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Xbox 360 HD-DVD Add-On or the Oppo DVD Player?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by MikeMO, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    What would you all recommend? I do already own the 360...so I could get the add-on. I would ideally liked HD-DVD's, but I'm also worried that I'd drop $200 on this HD-DVD player and the format loses to Blue Ray in 2 years.

    I just bought a 46'' Sony Bravia, so I want HD content. I thought I'd just get the Oppo, and up convert my current DVD's to HD quality.

    But I also heard the 360 HD dvd player also up converts standard dvd's. BUT, there is no HDMI cable for that player.

    The Oppo, also, is $50 cheaper.

    Not sure what to do here, guys. I'd love your input.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Robert Spalding

    Robert Spalding Second Unit

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    why bother with the pseudo-HD when you can have real HD? you are already 3/4 of the way there with the TV and the 360.
     
  3. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
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    You should go for the HD add on. I'd be willing to bet that blu ray and HD-DVD will coexist for the foreseeable future. Two years from now you'll be able to buy a quality player from either format for less than $100.
     
  4. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    I think that both players, the Oppo and the MS HD-DVD, are very good players for their price points - but they actually do different things. If you are interested in HD-DVD discs to see HD content, then the 360 add-on is the way to go. It does an excellent job with HD content and is at least average or better with SD discs. I can't say for sure how it upscales SD discs because I use an external video processor for all non-HD content. On the down side, the MS unit doesn't support digital video output so no HDMI and all that this implies.

    The Oppo is a very nice unit, too, but be aware that upscaling SD discs does not create HD content. It is true that you can make good SD source material look very good (rivaling HD in some cases) but this requires one of the better external video processors found in external units or in some high-priced DVD players. There's no way the performance of a $150 upscaling DVD player can match the output from a $2000-$3000 VP. On the plus side for the OPPO - it does have HDMI output.

    The choice is completely up to you based on what you want. As others have pointed out, you already have an HD set so why not feed it some true HD content for a very reasonable price (since you already own the XBox 360)? If you're worried about HD-DVD becoming obsolescent remember that a lot of the titles are currently available in "Combo" format which has the HD version on one side and the SD version on the other. If the worst happens and HD-DVD "fails" you still have the SD version. With current pricing (and promotions such as "Google Checkout") it's quite possible to buy a combo version of some titles for almost the same price as the SD version for newer movies. Besides, another nice feature of a "Combo" disc is that you can play it at home on your HD player and play it in your car (or in another location) using the SD version.
     
  5. Shawn Perron

    Shawn Perron Supporting Actor

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    If upconverting your standard DVDs is important, then you should go with the oppo. The 360 add on does upconvert, but only if you connect it with a vga cable. Even if your TV accepts the VGA connection, many people have a washed out picture because of the format the add on sends out. Also, if you are that concerned about HD-DVD losing, there is no way to guarantee that it will not.
     
  6. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Look at the titles available that are available for hd-dvd. Can you see yourself buying more than a couple of discs? Or are you banking on the format winning the war, and thus triggering the release of the movies that you really want to see?

    If bluray "wins", you'll still have your player, and a few dozen hidef discs. They won't suddenly disappear.
     
  7. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    I see what you guys are totally saying.

    I suppose my only issue is this: I got out and buy the 360 add on for $200. I then start buying HD-DVD titles for 25 to 30 bucks a pop. In a year or two, it is announced the Blue Ray will now be the standard. Suddenly, I'm stuck with a player and discs that aren't part of the norm. I have invested in something that is now dead after two short years.

    I am torn, though. With my new HD TV, and it's size, I truly would love to see something with really good picture quality. My first thought was to get the Oppo since it can upscale to almost HD quality. I figured that would be nice, and the movies I already own and buy in the future can improve significantly in quality.

    But, for only an extra $50, I can get a player that plays SD and HD DVD's...although someone here said that the upscaling probably isn't very good on the 360 add-on. Sounds great...I'm just concerned about ending up with an HD DVD library thats moot at a couple years.

