Official FAQs For Toshiba & RCA HD Players

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jay Foster, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Jay Foster

    Jay Foster Stunt Coordinator

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    Please ask your FAQs here or add questions and answers as well.

    1. What is the difference between the two Toshiba models?

    Answer (credit to Pete TC): The HD-A1 ($499) is the same as the more expensive HD-XA1 except:

    * The XA1 has a double chassis for even less vibration
    * The XA1 has an RS232 port for super expensive home automation devices
    * The XA1 has a backlit remote
    * Cosmetic differences

    The RCA HDV5000 is basically a cosmetically different rebadged HD-A1 with an RS232 port and better remote (though still not backlit). One disadvantage to the RCA is that it has taken longer for RCA to post firmware upgrades for their player so may have to wait a bit to get the latest and greatest firmware for RCA.
     
  2. Jay Foster

    Jay Foster Stunt Coordinator

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    Why are analog 5.1 connections are supposed to be better than my coaxial or optical connection?
     
  3. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Along the same lines as Jay's last question...

    What HD DVD releases feature the new lossless audio formats, and how does one take advantage of them with a receiver that doesn't support them?
     
  4. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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    To add to Paul's queston...what exactly IS a "lossless audio format?" Thanks
     
  5. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    Coaxial/Optical can only carry standard Dolby Digital and DTS signals. For the next-gen sound formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital TrueHD, and DTS-HD, you must use either analog 5.1 output or HDMI output; using the digital output on the Toshiba HD-A1 results in the player decoding the Dolby Digital Plus stream and re-encoding it to a 1.5mbps (full rate) DTS stream for output over coax/optical. Dolby Digital Plus can feature bitrates up to 3mbps which is greater than that of standard DD or DTS, but if the greater bitrate of DD+ yields improvements over full bitrate DTS you won't be able to hear that improvement unless you use the 5.1 analog or HDMI outputs.
     
  6. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    Not many HD DVD releases currently feature "lossless" audio formats because the Toshiba HD-A1 can currently only decode Dolby Digital TrueHD lossless in 2 channels (though this may be able to be upgraded in a future firmware update) and no receivers can yet decode Dolby Digital TrueHD or DTS-HD. One title I know of that does feature TrueHD 5.1 is Phantom of the Opera, but no one has actually been able to hear the lossless audio of this title yet in 5.1.

    That being said, every HD-DVD features Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus, which is still lossy but can go up to 3mbps in bitrate, double that of standard DTS at its full bitrate best on DVD. This means that every single HD-DVD out there has a codec superior to that of your current DVD collection, and it can be decoded by the HD-A1 and sent over the 5.1 analog outputs or HDMI. If you don't want to use the analog 5.1 or HDMI outputs, you get the equivalent of full bitrate DTS (1.5mbps) as the Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks are decoded and re-encoded to DTS 1536kbps by the Toshiba HD-A1 for output over digital coaxial/optical.
     
  7. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    Lossless audio refers to compressed or uncompressed audio where no information was thrown away for compression's sake; in other words, a soundtrack that is perfectly identical to the original master. Examples of Lossless audio formats on HD-DVD are Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD. Lossless formats take up significantly more space than lossy formats however, and odds are you probably won't hear significant difference between a high bitrate lossy (1.5mbps+) and a lossless format.

    HD-DVD also features a new lossy format, Dolby Digital Plus. While on DVD Dolby Digital could only muster a bitrate less than 0.5mbps, on HD-DVD Dolby Digital Plus can use up to 3mbps to deliver high quality audio - double the bitrate of the best standard DTS has to offer on DVD! Dolby Digital Plus is the standard for HD-DVD, meaning every HD-DVD you buy has the potential to sound better than your standard DVD version due to the new Dolby Digital Plus codec. Better yet, you don't have to buy a new receiver to enjoy Dolby Digital Plus on HD-DVD as the decoder is built into the player!
     
  8. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Pete T C,

    Many thanks, you are the man! [​IMG]
     
  9. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    Just to clarify (because I work part time in the Magnolia area of Best Buy and have heard coworkers say stuff I think may be false)

    A1 and XA1

    -output maximum of 1080i on HD-DVD
    -upconvert SD-DVD to a maximum of 1080i (HDMI ONLY)
    -will put out 720p and 1080i over component with HD-DVD titles - but titles in the future MAY have this feature disabled.

