My review (pre firmware update):
I received my $100 player from NFM on Monday. My setup includes a Westinghouse 42" LVM-42w2 1080p monitor and a Onkyo 6.1 receiver. I currently own a PS3 which I hope to replace with this player. Video connection is via an HDMI --> DVI cable to the DVI #2 input of my monitor, and audio is via optical cable to my receiver.
My firmware is dated 10/10/2008. On the Memorex setup screen, I set my audio output to Bitstream, set my display type to widescreen, and attempted to set my video output to 1080p. However, this is where I encountered my first problem. The 4 choices listed were 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and 1080p/24. The last 2 choices were greyed out for me. I attempted to re-negotiate the HDCP handshake with various combinations of turn on procedures to no avail. Hopefully a new firmware update will fix this problem. Anyway, I am stuck using 1080i for the time being.
My first attempt was to play Batman DK Blu-Ray. It took some time to load, and it did seem to get semi-stuck at one screen at exactly 6 seconds, but after 30 seconds or so it went on and started the movie. I noticed a sound garbling/cutout issue immediately, but I kept playing to get a feel for the video quality. I just watched this movie using my PS3 last week, and this time around the video seemed considerably darker in every scene. I attempted to correct it with my TV controls, but I just couldn't get it to look very good. My TV does have known issues with contrast, brightness, and dark scenes, but this player's output makes it especially difficult to correct. It isn't necessarily a deal killer, but I will need to spend some extra time to make future adjustments. It took some time to get the right settings for the PS3, so I'm sort of hopeful at this point.
I stopped playback to troubleshoot the audio, and tracked it down to a Dynamic Compression setting which is turned on by default. Once off, optical bitstream output worked fine for AC3 and DTS. My desire to replace my PS3 is due to the lack of 5.1 analog outputs. I want enhanced sound along with enhanced picture, but I can't invest in a new receiver just yet. This $100 player seems to offer it all and the settings menu even allows you to set a listener distance from each speaker when using the 7.1 analog outputs... nice addition IMO. I haven't tried it yet with the analog outputs, but I am hopeful given everything else so far.
Other Blu-Ray titles I tried all worked as well, including Rambo and The Simpsons. The latter disk did initially complain about needing a firmware update for good playback, but I got past that screen and didn't notice any playback issues whatsoever. This player does work with BD-Java titles, and a dedicated LED lights up on the front... the interactive on-screen time bar for DK appeared just fine when pausing & scanning. Honestly, I don't think I will miss any profile 2.0 features that this player is unable to display... until, some truly innovative interactive games or tests are offered.
Regular DVD playback looked really good to me. My TV is poor at upconversion, so 1080i playback on this machine looks better to me than any other DVD player I have tried... even the PS3. It played back my burned DVDs perfectly (HP DVD+R and Verbatim DVD-R media).
I was particularly excited to see USB playback for audio, photos, and video. I have confirmed that this player will play back all of the various XviD files I tried, along with a WMV video, various MPEG 1 files, VOB files, and a DivX file I had laying around. It refused to play a copied DVD structure from the ifo file (though it did play the individual VOB files fine), and it refused to play MKV. It also complained and refused to play avi video files from my digital camera (Motion JPEG codec).
Playback of all the various media was quick, very high quality, and smooth. Scanning at 16x forward and backwards showed super smooth video like I have never seen before. My only video complaint is I COULD NOT get an external subtitle file (.srt) to display while playing video files. Perhaps there is a trick I don't know about, but this feature seems like it is missing. My only audio complaint is that AC3 5.1 was unavailable via bitstream during XviD playback. The MVBD2511 down converts it to PCM 2-channel audio. A bummer, but again, not a deal killer for me. It will be interesting to see what the player does when using analog outputs for XviD playback.
MP3 and JPEG photo playback worked great, though I don't see an option to use them together. The photo display is incredible, and the photos are shrunk to the display resolution, but not stretched in any way. Zooming and panning work like you would expect, but the automatic photo playback feature is lacking several features including random and slideshow delay. There is an option for a playlist, so perhaps there are some hidden features I didn't find initially.
Overall, to me this seems like a great deal for $100 as long as Memorex follows through with their promised firmware update (and future updates... hopefully). If I can correct the dark video output and get 1080p out of this puppy I should be happy for some time.