After setting it up I can't help feeling deja vu all over again. As you can see in the pic it does look nearly identical to the 94HD and HD1. I do like the class look it has though. I really like that high gloss piano finish look. As Tony said it takes about 35 seconds for titles to start playing. Which actually is a pretty BIG improvement over the two older models. Just like the others initial set up is a breeze. I do like the Pioneer start up screen better on the 95FD. It just looks cooler. I am not only comparing this unit to its brothers (or cousins) but also to the samsung 1400. This ELITE unit costs more but you feel like it is money well spent.
Once again I love having the resolution button on the remote. Being able to change it on the fly is so much nicer then having to stop the movie and go into the set up menu (like the 1400 and HD DVD players). If there is one feature other manufacturers could learn from Pioneer that would be a good one to start with.
Also, having 1080p/23.98 (24) done without issues is a breath of fresh air. Toshiba has been struggling as many of us know so it is nice to get a unit out of the box (just like the 1400, 94HD and HD1) that can do 1080p/23.98 without any EDID issues. I have not spent a great amount of time with this unit but from what I have I can say it is THE best Blu ray player on the market.
The picture Q is very colorful and very sharp. It bests the very impressive (especially for its price) samsung 1400. Not by a lot in terms of pic Q but when you add the entire package together you know why the Pioneer is more. Picture settings, menu options, great remote (which is light years ahead of the competition) and of course a great picture with great sound. Speaking of sound I have only done a couple of comparisons so far but it is to easy to select bitstream passing in the menu. No confusion here. You are either sending D.D. or DTS via HDMI or PCM... Your call. That easy. I will do more on audio soon but sending the audio to my receiver (onkyo 905) sounded great just as I expected. It also sounded good the few minutes I had the 95FD doing it. I am not going to say which is better because I do not want to open that can of worms again. So do not ask here. PM me.
I am using the new Sony VPL- VW60 "Black Pearl" (which is the 3rd pic)for all of my comparison so far. It handles 1080p/23.98 like a champ. I can also send it straight into my crystalio II and then tweak the image before sending it to the VW60 in 1080p/23.98. The Pioneer 95FD gets along with all of my other components which I do not take for granted these days. And yes I am making reference to the XA2 and A35 which are stubborn when it comes to sending 1080p/24 to some displays. In direct comparison to the 94HD the 95FD is obviously a more flexible unit with a little quicker load times. Being able to pass HBR audio directly to the receiver for decoding is a really cool feature. Especially if you purchased one of the newer ones that can decode it. The picture Q is very close. I keep going back and forth. Going straight to my pj it does look like the 95FD is just a little more sharper but their brilliant colors are nearly identical. I will say the home media gallery looks more refined on the 95FD. I have never really got into that feature before but now I am intrigued so I may just jump in!
Bottom line is if you have the 94HD and do not care about the bitstream audio feature then there is absolutely no reason to dump it for the 95FD. However, if you do not and are interested in getting the best Blu ray unit in terms of features and pic/sound Q then look no further than the 95FD! I hate to keep picking the new Pioneer units as my favorite Blu ray unit but honestly the other companies are still two steps behind. The 95FD is the starter in my set up.
More to come (SD DVD versus the A35 and XA2 and even 1400) as well as a few more thoughts on audio...BTW, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (BR) is looking and sounding awesome on this unit!
Pick up a copy!