Pros: looks, performance, engineering, PRICE!!
I recently bought the Sony DVP-NS715P to replace my Pioneer MB345 ($380) and even though it is half the price, the Sony outperforms it, and most other DVD players. First, off, the majority of all progressive scan DVD players out right now are well over $200-$300. Now pick out the ones that play DVD+RW discs, and the price bracket jumps substantially. Sony made this model for half the price, and double the quality!
The exterior of the Sony DVP-NS715P is like all Sony products : Sleek, Cool, and eye-catching. The polished silver casing gives the DVD player an expensive feel, not found on most DVD players, which have low-grade plastic laden exteriors, like my $400 Toshiba. The Sony is also very compact, light, and durable.
I was disappointed that the remote does not light up, but then again, most remotes don't. The layout of the remote is easy to read, but some of the smaller buttons look too similar and it can be difficult to press the right one in the dark.
I saw "The Matrix" playing on an HDTV at the Circuit City store and the detail was amazing. Sony thought ahead and put a switch on the back that lets you choose between Interlace (normal playback on regular DVD players), Progressive (the higher quality), or Auto. This DVD player doesn't have a zoom button, but it does have different screen options: 3:2, 3:2 Pan & Scan, 16:9, etc. This DVD player also lacks some of the more advanced features on more expensive DVD players; I never use such complex features, and I doubt that many people care. It's good for just popping in a move and enjoying it without having to learn a new computer programming language! There is even a quick set up feature for the technologically illiterate.
DVD-R/+RW playback is the best that I've seen on any DVD player! My Toshiba DVD player was supposed to be able to read the discs, but hesitated with most and had only limited playback with the ones that worked; The Sony plays my DVD+RW discs and Video CDs with no problem at all. There are component video out cables (Red, Blue, and Green) in the back, along with two sets of S-video and regular coaxial video cable outputs (yellow).
The audio from this unit was great. When hooked up to my sound system (which is Sony of course) via an optical cable, the sound was bursting through my speakers with high clarity. Any noise during the movie, even in silent parts, is completely unnoticeable. Another great feature in this DVD player is the surround sound options. There are different settings: Normal, Night, High, etc. that optimize the movie you are watching by giving you appropriate sound levels and distribution. There are two sets of coaxial cables (red and white) in the back, and one optical cable out (which is the best for high-quality sound. For those of you without sound systems, the virtual surround that I tried on my TV speakers actually made me double-check that my sound system wasn't on, it's like phantom speakers are emitting sound from behind you. Also, the Mp3 CD playback is very easy on this DVD player. Most players require you to go through long processes to get your discs to work, but this one works with a variety of formats of Mp3 CDs.
This Sony DVP-NS715P has exceeded my expectations on all levels, and even more so for a price of $185! The Video and Sound quality are amazing, comparable to $400+ Progressive Scan DVD players on the market now. I can easily say that this DVD player is the best deal right now, with the DVD+RW capabilities putting it over the top.