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View Full Version : Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD Player Review

Jeremy Charette
05-01-2006, 06:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/506toshibahd/' target='_blank'>http://www.ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/506toshibahd/</a><br /><br /></div><i>"It's here, but only just. On April 18th Toshiba launched the HD DVD format with the release of the $499 HD-A1 player. On the same day Warner released The Last Samurai and The Phantom of the Opera on HD DVD, and those two titles were joined by Universal's Serenity. Warner's Million Dollar Baby, also scheduled for the launch, was delayed initially but is in stores now. These were joined on April 25th by additional titles, including what is the easily best film released on the format so far, Apollo 13. Most of the reported 10,000-15,000 HD DVD players shipped to dealers apparently went to Best Buy, and if that retailer is representative, only 2-3 players were allotted to each store, along with a handful discs. The players were gone within a day—some dealers had put them up for sale on the 17th."</i><br /><br /> <img src="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/images/toshibahdxa1.jpg" /> <br /><br />Looks like the first generation of HD DVD players are showing more blemish than beauty. Though the picture looks phenomenal once setup properly, the HD-A1 has a laundry list of problems. If you set the player to 720p, it downconverts the 1080p signal to 480p, then upconverts to 720p. The resulting picture quality is no better than standard definition DVD (possibly worse). Users should set the player to output a signal that matches the native resolution of the HD DVD being played back, otherwise the picture quality suffers. (I suspect most users don't even know there are different HD resolutions, nor can they be bothered to care.) It takes nearly a minute to start playback of both DVDs and HD DVDs. If you switch resolutions mid-playback, the disc starts from the beginning. Copy protected DVDs can only be played back in 480i or 480p (no up-scaling). The list goes on...suffice to say, all the bugs haven't been worked out yet, so you might wanna hold onto your money for now.

05-01-2006, 07:00 PM
It will upconvert DVD's over HDMI. IIRC, CSS license defines that.

Jason Dunn
05-01-2006, 08:07 PM
I'm definitely waiting at least a year to make the jump - there's just no point in investing in HD-DVD at this point, especially given the lacklustre performance of the player.

Felix Torres
05-01-2006, 08:09 PM
Ditto for down-converts over component: its on a per-disc basis.
The studios swear they'll never release anything with an enabled down-convert flag.

Color me dubious.