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My Toshiba A35 first impression (1 Viewer)

Southpaw

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Jason
First of all, received the new A-35 early this afternoon from Amazon. Took it out of the box, hooked up the HDMI cable and power cord, turned it on and immediately inserted my ready-to-go firmware update disc (ver 1.1). Took about 15 min. Initialized, did my settings for HBR audio. Ready to proceed.
Nice machine. Really nice machine. Loved seeing that TrueHD light up on my Pio Elite when I inserted "Clear and Present Danger" from the Jack Ryan collection. As you would expect, the audio presentation is incredible. PQ is about on par with the A2 for HD DVD content, IMO. Right before the A35 arrived, I was watching disc 4 of Planet Earth (seasonal forests). Within 30-45 min of watching parts of it on an A2, I had it running on the A35. For me, there was no noticeable difference in PQ. Now, in AQ, there certainly was. Of course on the A2, DD+ is PCM'd into my AVR. On the A35, it was bitstreamed. (The Dolby logo and Digital Plus lit up on the AVR) AQ was more robust, dialog was crisper and a bit louder. I hadn't adjusted one thing on my AVR mind you.
This is where it gets fun. I have an HD DVD dts-HD Master Audio demo disc (got it from EMA show) so of course, I'm ready to go with that. Insert the disc, hit play and look out. Speakers come alive with Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill. I had to turn down the AVR a few notches as everything started shaking.
The disc also has BT-Dynamic Symmetry (interesting track), Pat Metheny-Overture, another BT one called 1.618 and Omar Hakim's Listen Up!
Incredible stuff. dts-HD MA is just amazing.
I just ran a SD DVD test to see how it upconverts compared to the A2. I put in War of the Worlds. I watched this one on my A2 about 3 weeks ago so the image was still fairly fresh in my mind. The A35 did appear to be a bit sharper than I remember the A2 producing. Maybe not the best SD disc to test out as the image is sometimes washed out or hazy due to the film style.
Can't complain about this purchase. Loving it so far.
 

Rachael B

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It's just inevitable that I'm gonna buy one of these in the coming months. I have a flock of Euro HD-DVD's with Master. I just installed an Onkyo 805 as a pre in my system. I wanna see all it's lights turn on....
 

Nelson Au

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Hey Jason-

Thanks for posting your impressions. Glad you're having a positive experience.

I got an A35 a little over a week ago. I had no other experience with HD or BD so this was my first HDM player. I can't hear True HD audio, but I am getting good 5.1 audio via optical bitstream. Video so far has been excellent for me, of course it's my first foray into HD. I mentioned in the Toshiba A3, A30 and A35 thread that I was really impressed with the upconvert ability on SD DVD's.

My Pioneer 1080i plasma is likely a month or two too old to be able to process 1080p/24. Some owners of the my plasma are saying they can on the AVS site. But without it, and without any experience with video at 1080p/24, I don't know any better. What I can see sure looks great. But I only have 2 HD-DVD's.:)

One thing I noted in another thread regarding audio is that the A35 appears to be downconverting to Dolby Digital. My processor is seeing a Dolby Digital signal, but no DTS. I understood that TrueHD is downconverted to DTS, perhaps this machine does DD 5.1. I noticed on the 2001 HD-DVD, when listening to Dolby Digital +, it sounds great. But when listening to the TrueHD track, I noted a 5 to 8 decibel increase in volume levels using an SPL meter. It did sound really good!
 

Robert George

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The PQ advantage the A35 has over the A2 is going to be more apparent on a display that scans 24p natively. 1080/24p output from the A35 to a Sony Pearl is exceptional.

If I were using the A35 on a display that does not scan 24p natively, and I am including those TVs that accept 24p input but convert to 60p, frankly, I would recommend using all the Toshiba players in 1080i output. HD DVD is flagged for 1080i and I consider the 60p processing in the Toshiba players to be "average", at best.
 

Rachael B

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I just came from Busted Buy where I picked up a returned A35 for $399. DTS Mah-ster will bang-bang 2-nite.....
 

Southpaw

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When using the optical connection, DD+ and TrueHD tracks are downconverted to DD. Only DTS-HD tracks are converted to DTS bitstream. I believe this is a change from the 2nd gen models. This is of course assuming your AVR can process DTS.
 

Southpaw

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This is true Robert and is probably something I should have mentioned in my initial post. My display only accepts up to 1080i but will display 1080p. So I do have my A35 ouputting 1080i. This is probably why I don't see much a difference between it and the A2 when it set to output the same thing. Eventually I will upgrade my display to 1080p/24 and I'm sure I will notice a difference then.
 

Nelson Au

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My processor does do DTS.:) I just need an HD-DVD that has DTS.

Thanks for confirming the change in downconverting TrueHD and DD+ to regular DD from optical.
 

troy evans

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Is this worth upgrading to from my A20? The only difference from what I've read is the A35 has DTS-Master, which is awesome. However, is it upgrade worth just for this?
 

Southpaw

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Jason

Do you know what upscaling chip the A20 uses? The A35 uses the ABT1018 and it is pretty good. Some say it is as good as the Reon in the XA2. Of course, that is all just opinion.
 

Robert George

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Technically, the A35 does not have DTS Master. The A35 WILL pass all advanced audio codecs, including DTS Master, in bitstream to a compatible receiver/processor, however.
 

Rachael B

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What you need ia a good ole Euro HD-DVD with DTS Master. I get 'em from Xploited Cinema's .com. I did Total Recall in DTS Master last night. I also came across my first disc incompatibility issue. When I got Stalingrad from Xploited, the add warned it wouldn't play in Toshiba's 1st gen players. It didn't. It liked the A2 as advertised. It didn't like the A35 last night. It failed to load in 3 attempts....the ole this disc is not DVD screen came up.

Dolby True sounded righteous on Batman Rreturns for the first half hour.....then I got fatigued and had to go beddy bye.....The 805 didn't seem like much of an upgrade till last night!
 

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