Within a few hours, I installed it, compared it to other equipment, and got the sound and picture settings calibrated to my liking.
Before I begin with my comments, I just want to remind you that I use Composite video and analog 5.1 audio pre-output as opposed to Component video and HDMI.
The goods definitly outweigh the bads. I say we should get the bads over with first so we can look forward to the goods. As far as making it region-free, I sent that famous IR signal. It turned off. However, it would still spit out all my Region 2 DVDs. As sure as I am that the firmware for the DV-800AV found at http://www.pioneerfaq.info/index.php?question=Firmwares
will work with the DV-58AV US model, I have had bad luck updating firmware on my Plextor PC DVD burner. Its disc read performance seemed to gradually get worse and worse. So therefore, I feel very uneasy about messing with firmware on a $500 piece of equipment. So if there is an alternate remote hack out there, please let us know! I know it will be a pain in the ---, but when my schedule is free, I will copy all of my Region 2 DVDs on to DVD+RDLs. I tested my DV-58AV with a regionless Pal retail DVD, and the Pal-to-NTSC conversion was great! Which brings me to my next minor issue. I tried the procedure for switching the European DV-LX50 output between NTSC, Pal, and AUTO. This is another function that is not available on the US model. However, because of its heavy build quality and its high-quality Pal-to-NTSC conversion (which is as close to raw Pal as you can get), that's no problem for me.
Now on to the good stuff! When playing DVDs on my Yamaha changer, I find myself adjusting the video settings to nutral for TV viewing, and for DVD viewing, increasing the contrast so I could see the darker scenes better, messing up the color quality in the process. However, with the new DV-58AV, I can leave the TV's and DVD player's video settings to nutral whether I watch TV or DVDs, and the picture remains clear and the colors remain natural. When it comes to audio, I thought my Yamaha receiver's audio was the best when using its DACs. I always thought it was too bad I couldn't play DSD via a digital connection because the 5.1 analog pre-outs on my Yamaha changer lack the extreme low and high frequencies in comparison to using the DACs in my receiver. However, when I watched a movie with a DTS 5.1 audio stream via the DV-58AV's Composite video and 5.1 analog pre-outs, the performance of the low and high frequencies blew my receiver's DACs out of the water! The LFE channel now actually produces true deep bass, as opposed to being blasted out of my seat with an overemphosys(sp?) on the middle bass frequencies in order to hear the lower bass frequencies. Now when I play movies via my receiver's digital input, it sounds a little muffled when comparing it to my new DV-58AV. When I popped an SACD into my DV-58AV, I couldn't believe the difference those harmonic overtones from SACD's high frequency response really make!
As an added bonus, it's assuring to know that I will be ready for the future with a player that has a build quality that should make for great durability. Also, HDMI 1.3 makes me even more future proof so when I finally upgrade to all HDMI equipment, I will finally be able to get rid of my cable clutter!
I know there some skeptics of this player out there as a result of the advent of Blu-ray, as well as the Anchor Bay video processing in the Oppo DV-983H, but the DV-983H's build quality and analog sections aren't as good as the DV-58AV. However, if you want the best from your SDDVD and DVD-A/SACD collections, I think you're getting a lot of bang for your buck with the Pioneer Elite DV-58AV. So ... Long live the Pioneer Elite DV-58AV and its thread here at AVS!