I have a Pioneer VSX-82TSX receiver and Samsung HL-S6187W HDTV. I'm interested in a new DVD player as my present one is an ancient Sony on its last leg. I'm also interested in DVD-Audio and SACD as well. I have read everything I think I can find on the OPPO DV-981HD and Pioneer DV-46AV and pored over both manuals.
A few lingering questions that perhaps someone can answer:
1. The Pioneer does not pass SACD through HDMI necessitating a 5.1 component audio hookup in addition to the HDMI cable. However, though the OPPO passes SACD via HDMI, it passes DSD audio converted to multi-channel PCM. The OPPO manual states To listen to SACD in full resolution, please use HDMI or 5.1ch analog audio connections. This implies that the SACD tracks being sent via HDMI are of the same quality as over a 5.1 component arrangement on the OPPO. Is this true?
2. The Pioneer HDMI connector outputs uncompressed digital audio that the player is compatible with, including DVD-Audio. So, if I exclude SACD from my purchases, I should still need only the HDMI connector. However, the manual states, Some DVD-Audio discs do not output anything through the digital outputs, and multi-channel discs are down-mixed to stereo for the digital output. In addition, high sampling rate DVD-Audio discs (higher than 96 kHz) automatically down-sample audio output from the digital outputs. Using the multi-channel analog audio outputs for DVD-Audio has none of these limitations. Is this really saying that multi-track DVD-Audio is converted to 2ch when sent via the HDMI connection? Sounds like to get true DVD-Audio on the Pioneer (not to mention SACD) one must have a 5.1 hookup. True?
3. The OPPO up-converts to 1080p (the TV is 1080p capable), the Pioneer to 1080i. Not sure I would see any difference in the two, but since the TV is 1080p, would the OPPO up-converted signal be more likely to look better than the Pioneer?
I personally like the looks of the Pioneer better. (Yes, it matters.) It's an aesthetically pleasing match to the glossy black finish of the receiver and the TV. It is a little more expensive though the difference is not a factor for the purchase. Perhaps someone can educate me on the subtleties of DVD-Audio and SACD over HDMI or 5.1ch. I'm sure either will be great, but would appreciate some of you smart guys helping me.