All original models were pretty slow. Newer models are faster but, in my experience, none as fast as a stand-alone DVD player.
Yes, sadly that is the way most of them do boot up.
(My Panasonic unit is slow also, btw.)
The latest ones, especially the Sony ones, are supposedly a bit faster.
The fastest was (is?) the PS3 game console, but you'll need to buy the optional remote control, as the game controller is not sufficient to control it, IMHO. (So that puts the price up to about $330, which is about double the price of a new BluRay player, although it would include a really good game machine, especially now that they finally have some decent games for the PS3.)
FYI, HD-DVD players are the same way too, unfortunately.
The Oppo boots VERY quickly, less than 15-20 seconds, max. Nothing else on the market is even close, no kidding. The picture quality is stunning, especially on regular DVDs. I know it has given new life to my old collection. And the fact that it plays audio so well is just icing on the cake.
Get the Oppo, you will NOT regret it.