SPECIAL FEATURE Much to my delight, the DVD-S1500 played my PAL-format discs. There were slight geometric distortions in the picture, but that's typical of the conversion process. To watch PAL discs through the composite/S-video outputs, you have to make sure the rear-panel progressive/interlaced switch is in the interlaced position. It doesn't matter which position it's in if you use the component-video output, though progressive-scan will give a much smoother picture.
But given that the DVD-S1500 is a Region 1 player, intended for sale only in North America, it will only play DVDs marked Region 1 (though the PAL/Region 1 combination is very unlikely), Region 0, or All - the latter two designate a universally playable disc. I tried one marked Region 2/3/4/5/6, and it wouldn't play. (I can get this disc to play on PCs if I also run one of the "ignore-region-code" programs that are available through the Internet.)
BOTTOM LINE If you want just a standard DVD player that handles MP3 music and JPEG images, there are less expensive models to choose from. But the DVD-S1500's raison d'être is its ability to play DVD-Audio discs and SACDs - and the occcasional foreign DVD. Its excellent audio performance will be best heard if you have five or more full-range speakers placed at equal distance from the listening position, plus a subwoofer. But if you're serious about getting the best possible sound and your system has small satellite speakers and relies on a subwoofer for the bass, you'll need a receiver that provides the necessary bass processing for DVD-A and SACD. Yamaha makes one such receiver, but it costs quite a bit, as do the others we've come across.
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