The problem with getting a new DVD player is the remote control. If you have a Denon receiver and a Denon DVD player its easy to use only one remote. Add another brand DVD player and you have to either "train" a universal remote or have yet another little box that gets lost in the dark. Currently I have an InFocus remote (turns on the projector and adjusts aspect ratio), A Comcast remote (chooses channels, controls the VCR and OnDemand), a Denon remote (tuerns the receiver on, controls the sound and the DVD player, switchs between DVD, cable, and Roku), and finally the Roku remote. I have a IR to RF relay so some remotes have different pointing directions.
I want to upgrade everyting but in this order: projector, receiver, and finally a Blu-ray player. I'm planning on some under $1,000 720 projector and a receiver that does HDMI switching (probably three into one). I don't really care about Blu-ray but a good new DVD with HDMI will cost about the same as a Blu-ray player after Christmass so why not? I want to get rid of all the component cables and simplify the remote controls.
I don't care much about Blu-ray because I usually watch and buy very low quality DVDs. I watch a lot of opera DVDs. For example I recently bought from the House of Opera site four complete version of Verdi's Don Carlo (tenors:Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo, Giaccomini). Some of these are nearly commercial quality, some are pirate recordings from a camera by some guy in the audience, some are old kinescopes, many have Korean or German subtitles. I have rented a lot of opera DVDs from NetFlix. Most of these are decent quality. There are no Blu-ray opera disks as yet on NetFlix. Although the Met may release some new Blu-ray recordings this year. For me content trumps quality.
I watched Roku last night. I compared the new movie Hoax on Comcast cable with the same version on Roku. In this case, to my surprise, I chose to watch it on Roku. Here's why.
I have the Comcast HD service. They have new movies in the OnDemand for Starz premium service customers in HD or SD or both. But only the very newest movies are shown in HD. After a month or so they are only available in SD. This is currently the case with Hoax. I could watch this exact same print either in 4:3 on Comcast or in 16:9 on Roku. On my set up both pictures are four and a half feet high but the Comcast picture is six feet wide while the Roku picture is eight feet wide. The Comcast cable picture is slightly higher quality than the Roku picture but it's very, very close. The "natural" 16:9 eight foot wide Roku picture is more pleasant to watch than the pillarboxed Comcast picture. Of course last month Hoax was probably shown in 16:9 HD. Last month I would probably have watched it on Comcast OnDemand.
But maybe not. The Roku/NetFlix menu and remote system is easier to use than the Comcast. I didn't finish watching Hoax. I stopped about half way through and went to bed. On Comcast I would have to find that movie again in the menus - not easy - it could have been in any of several sub menus. Then I would have to fast forward through an hour of the movie to get to where I had quit. With Roku I just go back to the movie - very easy - and choose to resume.
Some people complain that you have to "pre-load" your Roku on screen menu from the NetFlic web screen. This is true but it is an advantage. The web site has good search and navigation facilities. You just load up twenty to fifty movies you think you might want to watch. Then at night when you browse the menu with your remote you only have to look at movies you might concievably want to watch.