I just added a Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray player to my audio equipment for the Home Theatre. I bought it yesterday at Best Buy. I'll relate my buying experience.
I walk into the Magnoila area of the BB and walk up to one of the guys who is chatting with some other employees behind the counter. My guy is wearing the light blu long sleeve dress shirt (the shirt indicates his position is higher up than the employees wearing the polo shirts I would assume). SO I ask him if they have any Blu-ray players and where they are located. He takes me over to the new Panasonic player, which I am a little interested in because I noticed it on the BB website as I was looking to see if my local branch had recieved the new Sony player that released on December 4th (yestereday). I am also interested in the Pioneer Elite player but it isn't out yet I guess. My basic criteria are 1080p/24, Dolby TrueHD Digital and HD-DTS processing, HDMI 1.3. I wouldn't mind the lossless 7.1 analog outputs that the Panasonic player has, so if it has 1080p/24 and HDMI 1.3 I might do a trade-in.
Anyway, back to the story... So the guy starts rambling off a bunch of specifications about the system, half of which aren't useful to me but I didn't mind humoring as he had obviously put some effort into memorizing this stuff (it was obvious by the way he was saying it that he wasn't a technophile and didn't know the stuff because of a genuine interest in the technology). So when he finished rambling off the information I said to him, "What I really want to know about this unit is whether or not it does 1080p at 24 frames per second as my projector outputs at that rate (the Blu-ray storage rate and the most film like rate out of the other options) and more importantly if the audio decoders decode lossless formats such as HD-DTS and Dolby TrueHD? He said to me "I thought those audio formats were proprietary and are used only on HD-DVD, as those are what they were made for." I said, "no" they are designed for any format that someone wants to put them on, blu-ray included. This stumped him and he sought out someone else in the entourage of Magolia employees to ask. The other employee agreed with me, thankfully, as I was starting to feel foolish, even though I knew I was correct.
So, I say to him since he doesn't know any of this information about the panasonic unit (their website BTW, Panasonics that is, doesn't have any useful information on it about the player either, which really has me pissed off - does it output 1080p/24?!?! And which formats do its decoders handle?!?!), "I want to buy the Sony unit that just came out today, the Sony Blu-ray player, your website indicated that this store has it in stock." He looks at me and says "We don't have a Sony player, you must mean the Samsung unit." At this point I'm starting to get a little irritated, since I juts told him that the unit only came out today and that they do have it in stock. So I repeat some of what I told him, "I was going to buy it online for a store pick up at this exact store, so I do know that you have it in stock. Can you at least look on your computer and see if it is in stock." He answered, "I'll look, but we haven't carried and we don't carry a Sony Blu-ray player." At this point I feel like going into the regular part of the store and asking a different employee in the electronics section is going to be more productive, so I tell him to forget it (parts of the conversation were left out as it was even worse than this, but I don't remember all of it. There were more annoying things said on the employees end, as he decided to get a little upset that I was asking so much of him in order to see if they had the equipment I was looking for at their store. This issue with items in stock and employees unaware of it, or not willing to go look for the item, has occurred to me on more than one occasion. It happened with the XBox 360 HD-DVD add on as well, but after talking to three employees than demanding a manager, the manager happened to know that they did have it in and it was in the display case behind something else for the XBox 360...)
So the next employee is willing to look it up right away, which happened to be about 5 minutes later because all of the inventory computers were being used ATM. So we see that there are four of them in stock. It takes a little while of looking, and asking two other employees at the store until we find one of them who has actually seen them and knows where they were placed in the stock room. End of story, I have my Blu-ray player and my life is an hour shorter after the whole ordeal. It looks absolutely incredible and the video quality is definitely smoother than the XBox 360 add-on which my front projector (Sony Pearl VPL-VW50) has to de-interlace and which does not output at 24 fps both of which add to the lack of smoothness. Don't get me wrong, the HD-DVD add-on still look stunning, it just isn't as smooth as the Sony Blu-ray player, and no HD-DVD player releasing any time soon is going to have HD-DTS decoders sadly enough (they have core
HD-DTS which is lossy - heh, what a crumby name for something that is lossy, definitely intentionally meant to decieve people). I am not buying a dedicated HD-DVD player though, I'm sticking with the XBox 360 add-on as the Blu-Ray technology is so much better that I want to support it more than HD-DVD. The Blu-Ray technology has much more potential as a storage medium, so it would be best if it survives over HD-DVD IMO. Hopefully the PS3 will help it win the HD-Video war.
Anyway, I'll be adding these pics to my HT thread as well as some photos of the drywall going up. It is moving along very quick at this point thankfully. I was going to add some questions/info on my speaker setup but I will make it a separate post instead... As it will be more focused than this long rambling post. LOL