    Question, though...someone mentioned that some HD DVD's are combo packages of both SD and HD-DVD's. Is this true? What percentage of them are like this?

    Also, will we start seeing twn and three disc special editions of HD-DVD's like we do with SD? For example, I know King Kong just came out on SD DVD, and it was three discs. I don't know the specifics of the HD-DVD version, but I'm assuming it's only one disc, and thus doesn't really have any special features, right? Is this the situation with HD-DVD right now? Is it pretty much JUST the movie but with no special features/extras?

    And lastly, do any of you own the 360 Add-on? How do you like it? And do you have to turn on the 360 itself to play the HD-DVD player? I ask because the 360 can be somewhat loud due to the fan inside...and I am concerned that playing a dvd for 2 hours and having to listen to the 360 whirring and churring could get annoying.

    Thanks for everyone's help!
     
  8. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    Mike,

    You can currently buy a Toshiba A1 for only a few bucks more than the HD add-on and it will give you HD and upconverted DVD playback. It will closely match the playback quality of the OPPO, with the benefit of HD content playback. If in a couple of years the HD-DVD format goes away, you will still have a fine upconverting player.

    The Toshiba gives you the added benefit of Analog outputs for Dolby TrueHD, and presumably DTS HD.

    Just a thought.
     
  9. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    Good job doing research before you buy!
     
  10. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys,

    Once again, thanks for your responses.

    So, what would you recommend:

    Getting the HD DVD add on for the 360...or this Toshiba A1 that does both upscaling and plays HD DVD's. I haven't checked the price of the Toshiba yet, but am curious for your input.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    The HD-A1 is a lot slower (60 seconds to startup, 20 seconds to read a disc) however it offers higher quality sound output as well as HDMI output. The 360 addon is much faster (25 seconds to startup, disc reading as fast as DVD), but it doesn't deliver lossless sound or HDMI.

    Of course, if you want the best of both worlds, you can get the HD-A2 which will be available the week of 12/12 (some Best Buys have it in stock early) - it is both as fast as the 360 addon and has the features/quality of the HD-A1. Of course, its also the more expensive one out of the group:
    http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-HD-A2-...&s=electronics

    If I had the cash, I'd go with the HD-A2 myself. If not, HD-A1 or 360 addon based on whether you want highest quality (HD-A1) with slow speed, or highest speed (360) with high quality. ValueElectronics.com also has a deal on the HD-A2 where you get 5 free HD DVDs with it when you order, and the preorder price is $449.
     
  12. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Keep in mind that the Toshiba HD-A2 does not have discrete 5.1 outputs, whereas the HD-A1 does.

    I like the idea of getting the Toshiba HD-A1--one of the best upconverting SD players (assuming you connect via HDMI) along with a slow but solid HD DVD player. Trouble is, I can't seem to find it anywhere this morning for less than $400.

    For my new rig downstairs, I use the Xbox 360 (it is not that loud when movie sound is playing). I also use the Oppo 970 because it is a universal player, allowing DVD Audio and SACD playback via the discrete 5.1 channel outputs, and SD upconversion via HDMI. Unless you can find one of those $350 HD-A1's like was available last month, the 360 and Oppo are the only $350 combination I know of that will handle both HD DVD and upconverting SD content.

    As for orphaned formats, just because a format dies, it does not mean your player or software ceases to exist. I would not worry about buying into HD DVD or Blu-ray Disc for that reason.

    - Steve
     
  13. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    I like Steve's suggestion- for the price of the HD-A1, you can get the 360 HD-DVD add-on AND the Oppo.

    The other upshot of having the Oppo is that is can easily be changed to be region free if you're interested in buying any overseas DVDs.


    I thought the list-price on the HD-A2 was supposed to be $499, same as the HD-A1, yet that Amazon link says list price is $699? Not that it matters much when it comes to real-world purchasing, but still...

