Pros: Progressive Scan, CDR-RW playback option. Power button.
Cons: MP3 function doesn't work. Optic out picky. Too expensive.
So, no bologna...there I was...buying another DVD player because my last one finally did what I thought it might do (see my other Sony reviews). I was happy to have put up the money for insurance at Circuit City after my 2 DVD players back experience. I jumped through many hoops to finally return my old unit and with the credit I bought this player as I have heard that these models use a different laser that is superior in quality to the cheaper Sony optics.
Here is what I liked about the unit:
1. Auto resume. Even if you take a disk out of the machine, the unit remembers where you were watching last. I didn't know about this when I bought it and was spooked out at first. I put in a move a week later and it picked up where I left it off at. Strange.
2. CDR-RW Playback. Sony is probably the king of all paranoid companies when it comes to copy-protecting media. I was surprised they made a player capable of these formats. All of my CDRs tested fine. I had no DVD-Rs to test. This unit would not play MP3s despite all of my best efforts. The song would come on, then stop and sputter in and out. The optic out even blocked my MD recorder from making copies. The workaround is to burn your MP3 to CDR. Who has time for all of that?
3. Picture was clear using the S-video jack and audio was clear from RCA outputs. Standard Sony fare. I expected these fine results.
4. Remote was backwards-compatable with older Sony TV and VCR as well as older DVD players.
5. The power button on the deck can turn player on and off. When the button is off you can still turn it on via remote. You couldn't do this on earlier models. If you turned the player off on the deck, you had to get off the couch and turn it back on to use the remote. The old design was plain dumb. The new system just makes sense. This is the way it should be.
What I did not like:
1. I couldn't get it to play a whole song in MP3 format. This is one of the main reasons why I bought it over a cheaper model. It wasn't just my model. I tested the floor model with the sales guy. It didn't work. We put the same disk in a Panasonic unit. It worked. It also worked on a PC.
2. Progressive scan. There was nothing wrong with it as far as I know. I don't require it and the feature is overkill for me. My gripe is that I had to pay for a feature I won't use in order to get one I wanted to use that doesn't work.
3. Optic out to MD lockout on certain disks. It blocks some DVDs and all of the MP3s that I tried.
There are other features that I will not comment on because I did not buy them for my purpose and thus, did not use them. For example: Progressive scan VCD, DVD-r, digital coax out (audio), 2 sets of composite rca out with 2 sets of rca audio out. There are also numerous preprogrammed items I never use such as instant replay and slow motion. I am just looking for a machine that plays DVDs. However I do appreciate the switching between audio and subtitles on the remote. I am an avid Japanese DVD watcher and I always turn the subtitles on and the English dubbing to Japanese.
Next time I'll probably buy an APEX player because of Circuit City's return policy. If your Sony breaks under insurance, you have to send it in for repairs and go with out a DVD player for months on end. If you buy an APEX at around $70 and buy the $30 insurance, you get a player that is half the cost. If it breaks, Circuit City doesn't send it in for repairs, they simply give you a new one.
Overall this isn't a bad player. It does most of what it should do. I am really trying to be fair here. I just don't feel it merits its $200 price tag. Progressive scan is overkill to an average Joe DVD watcher, but MP3 is a bit more important. Since one (probably) works and the other certainly doesn't I feel they cancel each other out. That leaves us with an overpriced DVD player whose features blend in with all of the other DVD players in the 2 price categories below it.
I hate to sound negative, but I am calling it as I see it.