The Panasonic BD30 made me Blu!
I picked mine up yesterday at CC with the 10% off coupon. I also found a local authorized Pioneer dealer (home theater installer) with a Pioneer VSX-94TXH in stock and got that for $1250. A buddy came over last night and we spent a few hours integrating the new gear into my TV stand (Salamander Designs Synergy Triple 20). Since the 94TXH has 4 HDMI inputs, I decided to keep my Oppo 970 in the rack (mainly for playing back non-anamorphic SD DVDs). Then the BD30 got one HDMI input, the Toshiba XA2 got the third, and my Mac Mini home theater PC got the fourth. It is nice to have all of them switchable from the Pioneer! (The outgoing Pio 72TXV only had 2 HDMI inputs.)
TV atop the Salamander is a JVC 70" LCOS 1080p. But it's the older model with only 1080i inputs. So, all media is being upconverted to 1080p in the JVC.
After a quick Auto MCACC audio set up on the 94TXH (which has a couple of additional MCACC tests vs. the 72TXV), the first (and so far, only) disc into the BD30 was Ratatouille. Loading time was fine but, overall, there is a bit more waiting time with these Java-based discs vs. HD DVD (this is my first Blu-ray player) as it accesses menus and such. Nothing to get my shorts in a wad about but definitely slower than I am used to. Then the Disney title hit with the fireworks. Fantastic subwoofer action!! Made everyone in the room jump!!!!
But the real joy was the incredibly gorgeous picture!!! The colors are fantastic!! And the soundtrack was equally awesome (set it for uncompressed PCM)! To say I was impressed is an understatement!! We watched the entire movie and enjoyed it even more than we did when we watched it on standard def (rental) on Tuesday!
I'll be spinning up Cars later today (got the two together with the $10 off deal). Plus, I'm visiting Fry's to take advantage of the Disney/Buena Vista BOGO sale (got four or five titles I'm interested in).
But, to be quite frank, after the 5 free movies, there are less than 10 currently released Blu movies that I'm interested in owning. Sure, there's more stuff coming down the road (Celine Dion's Vegas concert being one). But, the reality for me is, I was being honest with myself when I went with HD DVD first. Just more titles on that side that interest me (many of which were available for BOTH, but I already got them on HD DVD).
So, I spent $1800 to watch a dozen movies in high def! Ouch!
P.S. Now I can't wait for Toshiba to release the bitstream advanced audio firmware update for the XA2!