Originally Posted by jbrim
First, if there is a better area to post this let me know and I will gladly ask this question there.
I have the BD-35 along with and Onkyo 805 as my receiver. I have been fairly happy with the BD-35 but wanted to find out from the members here that have both (or those with a good perspective) to chime in on how these two units compare.
My understanding (and I am a novice in this area) is the PS3 will not be able to pass the HD audio to my Onkyo, instead will decode it and send it as LPCM. From what I have read this will not sound nearly as good as my BD-35 because it will send the audio in Bitstream which allows the Onkyo to decode.
My in this comes from the fact that I have an option to obtain a new PS3 for $300 so I am trying to decide if this makes any sense. It is really difficult to Google this and get a reasonable answer; most sites state the PS3 is the best thing on the planet because it boots up quicker (means little to me) and is a great multimedia unit with its gaming option.
The audio does mean a lot to me as well as the ability to upconvert DVD's; can some of the folks here that are more technical chime in if the PS3 would do nearly as good of a job as my DVD/BD player as the PS3 when both audio and video are compared. Again, if there is a decent thread on this and you do not want this post to head into that please provide the link and I will head there.
Great questions. I had used a PS3 exclusively for BD playback for nearly 1.5 years up until it died less than a month ago (I also own a Samsung 1500 that I picked up before the PS3 died to use as a secondary player for the kids upstairs). I purchased the PS3 almost exclusively to play BD movies on and have watched (roughly) 250 BD and DVD's on the PS3 since purchasing it.
As for the audio, I did a side-by-side test using my PS3 and Samsung 1500 (Samsung bitstreams the lossless codecs just as the BD35 does) and for most titles I simply could not tell a difference (I also have an Onkyo receiver). In some cases the audio was slightly louder via bitstreaming, but the PS3 sounded just as good once you level matched the audio. I still do not see bitstreaming as being a negative for the PS3 or a positive for bitstreaming players. Perhaps on extremely high end gear you may hear more of a difference, but at the end of the day lossless is lossless.
As for DVD upscaling I would give the BD35 the nod. It is not a night and day difference with regards to upscaling, but the BD35 performs slightly better based off my my experience. The BD35 also has the ability to upconvert at 24fps. I don't believe either my PS3 or my Samsung 1500 can do that. I also feel that the PQ for Blu-Ray on the BD35 is slightly better than the PS3 and Samsung 1500. I calibrated all three players using the Blu-Ray DVE disc along with a calibration disc found here at AVS in the display calibration section. It could be placebo but the BD35 seems to have a little more depth to the picture and blacks are a little more accurate for me. It is very close, but I would have to give the nod to the BD35 (note I am watching this on a 1080p projector on a 100" screen from 11ft away. On a smaller screen/further distance, the differences may not be as noticeable for both DVD upscaling or BD playback).
The PS3 is definitely faster at loading and playing discs. Sometimes noticeably faster (Lost Season 3 comes to mind). But I don't see this as a deal breaker for most people as the BD35 is still fairly quick with regards to most movies.
I also really prefer the PS3 XMB menu to the Panasonic menus. Again, not a huge deal, but still something to consider.
The other thing about the PS3 is that some people complain about the noise and its non-traditional shape (cannot stack anything on it). I kept mine in a very well ventilated cabinet in a cold room. I never really noticed the noise at all during BD playback, but the BD35 is silent and draws less heat. Not sure if this is an issue for you or not. The PS3 also does not support IR out of the box if you use a universal remote (although there are several workarounds).
In short, unless you are a gamer, I am not sure what the PS3 can really offer you that the BD35 does not already offer you. I would be inclined to save the $300 unless you really like to game and want to have a second BD player.