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Old October 27th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #1
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$200 HD-DVD player

Just noticed that Wal-Mart & Circuit City are selling a 1080i Toshiba HD-DVD player.

This format war is not going to go away anytime soon, and as a content producer, I am not looking forward to the compatability fiasco once again...

Last edited by Tim Polster; October 27th, 2007 at 09:52 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #2
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Which model? Their website shows HD-A2 for $280. It is only 1080i. On the other hand I've read that A20 while being capable of 1080p actually displays worse picture than A2. I am waiting for the prices on XA2 to come down, it produces proper 1080p and has wonderful Reon chip for upscaling and deinterlacing regular DVDs. XA2 for the price of A2 -- that would be nice.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #3
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As Michael noted the Toshiba A2 is selling for $280 at Wal-Mart...and they're taking pre-orders for the reduced price Playstation 3 for $400. The latter is a better value and it's currently easier to get everything you need to make Blu-ray discs, so I'm recommending Blu-ray to customers.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #4
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I actually read the articles on the reduction in price of the A2 and checked the Circuit City site today and yesterday, which the very top player is the A2 for 197. I actually purchased my A2 a few months ago and love it. The price drop is sweet. The only thing killing them is that they don't have HD-DVD burners that one can purchase. I don't know why, Toshiba has had them on their site for the last year or so(kinda retarded).

The PS3 is a sweet deal for the 400 version. The only issues I can see with that one, that makes "me" not want to purchase it, is my history with Playstations. I have had 4 PS2's and my most recent one doesn't play most pressed dvd's, so it for the post part sits there catatonic doing absolutely nothing, and then on top of that, in this version, they have taken away the ability to play former generation games. Which is completely dumb in my opinion since it has allowed people to play their current library of games(which unlike me, most peoples are extensive) along with the newer games.

The latter to be honest isn't really an issue with me. I just find it hard in this day and age to plunk down 400 bucks to a company that with their gaming systems I have had nothing but trouble. And on top of that, when I did send the systems in for repair, it took a good month or so. And never once did they replace my systems. They repaired them and fixed their goofy recalls, but never did they replace them, despite the history I have on their systems. For this reason alone, someone would have to buy me a PS3 before I ever had one. I don't game alot anymore simply because of my experience with the PS2 either. On top of that, the system still isn't cheap at all. And I have a Sony FX7! I just don't believe in their gaming systems. I don't.

I wish they would get it together also with this silly format thing, but that is how it is it seems with everything these days, the things that seem to make the most sense, seem to illude those in higher positions, while all they concentrate on is the conquest, or in this case "attempted" conquest of assets.

Would I purchase the A2 again at the lower price? Yes, absolutely! Why? Because despite some of the movies I cannot get in HD DVD, the upconvert is great! I have my unit set to 720p and for my purposes on my 37" LCD, the picture looks great. They have had numerous firmware upgrades since purchasing the unit, which have just improved the quality and playability of the unit, and on top of that, it's cheap to get into HD! The one thing that sucks is that there aren't any HD DVD burners on the market. But I am getting very close to purchasing Pinnacle Studio Plus or Ultimate which will burn to standard dvd's for short projects. But with all of my funds wrapped in adobe products, I am very hessitant. As they do not have a trial of the software to test out...

Sorry about the long post.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #5
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You are correct.

The inexpensive HD-DVD players are going to bring their sales up and further segment the installed base of HD-DVD & Blu-Ray.

Just adding to mess down the road for us trying to deliver one or the other formats.

It is so complicated that you can't trust people when you ask them what they have.

I know we are in the minority, but I wish the FTC or the FCC would mandate a dual format player early in the game.

Because we all know the end to this story, one is going to stay around and the other will give up the struggle due to lack of profits from the price war.

But, I don't think that can happen, so we can only sit and watch the show.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #6
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Tim, you know what? I hadn't even thought of the option of a mandate(which of course they unfortunately would never do...) by one of the governing bodies. But It certainly would be nice.

And yes, it is extremely complicated with this stuff. The funny thing is that HDV has been out what? For two to three years now? I honestly don't remember how long it took for DVD to become soo embedded in the system, but I don't think it was this long. I just don't and never have understood the logic(or lack therof). If you make something that is extremely expensive up front, yes, you would recoup some of your reasearch dollars, but what really makes your product sell is making it "appealing AND economical" to the masses. I really don't see what is soo hard about that theory. Kinda the "you build it, they will come" type of thing.

For example, if these eggheads(sorry, best word I could come up with at the moment) would have basically come to a consensus, they could have easily say in the case of Apple, had the prices high for maybe six months max, and then began dropping prices on players and media. If there was one format, all would have won. But no! We have to have two formats, both of which will look great, both of which are a huge step above standard definition and both of which will allow more functional content to be added. Why does there have to be two formats? All they have done is made the average person that works everyday and does have some "money burning" cash shy away. That is what I don't get. I for one am a cheapskate. No doubt about it. It is easier for me to digest that I will have to throw away 300.00 versus 800.00.

