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Toshiba $799 hd-DVD player and my experience

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Mrjb

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This is about the player so dont flame me for posting it in here.
I was very excited receiving the higher end hd-dvd player.

Appearance. Clean lines. Black top silver bottom that is motorized and opens-sometimes via button and remote. The unit is really wide. Wider than any of my other equipment including my 100 pound amp which almost caused a problem. The surround of the power button is red when off green when on. It has a blue lit strip in the middle of the unit about DVD sized.

Material
hd-dvd Last Samurai and Apollo 13
I tried the player on both a 50 inch 720p samsung dlp and a 72 inch 1080p toshiba.

Picture First
I was not happy with the picture on the samsung but I think it may have been due to using the hdmi cable the player came with. I saw pixilation, blocking and noise.

Most of this went away on my Toshiba with a better hdmi. The Last Samurai - The picture was good. I was not blown away. Very inconsistent as some scenes looked crisp and clean and other looked like a regular DVD. Dark scenes looked off some how in the dark detail.
Apollo 13- It looked like it was up sampled from the factory. Very little noise but not a crisp or colorful picture. Maby because it is an older movie?
Both movies skipped out of the box.

Sound- First things first. Dolby Plus. The player decodes this internally and has an analog 5.1 output which essentially bypasses the processing in your pre amp or receiver. What a piece of junk. The bass was better and that is it. The dynamics were terrible. Gunshots sounded weak. The rocket taking off in Apollo was completely unexciting. A MAJOR step back in sound. It also sounded very bright. I am not knocking Dolby plus just the fact that until other receiver manufactures offer Dolby plus or true 5/6/7/8.1 decoding and Toshiba has another way to get it there it ie hdmi 1.3 it is completely worthless. I switched back to a digital coax and the sound was much better.

Usability. Wow. It acts like a prototype. I thought it was broken at first. It takes about 2 minutes to turn on. Everything has a major delay. I hit a button waited a good amount of time to make up for the delay then hit it again thinking it didn't register. Very,very frustrating and buggy. It froze a couple of times.

I don't know if this is the players fault or the hd-dvd design fault but both disks skipped brand new first run. On the second run of the last samurai it completely locked up and wouldn't change scenes. Went through the 5 minute procedure of powering off and on.

Toshiba rushed it to the market. I really believe they just wanted to beat blue ray to the market. It is consumer unfriendly. Ohh well, win some lose some

I am RETURNING IT TO THE VENDOR
 
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Reverb

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Mrjb said:
Picture First
I was not happy with the picture on the samsung but I think it may have been due to using the hdmi cable the player came with. I saw pixilation, blocking and noise.
The HDMI cable that comes with the player is junk, Defiantly look for a better quality cable.

The Last Samurai - The picture was good. I was not blown away. Very inconsistent as some scenes looked crisp and clean and other looked like a regular DVD.
The transfer on the last samurai is very good but does, look soft and lacking in detail at times.

Dark scenes looked off some how.
The HD-A1 and HD-XA1 have the same guts in them, you are basically paying $300.00 more for the motorized door and cosmetic changes on the HD-XA1, Performance of the two players are identical. That being said these players are clipping blacker then black and whiter then white, that’s why the black look a little funny.


Sound- First things first. Dolby Plus. The player decodes this internally and has an analog 5.1 output which essentially bypasses the processing in your pre amp or receiver. What a piece of junk. The bass was better and that is it. The dynamics were terrible. Gunshots sounded weak. The rocket taking off in Apollo was completely unexciting. A MAJOR step back in sound. It also sounded very bright. I am not knocking Dolby plus just the fact that until other receiver manufactures offer Dolby plus decoding and Toshiba has another way to get it there it is completely worthless. I switched back to a digital coax and the sound was much better.
The Toshibas HD-A1 and HD-XA1 can only decode Dolby TrueHD 2 channel. In order to beat Blu-Ray to market Toshiba used a lesser Dolby decoding chip that can only decode 2 channels of Dolby TrueHD, the other channels are plain Dolby digital.

