Figured an update was in order seeing how so many of you took the time to help me out with this. I ended up buying an Integra 8.5. I just happened to be at a A/V store (yíall know how that goes right??, just like I Ďjust happenedí to end up sitting in an 05 vette on the showroom floor too), and low and behold, they had just received a shipment of the 8.5ís. They had sold about a dozen of the units, had time to play with it and compare it to other players they sell, and all the salesmen gave it the thumbs up vote. Maybe they make more money off Integra than the other brands they carried, but I didnít get that impression. They also sell Yamaha, Denon, McIntosh, Rotell, Sony, Pioneer, Krell, and a few other brands that I spell as well as the others Iíve listed. Yep, I canít spell worth a crap. I slept through English.
Iím still screwing around with the dam thing. It has more options and functions than I care to learn how to manipulate. Hell, Iím still figuring out the Toshiba 6200 Iíve had for about three years. I simply hooked up the analogue two channel cables up to it that were going to my old Kenwood CD player, the optical and component cables that were going to the Toshiba and popped in a couple CDís that I wasnít all that impressed with in the Kenwood. I didnít notice any earth shattering differences with sound, but Iím pretty convinced that they sounded cleaner, crisper, and generally better. But maybe Iím trying to justify the $700 purchase. I then popped in a new DVD (Alamo) and thought the picture was worse than the Toshiba. It was, but that was because the Integra was not playing in progressive mode. Last night I figured out how to select Progressive, and the picture is every bit as good as the Toshiba, and possibly better. Iíll do some more comparing and post my observations on a new post later. I also have some cable questions to float by yíall. Two things about this that I donít like are: 1) can not select progressive scan when the DVD is playing (has to be stopped) 2) the Toshiba will let me increase picture size and this one will not.
Thanks again, and Iíll post an audio/video idiotís perspective of this unitís performance after I have time to play with it some more.