Well....after starting my proper jaunt into HD DVD (after trialing the 360 addon...way too noisy in operation) with an EP10 I upgraded to the XE1 after some teething troubles with a noisy drive on the EP10. Was impressed with the EP10 as a standard DVD player and great with HD DVD's but it made a high pitched noise when spinning certain discs. Went for the XE1 due to the better build quality and was expecting dramatic results. Now, I'm far from dissapointed but for SD DVDs I would have thought it may have surpassed the Marantz DV9500 (as its 1080i and a couple of years old). But, there's no real difference. I'd actually say the Marantz is better. There's ever so slightly less jaggies to menus and edges on DVD's, but the overall motion may be better on the XE1 (I guess thats because of the 1080p). I've tried it briefly as a CD player. Again, Marantz wins. I never doubted it wouldn't but was worth ago. Now I sound like I'm giving it a hard time...I'm not. I love the design, nice finish and woot a metal clad remote!!! Any one else done any comparisons like this? Also...the player came with 1.5 firmware. The menus looked a tad flickery (as if they were interlaced?!?). The 2.0 updates seemed to smooth the menus out. Was this a fix? Anyone else notice that the menus are bigger when playing a SD DVD to HD DVD? The EP10 didn't do this.