Trigg, on Nov 17 2006, 11:05 PM, said:
How much have they been picking these up for?
The Panasonic is about $1600 and I'm expecting it early next week. I know, it's more than double the price of the HD-A1, but it does output 1080p (even if it is only 1080p/60 not 1080p/24, but I've never noticed judder) and will have firmware upgrades early next year for DTS-HD and Dolby Tru-HD. It's also the only HD player on the market with 7.1 outputs and from reports I've read the lossless PCM 5.1 tracks found on Disney and Sony titles are even better than the True HD tracks on HD DVD. The combined cost of the Panasonic and the Toshiba were less than the cost of my first DVD player, the DVL 909 LD/DVD combo bought for $2500 in 1998 and aren't that much more than the $1900 I paid for the Pioneer 969 in 2004. My view is that if I'm going to get into HD, I'm going to make sure all titles are available to me (which is also why I bought the US players, particularly the Panasonic which is region coded). I'm not going to sit around and whinge when I can't get Toy Story on HD DVD or Back to the Future on Blu-Ray. Life is too short. A lot of the antipathy towards Blu-Ray, I believe, stems from the fact that Sony and Fox are trenchant in their support of the format and people with HD DVD players unwilling to invest in Blu-Ray want titles from these studios but know that it's highly unlikely that they'll see them anytime in the forseeable future (I'm guessing mid-2008 at the earliest). We'll see what happens when Sony announce the Spiderman movies and Fox the Alien movies, almost certainly next year. There's less hand wringing from Blu-Ray supporters, because only one studio is a hold out, Universal, and they have stated that if Blu-Ray takes off, they'll move across to the format as well.
If one format wins out, then I'll have a nice museum piece. It's not a big deal to me. The HD-A1 is already a far superior upscaling player to the Panasonic S97 (which I never much cared for, to be honest) and is on par with the (still $1500) 969/989 that on this point alone, it was worth the purchase (as I have a significant collection of R1 DVDs that aren't going anywhere soon). I'm hoping the Panasonic is the equal in this regard, for as much as I love the image from the HD-A1 it sure is a pain to use at times.