"For simple needs, just the ticket"4.0 starson by dawn_treador
Pros: Region-free, error-free, optical out for DTS support on my receiver
Cons: No cons as of now
Summary: After years of suffering with the maddening flakiness of a Sony DVP-300, I decided enough was enough. I wanted a stable, simple DVD player that had an optical output so that my receiver, a Sony STR DE915, could decode DTS-encoded soundtracks. I was also hoping for a region-free player. The Philips DVP642 has filled the bill perfectly.
I picked it up at a Best Buy on 12/31/05, and as of today it has worked very well. It's played USA discs perfectly. A Chinese-region disc played flawlessly though the indexing was off by one (so finding a chapter meant entering one higher number than desired). More important to me, the DTS playback is perfect.
I am also impressed with the picture quality it provides on our standard RCA 27-inch TV. The picture appears to be more vibrant than a similarly priced Toshiba unit (that had no optical output).
I paid $69 at a local Best Buy for the unit, a bit more than I was hoping for, but am very satisfied with its performance.