Toshiba’s HD DVD Recorder Now Available (in Japan)

July 27, 2006

Toshiba RD-A1

After a two week delay Toshiba’s RD-A1, 1-terabyte hard disk, 1080p HD DVD recorder is on sale in Japan. The RD-A1 was originally scheduled for launch on July 14th but was pushed back due to “production delays”.

Back on June 22nd the announcement of the RD-A1 HD DVD recorder caused quite a bit of buzz with features like: 1TB disk storage, 1080p over HDMI, 297MHz/14bit video encoding, 192kHz/24 bit audio, DTS-HD support and terrestrial/satellite HD inputs.

And of course much of that buzz was dampened by the fact the recorder won’t be available in the U.S. and retails for 398,000 yen (roughly $3400).

We don’t normally report on Japanese product launches but a full featured, 1080p capable HD DVD recorder with 1TB of hard drive space is a TV fanatic’s dream-come-true and well, just seemed noteworthy no matter where you happen to hang your hat.

But I do have some news for you HD DVD fans that aren’t quite ready to jet off to Japan and snag one of these recorders….

After speaking with a contact at a local distributor about an HD-XA1, he popped out an email (one I probably wasn’t supposed to see) that mentioned Toshiba’s tentative HD DVD announcements to be made at the upcoming CEDIA in September.

Deep breath, the email mentioned replacements for both the HD-A1 and HD-XA1, now it might sound a bit soon to even be thinking about successors to the A1’s but keep in mind that products announced at CEDIA are only that, announcements.

The details were scarce but it did mention a redesign for the HD-A1 (date: TBA 2006) and that the HD-XA1’s successor would follow sometime in early 2007.

Reading between the lines I got the impression that the majority of the changes would be cosmetic in nature and consolidations of already released and soon-to-be released firmware upgrades. But again, hard to say based on the limited info I saw. That’s it I’ve said enough and probably too much.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HD-DVD


Comments

  • David

    Good information, B. I wasn’t aware of this. I’ve got the newest non-LCD DLP Samsung, so I’m guessing my set’s capable. Thanks.

  • David

    Good information, B. I wasn’t aware of this. I’ve got the newest non-LCD DLP Samsung, so I’m guessing my set’s capable. Thanks.

  • B.Greenway

    “cosmetic in nature and consolidations of already released and soon-to-be released firmware upgrades”

    Please take the whole thing in context. Some of those soon-to-be-released firmware upgrades aren’t minor. But to answer your question directly, what I saw made no direct reference to the inclusion or exclusion of 1080p.

    And at the risk of beating an already pummeled and thoroughly dead horse even more…. 1080p from HD DVD is possible right now. Somewhere, someone, at this very moment is viewing 1080 lines of progressively scanned video, with the combination of a current model HD DVD player and 1080p display.

    The film based content on HD DVD is encoded at 1080p/24, this stream output at 1080i/60 to a 1080p display, capable of 3:2 pulldown (hard to find one that isn’t capable) results in full 1080p. Right now with no waiting and at $500 less than the competition to boot.

    Or in other words, currently 1080p film material is 24 frames per second. 1080i sends 60 fields per second; it simply splits each frame into two parts and sends them separately to the displays video processor. The difference from just sending the display 1080p/24 to begin with versus 1080i/60 to a 1080p display with 3:2 pulldown is indistinguishable.

    1080p output from a hi-def disc player is by and large a marketing decision; these manufacturers know that true 1080p requires a (shocker) 1080p display and that the overwhelming majority of 1080p displays have 3:2 pull down and very capable internal video processors.

    On the other hand, you really have to wonder what real benefit the 1080p output from the Samsung Blu-ray player offers. The Samsung pulls the video off the disc at 1080i and then spits in through a de-interlacer (the same one that’s found in many 1080p displays) which then outputs at 1080p. Many of today’s displays don’t even accept 1080p….

  • B.Greenway

    “cosmetic in nature and consolidations of already released and soon-to-be released firmware upgrades”

    Please take the whole thing in context. Some of those soon-to-be-released firmware upgrades aren’t minor. But to answer your question directly, what I saw made no direct reference to the inclusion or exclusion of 1080p.

    And at the risk of beating an already pummeled and thoroughly dead horse even more…. 1080p from HD DVD is possible right now. Somewhere, someone, at this very moment is viewing 1080 lines of progressively scanned video, with the combination of a current model HD DVD player and 1080p display.

    The film based content on HD DVD is encoded at 1080p/24, this stream output at 1080i/60 to a 1080p display, capable of 3:2 pulldown (hard to find one that isn’t capable) results in full 1080p. Right now with no waiting and at $500 less than the competition to boot.

    Or in other words, currently 1080p film material is 24 frames per second. 1080i sends 60 fields per second; it simply splits each frame into two parts and sends them separately to the displays video processor. The difference from just sending the display 1080p/24 to begin with versus 1080i/60 to a 1080p display with 3:2 pulldown is indistinguishable.

    1080p output from a hi-def disc player is by and large a marketing decision; these manufacturers know that true 1080p requires a (shocker) 1080p display and that the overwhelming majority of 1080p displays have 3:2 pull down and very capable internal video processors.

    On the other hand, you really have to wonder what real benefit the 1080p output from the Samsung Blu-ray player offers. The Samsung pulls the video off the disc at 1080i and then spits in through a de-interlacer (the same one that’s found in many 1080p displays) which then outputs at 1080p. Many of today’s displays don’t even accept 1080p….

  • Dave

    Primarily cosmetic? Does that mean no 1080p output for the HD-A1 replacement?

  • Dave

    Primarily cosmetic? Does that mean no 1080p output for the HD-A1 replacement?