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NEW HD-DVD owners: Please post your reviews here for members considering purchase!

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139 replies to this topic

#1 of 140 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

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Posted July 26 2006 - 09:04 AM

For those of you that just purchased a new Toshiba HD-A1/AX1 or
RCA HDV-5000, Welcome to the club!

We really need you to post your experiences, good or bad, so
that other members considering a purchase can get an honest
viewpoint of what to expect.

Please be sure to talk about where you bought the player, your
experience with hooking it up, and finally, what you think!

Look forward to your reviews!


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 140 OFFLINE   wallyJar



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Posted July 26 2006 - 09:50 AM

Bought Toshiba HD-1 Friday July 21. Bought HD Serenity at the same time. Enrolled for free one month of Netflix Sat and they shipped my first HD_DVD Tuesday. I was able to find about 25 titles in HD that I put in my queue. All but two or three say avail now or short wait. Unit was June 06 build with Firmware rev 1.3. Saturday I watched Serenity through my Yamaha HTR 5860 component in to Infocus SP 4805. I was totally impressed with PQ and sound quality. Had no issues or problems with Serenity. I also watched 4 more movies SD DVD on Sat. and Sun. with an obvious improvement in PQ and SQ. I have an upconverting Sanyo player and watched parts of several SD DVDs on the A1 and the Sanyo. I am getting rid of the Sanyo immediately. A1 was that much better. Yamaha does not have HDMI or DVI so I am waiting on a cable to output HDMI to the DVI input of the SP4805. Tuesday I hooked up router and did upgrade to revision 1.4. Only watched one SD movie since the upgrade but have seen no problems. $500 is not a whole lot of money for even a good upconverting player. Add the HD capability and note avail movies to rent and this was an easy decision for me. Wont speculate who will win the "war" but until war is over I will be enjoying great PQ on both HD and SD DVDs

#3 of 140 OFFLINE   Elayna Rainwater

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Posted July 28 2006 - 04:32 AM

We've had ours for about a month now. We only have a few titles but we LOVE the detail, depth, and overall film look. Can't wait for some bigger titles to come out later this year. (batman begins, superman!)

#4 of 140 OFFLINE   RaymondSteiner


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Posted August 01 2006 - 11:41 AM

Hey wallyJar, just the review i need!. I also have an Infocus 4805, the differences between SD and HD are good enough to justify the purchase. Could you please detail them ?
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#5 of 140 OFFLINE   Adam_ME


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Posted August 01 2006 - 04:46 PM

I received my HD-A1 player in the mail today. It only cost me 393 bucks and change thanks to the Continental OnePass deal(it would've been even less if I didn't live in TX where they charge tax). Taking it out of the box and hooking it up took only about 20 minutes. I've got it hooked up to a Samsung LN-S3251D 32" LCD TV in my bedroom. I've got a 55" Mitsubishi HDTV in the living room, but it only has component inputs. I tried out Serenity, The Bourne Supremacy, and Lethal Weapon, along with a bunch of SD-DVDs to test the upscaling capabilities of the player. Lethal Weapon was the weakest looking HD-DVD of the 3, and it still put the Director's Cut DVD to shame. Serenity and The Bourne Supremacy looked and sounded absolutely sick. I've gotta be honest. It's gonna be really hard buying SD-DVDs from here on out after what I saw and heard tonight.
I should really learn to knock....in case there's a threesome going on in my bedroom. - Sandy Cohen, The O.C., The Countdown

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#6 of 140 OFFLINE   Stan Rozenfeld

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Posted August 01 2006 - 07:24 PM

