Lewis, my point about Anchor Bay stands; they are now a mainstream film label, so in the context that you referred to them, coming back and saying it's just some information that might not have been known, could potentially mislead those interested in the genre of films brought into this discussion to think they're still a label of note for those interested in such films when they're not. In fairness, Anchor Bay never was 'underground' in the first place; they always stood on the periphery between mainstream and exploitation, and in the early days of DVD they started with horror slowly expanding their roster with Euro horror / exploitation titles. Underground they were not.
Incidentally, I'm not interested in how underground you might or might not be - you were the one that asked, sir. I don't mean to offend you, so please don't take it the wrong way, but I know more about underground film than you could ever hope to but that's a different site and forum.
You say you use products you find to be high quality and I see you have the Denon DVD-1930. You are aware it's only Denon by virtue of its badge? The inside of it isn't anything to do with Denon. It's only when you get to the 2930 you're getting the full and real Denon deal. And this is the whole point about upscaling because there's a world of difference between a £450 and a £1,000 plus player. Start looking at £7,000 players from the likes of Krell, and again, it's a whole other ball game.
Denon is one of my favourite companies when it comes to DVD players. For the past few years they have been delivering outstanding quality and performance across a good majority of their price points and set the bar for what I feel a DVD player should be. Take a player like the 3930, which is my current player. Its internal design is very impressive with a power supply section of just the audio board, which is better than most DVD players costing several times as much. In fact, it appears almost like a receiver than a DVD player when you look inside. All its analogue connectors are top quality. The DVD-3930 incorporates the full feature set of the Realta HQV chipset, including their keystone correction (which allows you to place a projector at extreme angles to a screen and do keystone correction from a higher quality scaler than what is typically found in most projectors). The HQV chip passes all the stringent bench tests you'd expect of a player in this class with striking ease and represents one of the best de-interlacing solutions on the market today.
Nobody, but nobody with an ounce of sense would contemplate buying a Blu Ray deck at this point in time and those that have are going to be extremely disappointed when they realise the player they've bought will be rendered effectively obsolete by the end of this year. While those who've invested in a Blu Ray player will still be able to spin their Blu Ray discs, the simple fact is they won't be able to enjoy the full benefits of what the format is offering. This is due to a small little thing: current Blu Ray players don't conform to BD Profile 1.1 (aka the Final Standard profile). Surprisingly, even the PlayStation 3 is unable to offer full BD Java and there's certainly no dedicated player available to access BD Live (aka Profile 2) - the as yet unrealised online interactive option theoretically possible with the format. Players like the Samsung DB-P1000 and Panasonic DMP-BD10A, both Profile 1 machines, can have their firmware updated via CD-ROM, however, that is not enough to elevate them to Profile 1.1.
D.J. Krime is absolutely right; HD DVD came to the market fully-formed with a finalised specification and uniform compatibility. Reason enough for anyone too impatient to wait for the end of the format war to ensure they choose HD DVD. As far as watching films on a big screen goes, D.J. Krime is also right about LCD screens - they suck (check out www.plasma-lcd-facts.co.uk
for more on that).
While Andrew's comment that the early days of DVD saw players available only at the £500 mark, I would argue that is wasn't solely Tesco's trend of introducing low-priced players and bringing down the cost that made DVD take off in the UK. Really, it was a simple case of supply and demand. Sales of DVD players and DVDs have rocketed like no other consumer product in history and it was inevitable that players would get cheaper, regardless of who started offering players for low prices as soon as every electrical manufacturer under the sun got in on the game and jumped on the bandwagon offering cheap as chips rubbish. You only have scan back issues of DVD forum sites for a reminder that as far back as 2002 sales of DVD had already showed an incredibly huge number of sales for a format still in its infancy. Moreover, let's not forget there are still some extremely expensive players out there, which it seems only the discerning DVD aficionado is investing in as more people become curious about high definition and worry unnecessarily that their DVD collections will be rendered obsolete. As for those who complain about the quality of DVD, I'd wager they're predominantly the ones who've spent £40 on a player from ASDA and hooked it up via scart or composite. Well of course that's going to look inferior! You get what you pay for, so don't expect to be blown away by a £300 DVD player even if it does upscale. Any serious cineaste with a decent level of disposable income will tell you £300 was the cost of their Co-axial cable.
This isn't to knock the budget end of the market - we've all got to start somewhere right, and I'm sure the owners of £40 budget players would recoil in horror at the thought of parting with the cash for the cost of a Blu Ray or HD DVD player. Horses for courses.
I don't really see combo players taking off. I mean come on, who really wants to build a library of Blu Ray and HD DVD discs? Maybe I'm wrong on this one but I for one would rather stick with DVD for as long as it takes before all the chicanery and nonsense ends. Meanwhile, Sony remain pusillanimous and downright arrogant with their regard for the public. It seems Joe Public is answering back too... just look at PS3 sales. Ha ha ha!
Final thoughts: I'm sure I'm a voice in the wilderness, here, and don't read on if you love Blu Ray because I don't want to offend you. In my opinion, as long as people refuse to properly educate themselves about the products they're buying, and I do mean educate themselves, not merely to take the word of that idiot in Dixons who's telling you to forsake plasma for LCD and HD DVD for Blu Ray (he's on commission remember, plus he's far from educated about the crap he's peddling) there is no foreseeable end in sight to the Blu Ray vs. HD DVD war and I think both formats will end up falling flat on their faces as a new one steps into the fray rendering them both obsolete. HD DVD and Blu Ray seem to me to be the modern day equivalent of Laserdisc. Only the most supremely confident (and that confidence is misplaced) or those with more money than sense are investing in Blu Ray. At this point in time, I feel Blu Ray (read Sony) have been brash, arrogant, dishonest and conned us all and my mantra is "Death to Blu Ray" - leave it to the gamers; let it be their preferred format.