I am RETURNING IT TO THE VENDOR
I thought about taking my HD-A1 back a number of times, but somehow have kept it. I now have six titles for it, the Last Samurai, Million Dollar Baby, Doom, Apollo 13, Swordfish, and Training Day. Every time I purchased a new movie I was hoping to see that wow factor, like the previous movie was rushed to market and the next will be better but so far quality has been pretty consistent. They do look good but lack that WOW factor, I too feel this player is not consumer friendly and cannot give it a recommendation.
 
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Mrjb

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acourding to my distributor the a1 only has 1 dsp and the 1xa has 4. Also they decode the sound into dolby plus which is different than true and transfer it via 5.1. or dolby dig. through regular means dig coax ext.
 
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Reverb

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Mrjb said:
acourding to my distributor the a1 only has 1 dsp and the 1xa has 4. Also they decode the sound into dolby plus which is different than true and transfer it via 5.1. or dolby dig. through regular means dig coax ext.
That was the rumor the A1 only has one DSP to the XA1’s four, but one of our members at the AVSforum disassembled an HD-A1 and identified the four DSP’s, so that rumor is false.

Yes it’s converted but that’s only if you use digital coax or fiber optic, if you use the analog outs like I am, it is not down converted.
 
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leaderc

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+1 on the above. I have the HD-A1 and am not blown away by it, but since I paid less than retail for it, I'm keeping it for the moment. I do think Swordfish is the best of the three titles I have: Last Samurai, and Apollo 13. I'm going to re-evaluate how badly I want to keep it once Bluray and titles for it are out.

Charles
 
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Mrjb

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leaderc said:
+1 on the above. I have the HD-A1 and am not blown away by it, but since I paid less than retail for it, I'm keeping it for the moment. I do think Swordfish is the best of the three titles I have: Last Samurai, and Apollo 13. I'm going to re-evaluate how badly I want to keep it once Bluray and titles for it are out.

Charles
Does you player freeze all the time? I can not change scenes.
 

Reverb

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leaderc said:
+1 on the above. I have the HD-A1 and am not blown away by it, but since I paid less than retail for it, I'm keeping it for the moment. I do think Swordfish is the best of the three titles I have: Last Samurai, and Apollo 13. I'm going to re-evaluate how badly I want to keep it once Bluray and titles for it are out.

Charles
Charles,

Swordfish does look good, I like the opening seen with all the ball bearing flying around, I have never seen them bouncing around the slowing camera shot like I can on HD-DVD the detail is very nice and the colors jump off the screen. I would agree Sworfish is the reference HD-DVD disk so far. King Kong and Batman Begins should be good ones as well when the hit in another month or two.
 

Reverb

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Mrjb said:
Does you player freeze all the time? I can not change scenes.
My player has yet to lock up and stop playing, but I have had a few problems playing back the Last Samurai, two times now the video on the 2nd half of the movie will get jittery and the audio will drop in and out but after 30 seconds or so will stop and continue playing fine. The only cause for this I can find is dust on the back of the disk, I now use a can of “dust off” on every disk before I insert it into my HD-A1 and so far this jitter has yet to come back.
 

attyonline

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Sounds like an overhyped piece of you know what ;) . I for one will wait one or two more generations to see if these formats will improve.
 

Statman

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I'm going to wait for the players to be debugged first. Thanks to all you early adapters, I'm not ever playing that buy the first generation product game again. I've learned to wait now. :cool:
 

SteveInNC

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jjqiv said:
Looks like I'll still be waiting awhile...

I'm less of a video fanatic in any case - I just got an HDTV last summer - so I can wait for the players and formats to shake out a bit. I admit that it still gives me pause when I buy DVDs, since I always think "am I going to be buying this yet again a year from now?"
 
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