Summary: I sure don't understand any negative product reviews of this item. I bought mine USED and it works great. I immediately did an upgrade of the firmware just to make sure it had the newest version (1.74). I have to send in my BRAND NEW Samsung Blu-ray player because it stopped working after only 4 months. This Pioneer unit is built like a tank. No, it doesn't load a disc "super-fast". I just go to the fridge and get a soda and when I come back, it's ready to play.
Summary: It's hard to keep up on manufacturer's latest offerings. BluRay is still relatively new, but the manufacturer;s have been falling all over themselves offering new models with a baffling array of differentiating features. But the latest isn't necessarily the greatest. Pioneer's BDP-51FD may be an older model, but it is still a great BluRay player. Many newer players offer BD-live or the ability to directly download films from the likes of Amazon or Netflix.
Summary: After doing some research, I decided that a BD Profile 2.0 player wasn't something that I needed or even wanted, so I starting looking for the best Profile 1.1 deal I could find. I decided on the Pioneer...just a few months ago this unit was selling for $600, $300 to my door was the price range I was looking for and got. So far its everything thats its cracked up to be, particularily after upgrading the firmware to 1.25a.
Summary: The Pioneer BDP-51FD is one of the most well built Blu-ray players under $500 you will find in the market. And, with its latest v1.17 firmware virtually all of the bugs have been squashed plus DVD upconversion is now superior even to high end chipsets like Silicon Optix Reon. Pretty amazing what big strides this player has made in a short period of time.
Summary: The Blu-ray playback is beautiful but what really sold it for me was the upconverting of my old DVDs. Star Wars Episode III was almost as good as a 1080 source. The first scene where the movie is mostly CG I could understand it might be easier for the hardware to upconvert, but even the skin tones of the actors were vivid and Blu-ray-esque.
Summary: I got this unit from Amazon at almost 1/3 off the MSRP; at that price I almost feel guilty. This is among the higher-quality BluRay players with regard to picture and audio quality. So far I've watched about a half dozen movies on it and I couldn't possibly love it more. My A/V receiver predates HDMI, so I needed a player with multichannel audio outputs. This unit has high-quality Wolfson DACs that really produce outstanding sound.
Summary: I just bought my second BDP-51FD...both bought this month (Jan '09). Obviously, considering I bought two, it's a great player. For mass-market electronics, it's hard to beat Pioneer's quality. At this price level (over 50% off MSRP), this is an absolute no-brainer and a steal! So far, It's played BD's, DVD's, DVD-R's....anything I've thrown at it with aplomb.
Summary: I won't write a review just yet as I don't have much time, But will say this has to be my best purchase in the last 6 years.
As a bluray player it delivers amazing picture quality, Really dark blacks allowing an amazing sharp yet natural detail to images.
It upscales with no difficulty at all and really does a great job of it.
As a digital audio source its pure bliss, FOR ME anyway.
Pros: Best Digital Audio Source I have
Cons: I got this just before 3D and wish I had waited! Still a great source though!!