If $300-400 is cheap, get the Denon 3910. Good video and very good on audio (SACD, HDCD etc.)
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I've done no comparisons of the brands you mention, but do have an Oppo 983H, which offers superb up-sampled DVD images and a pretty good analog output (though I would not rely on the audio out as a reference by any means). You can find them used for under $300. The 980 and 981 can be had for even cheaper still, but I don't think has the same video processor. It will also play SACD, DVD-A and HDCD via the audio out. It's been serving me well as a transport as well as a great DVD player.
I submitted a post a short time ago regarding transports. People keep forgetting that Pioneer Elite (yes, that Pioneer) series were incredibly overbuilt and as transports they really are wonderful and can be had for very little. As I mentione in a previous post, I compared the DV-09, DV-37, DV-38A and McIntosh Labs MS 300 Music server acting as a transport. The DV-09 won hands down. This thing, as I mentioned earlier, is actually built like a tank and rated high-end classification. This is an absolutely wonderful transport and can be found for less than $200.
I love the older elite series with the wood grain panels. As a transport only, they are wonderful and since digital gear changes daily, as long as you don't need HDMI for a DVD player, you can't lose. I recently purchased a DV 79AVi unit for my home theater setup and it has HDMI and actually sounds wonderful also. I didn't include it in the comparison. I can't use Blue Ray yet. Not ready for $30 per disc.
I can't speak to the accuracy of this but I was told that the Oppo 983H that I have uses a CD drive that a couple of DAC makers use to voice their DACs with.
It's drawer mechanism is very quiet compared to my Consonance CDP and responds very quickly as well to commands. When I finally get around to choosing a DAC, I'm keeping the Oppo as a transport.