My question to these jerks as a consumer is why do we even have to think that our funds are going to be thrown away on a format that will not last. I, personally don't care who wins. As you said Tim, it is extremely confusing as not only a person that creates content(not as a full time living), but as a consumer that gets tired of all this "my format is better than yours mess". And up until recently, all the individuals I had spoken with said and say the exact same thing. If they had a format that was universal and weren't "soo" money hungry, they could have for example, sold tons more Xbox's and Playstation 3's. If they had said ok, one high defintition format that will work in either, maybe, just maybe consumers that have children would have been able to stomach 500.00 for a PS3(I am playing devils advocate because as I said, I wouldn't pay, let the price come down, just how it has and will continue to do so) or for the Xbox add on. Also, maybe, just maybe, they could have priced a silly blue ray player(which an intelligent consumer knows in this day and age that if "they" wait it out, either the product will suceed or fail, but we all know that with time the price will come down. The company will almost have no choice if they wish to make money off the product) lower than 500.00 and it would not have had to compete on the same price platform as a gaming system, which also would have spurred sales by now.

For example, two of my buddies, older guys that I speak with on cigarette breaks have asked me continuously on what I thought about both formats since I seem to be the tech geek. We always meet at the same point when we say, "the cheaper will suceed" and not necissarily the one with the best features. But back to my original question and thought, why simply cant everyone win for once? Why do things have to always be driven by "I want it all and not give you anything", because that is what this is all about. It really is. Not about which is better or superior, its simply about greed up top by execs with degrees and IMHO no common sense. My mother always had and does have a saying that I hold soo dear to my heart and it is "you can have all the education and money in the world, but without common sense, your nothing but an educated fool, who sooner or later is going to show how really dumb you are. The difference between the wealthy fool and poor fool is how much you have to loose". Who knows?! I just wonder how long it's going to take for execs in charge to fail due to their foolishness/folly and someone sensible to step in? That is what I am waiting for.

Just a thought... But once again, I am one of the lowly, dumb consumers that will wait it out despite having HD DVD already. I was just impatient for a player one day and was impressed with the picture, but blue ray looks good also. But to be honest, I only have a few HD DVD's. I will not invest largely in media if I do not know what direction it is going to go. Anyhow, I rambled on. But god yes man, it's confusing to the third power... LOL

Damon
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Old October 28th, 2007, 02:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
I know we are in the minority, but I wish the FTC or the FCC would mandate a dual format player early in the game.

Because we all know the end to this story, one is going to stay around and the other will give up the struggle due to lack of profits from the price war.
I disagree. As convenient as a dual format player sounds right now, I believe in the long run they are going to make the problem worse. The reason is that most of the investment people make is for the media, not the players.

If I bought about equal numbers of BlueRay and HD-DVD movies today and played them happily with my dual format player, the moment this dual format player quits working I'll have trouble replacing it, because by then one of the two formats will have emerged as the winner. It's as if I tried to buy a new Betamax VCR today - good luck finding one! Therefore, I do not want to spend any money on high-definition media until it is clear which of these two standards will be around for a while, and having the government mandate that players implement both standards for a while will only push out the date that this decision is made.

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Old October 28th, 2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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Good point, but I see Microsoft and Sony behind this battle and they both have deep pockets and big egos.

I can't see this ending anytime soon, but it would be great if does.

Because of this war, I can not see delivering in HD to people other than weddings for quite some time in my business.

I often shoot projects that people they turn around and sell.

There is no way to know what people can play and it is not very cost effective to offer all formats for a small company.

Kind of kills the joy in a possible HD upgrade.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 04:02 PM   #9
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If the A2 is the improved version of the A1, it should deinterlace and upconvert quite well. Still, I don't think that anyone can beat Silicon Optix's chip in handling "difficult" (read: badly mastered) content. I think I will wait for the XA2 prices to go down. Damn, $200 is tempting! With these prices OPPO may be pushed out of business. OPPO's "cheap" player is $150 and uses Mediatek decoder, OPPO's top model is $250 and uses Faroudja chip. The A2 fits in the middle AND it plays HD content. If I hadn't bought the OPPO player just less than a year ago, I would jump this offer.

A2 is not region-free in regards to standard DVDs, but well, I have my OPPO player which is. I would prefer having only one unit, but with competing Blu-Ray standard I don't think it is possible anyway. The dual-standard LG player seems to be a rushed product with lots of glitches.