    Vincent
     
  14. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for everyone's input!

    I went out today to Best Buy and bought the 360 HD DVD drive. It was an open box item, but they told me it should work fine. Came with a $20 gift card due to the open box item. Also came with the King Kong and remote package.

    So I got the drive, and used a 12% Reward Zone coupon. So that brought it to $188. Then I bought the DVD's "Ray" and "Superman Returns." Used the $20.00 gift card on those dvd's, and got both for $42.

    Pretty good, right?

    Well, I'll update you guys on how I like it once I hook it up. Thanks everyone!
     
  15. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
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    You definitely come out on the positive side of this transaction. $188 is about half of what I paid for my first DVD player and that's the second best money that I've ever spent. The first best money is what I spent on that trip to meet my first online girlfriend in 96, but I won't bore you with the details of that [​IMG]
     
  16. Pete T C

    Pete T C Second Unit

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    Good deal, just make sure to give the drive a solid runthrough and make sure BB didn't put out a returned-as-defective drive in the open box (i.e. make sure there is no skipping or freezing).
     
  17. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    OK guys...just tested it all out.

    I definitely do notice a difference, but here are my thoughts. Day, outside scenes look incredible. Shots of the city skyline, or outside a home, etc. I popped in King Kong, and the scene where everyone is running from the dino's looked very good. They sun light looks extremely sharp and just utterly real.

    I think, though, that some other scenes just look "good" but not great. Maybe if it's a extreme close up of a person, but otherwise, I would argue it's just a minor step above regular dvd.

    I have a 46'' Sony Bravia TV...and I am noticing some grain in the picture. It's not a lot by any means, but it is there. Now granted, I don't subscribe to any HD channels yet, and I get my TV through DirecTV which, in standard definition, doesn't look so great.

    But at the same time, I am noticing some slight grain with the HD content, too. I think Madden 07 looks the best to eliminate the grainy quality on the 360. But I was aware of it on some of the HD DVD's. Anyone know why that is? I figure it might be my TV, but I am not sure how to eliminate that slight grain look.

    But anyways, I popped in Superman Returns. I thought that looked pretty good. One thing I have noticed is the sound isn't as strong compared to my regular dvd player. And I have it hooked up where I get surround sound through my Onkyo. I popped in "Ray" though, and the picture and sound was probably the best out of the three HD-DVD's I tried. Especially the sound. The sound was just extremely crisp and pretty forceful. King Kong, though, may have looked better, but that could also just be because there's more going on in that movie, action wise.

    Also, question...how will you know which movies will give you the black widescreen bars, and which won't? On my King Kong HD DVD, the widescreen bars were present. In my Ray HD DVD, the black bars were absent.

    Thanks.
     
  18. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    The black bars are a function of the aspect ratio on the discs. Look on the back of the box (or on websites that carry disc details.) 2.35:1 titles will result in black bars on HD sets (unless you own a Runco "Theater-wide" display - read: Big bucks). 1.78:1 titles will not display black bars.

    And for what it's worth, I own both the Toshiba HD-XA1 (the A1's "bigger" brother) and the Xbox360 HD-DVD add on. Except for the fact that the XA1 has HDMI and 5.1 analog audio output, in every other regard I greatly prefer the 360 drive. Faster load times, better remote, better functions (display of time remaining, etc.) Please note that I use an external video processor so the upscaling abilities of both players with SD material (wherein the XA1 is gets the nod) plays no role in my comparison of the two units. In fact, I'm going to get rid of the XA1 at the first opportunity. In my opinion, purchasing this unit was not one of my wiser decisions. The upcoming XA2 has the same drive as the 360 HD-DVD so the load speed should be comparable and much improved over the 1st generation Toshibas. However, since I already have an HD-DVD player I might just wait to see what next year brings in HD-DVD players from other manufacturers.
     
  19. MikeMO

    MikeMO Stunt Coordinator

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    ^^Thanks for that info.
     

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