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My New HD-A1 Experience.


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#1 of 16 Jim Douglas

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Posted July 25 2006 - 10:28 AM

I was off last Friday and went to Best Buy to try and use my 12% off rewards coupon. I was looking at the HD-A1 display when the sales guy asked if I needed any help and I asked him when they might get some HD-A1's because none were sitting out. He told me we got in two or three in the back if you want one. Having no will power I said yes get me one. Price $439.99

I don't have a big fancy system or anything and I sure am no expert but here is what it will be hooked up to:

Pioneer Elite 630HD RPTV (2 DVI connections)
Denon AVR-3803

That's the main system I won't bore you with all the other stuff.

I decided while hooking the A1 up I would take out a few things and clean the matching Pioneer Elite rack. I removed my Oppo 971 DVD player and my JVC 5U HDMI D-VHS VCR. I used the Better Cables HDMI to DVI cable that was hooked to the 5U and hooked it to the A1. Hooked up the audio connection using the digital optical connection to the Denon 3803 for now. Got all the cables arraigned and the rack moved back into place and was ready to fire it up.

Turned on the TV and set it to the DVI input and powered on the A1. At first there was no picture but once I pushed the HDMI button up came the setup screen. It was already set to 1080i. Wasn't much to change in the setup menu so I just looked around and checked the firmware version (1.3). I turned the system off and started everything up just like I was going to watch a movie.

Turned everything back on and waited for the Toshiba HD-DVD splash screen to come up. It took longer than what I normally see but I wasn't bored waiting either. That was a non issue for me. Opened the try and slid in Serenity. Once it started up I hit pause to check out the menu options. I thought the menu setup was way cool in what you can do and how they are laid out. Restarted the movie and made some adjustments to contrast and black level and was treated to a truly spectacular picture. It's just really hard to put into words how nice it really looked. I also put in Blazing Saddles and it looked incredible. It's what a 32 year old movie and you could see every rock and grain of quicksand in the scene where the railroad car sinks into the quicksand. I just sit there amazed at the picture quality.

Tried a couple of sd movies also. Spiderman Super Bit and Shrek both at 1080i upconversion looked excellent. Won't have any problem watching SD discs on the A1.

So far I'm very happy with my purchase. No glitches or HDMI errors or anything strange. Remote is so so. I programmed everything I would need into my MX-500 so that's not a problem.

For me the decision to buy something now was I could get into HD-DVD for a decent price that didn't break the family budget. I can sell off my Oppo and JVC D-VHS machines and offset the cost the the A1. Who knows what will happen with the format war. Maybe nothing and we'll still be sitting here three years from now and still no single format. I want to enjoy HD movies now and now that best choice is (for me) HD-DVD. Not to sound glum but life is short and I feel you should enjoy the things that make you happy now. I still enjoy some of the laserdiscs I have so don't talk to me about a possible dead format. If HD-DVD folds it tent next year ( I don't think it will) I won't sweat it to much. I'll still have a nice SD upconverting player that will also play the HD-DVD discs I have. I'm happy now and that is all that counts to me.

So that's my story. Sorry to be so long winded. Didn't expect the post to run this long. I just wanted to try and relay my experience that might help others with their decisions. Ron's review and others here really helped me feel good about taking the plunge. No regrets and glad to join the club.

Enjoy.

Jim

#2 of 16 Reginald Trent

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Posted July 25 2006 - 12:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Douglas
I was off last Friday and went to Best Buy to try and use my 12% off rewards coupon. I was looking at the HD-A1 display when the sales guy asked if I needed any help and I asked him when they might get some HD-A1's because none were sitting out. He told me we got in two or three in the back if you want one. Having no will power I said yes get me one. Price $439.99

I don't have a big fancy system or anything and I sure am no expert but here is what it will be hooked up to:

Pioneer Elite 630HD RPTV (2 DVI connections)
Denon AVR-3803

That's the main system I won't bore you with all the other stuff.

I decided while hooking the A1 up I would take out a few things and clean the matching Pioneer Elite rack. I removed my Oppo 971 DVD player and my JVC 5U HDMI D-VHS VCR. I used the Better Cables HDMI to DVI cable that was hooked to the 5U and hooked it to the A1. Hooked up the audio connection using the digital optical connection to the Denon 3803 for now. Got all the cables arraigned and the rack moved back into place and was ready to fire it up.

Turned on the TV and set it to the DVI input and powered on the A1. At first there was no picture but once I pushed the HDMI button up came the setup screen. It was already set to 1080i. Wasn't much to change in the setup menu so I just looked around and checked the firmware version (1.3). I turned the system off and started everything up just like I was going to watch a movie.

Turned everything back on and waited for the Toshiba HD-DVD splash screen to come up. It took longer than what I normally see but I wasn't bored waiting either. That was a non issue for me. Opened the try and slid in Serenity. Once it started up I hit pause to check out the menu options. I thought the menu setup was way cool in what you can do and how they are laid out. Restarted the movie and made some adjustments to contrast and black level and was treated to a truly spectacular picture. It's just really hard to put into words how nice it really looked. I also put in Blazing Saddles and it looked incredible. It's what a 32 year old movie and you could see every rock and grain of quicksand in the scene where the railroad car sinks into the quicksand. I just sit there amazed at the picture quality.

Tried a couple of sd movies also. Spiderman Super Bit and Shrek both at 1080i upconversion looked excellent. Won't have any problem watching SD discs on the A1.

So far I'm very happy with my purchase. No glitches or HDMI errors or anything strange. Remote is so so. I programmed everything I would need into my MX-500 so that's not a problem.

