I currently have a Panasonic DMP-BD30 and was looking to upgrade to something better. I'm going to say no more then $500, but ovb the cheaper the better. If there is a real good quality player for roughly $300, then tell me! Thanks
Hi Mike, the Panasonic BD30 was my first Blu Ray player and an excellent performing one too, but the technology has matured and there are better availible now, Panasonic have there new range and so does Sony and Pioneer, but for your budget I strongly recommend you look at the Oppo BDP83, it is one of best and has super quick load times, on the fly menu selection and is also a universal player meaning you get SACD / DVD-Audio / CD playback and of course DVD which benefits from the excellent Anchor Bay Technology VRS chipset which is one of the best for scaling normal DVD playback to 1080p...you get a lot of player for your money :T
I will second John's recommendation of the OPPO. It is the player to get in that range. In fact, Lexicon and Theta are both selling 2K+ players based off of the OPPO. These players will mostly just have a nicer faceplate and high end name to justify charging 6 times the amount of the OPPO.
I'll give the Oppo a third recommendation. Most people when asking for blu-ray suggestions don't want to go with anything over $250, but since your budget is right at $500, which is where the Oppo is at, I cannot emphasize that recommendation enough. I've had 3 separate standalone players, Panasonic DMP-BD30, Pioneer BDP-51FD, Panasonic DMP-BD35, plus my Playstation 3 for blu-ray playback and finally the Oppo. It is by far the best, quality-wise, performance-wise, function-wise. Firmware updates are a plenty so any issues you run into are taken care of a lot quicker than the other companies.
As JJ mentioned, Theta, Lexicon, Denon, even now Pioneer have players that boast the same features as the Oppo, but none can do it even remotely close to the same price point.
Pioneer make some great products and I'm sure the above player is very good but as Tony mentioned the Oppo is excellent VFM and when you consider it is a universal player it is no brainer really, the Oppo hits well above its weight, IMO you would have to spend consirderably more to get the same performance...