There's been a bit of a bun fight going on recently in the amp/receiver forum. The thread is entitled "Best Digital Connection". This digressed a bit when one guy (Cream) made a statement that "all DVD players sound exactly the same" - regardless of cost. I won't go into the whole argument, but he went on to say that anyone with the opinion that their new 'expensive' player sounds better than their old 'cheapo' was suffering from the 'placebo' effect. They wanted to hear an improvement, & so did so. My own experience was actually the opposite - I bought a more expensive player - the Sony 735 - & was slightly disappointed in the audio after my Panasonic RV60. Just for the record, the RV60 had to go back as no one could disable MV on it at the time, & i believed (wrongly it turned out) that it was causing a problem with my PJ. Anyway, for Christmas I bought my missus an Acoustic Solutions 551 DVD player. This is only coupled to a 14" TV, so audio/video quality isn't anywhere near as important as my own HC setup where the picture is to a 7' screen. I thought at the time that the player was a bargain. For a mere £119 you got every connection that my 735 has, inc component video & onboard DD/DTS. The killer function though is that via a simple handset hack, this player plays everything automatically, even the 'enhanced region coded' discs. Well, the comments made by Cream got me curious. So I did a little comparison test, with the 551 Versus the 735 in my HC. The video connections were identical S-Video cables, with the audio being first optical, & then coaxial. The reason I used S-Video & not my usual RGB was simply for convenience. My RGB connection goes directly to the PJ, & so would have meant a lot more 'swapping' of the cables. I used no technical tools whatsoever, so these tests were just objective, & my MOHO. Remember also that 'DVD Review' gave the 735 a perfect 10/10 for audio/video when the player first came on the market. The material used was as follows: DVD. A Knights Tale. Chapter 14, 'Adhemar Vs Ulric. DD Gladiator. Chapter 2, 'Hell unleashed'. DTS The Matrix. Chapter1, 'Trinity in a jam'. DD The Eagles, Hell freezes over. Chapter 5, 'Hotel California. DTS CD. Crowded House. 'Weather with you'. Bruce Hornsby. 'The way it is'. Video: The 735 was a clear winner here. Not that the 551 performed badly mind. But the Sony's pics just seemed more vibrant. Also, 'ringing' was less noticeable on the Sony. This is one good reason to use RGB - 'ringing' is virtually non existent. I have to say though, that on say a 32" widescreen set, you'd probably find the 551's picture very acceptable. DVD Audio: A bit of a surprise here. The 551 actually seemed 'sharper' & more detailed. I replayed the tests again with the cables swapped over in case one of the connections was the culprit, but the results were the same. I think the reason is that the 735 has a 'warmer' sounding audio, which gives the illusion that in comparison, it's not as detailed, or dynamic. CD Audio: The warmer sounding 735 was much more suited to music here. The 551 just sounded too 'clinical' & harsh to my ear. I'm sure though that any 'non-afficianado' just playing the occasional CD would be more than happy with it. My honest opinion then is that DVD players do sound different. As far as expensive Vs cheap goes though, I was very surprised that the 735 wasn't much better than the 551. Let alone finding that it could (for movies) actually seem to have inferior audio! After all the 735 cost me £500 18 months ago, & the 551 a mere £119!! Not exactly a slight difference is it? This little comparison test of mine has really reinforced my opinion that the 551 is an absolute bargain. By the way; No I don't work for Richer Sounds!