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As most people have probably gathered at this stage I'm ever so slightly passionate about films and home cinema.
Over the last while I've been enjoying the glorious high definition of blu ray and HD DVD, however since the cinema studios like the idea of maintaining their monopolies a lot of blu ray releases are region encoded. Since my current blu ray player is a US import that limits me a bit.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel.
Since HD DVD is now more or less defunct (you can still pick up plenty of titles at bargain prices) the hardware manufacturers have started focusing on blu ray. While the players are still a lot more expensive than DVD players, you can now find a couple of options below 250 euro. What this means is that a standalone blu ray player is now cheaper than a PS3, which is a good thing (I really don't want a gaming console!)
Sigmatek's SBR 1000 weighs in at just over 230 euro, while Samsung's BD P1400 cost just over 240 euro. Neither model is particularly high end, but I am seriously considering picking up one of them, as I'd like to be able to take advantage of some of the EU vendors' disc offers.
On a sidenote I also spotted today that Amazon is listing Iron Man is being available for pre-order. What struck me as a bit odd was that they neglected to provide a release date!
EDIT: Home Cinema Choice has a review of the Samsung BD P1400