The Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ron-P, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Picked up the HD-A1 last Friday (4/14) at Best Buy. This replaced a 3 year old JVC.


    I've got it hooked up to a Sanyo Z3 via a 35' HDMI cable and shooting onto an 85" DIY screen. The audio is currently connected via coax to an Outlaw 950. I'm just starting to toy with the 5.1 analog connections. Got it up and running just need to dig in and calibrate.


    I am very impressed with this machine so far. The picture at 1080i is amazing. Colors are vibrant and very nature looking, blacks are deep and dark, whites are bright, and flesh tones are excellent. Contrast is excellent. There are almost no compression artifacts that I can see. A very, very clean image with outstanding detail.

    The audio is also very impressive. I noticed a crisper, cleaner sound compared to SD-DVDs. Not a huge improvement, but noticeable, especially with the center channel. The difference in sound between the SD-DVD and HD-DVD of Serenity is actually quite noticeable, not as much with Phantom of the Opera.

    The few and minor drawbacks are; first off, the remote, it's bad. Small buttons that are hard to read and a poor layout. Also, from the time you power it on it takes nearly a minute before you can access the tray. Once in, it takes about 15 seconds to bring up the movie. Other then that, I can find no other negative issues with it.

    This player also upscales SD-DVDs to 720p. All I had to play on the A1 for the first couple of days were SD-DVDs and the improvement in picture quality is quite noticeable.

    So far this is an outstanding performer at a very reasonable price. The picture quality between SD-DVD and HD-DVD is quite substantial. For a first gen player with a brand new format I think it's off to a very good start. Toshibas player, even with its minor issues, is a very well built player with only a few minor issues.
  2. Steve Blair

    Steve Blair Second Unit

    Mar 27, 1999
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    Got mine as well on Tuesday and have it running through HDMI to my panny 50" plasma (isf'd by gregg loewen). Great picture here as well and I was surprised to see that SD upcoverting looked similiar to my pioneer 59avi elite dvd player.

    The sound on all the warner releases is messed up and recorded at around 10 to 15db too low. Warner is aware of this and working on a solution (a there had better be a trade-in deal). Also, the internal test tones are way too loud and I blew the tweeter in my center channel as I had the volume set to reference when I tried them UGH. Be very careful if you use the internal tones for calibrating sound. Overall, due to its' SD upconverting and HD picture, I may well keep this player and get a BD player as well. I'm picking up Million Dollar Baby tonight to check out in HD as well...
  3. John Milton

    John Milton Second Unit

    Dec 22, 2002
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    Will Warner be reissuing new versions of their HD DVD which have screwed up audio or will they wait for BD to get it right?
  4. ClaytonMG

    ClaytonMG Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 27, 2002
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    I noticed when doing the Avia tests and the THX optimizer tests, the player doesn't display really deep blacks. I am using a Monster Cable HDMI-To-DVI adapter. Anyone else notice this? I know my TV does display the blacks because on my Denon 955 upscalling player, it displayed them perfectly.

    As far as I know, Million Dollar Baby got delayed do to production issues (I am gonna guess it has to do with the audio, judging from The Last Samurai). Anyone else have the problem that the bass from the subwoofer out is too low when using the analog 5.1 out?

  5. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
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    Disney World and Universal Florida
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    Tony D.
    an article on home media retialer said it was productions issues, from wb.

    i am trying very hard to keep from the temptation of buying one of these now.

    i know by the end of theyear something better will be available and i'd hate to have spent the mney now.

    i have the best buy 12% off coupon so that makes it even more tempting.

    i know they are probably sold out by now though.
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator

    Oct 30, 1997
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    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    I've got my HD-A1 hooked up to my AE-900U projector, replacing a Denon 1920. Still kicking the tires of the unit but this is what I have noticed so far:

    Pros: It is certainly built like a tank. The picture is good to awesome so far, having only seen two disks.

    Cons: It is SLOW SLOW SLOW to boot. It froze up twice. It doesnt support DVD-A or SACD and only partially supports the High Resolution audio. The remote is TERRIBLE; the down button doesnt work over 75% of the time and it is POORLY laid out and impossible to see in a dim room. The manual is poorly laid out. When you first load the system if you are using HDMI (as I am) you get NOTHING indicating that the system isnt dead.

    So far I am pretty convinced that I will keep this unit until I can offload it for one that has both SACD and DVD-A, and I wont be replacing any films I've already dipped once on, with the exception of Universal titles and a few personal top ten favorites.

    Reports are coming in of errors on the sound tracks of all Warner films (this being why Million dollar baby was delayed). The deck is a mediocre first generation. If this was supposed to knock the wind out of Blu-Ray, mission not accomplished.

    It is a tribute to the DVD format and the mastering facilities out there how well SD-DVD holds up so far. The upconverting Denon 1920 is by no means totally outclassed feature for feature by the HD-A1, thats my opinion at this time anyway.


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