I'll throw in my 2 cents worth here,, The meridian 596 is a fantastic player but you have to convert the outputs to standard RCA from BNC. This can be easily done with cables or by buying ends from Radio Shack.
Goose89, you simply cannot go wrong with the PMDT. It is without equal. As a transport, it is stunning. The depth of subtle detail that this transport can convey simply makes it superior to any transport out there with very few exceptions. I've personally owned other great transports from Theta, EAD and others... but the PMDT is the clear champion.
As a DVD player, it delivers an absolutely beautiful picture (along with its awesome sound). Just make sure you get one with the latest firmware (3.0+). I believe it's up to 3.01. That solved all known issues that had plagued some of the earlier releases. I have yet to come across any issues, new or old.
I've owned Faroudja, Marantz, etc... DVD players. The PMDT is far superior.
The PMDT is the only DVD player or transport that is not based on any pre-existing Pioneer, Sony, Teac, Philips or other major's system, which is the case with all other ultra high-end decks... Theta, EAD, Meridian, etc... The PMDT was built from scratch from the ground up, without any limitations to hamper its capabilities.
Hope this helps.
Goose- Good recommendation by Vectorman, but he left out one very important piece of information. The PMDT is no longer in production and one can only hope that Harmon International will continue to support it. As they seem hell bent to make Lexicon their high-end standard, all else may fall to the wayside (including Mark Levinson??).
If I were adverse to aftermarket mods, I would probably go Arcam, myself. As it is, though, I have a Sony DVP-NS999ES on its way to me, and then it will be fired off to Dan Wright at ModWright for the Signature Truth Tube mod (and some others). Obviously, I won't know until I get it back, but from all I have read, I am hoping that my total investment (which should be under $2,000) will be very competitive in that price range.
I've owned the PMDT from what seems like the beginning of time. It was a major pain in the a$$ and I've had many chances to trade-up to a different player. I've tried the Meridian 596, Sim Audio Stellar, Camelot Round Table, etc and none were close. My PMDT didn't even have the progressive board.
Now with the ver3 software, it is 99.9% stable. I'm glad I toughed it out because there simply wasn't a better performing dvd/ CD transport for me. If I had the extra $$$, I would buy another one just for the hell of it. It's a steal for what they're going for.
Russ_I, you have a valid point. Yes, Proceed has been phased out. But Harman has assured me that they will honor the lives of their service warranties on Proceed products.
Goose89, just also keep in mind that the PMDT is engineered like no other deck. It is solid! Heavy! and smooth! When the tray slides out, you can't hear it. It is precise and silent. No motor or gear noise. No tray rattle, whatsoever. The tray itself is carved from one solid piece of aluminum, similar to what Mark Levinson employs on their high-end transports. Not plastic like all the others. It was well worth its $6000 price tag, and at $2000 (give or take) for units with warranty, it's a steal!