Originally Posted by Kevin C Brown
This is my opinion, some it based on fact.
I had a 59AVi and I freaking loved that player. Except for the layer change delay. So the 79AVi comes out, and it has worse video than the 59AVi. So I stayed with the 59AVi and waited. I finally decided on the Oppo 980H. Layer change: gone. I was happy. If you look at the Secrets reviews and put in some informed conjecture, the 980H is really close to the 970, but the Mediatek chip has been tweaked. But all of them, the 59AVi, 970, and 980H have very similar video. Not as good as some of the stuff out there now (Reon, ABT, etc), but I was personally quite happy with the 59AVi's video. The 59AVi debuted with a list price of $1600. (It was later dropped to $1k, and I think the 79AVi was around $1k too.) So now the 58AV comes out at $500, but it *should* have better audio than the 59AVi and video at least as good if not better. So for the price in terms of Pioneer products, I don't have a problem.
Now, compared to the Oppo, that gets more interesting. I like the 980H, but the build quality of the 59AVi was much higher. There are a few firmware issues with the Oppo that I never had with the Pio. Also, power on to playing a CD or DVD is about twice as slow with the Oppo than with the Pio. The analog audio output of the Pio should be better. But a lot of us don't need analog out from a player anymore, so in *that* case, sure, it'd be harder to justify the difference in cost between the two. But for people who use that analog output a lot, I don't see that cost difference as too high, and it's not as high as you think anyway. $500 list, and I bet if I looked, I could find it for $400, vs $179 for the 980H.
Comparing the 58AV vs a $100 Mediatek powered DVD player is rediculous I think, because there's a lot more at work here. There's deinterlacing and upscaling *implementation*, not just the chip. And ... do any of those $100 players also play SACD and DVD-A?
Kevin...I think you and I went with the 59 AVi at about the same time. I remember all the debates whether the ELITE or the new (at the time) Denon 39XX was the better universal player.
Like you, the layer changes were a nuisance, but worth it for the pic and audio quality (particularly with i-link) of the 59 AVi. Well worth it. Pairing it with an ELITE 59 TXi AVR, I was in AV bliss. Adding my Rockets from AV123 and a really nice HSU sub, I was ahead of the curve (will keep my speaker set up), at least for a while.
Fast forward a few years and I get the upgrade bug again. I start to notice how plasmas are coming down in price. And, boy does 1080p look sweet. HD-DVD is dying quickly (actually, I wanted the format to win, but that's not to be). My son got a PS3 for Christmas. I've now got a vehicle for BD (and probably the best BD player on the market, to boot).
The plasma looks to be the display of choice for 1080p, so I took the plunge. Got a KURO 6010 coming this week.
OK, now HDMI is the connection of choice. Unfortunately, no such input on the 59TXi. Got some EMOTIVA gear. No HDMI there, either. If I'm going, may as well go all the way. Pioneer's new offerings in the AVR realm can't hold a candle to the 59 TXi. Leaving that camp.
THX Ultra 2 is the way to go, though. Onkyo 805 has it...and HDMI. OK, I'm on board.
What to do with all of those DVD-A and SACD disks?
That brings me to Oppo. Good video? Check! Good audio? Check! Upconversion to 1080p? Check! HDMI for video and audio? Check! What's this? $229? To get a good universal player we had to pay $1,000 (59 AVi price) just a few short years ago. Still, I've only read reviews about them.
I'll have a 981 in house this week. I'm anxious to see how the video/audio compares over digital connections (HDMI) vs my previous all Pioneer set up.
Taking the analog processing out of the equation (as much as you possibly can) should yield sterling results. We'll see.