I've just got a pioneer Dv-350 from techtronics.com fully multi-region for £128 shipped (securicor). I've tested it at home and so far this is what I've found
Subjective picture: Excellent (Just a little tizzing on sand in Phantom Menace Pod Race)
Sound (DD 5.1) Excellent
Sound (DTS) Awaiting a new amp
Sound (MP3 Playback) Very Good to excellent (Depends on encoding 44khz sounds pretty rough but thats not the players fault 128 and above encoded material is hard to tell from CD via my amp)
On screen display: Very good. Much, much better than my 530 which this replaced. The graphics are now semi-transparent and the bit rate meter gives Mbps instead of no calibration as the 530 did.
Tested with the following media:
Home-made VCD (encoded with TMPGENC) (CDR)
Home-made SVCD (2500 video bit rate mpeg2) (CDR)
Home made CD (CDR)
Home-made DVD-r (9Mb/s video encoded in TMPGENC) full D1
Home-made DVD-r (3.5Mb/s vide encoded in TMPGENC) half D1
Home-made CDVD/MiniDVD (Titleset on CDR)
Region 1 DVDS
Final Fantasy (Spirits Within) R1 (RCE disc1)
Fifth Element (Older players mess up the menu) R1
Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (R1) RCE ?
Region 2 DVDS
Monsters INC Collectors Edition (R2)
Harry Potter/Philosophers Stone (R2)
The player auto switches region faultlessly even with difficult RCE discs such as Enemy Within disc 1 which did catch out my old 530 (also from techtronics). Picture quality is excellent with only a little background tizz on fast moving particle or solid areas, (Phantom Menace Pod race is a good example). The zoom function is fun and is much more usable than the version I had on my old Toshiba R1 only (which was admittedly a 1st generation player).
MP3 playback is quite cool, names of directories and files can get a little truncated though and multisession MP3s can come a cropper with only the first session files accessable.
CDR music and VCD/SVCD posed no problem. I tested with a few of my disks ranging from TDK d-view to no-name 10p/disk units with no problems at all. Predictably the Mini DVD (DVD titleset on a CDR didnt work but then apart from the PC I've not found a named player that could handle those disks).
My dvd-r's also played with no problem. I tested two different makes with several titles. Both my Vivastar and TDK DVD-rs played back perfectly. Incidently those of you capturing at 1/2 D1 (352 x 576 resolution), should check out this player. My converted Enterprise promo files looked the best I have yet seen on this player and it doesnt fritz the screen when jumping from full D1 to 1/2 D1 as the 530 did. For reference my DVDs where authored and burned in Spruce Up and I use a Vivastar 111 drive.
The remote is a little plasticy but it is eons ahead of the old pioneer remote that came with the 530/535.
As I mentioned I bought the player from www.techtronics.com (no I dont work for them) for £109 + VAT (£128) including securicor delivery.
Hope that helped, please post if you'd like me to check anything specifically for you .
Thanks edz for a thorough description of your findings. I am now deciding whether to go for the DV-350 or the Panasonic DVD-RV32? Could someone please post a reply with their findings of the Panasonic?