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Okay, I have FINALLY seen HDdvd in action!


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted June 11 2006 - 04:57 AM

Hey all, Living in Berkeley, the nearest place that would even know about the new formats is Emeryville. For reference, I have an Oppo. at the moment that looks pretty dang swell. Me and the gf went to the MAGNOLIA store there yesterday. It is not part of a Best Buy, it's a self enclosed high end store. Nice, dim lighting, pretty decent showrooms. I asked if they had and HDdvdplayer on display and the salesguy who actually seemed a bit knowledgable said, "Sure!" No Best Buy drone blank stares or confusion. Surprisingly they had it hooked up to the 60" Sony 1080P SXRD set but had the set switched onto a cable HD feed. He switched it over to the Toshiba, (fancy one) and Wa-la. HUGE difference in PQ from the cable HD to the player, like night and day! I joked with the guy about displaying the Tosh. on a Sony set and he didn't register it. Well, the set could've used some of Davy's special Calibration, contrast looked a bit pumped, color was a TAD oversaturated and sharpness a wee bit high but overall it was WAY better than what you would see with a BB torch mode set displayed. Anyways, we watched the Demo disc. When KONG came on, "wowie." Looked pretty freaking awesome. The remote seemed VERY responsive. Even my gf commented that it looked pretty damned good and she normally doesn't notice or care about pic. res, detail, whatever... I wish I could've tweaked the set for 5 minutes but I did get the idea. Pic. detail was miraculous. The color variations within similar colors, say red, was outstanding. I can totally see why everyone who has leapt in are happy. Considering that you can get the base model for about 4 bills now through some searching, it's pretty DAMN tempting. Considering that my first interlaced DVD player was $600 back in the day, the leap in quality compared to price is nothing short of phenomenal. I just wish there wasn't this DAMN format war! And I do have tons of PAL dvds that I would miss and I wouldn't want 2 players hooked up. Anyways, my 2 cents. Davy out

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted June 11 2006 - 05:12 AM

The color performance on HD DVD is something that continues to astound me when I watch new titles. I agree that from the perspective of what early DVD players were selling for, the Toshiba A1 player is a great bargain. Anyway, glad that you had a nice experience with the demo. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted June 11 2006 - 08:05 AM

Thanks Walter! And AMAZINGLY, the gf didn't seem so "unimpressed" which for her is HUGE! Usually she can't tell any difference so the fact that she DIDN'T say "I don't see it being any sharper" is actually HUGE. And she didn't say anything like, "Why do you need to upgrade again? You will never be satisfied..." Huge....

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted June 11 2006 - 08:43 AM

Great review Dave! Its post like yours that make it really tough for me to wait for Blu-ray reviews before making a purchasing decision. Was the picture quality so compelling that you're now contemplating picking up a player or are you waiting to see how the two formats compare?
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#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted June 11 2006 - 09:10 AM

Hiya Chris! Honestly if there was no looming format war I would buy it in a heartbeat! The jump in quality is easily worth the $$$ for the basic Tosh. I would not pay $1000 though. I was a Betamax owner and watched as VHS took over so I am wary. d

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted June 11 2006 - 10:31 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience. For me waiting is more the availability of software than anything else. It sounds great.
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#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted June 11 2006 - 12:38 PM

I too have seen HD-DVD in BB and the picture is very nice. And even though the picture was nice and they did not use hdmi to get the best picture. And the audio was only coming out of the left and right speakers. I was impressed with the picture. I personally would rather have a blu-ray player.

And after going to my local BB a few days ago I am kinda glad I did not pull the triger and buy the HD-DVD player. The display that had the Toshiba HD-DVD player was now using a standard samsung dvd player with hdmi output. I heard that BB was going to dump the HD-DVD player for the Samsung Blu-ray player. But I did not think they would do it this soon. Posted Image

It would have been nicer if Toshiba would have done a better job at building a good player. The format itself looks great and if there would have been a dual format player I might have bought it and waited for a winner. BB was obviously having alot of players being returned and was not getting enough new peices to sell. I think this was the primary reason why the HD-DVD display was removed from my local BB. The HD-DVD movies are also placed out of the main traffic isles, so to me BB is not showing much interest in selling the product anymore.

Now that the fix is out for the HD-DVD players and if I had money to burn I might have gone out and purchased an HD-DVD player just to have some of the titles in HD. I bet that HD-DVD looks really nice on a projection set up with a 120" screen. Posted Image

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#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted June 11 2006 - 01:35 PM


which is a shame since many of those purchasers apparently didn't read the manual which specifically said NOT to return the unit if you were having problems, but rather contact Toshiba directly so that they could assess and address end user issues with firmware (hence the enclosed firmware notification cards).

