that player required some level of processing or de-interlacing, and I have to assume it caused some detail to get lost.
With Incredibles, in the two scenes I used, I noticed less macro-blocking going on in Mr. Incredibles suit and the grey wall of Edna's cellar testing room when she is walking down there with Mrs. Incredible, doing her security checks, and the machine guns come out. That macro-blocking always bothered me with the Panasonic. I will have to try War of the Worlds, as I also remember noticeable macro-blocking with the Panasonic with the smoke that appears when the earth opens, the first pod comes out, and lands hard. The detail on Edna's cellar wall is also superior using this upscaling method, there is texture to it that was smeared in the past.
The player itself has some disc read noise when you first put a dvd in, which I'm not a fan of, but it is silent during playback. It loads extremely fast, which is a positive. I'm shocked how small the unit is....I don't know if that is good or bad.
I'll try player to tv and player upscaling to 1080p itself, but for now, so far, using it as a 480i transport to the Onkyo 3010 with it's upscaling seems to be a nice improvement, and those two dvds mentioned are HIGHLY watchable and enjoyable on this 75" screen. Blu rays have more detail obviously, but my dvd collection won't be going anywhere anytime soon.