I don't know if I qualify as a new owner, but here goes: I preorderd my hd a1 player from Value Electronics and received it on April 21 or thereabouts. From the very beginning I had misgivings. I only had a 720p 61 inch Samsung DLP set. I was determined that if there were no significant improvement in the picture quality, I would either return it or ebay it. From the very beginning, it became evident that the picture quality improvements even on a 720p set are dramatic! My wife who is not a videophile, when I popped in Phantom of the Opera for the first time, just kept on saying "Wow!" She was just blown away. When my mother, who is also not a videophile, visited me, we watched a lot of movies. I did mention that hd dvd would be an improvement, but I didn't do a lot of armwaving. At some point I popped in 16 blocks, a film neither of us wound up liking. Half way through the movie, my mother said out loud out of nowhere "this hd dvd is really good!". What I found most impressive is that the images from hd dvd seem to burn into my mind, far more than regular dvd. The impression seems to me far more lasting. I also found that the best way to evaluate hd dvd is not to watch isolated scenes, but to watch the whole movie, only then does the impact of hd dvd quality sink in. Even though I had one of the first hd dvd players with firmware 1.0, I never experienced a single glitch. When time came to do my ISF calibration, I downloaded firmware 1.2 and that's where it stayed. One incident did occur that demonstrated for me the need for ISF calibration. My ISF tech found that on my hdmi input the signal was significantly being clipped (real info, not just below black). It turned out to be service menu settings on my TV, which he had to change. If I didn't do ISF calibration, I would still be watching sub-par picture. Regarding start-up times, I found it to be a non-issue. By the time, I turn on my tv, close the curtains and settle in, the hd dvd player is ready to go. Load times do require a bit of a patience, but I am not the type to swap many discs, so it's something I easily got used to. Despite many predictions to the contrary, I found that hd a1 is an excellent upscaler, over all more satisfying than Denon 3910 or Sony NS9100ES, even though both players are more than double its price. However, I find regular dvds to be less and less tolerable. I have pretty much limited my regular dvd watching to TV shows. To summarize, HD A1 has exceeded my expectations on all counts. Earlier this year, I wanted to find a way to get immediate exposure to high definition movies on disc, and yet not risk too much money. HD A1 turned out to be a perfect vehicle for me to ride out the format war while still enjoying high def content. This will be my first and last player until the format war situation becomes significantly more clear. I stongly recommend this player to anyone who wants to experience movies as they were meant to be.

#7 of 140 OFFLINE   willyTass


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Posted August 02 2006 - 02:45 AM

hd-xa1 imported from Japan via pricejapan.com Stupendous picture quality. (running thru component to a Sony CRT super fine pitch tv (36 inch)) Haven't used it for a month though as I don't think much of the movies they keep releasing! WIll

#8 of 140 OFFLINE   Hayes Preston

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Posted August 03 2006 - 08:32 AM

Exactly the opposite of a new owner.

Got my player about two weeks after the initial release. I was on the fence (barely) and based on opinions I trust both here and at HTT, I ordered a player from Tweeter. The initial shipment in my area was completely gone.

The Toshiba replaced an Oppo up-converting player, feeding it’s image via HDMI to a 50” Sony SXRD.

The first couple of titles I watched were Apollo 13 and the Last Samurai. I can’t tell you my opinion without repeating what many others here have written, I was floored, shocked, words like beautiful, pristine, completely film-like come to mind. I love the film Apollo 13 and really like the Last Samurai, and the movie watching experience was like nothing I had seen in my HT. It was significantly better than SD DVD and broadcast (cable) HD, I had seen both movies in HD via cable. In my opinion, even movies that got less than stellar feedback on the forums (Lethal Weapon, Fugitive and Full Metal Jacket) look great to me, not like a pristine new film like Million Dollar Baby mind you, but like a good recreation of film.

Since the first week, it’s only gotten better, more movies in hand (a combination of purchases and netflix,) many more on the way, firmware upgrades resulting in a more stable player. I did have a couple of minor glitches early on, one lockup and two discs with several hiccups, both issues corrected by firmware 1.2.

I watched Sky Captain last night and was again, floored over the improvement from the SD DVD.

Tonight it’s Sleepy Hollow.

Very much looking forward to Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Battlestar Galactica, Matrix, Harry Potter… and many others

With regards to how my buying habits have changed, my SD DVD buying frequency was slowing before HD DVD, now it’s pretty much stopped completely (however, I will be getting Simpson’s 8 next week) and I haven’t been buying a lot of HD DVD’s with netflix renting them. I am buying HD DVDs that I feel have “rewatchability.” I will buy all the HD DVDs mentioned above.

