My mini review - Toshiba HD-XA2

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ron Z, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Got the XA2 installed Sat morning. Ended up connecting with HDMI via the Pioneer Elite VSX80-TXV receiver to the Pioneer PDP-5050HD 50" plasma. The receiver is my HDMI switcher for the D* HR20 and the XA2. Audio was connected via the XA2's 5.1 analog outs (for TrueHD and other lossless audio formats) into the receiver, as well as the coaxial digital ouput.

    First off, I have no previous experience with HD DVD, Blu-ray or upscaling DVD players other that what I saw in Best Buy, Circuit City or the like. My Amazon order of HD DVDs also happened to arrive late Sat morning. First movie I watched was the King Kong HD DVD - wow! Detail, clarity and 3D'ish look to the film that's the best I've ever seen! I can honestly say that I've never seen a movie look this good before. And obviously any HD DVD movie quality will depend on the transfer, and from what I've read King Kong is among the top 10 in that regard. But still, I was blown away by what I was seeing with that film.

    Next movie was the SD version of "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown". I thought I was playing another HD DVD looking at this DVD through the XA2. Apparantly the Silicon Optix ReonVX video chip in the XA2 is responsible for this, and I can now see why the XA2 costs what it does. I'm thinking that as long as the studios keep putting out outstanding SD DVD versions, there won't be as much incentive for me to look into some kind of Blu-ray player.

    And I just got through watching The Hulk HD DVD. Another superb transfer, and another reference disk for HD DVD. As far as the sound, these two HD DVDs offered DD+ and I can say it's impressive. I still have to listen to the TrueHD soundtrack of Batman Begins to see what that's like though. All in all, I was initially a bit concerned spending the amount I did on the XA2, but no longer. Now I just hope that more movies start coming out in HD DVD.
     
  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Extra

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    I didn't think the A2 had analog audio out (that's what I was told by a kid at BB). Is this not the case? I was going to pick one up, but since I have an old receiver I didn't bother thinking I couldn't pull an audio track...
     
  3. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    You're correct - the A2 does not have analog audio outputs, just HDMI and optical digital. The XA2 does have the analog outs though.
     
  4. Wet1

    Wet1 Extra

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    Sorry Ron, I misread your initial post thinking you were reviewing the A2.

    Sounds like you're pleased with the XA2. [​IMG] I just can't get myself to spend $800+ on a player until this war is settled. [​IMG]
     
  5. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    Ron, thanks for the info. My XA2 should arrive tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing how it compares to my replaced XA1. I will post when I get it installed with my opinions.
     
  6. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Congrats! Look forward to hearing what you think about it. [​IMG]
     
  7. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    You guys are having all the fun! [​IMG]



    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    No kidding! [​IMG]
     
  9. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I may have noticed a "black crush" issue on the XA2, same as what the A2 has seen. I noticed this on The Hulk HD DVD, the night scene where the mutant dogs are attacking the Hulk. The picture during that scene is overly dark and very hard to see.
     
  10. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    You got this puppy installed yet? What do you think? [​IMG]
     
  11. Dennis Heller

    Dennis Heller Second Unit

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    Ron Z,

    Could you describe the simple calibration. I think I've noticed this as well. Thanks.
     
  12. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    If you already have your set the way you like it, then you have a couple options. If you have an available input (component or HDMI) on your display, you can plug the XA2 in there and calibrate that input via DVE, Avia or the like. Another option is to just bump up the black level (brightness) a few notches. And another option is to just set one of XA2's three picture memory settings.

    I thought the XA2's picture adjustments would be under the setup menu, but they're not. The remote's Picture button brings up the XA2's picture memory settings, and there you can adjust any of the 3 memory settings.

    I used my old SD version of DVE (Digital Video Essentials), and just bumped the brightness up a bit.
     
  13. Dennis Heller

    Dennis Heller Second Unit

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    Thanks, Ron. I actually have the HD-A1. My problem is complicated by the fact that I have the JVC 56FN97, which is a really wonderful set, except it is very bright, and it only allows one picture memory for both HDMI inputs. If I bump up the brightness too much, it washes out the colors. I'm still trying to find the sweet spot, as the contrast/brightness settings are, I feel, very difficult to dial in. I have S&V's Home Theater Tune-Up, but I'm anxiously awating the DVE for HD because the S&V isn't very helpful.

    I was hoping for a magical cure, I guess.
     
  14. Ron Z

    Ron Z Stunt Coordinator

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    Does the A1 have its own adjustment settings that you could make to it?
     
  15. Dennis Heller

    Dennis Heller Second Unit

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    Actually, I'm not sure. I'll give it a try tonight. Thanks.
     
  16. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    I was curious if anyone with the XA2 has used any of the video settings-such as mosquito NR,Random NR etc. just curious if these things work or not- tried fooling around with them -mostly for SD discs-I think they may have worked some,pirates of the Carb. looked awesome-no noise, blacks looked great. This is a great upconversion player
    Tim
     
  17. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    No, I get home to Phoenix tomorrow from working out of state and have to pick it up at Fed Ex so I should have it running by the afternoon. Should have a few new HD's sitting on my doorstep to run it through it's paces.

    Now if sombody would just release a second gen BD player so I can replace my Samsung and I would be in heaven....[​IMG]
     
  18. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    Arrggg,

    I just picked up my XA2 at FedEx, got it home, hooked it up and walla. No picture. I am connected HDMI through my Pioneer Elite 84TXI and HDMI out to my Panasonic. Using the same connection and cable I used with my XA1 the worked flawlessly.

    Popped The Sting in and no picture. Sound was passing through HDMI, but not video. After changing ports, trying a few other HDMI cables, I finally plugged the Tosh HDMI directly into the Panny projector, and low and behold, a flawless picture.

    Looks like the incompatibility is in my Elite Receiver.

    Back to the drawing boards.....
     
  19. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Hey Tom, Have you had issues passing thru the Elite reciever before?
     
  20. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    No. Both my old XA1 and my directv H20 HD DVR work(ed) fine. In fact, I am using the same setup and cable that was plugged into my XA1.
     

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