Just got back from a 5 hour jaunt around town to view this. Could not get a single store to sell me any titles
Onto some observations...In two places I was fortunate to have the saleperson(who was equally interested as I) to move the player around. Store #1(BB) had it orginally setup on a 42 Westy playing Phantom of the Opera. The pricture was grainy, washed out and unimpressive in any way. I wandered back over to the higher end displays and was looking at the Bravia and Pioneer elite (which were next to each other). He asked if I wanted to see the player hooked up to these...YES, of course.
As we were moving the player - stopped at the samsung 1080p 56incher and I wondered out loud "how this would look".
A few minutes later we were hooked up passing 1080i via HDMI into the Sammy. Significantly better than the Westy. Not wow, but really good PQ. My parents happen to have this set and it was pretty well adjusted as I meandered through the PQ options. We played a bit more - but while the colors appeared richer...and it was a VERY clean picture...it wasn't "WOW". Just really good.
Onto the Bravia...which was playing the same feed as the 930 elite next to it. I mention this because both displays looked darn good. I certainly would give the edge to the 930 - but the Bravia was pretty impressive. Probably the best I have ever seen one look.
Player gets hooked up and off we go to the same scenes we had previously been viewing. (BTW - the menus sytem is pretty cool!). This was another giant step up from the prior two displays. At this point I would say"punchier" than the Sammy, light years better than the Westy with tons of detail. I finally was getting impressed. We now had a "crowd" watching. We played for around 20-30 minutes and while I wouldn't say it was better than some of the best calibrated sets playing movies I have ever seen (Qualia, etc). It was very, very good and for a 500 player - held its own against some very expensive players on the market - at least with the HD material. We then tried LOTR and upconverted. Very clean - although I now detected the shrotcomings of the bravia with is lower contrst and black levels. STill as good as I have seen many of the upconverting players(Oppe , S97 etc).
Finally moved the player over to the 930. Played the same scenes and quite frankly - WOW - finally happened. It was breathtaking, detail like you had never seen, beautiful whites, immsersive color and detail. Just outstanding. I have seen this display setup with some really good players - Denon 5910, marantz etc - and to my recollection - NOTHING looked as good as this. It simply caused every display around it - showing a darn nice 1080i feed - to pale.
I won't bore you with the rest of my journey - but I ended up seeing all 3 titles (ones I could NOT buy - UGH) played. Serenity - IMHO - was the weakest of the transfers - with Phantom and Samurai being very good to excellent.
Clearly - what display they were being played on had everything to do with how well they looked. While in the past DVD players has some dependence on display etc for PQ. My opionion is that this player is going to end up with very different reviews predicated upon the display. Saw it a few more times on both the Westy (the fav BB seems to use) and the Sammy, as well as on the new Panny 50incher.
What it did answer in my mind - would it be worth it if you had 720/768 p panel - or is 1080p mandatory....For a very good panel - yes - I believe it would be worth it - for some of the others - nope. And interestingly enough the true 1080p panel was the weakest of all that I saw today.