#9 of 140 OFFLINE   Andy Bell

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Posted August 05 2006 - 11:06 AM

Well after reading how happy Ron was with the HD-A1 on his older CRT with component cables ( I know he has since bought a new 1080P set with HDMI input) I was dying to try one on my 6 year old, ISF calibrated Pioneer PRO-510HD CRT RPTV. Well I finally bought a Toshiba HD-D1(all black model) after I found out my local Wal-Mart was already going to discontinue selling them and were selling them at a price I just could not refuse! Had to go to BB and get a couple of movies since all the HD DVD movies I had seen previously at this Wal-Mart had been pulled from the shelves. I bought U-571 and Serenity and just added We were Soldiers today. All I can say is I am very happy with the picture the player puts on my old CRT. I am really enjoying the DD+ soundtracks. I have always been more of audiophile than videophile. I have a Lexicon MC-12 and am sending the 5.1A output of the Toshiba to the Lex and redigitizing the input so I can use the better bass management of the Lex and use Logic 7. I am thrilled with the audio and am not having any issues with the LFE channel levels being too low as some have mentioned in other threads and forums. As mentioned everywhere, yes the player has its quirks and the remote is horrible, (need to take some time to set up my Pronto) but I can deal with them. My first Sony non progressive DVD player in 1999 cost me almost $500, so to me this player is well worth the cost to get into HD DVD. Blue Ray will have to really improve over what the Samsung player is putting out right now and come down in price before I "bite" on that format. Andy

#10 of 140 OFFLINE   wallyJar



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Posted August 06 2006 - 07:34 AM

Raymond. PQ of A1 on 4805 through DVI is better than off air HD content. SD DVDs are real close to off air HD PQ. If I remember my specs 4805 is actually closer to ED than HD. I have not played A1 over my 1080i rear projection yet-just too big to move. I am going to move a smaller DLP TV to theater room and try side by side with my 4805. Right now with 106 " screen at 14" viewing distance I am truely pleased and dont regret buying decision at all. I can only assume with a true HD projector that picture would be even better. I don't know why but I have had no glitches or freezes or audio sinc issues of any kind before or after upgrade to 1.4. I will be upgrading projecter in the next 6 months and am only looking forward to even more movie enjoyment. Hope this helps

#11 of 140 OFFLINE   hakstone



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Posted August 07 2006 - 12:25 AM

I must be doing something wrong. I'm not seeing a big difference, if any. My equipment isn't cutting edge, but HD OTA looks better than the HD dvd's. I watch TV thru a USdigital receiver on a RCA D52W19 HDTV using component cables. I'm using the HD-A1, viewing the HD dvd thru component and HDMI to DVI paths. Also tried the upconvert for SD. The HD movies were Good Fellas, which I think is a bad transfer and Swordfish. Neither look as good as my better SDs. The only improvement is audio, which is quite a bit better. Even old CDs sound better. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

#12 of 140 OFFLINE   Adam_ME


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Posted August 07 2006 - 03:27 AM

I should be receiving GoodFellas in a few days, so I'll let you know how that compares to the upconverted SD-DVD version which I've also got. I haven't seen Swordfish. I can say without a doubt that what I've seen is much better than OTA HD. Even Legal Wreckin looked great, and that's one of the weaker transfers and was reportedly screwed up by WB with the whole 1080i mistake.
I should really learn to knock....in case there's a threesome going on in my bedroom. - Sandy Cohen, The O.C., The Countdown

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#13 of 140 OFFLINE   Roger Mathus

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Posted August 07 2006 - 06:58 AM

It has now been about a month since I received a Toshiba HD-XA1. I purchased it from ONE CALL. They shipped within one hour of the order by FedEx 2 day. I actually received it the next morning. One Call is in Washington state and I live in Oregon. My first impression was concerning the very slow operation and numerous freeze glitches. I have 1.4 firmware on order and Toshiba assures me that this will help solve both problems.....speed of operation? The picture quality has generally been excellent and meets expections. After trying HDMI and Component I stayed woth component for the XA1. I did this so I could keep my Marantz DV9500 connected via HDMI for its superior performance with up convertion of SD DVDs. My system includes a Marantz DV12-S2 DLP projector, Theta processor, Krell amps and M&K THX 150 speaker system. Sub is from HSU. Screen is 8 ft Firehawk by Stewart. I also have the Samsung Blu-Ray that I hook up ocasionally. The Samsung player seems more glitch free and more like a finished product in its operation. The Blu-Ray problem seems to be with the video software as well noted in the forum. Both Blu-Ray and HD DVD seem to be capable of WOW FACTOR performance but the initial edge goes to HD DVD for more consistent delivery and movie selection more to my liking. I saw little to no difference in performance from the Samsung using either HDMI or Component. If it becomes clear that both systems will be around for some time, I plan a high end video switcher. I also plan to upgrade projection to the new Marantz VP11 that offers 1080i performance. Bottom line.....I am pleased with both players. I like the operation of the Samsung better than the Toshiba but HD DVD titles (at this time) offer more consistent PQ. On the subject of comparison to broadcast HDTV, I have not compared on the same system. I get HDTV on a Pioneer 43 inch plasma. The only direct comparison I can make is with viewing at local Best Buy (local store does good set up) where both HD DVD and Blu-Ray at their best seem to look better on similar displays. HDTV is via cable. Recent screenings of 2001 Space Odessy looked absolutely super (HD NET) on my home set-up.

