Many Variables to that Question
I have the Pani BD80 and must admit I have never regreted getting it. First to cover a couple points I saw in this thread I have seen mention that some of my Blu-Ray discs might be disabled, I have about 40 in my collection now, and so far none have been disabled. The update of the firmware is a fact, I have had to do one so far, I do not bother in keeping with the latest, I only upgraded bacause a new disc I bought would not play. I have yet to hook my player to the internet so I had to D/L the upgrade and put it in the player, it took over from there and applied the upgrade, it was about a 1 hour job if you count the time to find it in the Pani support section, D/L it, burn to ISO format DVD, and finally put it in the player. Once I put the player on the net the process per a friend that has the same player is like a 15 minute job.
Now on to your question about another format around the corner, as far as my research has shown, no there is no new format waiting to come out and blow away Blu-Ray anytime soon.
Next comes the equipment, I have a 58" Pani HDTV and where I have bought Blu-Ray version of movies I already owned, I can say in many cases the difference has been knock your socks off, in others it is ho-hum, of course my player has great upconversion and so does my HT system, so the 1080i from the Blu-Ray uponversion or the 1080p from my HT receiver really does a good job.
If your TV is under 40" or so it is likely a waste of money, so assuming you have a 50" or larger set, and a good one, and a good Blu-Ray player then it comes down to content for me. I will give a few examples, "Top Gun" in Blu-Ray is like seeing the movie for the first time the image is that impressive even compared to the upconverted 480i DVD I had, "Cars" was the same. On the other hand movies like Hitch, EdTV, any "chick-flick", most drama's with few special effects and high action scenes are not worht replacing an existing copy if you have it. So bottom line is content makes a big difference, in many cases the audio was remastered and even then the difference except in action flics was marginal, not worth a replacement of an existing DVD but might be worth it if you are buying it for the first time.
Finally, your economic sistuation plays a part in the decision, not as dramatically as a street begger to a NFL star quaterback as mentioned. If 300 bucks is not a "big" outlay for you then I think it is worth it but that is not the only measure, the cost of your player is peanuts compared to the cost of the movies, Blu-Ray movies at places like Amazon are still generally much higher than getting a 480i DVD. They can easily be 10 bucks more and sometimes even higher. The good news is you can pick on a movie-to-movie basis, in non-action movies and where I don't care about getting a digital copy for my PC (which is like always) I will still buy a regular DVD over the Blu-Ray version.
So bottom line is, that putting aside the raw economics, if you like to really get the best bang out of the HT & HD TV, have 50" or greater TV, and sunk a few grand into your rig, can afford the cost of the discs, then Blu-Ray is well worth it in my opinion, if not, then the answer would be to wait.
Blu-Ray players as well as the discs are dropping in price pretty fast and it will not be long before a Blu-Ray disc of a new released movie will about the same cost as a 480i version, the cost of the players is also dropping like a rock.
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