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Help Me Take the HD Player Plunge - PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Lin Park, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    Been a long time since I purchased a player. I would like to fit this into my existing dedicated HT which is comprised of this:

    Panasonic PT-AX100U (720p FP via HDMI)
    Denon DVD-2900 DVD (serves as audio and video universal player)
    Sony DA3000ES (Basic AVR - older model with no HDMI capability but 2 sets of audio inputs: 7.1 and 5.1)
    Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR (from cable co.)

    Would like to keep the budget to around $600 and am open to standalone players as well as XBox 360 or PS3 since I have neither of those at this point. Don't really want to get into the battle of HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray at this point because I personally am on the fence for both right now. Am very keen on picture quality and sound quality.

    Currently leaning toward the Toshiba HD-XA2 because of upscaling and audio out. But, with recent hinted price drops on PS3 and other announcements regarding combo players and 3rd gen players I wanted to solicit opinions. I could wait for 3 months at this point, but like most of you I'd really like to pull the trigger today! ;-)

    Thanks!
     
  2. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I would go with the toshiba HD player.. less noisy and better PQ with both HD and standard dvds.

    I am getting the toshiba HD-a2 player.
    you can also get 5 free movies with it.

    Jacob
     
  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Of the currently available players in your price range the XA2 offers the best combination of SD upconversion pq and compliance with all current and upcoming special features capability among players with analog audio output.

    Samsung has announced a combo player with full BDJ and HD DVD compliance to be released around the end of the year but price may be a bit higher than $600.

    An unfortunate result of the format war is that some studios are format exclusive so having both players or a combo player is the best course of action imho.
     
  4. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    So what if the entry level was much less than $600? The XA1 isn't QUITE as slick as the XA2 but the upscaling is excellent (if not quite at the level of the XA2), And you can get those, according to Robert Zohn of Value Electronics, for $300.
     
  5. Perry Jonkheer

    Perry Jonkheer Second Unit

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    I have a Denon DVD-2900 and you're going to suffer some serious audio quality loss if you step into a HD format player. Yes, the Denon doesn't do all the fancy audio tricks, but the bottomline SQ of the Denon will be superior to any of the cheesy HD players. This is why I'm waiting another year or more for some better players to come out and for the format to become more standardized hopefully.
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Will the Denon play either HD DVD or BluRay? No, it won't, and the OP specifically asked for recommendations on an HD Optical Disc player.

    It might interest you to know that a lot of those Denons went on E-Bay because the "cheesy" HD DVD players do just as good a job at SD upconversion for a fraction of the price.
    Dolby Tru-HD lossless PCM tracks on HD DVD and BluRay from these cheesy players make anything that Denon puts out on SD DVD sound like MP3.
     
  7. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    With 2 sets of 5.1 inputs on the AVR, I was actually going to keep the DVD-2900 in the mix solely for audio and use the new DVD player for all video.

    Someday I plan to upgrade from the DVD-2900 to a trueHD audio source ... like a VPI TNT V-HR turntable. :) (Please, let's not start an audio flame war here - I'm just tryin' to have some fun!).

    Can someone please send me a link to a good site which describes the differences between the Toshiba HD-XA1 and HD-XA2?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Perry Jonkheer

    Perry Jonkheer Second Unit

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    Makes sense. I was considering the same avenue but I just don't have room for two players right now.

    If you're looking to just have some fun then I would go ahead and get a PS3 or XBOX. I had the 360 and loved it!
     
  9. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Completely biased here, but I would go Blu-ray (I think you can almost put a fork in HD-DVD with recent events-- it's done). Of course, right now is not the best time to pick a table top player because like any other brand new format there are kinks to iron out.

    Samsung is coming out with two new players this fall (not counting their feature-light universal player that'll be expensive) that are Blu-ray 1.1 compatible, supposedly finally have HDMI 1.3 that supports audio bitstreaming and one of the models still includes the Reon VX processor.

    As the holiday season gets under way look for more Blu-ray manufacturers to have 1.1 compatible players out.

    If you MUST have a player right away then the only one to recommend is the now lower priced 60 GB PS3 (if you need more hard drive space it accepts a larger, standard laptop drive). Great little player and every indication has it that it will be 1.1 compliant with a firmware update. It has the Cell processor on board and its potential hasn't even been tapped yet.

    Dan
     
  10. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    Lin-

    Choose whichever format has the most films YOU like. Period. The truth of the matter is that no one knows when the format war will end, so just look at the selections available and make a choice. Heck, get both if you can afford it. For $250 or less, the A2 is a no-brainer. It has excellent upscaling capability and will also make an excellent DVD player. The new Sony BD player looks nice as well, but the BD players won't reach their final spec until this Fall/Winter. I made my choice (A2) based on the number of films which were available that I liked, not hype, predictions, marketing propaganda and press releases from the bias parties involved.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  11. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    I noticed that the A2 doesn't have the 5.1 audio out - given my older receiver, will I be able to take advantage of any of the better audio tracks on the HD-DVD's or will I basically be stuck with standard DD and DTS like I have now?

    Thanks!
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    With the A2, you won't be able to access the advanced codecs unless you have an HDMI equipped receiver/processer. The A2 only has 2.0 audio out. The A2 re-encodes the advanced codec streams (D-THD & DD plus) as full bitrate dts (1.5 mbps), which doesn't sound to shabby imho, but still not quite as transparent as the advanced codecs.

    You will have to step up to the XA2, which is arguably, the best upscaling optical player on the market, and yes, it has the 5.1 outputs. If you can shell out the $500 or so for it, from what I've heard, it's certainly a worthy player. I remember spending $700 for my Denon 2900 a few years ago, and my A2 looks better with SD-DVD's AND it plays HD-DVD's all for the fraction of the cost of my old 2900.

    That's how I look at it.
     
  13. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    I couldn't agree with this statement more. Best advice so far.
     
  14. Archangel

    Archangel Agent

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    For me one of the big factors was price. If you're range is $600 however you can afford either.

    I would say look at what Blu-ray and HD DVD both offer exclusively, and base what you get off of which has the exclusive titles that are more in line with your movie tastes.
     
  15. Lin Park

    Lin Park Second Unit

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    Well, I did it and what perfect timing. My new Toshiba HD-XA2 arrived today just in time to watch 300 on HD-DVD. I just can't believe the quality of this player. After all the reading and research, I felt this unit would be great but I honestly didn't believe it could live up to half the hype.

    I'm here to tell you the hype is ALL true. This unit is UNBELIEVABLE!!!! I want to take the next few weeks off and just watch movies 24x7. Hooked up to my PT-AX100U it looks fantastic - I can't imagine what a true 1080p projector must look like. And if the video isn't enough, the internal audio decoders on this thing are INCREDIBLE!!!! Playing the Dolby TrueHD track on 300 while watching the HD transfer far exceeded the experience I remember of watching it in the theater.

    If you want to jump into HD-DVD and this unit falls in your price range, I highly recommend you consider it especially if you have a large library of SD DVD's.

    I'd like to close with a few thank you's::

    First to the members here for walking me through the steps of makng this decision and bringing this basic HT guy up to speed on all the latest developments. Second, and most importantly, thanks to Robert Zohn and Value Electronics - I have made many purchases online but none come close to the wonderful experience of deailing with him.

    Now back to watching movies! [​IMG]
     
  16. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    Congratulations! You now are here by required to take few weeks off work to enjoy watching all the current releases. [​IMG]
     

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