The video chip, which comes in different versions that sony charges different prices.
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Many of the 'Uberexpensive' brands are rebadged models from Mfgr's like Pioneer, Oppo, Denon, Sony. There was a thread on here a few years ago where a $3500 Gamut player was really a $300 Pioneer Player. Everything was exactly the same except for the exterior, even the venting holes were made to match up with the existing pioneer model. Look it up.
I would not "over-pay" whatever that may be, based upon your ability to distinguish a quality picture from good enough. Look at construction, weight, reputation and warranty. This segment of the video world changes every six months. Don't get stuck with an outdated paper weight.
Zydo, ouch! Zydo, I would never buy a cheap player. Inexpensive maybe, but never cheap. Anything I own would have to perform.
I bought my current player four years ago for $2k. It was worth every dime. It is on its last leg. However, in the digital age, four years is an eternity. Prices have plummeted for Blu Ray since then. I was just wondering if the cost of the technology has come down for a superior screen image. My player has the Realta processor from Silicon Optix. I would think after four years I could get a comparable image for a lot less. Marantz no longer makes a player with the Realta chip. Denon, its sister company makes a player with a Realta processor. That player is $4500. I don't think I should have to spend $4500 to get four year old digital technology. I don't mind spending good money for a quality product...I just don't want to spend gratuitously. I own a SqueezeBox and a Roku player. At $300 and $100 respectively, both of them would be considered 'cheap' compared to some of the items in my system. Price be damned, they hold their own performancewise.
Mitch, I'm sorry if I offended you at all. Maybe inexpensive would have been a better choice. I didn't mean it as a cut, rather, a compliment on your current system. (I still check it out from time to time) You don't strike me as someone who buys an "inexpensive" player to go with that system.
I would agree, $4500 for a player with the same chip you used 4 years ago seems extreme. That price, I would expect, to have came down. I would really think there should be something better, and for less money than you spent 4 years ago. I bought a cheap bluray a while back for by bedroom. I brought it back the next day. The upconversion was REALLY bad, and I have so many DVD's, I need that feature to work well. The bluray was nothing to write home about either, and that's on a 42" plasma.
Bottom line, unless you get a deal on a "good" player, spending $300-$500 on something is probably going to be disappointing to you.
Zydo, no offense taken...I knew you weren't taking a dig at me. Since I bought my player four years ago, it was all about the video performance and it was just a Blu Ray player and nothing more. It of course was built like a tank. Now all of the high end video players seem to be bundling SACD, hi-end cd, streaming and a host of other stuff that I really don't need. In other words, everything is a universal player. I just want a killer Blu Ray image. I really don't even need upconversion since I only watch new releases and they are all in Blu Ray.
As Tom6897 mentioned, I'm afraid I'm left not with an outdated paperweight, but a $2k doorstop.
Just don't get sucked into the "if it costs more, then it must be better" mentality. This is precisely why there is a high-end market to cater for such people.
Marketers know that just putting a higher pricetag on something will alone make it more desirable and "better" to some.