A look inside the first HD DVD player at DVinfo.net

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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #1
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A look inside the first HD DVD player

It's a full blown PC running Linux...

http://geekswithblogs.net/lorint/arc.../21/75795.aspx
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Old May 13th, 2006, 02:27 AM   #2
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Interesting link, thanks Rob. Apparently it has a loooong boot up time:

http://www.hdforindies.com/2006/05/t...-disgrace.html
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Old May 13th, 2006, 12:32 PM   #3
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Messed with one extensively last night for a bleeding edge tech friend.... IMHO this unit is lame. VERY LARGE and clunky, worst remote I have ever used and 45+ seconds of loud fan before your picture comes up... weird errors requiring resets and some you have to unplug the HDMI cable and plug it back in... Picture is great... but when we A/B'd an sd disk of the same title from a normal viewing distance the difference was masked quite a bit. This was on a 60" Sony LCD HDTV.



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Old May 13th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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What was your audio setup? I am profoundly confused by the new DD incarnations.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #5
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I own one of the new Toshiba HD-A1 units -- I've had it for about a week now. Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of your comments... :-( Overall, the unit is lame -- rushed to market, very buggy. Boot up times are rediculously long (about 20 seconds to boot, another 15 to load a standard DVD, anywhere from 25 seconds to a whole minute more to load an HD DVD), but Toshiba claims this (and other issues) will be fixed in an upcoming firmware update. There are some HDMI compatibility issues, but this has to do with the audio support in this unit. The A1 and XA1 players don't engage their HDMI video support until the audio portion is engaged... Audio on this is flakey at best and instead of delaying another month or two to work it all out, Toshiba decided to release it in crippled form. No DD multichannel support over digital and HDMI connectors - Only DTS 5.1 and 2.1 or standard stereo audio. :-( However, DD works over the 5.1 channel analog out. The video output on this unit is also limited to 1080i even though all currently available (and most upcoming) HD-DVD releases are encoded at 1080p.

Picture quality is outstanding, it's as good as any of the blu-ray demos I've seen, including what was shown at the Sony hosted blu-ray seminar I attended last friday. IMO, blu-ray is still the superior product. Much more polished, better player design, superior capacity with potential for higher capacities down the road, transfer rate for movies is about 5Mbps greater for blu-ray. I think both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have a tough road ahead for acceptance. Joe Average Consumer isn't going to notice the difference between a good DVD transfer on a nice player and TV compared to a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc. The little extra detail is lost at longer viewing distances and/or on TVs that don't support the full 1080(p) resolution. There's a good chance that Blu-Ray and HD-DVD could suffer the same fate as SACD and DVD-Audio. :-(

Anyway, all that said, I think the Toshiba unit just plain sucks. A lot of people praise its upconvert ability for standard DVD, but I don't see why. It upconverts better than the Samsung upconvert DVD players but it's no better than my Sony CX995V changer's upscaler or the newer Pioneer and Panasonic players. It can't touch the upscaled video quality of the higher end Denon players.

The remote does indeed suck (by no means the worst remote I've used, though). But most people buying these will program it to a universal remote anyway.

IMO, Toshiba should have used Blu-Ray's delayed release to their advantage and should have cleaned this product up before shipping. They're not making a good first impression for the format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Messed with one extensively last night for a bleeding edge tech friend.... IMHO this unit is lame. VERY LARGE and clunky, worst remote I have ever used and 45+ seconds of loud fan before your picture comes up... weird errors requiring resets and some you have to unplug the HDMI cable and plug it back in... Picture is great... but when we A/B'd an sd disk of the same title from a normal viewing distance the difference was masked quite a bit. This was on a 60" Sony LCD HDTV.



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Old May 13th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #6
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I guess we'll have to see if the Blu-ray player packages with original hardware.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 03:07 PM   #7
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For sure Sony and Panasonic will never release a unit like that. Sony for example already squeezed everything into the PS3.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 03:39 PM   #8
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Are you implying that blu-ray players will merely be repackaged hd-dvd units? I can assure you, while sharing much in common, these are fundamentally different formats.


On that note... there is an RCA hd-dvd unit shipping soon, but it is a mere re-packaging of the A1, so do not hope for any major design changes in that venue.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff McElroy
On that note... there is an RCA hd-dvd unit shipping soon, but it is a mere re-packaging of the A1, so do not hope for any major design changes in that venue.
Yeah, the RCA will be just a rebranded HD-A1 and will sell for $399 MSRP ($100 less than the Toshiba A1), but Toshiba is expected to lower their price in another month or so when the RCA unit ships. As it is now, the A1 can be had for about $425 if you play your cards right... I got mine through Sears for their $479 sales price less a 10% off coupon and another $30 off coupon. The way it all worked out was $479.95 - $30 * .90 = $404.96 plus tax.

What puzzles me is how many people are buying the more expensive HD-XA1 that lists for $799. It's the same player, but for the extra $300 you get an RS232 serial interface, different front bezel and tray design and a backlit remote. The only reason to buy the XA1 version is if you need the RS232 port for integration into a AMX, Crestron or other high end control system. And you still get all the audio bugs and no DD 5.1 support over digital (HDMI, Coaxial or optical). :-(
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #10
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Considering the level of DRM support. HDMI support and the power needed to handle all the HD codecs I'm not too worried about the rough edges of the Toshiba launch.

I mean did people really think that the format would hit without a few issues? Hell $499 is nothing really for most of us computer users and at that price you have the ability to watch movies that are a shade away from the masters.

I consider that pretty damn phenomenal. I'd worry about startup times if movies were 15 minutes but when I queue up a movie waiting a couple of minutes simply allows me to prep a bit more while things are starting up. Seems we're are indeed creating an A.D.D society that has to have everything "right now"

I'm looking forward to owning both formats. Hell today's DVD players fail many tests still and they've been around a decade.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #11
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Based on all the politics, buggy tech and such, I'm not even going to consider any HD player until fall 2007 if that soon. Just not worth it. I commend all of you with arrows in your backs.:)
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Old May 16th, 2006, 03:08 AM   #12
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I agree Joe. I don't even have an HD TV yet. I'm still waiting for the HD revolution to stabilize.

I think I'll get into HDTV when those better/cheaper SED sets are out and blu-ray or HDDVD has been declared the winner. Maybe what... 2-3 years? Until then I'm good with SD.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 04:54 AM   #13
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It will be argued in certain quarters that consumers aren't ready - when really it will be the technology that's immature.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 05:31 PM   #14
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Frankly I'm not too worried about the units. I expect a pretty big jump in stability from the 1st generation to the 2nd.

Right now both platforms are frankly coming out a bit vanilla and just ensuring that things work. I think that the 2nd generation stuff comes out spring 2007 with smaller casing better prices and more features. By the end of 2007 consumers will have so many affordable HDTV choices we'll begin t see the rise of HD whether it be HD-DVD or Blu Ray.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #15
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Like I always say, for your average consumer, 480p is good enough. They wont buy HD titles unless they are the same price as the SD titles. I do think HDTVs will continue to build but last X-mas the average HDTV was still almost $1200, that is a HARD sell to most middle class families. Even at half that price, it would represent a more expensive TV than most people own. We know from history that the magic penetration number is $299.

Another thing, when you talk about HDTVs under 42" there is just not much difference. From NORMAL viewing distance, most people cannot see much difference in digital HD on a 32" SD set and HD on a 34" HD set. HD most definitely will happen but it will be cost, not quality or resolution that will cause the penetration to happen...


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