#14 of 140 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted August 07 2006 - 08:45 AM


After reading Ron's "Reasonable cost of upgrading to HD is absolutely a rewarding experience!" post, it was getting easier to justify upgrading my S&V Approved - labeled "A superior performer" Panasonic S77s HDMI upconverting 1080i DVD player!!!

Using Google & Yahoo, to search for intranet stores that had the HD-A1 in stock, ... Amazon was on the list and they had it on sale for $459 w/FREE Standard Shipping (5-9 days) & no TAX. I joined their 3-month FREE Amazon Prime Membership and immediately upgraded to FREE 2-Day Shipping. Purchasing the HD-A1 qualified my 2-HD DVD purchases to receive an additional 10% on every HD DVD I purchase for a year, so that was cool!

NOTE: When I bought "Sahara HD_DVD" Amazons price was $29.99 - 10% w/FREE 2-Day SH. When they lowered the price to $19.86, I emailed them and they credited my account the difference. Posted Image

After ordering my HD-A1 & 2 HD DVDs on Aug. 1st, ... I received my HD-A1 on Aug. 3. After swapping out my Panasonic S77s for the HD-A1, I used the remote to change the V. OUTPUT = HDMI via the Remote and then reviewed the Setup Menus. I didn't have long enough Audio cables to connect the HD-A1s 5.1 CH SURROUND outputs, so I was just using my present Digital COAX cable / Bitstream.

NOTE: HD-A1 boot-up & reading the SD-DVD times were a non-issue to me since the anticipation to view my upconverted SD and later my new HD-DVDs was worth any wait time!

The first SD DVDs I watched & sampled was Star Wars Ep. 3 (digital transfer), The Legend of Zorro (HiDef transfer), SuperBit The Mask of Zorro, Sahara and Ultraviolet (digital transfer). The colors were bright, well saturated, the inky blacks just pops out the various scenes (did looked a tad dark*), all the details are crisp, sharp, w/improved fore & background details in the shadows and the 15-20mins. or so sampling from each DVD just reminded me more of an HD TV broadcasts vs. SD DVDs. I didn't see any video noise or artifacts, just an impressive palette of eye candy.

Afterwards, I resumed my present TV Series DVD episode in "JAG" - which looked clear & glorious!!!

Anyway, my Panasonic S77s for sale @ eBay!!!

*I checked the Video Calibration using Digital Video Essentials and the settings was virtually identical between my HD-A1 vs. S77s, except for Brightness.

HD-A1 = 49
S77s = 45

All other settings were spot-on with Digital Video Essentials DVD.

Equipment: Toshiba HD-A1 (Panasonic DVD-S77s)
Input #6: HDMI / upconverting 480p > 1080i
.... 1081i DVD Results / HDTV Screen = Natural
......... Contrast: 50 (Pluge Test Pattern)
......... Brightness: 49 (45) (Pluge Test Pattern)
......... Color: 50 (BLUE Filter)
......... Tint: 0 (BLUE Filter)
......... Sharpness: 0

Color Temp = WARM
Lamp Mode = LOW



The next day Aug. 4th, I finally received my 1st HD DVD - "Sahara". - yes!!! Posted Image

NOTE: This is my second upconverting DVD Player - the Panasonic S77s HDMI upconverting 1080i DVD player, so the following comments reflect 5-months of experience viewing my SD DVDs using the S77s vs. HD A1 playing my Sahara HD DVD.