I guess people just have no patience anymore- which might also explain all the bitching about the 1 minute 45 second boot time Posted Image

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted June 11 2006 - 06:44 PM

The demos really do look impressive, I stood in front of one for at least 5 minutes the first time I saw it. Been stopping to look again every time I go in.
If I'd dropped $500+ on a new player and it didn't work, I'd return it immediately too. Firmware doesn't guarantee a fix if the problem had been in Hardware. Too much risk to take, return it and wait for a better model at a (probably) cheaper price. Plus, if I had a player that was taking nearly 2 minutes to boot, I'd probably return it as well. There's no reason for a Player to take so long to boot, it isn't a computer running a huge OS, it's a DVD Player. 2 minute boot times would make me think hardware failure if I hadn't read about it here.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Rob_HD

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Posted June 11 2006 - 09:19 PM

Mine's perfect - and 2 minutes is not accurate - mine booted within 25 seconds, a few more to play the movie.

Those who did have problems before have reported that the Firmware update took care of them.

No I'm looking forward to the firmware update for 5.1 TruHD Posted Image Posted Image

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted June 12 2006 - 02:52 AM

I'm not about to ship a problematic player to Toshiba and get it back who knows when, while I've still got the 30-day exchange working for me with Best Buy. What if I get it back and it's still having issues, and now my 30 days is up? If Toshiba was expecting people to do this, they're really not too bright. On boot times, from cold to "no disc" is 25 seconds on my HD-A1. From loading a disc to having it begin play is 40 seconds. From cold with an HD DVD in it to play is 41 seconds.

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris Moreau

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Posted June 12 2006 - 04:04 AM

No one shipped back a player to Toshiba. They simply plugged it into a broadband internet provider and downloaded the upgrade. Nothing could be simpler! Now, almost all complaints about the player have disappeared.

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted June 12 2006 - 08:57 AM

Au contraire, several people posting on AVS said they were advised by Toshiba to ship them their players. They got the firmware upgraded by Toshiba. This was before the firmware update was issued.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Kevin. W

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Posted June 12 2006 - 10:40 AM

Its more like a computer than you think. Internals contain a Pentium 4, 1G DDR PC2700, running a Linux OS. Sounds like a computer too me. And bootup time to move playing is about 45-55sec, certainly not 2min.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted June 12 2006 - 02:24 PM

I would argue that it's just as likely that since some stores only received a small number of units initially that they probably solid the floor model rather than leaving it on display. And therefore, without the players to sell, BB probably figured that they had sold all of the titles they possibly could until the next shipment, thus they put up a new end cap that contained items they were more likely to sell. It'll be interesting to see if the HD-DVD end cap reappears now that reports of new player shipments are starting to surface.
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#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Ryan-G

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Posted June 12 2006 - 06:06 PM

Please remember that I'm responding to the quote in my post stating nearly two minutes as a boot up. I don't own an HD-DVD Player, so since the first person was outvoted I'll concede to under 1 minute bootups.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted June 12 2006 - 09:23 PM

I was exaggerating for effect. Even if it took 5 minutes to warm up, since it is the only vehicle out there at the moment to produce images like this, it would still be more than worth it. either you accept it and learn to interface differently with it, or you can wait even longer for something else to come along thats better. Not saying that to anyone here, just that that is what it boils down to.

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   MarioMon

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Posted June 13 2006 - 09:33 AM

It appears like there are many people waiting to compare the two formats before buying into one. I'm one of these. What I'm debating is how much better does Blu-ray IQ have to be to justify the units selling for twice the selling prices of HD-DVD players? Sony can argue all they want about the higher capacity but when it comes to watching a movie, how much more IQ will there be in BR that a buyer will seen on their 1080i TV they bought last year?

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted June 13 2006 - 11:25 AM


http://www.hometheat....=235094&page=4
To the best of my and according to post #94

Best Buys document:
-Inventory contraints continue on the Toshiba HD-DVD player (HD-A1), since delivery of product has been inconsistent due to high product demand stores should not be doing sold orders or rain checks. Do not sell your display, to remain the market leader and answer customer questions around this new technology we will need a model on display.

-Samsung Blu-ray player scheduled for launch in late June, the endcap will transition from the HD-DVD to Blu-ray in a merch kit in mid June.


IMHO many people should start seeing the same thing I have. Most people will most likely start seeing BB HD-DVD displays ether being removed early or replaced late this month. Or as soon as the Blu-ray players are shiped to local retailers. Based on that information I don't exspect to see an HD-DVD player in BB unless the format gets a good shot in the arm and starts selling record units. Also if the sells where so strong and it was just a matter of not getting enough product. Why would BB anounce the switch away from HD-DVD on there display to all BB stores? If other retailers get rid of there HD-DVD displays and Blu-ray does well the war might be over before Jan. 07.

This is not a good sign for HD-DVD even though Toshiba has come out with patches for there players. The shame is that this format has promise and I blame a big portion of it failure on Toshiba. We shall see if Toshiba can turn there week sales around and make HD-DVD sucsessful or not?

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#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted June 13 2006 - 11:41 AM

I dunno Dave. It seems to make sense from a retail pov to give more exposure to an item which will yield a higher profit margin than to one with a much lower one. Also, Is Sony or Samsung or the BDA subsidizing or paying for this exposure? It will be interesting to see just where they stick the HD DVD players- but this may all just end up being a non-issue with the full hard launches for both formats not being until the fall. I really doubt that many people are going to be clamoring for Basic Instinct 2 and The Big Hit and Hitch and 50 First Dates and being excited to drop $1K on a player to watch them.




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