I phoned my local electronics store in Toronto today (Friday Dec 4th) and their shipment of 5000's had arrived. I went around and picked up one and I paid C$799+tax=C$902.87. The sales guy said "no discount for you".
He reiterated the 700 units allocated to Canada. Unfortunately, he was not helpful in the firmware upgrade dept, just happy that he made a sale.
My equipment relevant to the 5000 is as follows: Anthem D2/P5 and a Panasonic 50" XVS30. I am connected by HDMI from the 5000 to the Anthem and again to the Panasonic.
After playing around for about an hour, I make the following observations:
- the 5000 has no pass through feature for the video signal. In other words, the player will do the scaling up to whatever resolution you choose. In my case it is 1080i as my plasma does not do 1080p. I have the D2 which, theoretically, should do a better job on standard DVDs at 480i. So now I have to bypass the D2 for standard DVDs.
- I have played several standard DVDs. All played OK. My reference however, is the Superbit version of The Fifth Element. I think my D2 does a better job at scaling/deinterlacing. Perhaps the solution is to use my existing DVD player for 480i (to use the D2) and use the 5000 for the hi-res stuff.
- The forced stretching of 4x3 DVDs is a pain. I tried playing around with the settings in both the D2 and the 5000, but there was nothing I could do to get the picture to letterbox.
- I only have one hi res DVD: the HD-DVD version of Bladerunner. It played without a problem, and yes, the picture quality was outstanding. I know it will look even better on a more up to date display. The menus all worked and did what they were supposed to do.
- While the resume-from-stop feature worked with standard DVDs, it did not work with Bladerunner. If I stopped Bladerunner to play around with the DVD settings menus, and then I pressed play to resume the movie, it started from the beginning.
- Audio: Bladerunner has Dolby TrueHD and DD+ soundtracks.
--If I select TrueHD, I get 2 channels only (consistent with the audio table in the manual and consistent with everyone else's experience). This happens irrespective of which of the 3 audio options I choose in the 5000. One of the DVD menus allows you to change the audio option on the fly. In Bladerunner, the audio options are as described above and I could flick between the 2 options (I am not talking about the several other non-English options that were available).
-- When I select "bitstream re-encode" in the DVD player, the audio comes through the D2 as 1536kbps DTS. At first I got quite excited thinking that maybe, perhaps, flook of flooks, that this would be down-resed Dolby TrueHD. Alas, this is not the case as on 480i disks, the Dolby audio sound tracks also show 1536kbps, which is not possible as they are usually 448kbps.
-- The Dolby sound track on Bladerunner showed 640kbps. I am not sure if this is DD+.
My firmware version is the same as everyone elses.
Load times of both standard DVDs and my one HD-DVD were acceptable. The HDMI handshake that occurred when a different format is loaded in the player is irritating. However, this HDMI handshake issue is consistent with problem I have had between the D2 and the 8300HD set top box i.e. I know about it and have learnt to live with it.
Given my experience to date, I am not unhappy with the player. I need to get a Blu-Ray disk and see what happens there. Apart from the items covered, I guess we all come back to the hi-res audio codec support (or lack thereof). Let's see what happens in that dept.
I hope the above helps.