Keep in mind the 5.1 analog output (in the A1) if your receiver doesn't have hdmi. With 5.1 analog you can get better audio quality through DD+, TruHD, etc. The A3 only has stereo output, digital output will downconvert to Dolby standard. HDMI is the only way to go for great audio quality. I'll keep my A1. Load times are not important.
Unless, ofcourse, audio quality is not important to you. Then go with A3.
Like others have said the A1 has analog out, which is a big deal to some people. It also has a coax digital output too. The A3 doesn't have either. Also, from what I have heard the A3's optical drive is sub-par compared to the A1 and A2. If you are looking for a second player tho I would still recommend the A3. Circuit City has it for $100 now.
I'm a fellow A1 owner, and to my mind the only way to upgrade is with an XA2, A35, HD805 or 8.8. I won't replace my gigantic slow beast with an A3, even for $100.04. It may not be the quickest to boot (or load discs), but it's a fantastic performer in everything other than startup.
And that's from somebody who doesn't use the analog outs (any more).
i previously owned an A1 and now own an A30(which is VERY similar to the A3). the advantages of the A3/A30 to me are much smaller size, attractive design, faster boot/load times, stable flawless playback.
the advantages of the A1 were analog multichannel out, slightly better SD upconversion, quieter optical drive.
i was a little bit disappointed with the A30's drive. i immediately noticed a low whirring sound. i'm not certain how widespread that is among the generation 3 players.
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