"Sahara" HD DVD:
- 1080p** VIDEO: The HD DVD was clearly (pun intended) superior vs. the SD DVD film presentation.
HD DVD VIDEO highlights:
.... 1) Intricate corner to corner details
.... 2) Very rich saturated natural colors
.... 3) Inky blacks & grays - more clearly defined details in the shadows
.... 5) No Microblocking (culprit in my Panasonic S77s was the Faroudja Chip)
.... 6) Clear & defined close-ups & distant background details (distant views usually fuzzy in the SD DVD)
.... 7) Overall film picture presentation

**My Toshiba 56HM195 Native Resolution = 1080p

NOTE: I fully agree with Robert Harris excellent brief post "A few words about... Sahara -- in High Definition"

- AUDIO***: The HD DVD audio raises the fine DD/DTS-5.1/6.1 presentation to another level of enjoyment and awe.
HD DVD AUDIO highlights COAX:
.... 1) Full-Range dynamics
.... 2) Channel Separation
......... a) Left to right / right to left / front left to rear right, etc. / surround effects placements were clearly defined and seamless.
......... b) Having Identical Speaker anchoring the Fronts, Side & Rear Surrounds creates that seamless surround sound
.... 3) Dialog channel clarity and location placement
........ a) SD DVD version dialog channel was definitely less distinct during some bombastic & story plot scenes.
HD DVD AUDIO 5.1ch ANALOG: (Aug. 6)
.... 1) Increased levels of resolution, clarity & separation vs. COAX
.... 2) Wider audio dynamics

***NOTE: Subjective results achieved by looping one selected scene in "Sahara" & matching the SPL outputs (±1 dB) between COAX vs. ANALOG.


ONE So Far - After installing my 3 pairs of Audio Cables yesterday (Aug. 6th), I played Sahara HD DVD movie completely and I did experience a picture / audio pause (about a sec.) yesterday with around 35mins remaining in the movie. The image actually cut off 1/3 of the right screen, and the audio stopped, after a sec. it resumed. (scene where Dirk Pitt wants to borrow a car) I immediately rewound the scene a few minutes and could not repeat the picture / audio pause. The movie played the remaining 35mins without incident.

Later that evening we watched "Starsky & Hutch" DVD (.99 cents + $4.99 SH used copy from eBay - just got it) and that SD DVD image was excellent, near HD quality, the DD-5.1 audio very dynamic (Analog) and the entire movie played without incident. If that 100 mins movie had a layer change, we didn't see it at all!

SUMMARY: Posted Image
After 4-days of use, I can honestly say that I love my Toshiba HD-A1. Watching my very 1st HD DVD - "Sahara" is truly an eye-opener!!! Posted Image The visual experience easily equals the quality of my better HD TV film quality broadcasts (Comcast cable). I've watched Sahara HD DVD completely thru twice, and various sampled scenes about half-a-dozen or more times in the last 3-days.

Overall, I'm just blown away how detailed & clear my HD DVD HDMI 1080p view is when playing back my one and presently only HD DVD!!! I should receive my 2nd HD DVD today "The Bourne Supremacy" and I plan to watch that tonight!!! In a few days, "Serenity" HD DVD which finally shipped! I plan to update my HD DVD library with my favorite blockbuster movies as they become available ... this can become addictive!?!? Better sell more stuff on eBay!!!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Posted Image Posted Image


1080p Toshiba 56HM195
.... 1) HDMI INPUT

Yamaha RX-V1300
.... 1) COAX INPUT: Digital Bitstream
.... 2) 6CH INPUT

- MFG. DATE: JULY 2006
- FIRMWARE Ver. 1.4 / 1.09 / 2.0R
.... VIDEO:
........ 1) HDMI OUTPUT: eBay 6' Gold Ends
........ 2) HDMI RESOLUTION: 1080i
.... AUDIO:
........ 1) COAX BITSTREAM: 12' RS Coax Shielded Cable
........ 2) 5CH SURROUND OUTPUT: 15' Audio Gold RCA Shielded Cables (3-sets)

.... 1) HDMI: Digital Video Essentials DVD
.... 2) COMPONENT: Digital Video Essentials DVD

- Radio Shack SPL Settings: Weight = C / Speed = SLOW / Dial = 70
5CH SURROUND OUTPUT: Toshiba Internal Test Tones @ 75 dBc
Toshiba AUDIO / Speaker Settings / 5.1ch:
.... Front Left / Front Right = ......Small
.... Center = .............................Small
.... L Surround / R Surround = ....Small
.... Subwoofer = ........................Use
........ Crossover Setting: ...........100 Hz

