However, I was appaled that some of my DVDs exhibited god-awful interlacing which made the movies unwatchable. After some digging, I discovered that the latest official firmware is "B7_1.1" but there is also the newer "B8_1.1" version which is "unofficial and may have problems with HDMI". Guess what? My player had "B8_1.1" installed. I think it's not very wise to factory-install firmware which "may have problems with HDMI" into player whose much-touted feature is HDMI output.
Anyway, after I downgraded to the older firmware, the picture is great. Note: When updating firmware, you don't have to burn it to CD, you can also upgrade from USB Flash disk, as long as the volume is named "FERGUSON".
Other than that, this player is excellent value for money, offering region-free playback and ability to skip those awful DVD warnings and intros. It can also play DivX movies from USB-connected devices (and correctly display Czech subtitles in separate file) but I couldn't persuade it to recognize my external USB harddisk. USB Flash disk worked but there was some unfortunate stuttering with higher bitrates - the USB is probably quite slow because the playback was OK when I burned the same AVI file on DVD disk. Also be warned that you cannot play high-definition AVI files, it just says "invalid resolution"...
For now, I am perfectly happy with my ability to watch standard DVDs. Althought the High-Def war might now be over (I guess I'm happy Sony has won because I hate Microsoft even more than Sony), I am in no rush to buy any high-def player. There are still many movies which I loved in my youth and which I can now rediscover. Watching Who Framed Rogger Rabbit or Excalibur is quite a different experience today than it was 20 years ago.