The 963sa is a great bang for the buck machine.
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I would look at the new Denon line starting in around 600
for the 2200 the 2900 at a 1000 and the new 5900 at 2000
or you may also look at the Pioneer Elite (i believe) the 545 at 500 or the 47ai at 1000. Yes by all means get one that does cd/dvd-v/dvd-a/sacd/sacd5.1 another good choice is the Marantz DV8400. Stay away from the Intregra stuff the sound quality is fairly poor on the music media.
For the money, I also like the Philips DVD963SA. A very good machine for the money. If money is not a problem, "THEN" I would go for a Denon DVD-2900. But if money is a concern, then I would go with the Philips DVD963SA then. To me, the Philips DVD963SA is about as good as the Denon DVD-2900, but it costs far less money.
Regards and Good Luck!!!!!
The dautch, there are no reliability problems on the 963...maybe you are thinking of the infamous 2k Phillips sacd 1000 as it has serious problems.
There was a group shootout of the 963sa and Denon 2900 on www.avsforum.com a few months back and the 963sa was found to be equal for 5-600.00 less by all involved.
If you want better sonics, try the Marantz 8400 multi player imho.
I personally like the Sony DVP-999ES better than just about anything I auditioned. An absolutely beautiful picture, excellent redbook CD performance, and SACD as good as just about any stand alone unit I've heard. It's also well built and comes with the three year warranty. I think Sony does the SACD thing as well as anyone, and picture reproduced by this deck is well documented. It's been out for about a year now so the price has probably come down a bit, but I paid $850 for mine a few months back.
Bradz, I like Panasonic very much so far. It's amazing with DVD (BTW I bought Philips 963 SA),Very good with cable digital channes, not so good with the analog ones (you know their quality is crap), and again it's very, very good with HDTV channels, even though it's only EDTV display.
Jack dotson, I agree with you on Sony DVP-999ES. I have it in my second (rather first) system, working with Bryston SP-1.7, Anthem MCA 50 and Paradigm Studio Reference 100 v.3, 20 v.3 and CC 470 v.3. Regards.