For me the decision to buy something now was I could get into HD-DVD for a decent price that didn't break the family budget. I can sell off my Oppo and JVC D-VHS machines and offset the cost the the A1. Who knows what will happen with the format war. Maybe nothing and we'll still be sitting here three years from now and still no single format. I want to enjoy HD movies now and now that best choice is (for me) HD-DVD. Not to sound glum but life is short and I feel you should enjoy the things that make you happy now. I still enjoy some of the laserdiscs I have so don't talk to me about a possible dead format. If HD-DVD folds it tent next year ( I don't think it will) I won't sweat it to much. I'll still have a nice SD upconverting player that will also play the HD-DVD discs I have. I'm happy now and that is all that counts to me.

So that's my story. Sorry to be so long winded. Didn't expect the post to run this long. I just wanted to try and relay my experience that might help others with their decisions. Ron's review and others here really helped me feel good about taking the plunge. No regrets and glad to join the club.

Enjoy.

Jim


You and Oliver D. have convinced me to open it and I'll keep it if it is as good as everyone states.

#3 of 16 Jim Douglas

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Posted July 25 2006 - 01:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reginald Trent
You and Oliver D. have convinced me to open it and I'll keep it if it is as good as everyone states.

I don't think you'll regret it. I just wish there were more HD-DVD movies to choose from. I've got more on the way so I'll get more viewing in this weekend.

Jim

#4 of 16 Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 25 2006 - 10:04 PM

Jim,

I'm also a little distressed by the available titles. There's lots of
stuff out there from three major studios but the choices of titles
are pretty poor, overall.

All of that is about to change. I think that within the next few
weeks there will be some major title announcements, particularly
from Warner.

Ronald J Epstein
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#5 of 16 Shawn.F

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Posted July 25 2006 - 11:52 PM

Ron,

I sure hope that Warner gets the ball rolling on their end for releases and announcements. So far, they have been the most infuriating studio to deal with. The quality of the titles they have released has been excellent, but not announcing titles until five days prior to release and charging an arm and a leg for a format no one who owns an HD-DVD player asked for (that's right, our friend the Combo discs!) really makes one question just what Warner's deal is.

That gripe aside, I love the HD DVD format. Jim and Reginald, welcome aboard. You will not be sorry. The one thing you might find a bit troubling is that it really is hard to go back to SD DVDs (although the Toshiba acts as a very nice upconvert player IMHO).

#6 of 16 scott>c

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Posted July 26 2006 - 12:25 AM

Yeah I had buyers remorse for the 1st few weeks but not anymore. This thing has great audio and video!!!! I also agree its hard to watch SD as u really get spoiled with HD. For less than 500 u get a really great player thats supposedly worth more. Toshiba supposedly took a hit in selling these to launch the new release.

#7 of 16 Jim Douglas

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Posted July 26 2006 - 04:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
Jim,

I'm also a little distressed by the available titles. There's lots of
stuff out there from three major studios but the choices of titles
are pretty poor, overall.

All of that is about to change. I think that within the next few
weeks there will be some major title announcements, particularly
from Warner.

Yeah I hoping for more day and date releases for HD-DVD titles. Hopefully some big releases are coming.

I'm also hoping the combo discs either go away or have a big price cut. It's just to expensive for those. Make all the HD-DVD's at a price range where people don't give it a second thought on buying a movie they aren't to sure about.

Jim

#8 of 16 Bob Spears

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Posted July 26 2006 - 09:47 AM

I have had my HD A1 for about two weeks now. Upconverted SD DVDs looks so good on this player that if they never released another HD DVD title I would still love this player. The spectacular picture and sound you get with HD DVD is just the icing on the cake. This player is the best AV purchase I have ever made.

#9 of 16 William Goodspeed

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Posted July 27 2006 - 03:46 AM

We've had ours about 3 weeks now. The image the Toshiba puts out has such a pleasing filmlike appearance. Wasn't expecting such a graceful picture. Just need more movie titles and all is well.

#10 of 16 William Goodspeed

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Posted July 30 2006 - 04:50 PM

Yes, the upconversion is stellar. Looks near high def.

#11 of 16 scott>c

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Posted July 30 2006 - 09:34 PM

I can`t even upconvert (component on a crt) but still has a great picture on SD.

#12 of 16 Elayna Rainwater

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Posted July 31 2006 - 02:00 PM

While not perfect, the remote on the this unit is not as bad as some have said. Does what we need it too. Posted Image

#13 of 16 Harminder

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Posted July 31 2006 - 03:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elayna Rainwater
While not perfect, the remote on the this unit is not as bad as some have said. Does what we need it too. Posted Image

Yeah I'm totally use to the remote now myself, but it's too hard to view in the dark. Wish they included backlit remotes for both Toshiba models instead of just the HD-XA1 Posted Image.

#14 of 16 scott>c

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Posted July 31 2006 - 09:47 PM

Yeah even if the remote just glowed in the dark would have helped.

#15 of 16 Jim Douglas

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Posted August 07 2006 - 09:44 AM

Sold off my Oppo 971 and JVC 5U D-VHS machines over the weekend and they more than paid for my HD-A1. That just made the upgrade even easier.

Jim

#16 of 16 BrettGallman

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Posted August 07 2006 - 11:00 AM

I'm probably going to get one as soon as BB runs another 10-12% off weekend (they usually do so around Labor Day, if I'm not mistaken). I have a lot of Reward Zone points, too, so I'm hoping to get one for around $400. I can't wait to upgrade, and I NEVER thought I'd get an HD-DVD player, period.
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