COAX OUTPUT: Dolby Labs EX DVD @ 75 dBc (no change vs. Panasonic S77s)

- Radio Shack SPL Settings: Weight = C / Speed = SLOW / Dial = 70
SPEAKERS SPL = 75 dB / except SUBWOOFER = 82 to 83 dB SPL
Front Left:...... -5
Center:.......... -12
Front Right:.... -5
L Surround:.... -4
R Surround:.... -4
Subwoofer:...... 0

For Reference & Comparisons using my REF Calibration DVD:

- Radio Shack SPL Settings: Weight = C / Speed = SLOW / Dial = 70
....-13.5 (Analog)

.... NOTE: SPL differences:
........ 1) 6 dB difference using the Dolby Labs EX DVD test tones @ 75 dB SPL.
............ a) YAMAHA 6CH VOL CNTRL DISPLAY: ....-13.5 (Analog)
............ b) YAMAHA COAX VOL CNTRL DISPLAY: ...-19.5
........ 2) 8 dB difference using identical Sahara HD-DVD clip sample @ -86 dB SPL Peaks (Weight = C / Speed = SLOW / Dial = 80)
............ a) YAMAHA 6CH VOL CNTRL DISPLAY: ....-28.5 (Analog)
............ b) YAMAHA COAX VOL CNTRL DISPLAY: ...-36.5

JBL S-Series Sensitivity Ratings:
- JBL S-26 (x6) = 87 dB (2.83V @ 1m)
- JBL S-Center = 91 dB (2.83V @ 1m)

- SVS 25-31PCi

My HT Enthusiasts Google Website
---- http://piturralde.webs.com LG 55LW5600 55" 1080p LED/LCD HDTV pic's)
Acquisition Rule #59 “Free advice is seldom cheap.” (Quark @ DS9)
JBL S-Series + SVS 25-31PCi (SN: 00034) w/NSD Upgrade!


#15 of 140 OFFLINE   RobertDW


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Posted August 07 2006 - 09:03 AM

Make sure the output resolution of the Toshiba layer is set to 1080i and displayed in the players display window.

#16 of 140 OFFLINE   hakstone



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Posted August 08 2006 - 12:12 AM

The player is set to 1080i. I've tried both HDMI and component. The last test is to disconnect the cables from the HDTV tuner and put them into the HD player. The exact same hookup as ota. After that, I give up.

#17 of 140 OFFLINE   JeffdDurborow



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Posted August 18 2006 - 05:15 AM

I have had my toshiba hd a1 for over a week now and i love the damn thing.. the upconversion was fantastic when i watched "THE INSIDE MAN" and last night i watched Chronicles of RIDDick in hd and it was awesome.. HD-DVD has put the WOW factor back into home theater and it has been a long time since some new technology has done that.. I am a strong supporter of this format. The most important aspect of HD is the visuals... now i want release dates for some of these blockbuster's set to arrive to create more excitement and ancticipation for the new and previous customers. Bring the WOW factor back to your HOME THEATER..support HD-DVD

#18 of 140 OFFLINE   Sami Kallio

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Posted August 18 2006 - 06:48 AM

I have had the A1 for quite some time ago, love it, especially when it's hooked to my 1080p DLP. My 720p LCD is considerably weaker but even there it's still quite a stunning picture. No reason to shy away connecting it to component, I really can't tell much difference between the two on the 1080p display. I thought my FIOS HD channels were awesome, and they actually are, but this HD-DVD quality is clearly better. Much better. On 720p they are quite close but on 1080p there is no comparison. wally, your 4805 is an EDTV projector and it looses a lot of the benefits of HD material but not all. You still get better picture due to much better compression and colours.

#19 of 140 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted August 26 2006 - 12:33 PM

I've had my HD-A1 for 3 weeks now and have only had time to watch 2 movies. I watched Happy Gilmore last Saturday and just finished Apollo 13. The video is outstanding (I know it will be better when I can upgrade my display from an analog Toshiba TW40x81 to a 1080p display with HDMI) through component cables and the audio is phenominal. I wanted to take full advantage of the audio so I connected the A1 to my Yamaha RX-V995 receiver via 5.1 channel analog and had to work around the bass management issue but now the soundstage will literally make your jaw drop. My next viewing will be either Tomb Raider or U-571 but that will not take place for a couple of weeks. (Fiscal quarter end at my job.) Hopefully by then I will have firmware 2.0 installed and be looking for a good True-HD soundtrack.

