After changing appartment and TV and sound system I thought "hey, what the heck, new TV with HDMI might as well get a new player that outputs HDMI!!" Unfortunately, this was more of an impulse buy than anything else since I usually waste a few hours on the net reading peoples comments. Paid about £75 on a local store.
It looks and feels well built and has a classy touch that you normaly find in more expensive gear. The so sought after HDMI connection was there as were component video and the normal connections you've come to expect. There is also a front USB port where you can plug in a USB key and read several media formats. It also has progressive scan and boasts 720p/1080i upscaling. The menus are simple and straightforward and setting up took only a few minutes.
As you might have guessed from the start, I'm not totally impressed with this machine... Although it is an improvement over the previous entry level Sony that it replaced, it is hard to say whether it is worth its cost... The image can be quite vivid and clean with smooth playing in more rapid scenes. However, it may take a lot of tweaking to get the colors right.
Sound seems to be its strongest point, although no internal decoder is present for either DD or DTS. But you can get a very good, ful bodied sound out of it that will be quite enjoyable if fed to a good stereo receiver (you've guessed it, I don't have a multichanel system).
Finally the remote: I dont like it! Although it is clear to read and well laid out I just find it ugly... It's a matter of presonal preference I reckon, but it is just not aesthetically pleasing
Bottom line, if you're on the market for an entry level player that does the job right, look elsewhere. There are so many fish in the sea...