Another thing is that A2 is 1080i only, and my TV cannot brag with good deinterlacer, so I want a real 1080p player. Like XA2 ;-) But I can use 720p mode since my plasma TV is not 1080p...
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Because we all know the end to this story, one is going to stay around and the other will give up the struggle due to lack of profits from the price war.
Unlike Beta vs VHS, you will be able to play standard DVDs on a player that will have lost the war. And I don't think that DVDs will extinct soon.
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Originally Posted by Damon Gaskin View Post
I for one am a cheapskate. No doubt about it. It is easier for me to digest that I will have to throw away 300.00 versus 800.00.
If I remember correctly, first DVD players did cost way more than $1K. First CD burners did cost about $2K. The very first IBM PC did cost $3K and it did not even have a hard drive. The laptop I bought in 2000 did cost $3400, these days one can have a way more powerful laptop with 17" display for $1-$1.5K.
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I, personally don't care who wins.
I do. I don't want Sony product. Sony has dual interests as producer of video/audio reproducing/recording equipment and also as a content-producer (movies and music). No Sony for me. HD-DVD or nothing.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 01:26 AM   #10
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My first DVD player I ever bought was $280.00. It is a great DVD player and I still use it today in my office.

$200.00 for a...
1. High quality HD player
2. Super awesome DVD upconversion player with HDMI
... is not a bad price at all. It is much cheaper then my first DVD player and it can do a heck of a lot more. my first DVD player wasn't even a progressive scan player. Just straight up NTSC with half way decent component outputs.

The lack of 1080p really isn't that big of a deal. If you have a 1080i or 720p HDTV the 1080p output wouldn't really do a whole lot for you anyway. In order to get any use out of a true 1080p output player you have to have a 1920x1080 display that will take a 1080p HDMI signal. Most HDTV's are 720p native or 1080i at best. A 1080i HDMI output is going to be more then fine for the 95% of HDTV owners out there already and the 80% of future HDTV owners who will buy 42" or less HDTV's. (just pulled those figures out of think air but they are just to give the idea that true 1080p displays are not all that common.)

I have a 50" 720p display that I love to death and this player will look just as good as a 1080p capable player since my 50" cannot use 1080p anyway. Even if you had a sub 42" display that was a true 1080p I doubt you would even really notice at normal viewing distances.

For those lucky few who do have a true 1080p display. Do you think you could really tell the source was 1080i when you are sitting a normal distance away from the screen? I read a few reviews that said even up close it was pretty hard to tell. Of course at the time of that review I don't think there were any 1080p displays or they may not have been using one.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:58 AM   #11
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$200.00 for a...
1. High quality HD player
2. Super awesome DVD upconversion player with HDMI
... is not a bad price at all.
AFAIK the upconversion is not super awesome, it is just ok. XA2 has super awesome upconversion / deinterlacing / cadence detection.

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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
The lack of 1080p really isn't that big of a deal. If you have a 1080i or 720p HDTV the 1080p output wouldn't really do a whole lot for you anyway. In order to get any use out of a true 1080p output player you have to have a 1920x1080 display that will take a 1080p HDMI signal.
The use of "1080i" and "1080p" in regards to displays is so inconsistent. What did YOU mean? There are 2006 and 2007 TVs like some Toshibas that have 1920x1080 panel, but have only 1080i60 input. On the other hand, my one-year old Panasonic plasma has only 1365x768 panel but has proper 1080p60 input. My TV is known for subpar deinterlacing and cadence detection, but this did not bother me much because I intended to use it for watching movies from a good progressive scan DVD player. For DVDs 480p works great, but 1080i for HD-DVDs does not.
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I have a 50" 720p display that I love to death and this player will look just as good as a 1080p capable player since my 50" cannot use 1080p anyway.
Yep, this would be a good solution, but according to some reviews, the Toshiba A2 does not produce good 720p output. Also, I've heard (I don't know whether it is truth or not, but it seems logical from a programmer's point of view) than all/most TVs with panel having more than 720 rows (like the Panasonic of mine) always scale to 1080 lines first, then rescale for a particular panel. This allows to save some R&D money on scaling because one portion of the scaler is always the same. If this is truth, I don't want to rescale three times, first in the player to 720p, then in the TV to 1080p, then in the TV to 768p.

Simply put, this cheap HD-DVD player works great with expensive TVs but is not completely suitable for owners of less than stellar TVs. In the "player->TV" chain at least one device has to be proper good. My TV is not, so I will wait for the good player -- XA2 -- to get cheaper.

Yes, you may say that with mine outdated 1365x768 panel I should not care. Um, but I do ;-)
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Old October 29th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #12
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Sears Black Friday Ad leaked:

http://www.blackfriday.info/ads/sear...friday-ad.html

Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD Player - $169.99
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Old October 29th, 2007, 06:51 PM   #13
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Sears Black Friday Ad leaked:

http://www.blackfriday.info/ads/sear...friday-ad.html

Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD Player - $169.99
I already have the HD-A1....but at that price.... it's tempting to get up early Friday morning after all the turkey.
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