    Also that there should be no discernable differences in the output of the two players - that is a movie will not look or sound better on the XA1 than it will on the A1.

    Will this unit ever be able to play HD-DVD's in 1080p with a firmware upgrade?
     
  10. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    Hi,

    How does the HD A1 handle 4:3 aspect ratio presentations? I am mostly referring to TV on DVD type stuff. Obviously these are non HD titles.

    If the upconversion only occurs through HDMI, in my experience, that means the presentation would be in 1.78:1, as 1080i and 720P and 768P are all widescreen formats. Does the player then stretch 4:3 presentation out to 1.78:1 or is it smart enough to put the black bars down the side of a widescreen tv?

    Anyone have any experience with this yet?

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  11. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Dave>h,

    I cannot say definitively, so perhaps someone here will be good enough to confirm or deny what I am about to type, but I seem to recall reading that 4:3 material is stretched. Any modifications to such material would then have to be done via the monitor.

    This is unfortunate for me, as I have a six year-old Mitsubishi WS-55905 that does not afford the ability to pillar-box 4:3 material via component on 480i/480p, so I doubt it does on 1080i either. Each of the SD DVD players I have have this capability to accomodate, so it is a shame I will have to keep my R1 SD DVD player around soley for this.
     
  12. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    No, but even if it did, the difference would not be noticable. The Samsung Blu-Ray player actually looks better outputting 1080i on a 1080p HDTV than it does outputting 1080p because the cheap deinterlacing chip in it is worse than the excellent ones generally found in 1080p HDTVs. Hook up an HD-A1 and a Samsung to the same 1080p HDTV if you don't believe me.
     
  13. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    This is incorrect. The Toshiba HD-A1 pillarboxes the material, properly framing it. It is the Samsung BDP-1000 (double the price mind you) that incorrectly stretches it.
     
  14. Dave>h

    Dave>h Second Unit

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    HI,

    So let me get this straight, for $500, i get a machine that plays HD DVD, will upconvert SD DVD to 1080i with quality that matches or is superior to current up converting SD DVD players, this machine will properly pillar box 4:3 material (unlike my current up converting DVD player) and it will play CD's etc at a level that is equivalent to some very high end cd players. In addition, I get excellent customer support and the machine is upgradable from a software perspective.

    Where do I sign up!!!!

    Dave
     
  15. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Pete T C,

    Thank you for correcting me. Well, here is a case where I am extremely happy to be wrong. If everything goes well setting up my Toshiba HD-A1, then I can get rid of my Pioneer Elite DV-59AVi. Sweet.
     
  16. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    Thanks for the help everyone - I just to make sure that I know I am correct when I am dealing with coworkers who don't know what they are talking about.
     
  17. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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    Re HDMI 1.3

    a. To take full advantage of HD-DVD, I need a receiver, TV and HD DVD player that is equipped with HDMI 1.3.

    b. no products on the market currrently have it, and is not likely to be so for another year at least?

    c. thus...would have to upgrade my Denon 2803...my Sony 60 inch Grand Wega (2005 model with HDMI input) and of course, have an HD DVD player with that spec as well.

    Do I pretty much have that right? Thanks
     
  18. Oliver D

    Oliver D Extra

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    Dave>h: My understanding is that the Toshiba will only upscale via HDMI. You can get 1080i through a component hook-up on HD-DVDs without the Image Constraint Token (as far as I know, ICT is not enabled in any current release). For SD-DVDs, you will not get an upscaled image via component.

    Peter Overduin: HDMI 1.3 devices should be appearing by year's end (the PS3 for example), with many expecting announcements at CES (Jan 2007). Here's a list of HDMI 1.3 technical specs.
     
  19. Jay Foster

    Jay Foster Stunt Coordinator

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    Do I really need to upgrade to firmware 1.4? What exactly does it fix?
     
  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Q. Why does HD DVD look so crappy on my 720p television?

    A. You probably have the player set to 720p. There is a supplement to the manual that tells you that you should set the output of the player to the format of the disc (1080) rather than your television (720). Thus far, all HD DVDs have been released in 1080, so for the time being you can just set it at 1080 and forget it. On 1080p discs, the player downconverts to 480, then upconverts to 720, making the resolution only about as good as standard DVD. Switch the output to 1080 and you should be fine.
     

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