I can't comment on upconversion because I cannot connect digitally from the A1 to my display.

Right now, this is one of the best $500 investments I've made. Posted Image

#20 of 140 OFFLINE   CriPPleR_HD



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Posted August 27 2006 - 08:50 PM

After a 3 week battle the Samsung BD-P1000 falls to the might of the Toshiba HD-XA1.

Posted Image

I am the type of person that can consider other peoples opinions but it is hard for me to make a major purchase without trying everything in my budget to see if I am truly getting what I expected out of a product. When I am ready to upgrade my video card I pick up both the Nvidia and ATI solution to see which one runs the games that I play better, the one that loses goes back to the store. Sometimes Nvidia is better and sometimes its ATI. There is too much brand loyalty and fanboyisum out there for me to truly know if someone is saying the truth or are they biased for one reason or another.

Posted Image

Moving on to Blu-Ray VS HD-DVD:

I picked up the HD-A1 when it first came out and thought it was a GREAT up converting player with even better HD-DVD PQ but felt that I should wait for Blu-Ray to come out since they had the studio support and crazy specs. One would figure if HD-DVD looked that good imagine Blu-Ray with 50gig disc!!! I returned the A1 and waited for Blu-Ray.

When Blu-Ray came out I applied the same method of picking video cards to picking my new HD format. I purchased both the Samsung BD-P1000 and the Toshiba HD-XA1.
The first Blu-Ray disc I tried was Underworld Evolution. My reaction was a mixed bag. It looked good but it did not give me the feeling I got when watching a similar dark film, Doom. Doom just had more depth. I thought to myself that it can only get better but instead it got worse. Each movie we watched just felt like it was being up-converted and in cases like The Fifth Element the super bit SD version looked better in some scenes. On the HD-DVD front, each movie I purchased was a new referenced benchmark in picture quality. Just when I thought Swordfish was the best out comes Training Day, Constantine, Sahara, Aeon Flux, Riddick, and ATL all fighting for the number 1 demo spot.

As the weeks went by my HD-XA1 went from a 2ch Dolby True HD player to a 5.1 Dolby True HD player. While my Blu-Ray player stayed in its same mediocre state. No Blu-Ray Disc to date has DD+ let alone DD THD giving the XA1 much better sound capabilities then the BD-P1000.

In the crappy movie contest Aeon Flux stomps all over Ultra Violet. There is no contest in PQ.

Before I returned the BD-P1000 I had a couple of friends come over to check out both players and they were all drooling over to PQ in ATL. When I played Ultra Violet or Underworld they thought I was trying to trick them by playing the SD version of the films. All four of them left praising HD-DVD while being disappointed with Blu-Ray.

If you are still on the fence about getting an A1 or a XA1 all I can say is try it for yourself in your own set up. Only then will you be convinced. The Toshiba HD-XA1 will make you immune to Sony's marketing brain washing spells. Posted Image


Best PQ bar none
Best Sound
Great SD-DVD Up-Convertion
Build Quality
Firmware Updates


Boot Up Time
Big Remote
Lack of "A" Titles
Low LFE test tone from the HD-XA1 decoder

Blu-Ray BD-P1000 Pros:

Shorter Boot Up
Smaller Remote(smaller, not better)
Studio Support

Blu-Ray BD-P1000 Cons:

Still no 50gig disc
No DD+ requirement
To many Blue Lights!
Inferior PQ and Features when compared to the same movie on HD-DVD
Lack of "A" Titles

I sold my 53" Panny because we are moving soon and are planning to buy the XBR2 when it comes out in September. We are also upgrading our B&W HT speaker system to the Focal 1000be series. For now both players where hooked up to my 34" XBR960 via HDMI running 1080I. Audio was hooked up via 5.1 analog outs on the XA1. One issue I had was with the low LFE test tone from the HD-XA1 decoder. I had to crank up the volume on my sub to match the rest of the speakers. I then lowered my sub volume on my receiver so that my sub levels are not too high when playing Xbox 360 or watching TV. Hopfully this issue can be fixed with firmware updates. Other than that installing both player was a breeze.

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This is not a review, just my experince and opinion on the format war.

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