Toshiba’s HD-A2: First Impressions

December 11, 2006

Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD PlayerEarlier today I was able to spend about 2 hours with Toshiba’s second-generation HD DVD player, the HD-A2. Of course this is by no means a full review (full review forthcoming) but I did want to give a few quick thoughts as I felt the improvements over the HD-A1 were notable.

First off the new player loads much faster than the HD-A1 or HD-XA1, I’ve read reports that clocked load times at or under 30 seconds (roughly half the time of the A1) but my own findings; with three different discs no less, all came in at 20 seconds or under, on-par with some of the Denon DVD players we’re so fond of. It looks like sluggish load-times are a thing of the past at least with the A2 and XA2.

Toshiba HD-A2 - Front

The image quality was at least as good as with my XA1 but I do reserve final judgment on both HD and SD image quality until I can get the player attached to a display I’m more familiar with, i.e. in my own system. I did notice that SD playback might (and again I need to reserve final judgment) have been slightly better than what I remembered on the XA1, the differences were minor however.

The A2’s remote was also an improvement; this remote resembles a, well, for lack of a better term a DVD remote, go figure. Overall we were quite satisfied with the A2’s performance and found that it operated much more like a standard DVD player, with of course the added benefit of pumping out gorgeous HD images. Look for my full review of the Toshiba HD-A2 in the coming weeks.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HD-DVD


Comments

  • Steve

    Well I went looking for a High Def T.V. and the strangest thing happened.Instead of going to a major store and buying a brand name which I usually do I went to Walmart and simply fell in love with Polaroid. Got a 37 ” LCD with a great picture. I found out they were made in a place in China where some Sony’s are made according to a blog post from a Polaroid employee with to much time on thier hands.I dont know it thats true but the picture is awesome. Not having converted to H.D. yet, through our statelite company,which is adding 150 stations next year I wanted an H.D. player. Called Best Buy and they said since I had a T.V. with the older less effective 1080i format, Blu Ray wouldnt work.Later I found out that wasnt true. They raved about Blu Ray but at the time didnt have an HD DVD player.I got online an started reading about Sony and thier old Beta system vs VHS. Bottom line was that for 500 dollars I could get a Toshiba HD DVD player that would really work well and had an excellent picture.Well I bought it and a monster cable ( 100 dollars) for the HDMI hookup and was watching crisp clean H.D. movies in a flash. Now Im no posting this to knock Sony or Blu Ray and if you want one then by all means.What I am saying is that one isnt dramatically better than the other..whats better is the price.

    I found this info on 1080I vs 1080p and hope it helps people get straightened out.

    “Below is Evan Powell’s (Projector Central) appraisal of the 1080i vs 1080p controversy.

    “The truth is this: The Toshiba HD-DVD player outputs 1080i, and the Samsung Blu-ray player outputs both 1080i and 1080p. What they fail to mention is that it makes absolutely no difference which transmission format you use—feeding 1080i or 1080p into your projector or HDTV will give you the exact same picture. Why? Both disc formats encode film material in progressive scan 1080p at 24 frames per second. It does not matter whether you output this data in 1080i or 1080p since all 1080 lines of information on the disc are fed into your video display either way. The only difference is the order in which they are transmitted. If they are fed in progressive order (1080p), the video display will process them in that order. If they are fed in interlaced format (1080i), the video display simply reassembles them into their original progressive scan order. Either way all 1080 lines per frame that are on the disc make it into the projector or TV. The fact is, if you happen to have the Samsung Blu-ray player and a video display that takes both 1080i and 1080p, you can switch the player back and forth between 1080i and 1080p output and see absolutely no difference in the picture. So this notion that the Blu-ray player is worth more money due to 1080p output is nonsense.”

  • Steve

    Well I went looking for a High Def T.V. and the strangest thing happened.Instead of going to a major store and buying a brand name which I usually do I went to Walmart and simply fell in love with Polaroid. Got a 37 ” LCD with a great picture. I found out they were made in a place in China where some Sony’s are made according to a blog post from a Polaroid employee with to much time on thier hands.I dont know it thats true but the picture is awesome. Not having converted to H.D. yet, through our statelite company,which is adding 150 stations next year I wanted an H.D. player. Called Best Buy and they said since I had a T.V. with the older less effective 1080i format, Blu Ray wouldnt work.Later I found out that wasnt true. They raved about Blu Ray but at the time didnt have an HD DVD player.I got online an started reading about Sony and thier old Beta system vs VHS. Bottom line was that for 500 dollars I could get a Toshiba HD DVD player that would really work well and had an excellent picture.Well I bought it and a monster cable ( 100 dollars) for the HDMI hookup and was watching crisp clean H.D. movies in a flash. Now Im no posting this to knock Sony or Blu Ray and if you want one then by all means.What I am saying is that one isnt dramatically better than the other..whats better is the price.

    I found this info on 1080I vs 1080p and hope it helps people get straightened out.

    “Below is Evan Powell’s (Projector Central) appraisal of the 1080i vs 1080p controversy.

    “The truth is this: The Toshiba HD-DVD player outputs 1080i, and the Samsung Blu-ray player outputs both 1080i and 1080p. What they fail to mention is that it makes absolutely no difference which transmission format you use—feeding 1080i or 1080p into your projector or HDTV will give you the exact same picture. Why? Both disc formats encode film material in progressive scan 1080p at 24 frames per second. It does not matter whether you output this data in 1080i or 1080p since all 1080 lines of information on the disc are fed into your video display either way. The only difference is the order in which they are transmitted. If they are fed in progressive order (1080p), the video display will process them in that order. If they are fed in interlaced format (1080i), the video display simply reassembles them into their original progressive scan order. Either way all 1080 lines per frame that are on the disc make it into the projector or TV. The fact is, if you happen to have the Samsung Blu-ray player and a video display that takes both 1080i and 1080p, you can switch the player back and forth between 1080i and 1080p output and see absolutely no difference in the picture. So this notion that the Blu-ray player is worth more money due to 1080p output is nonsense.”

  • tman

    I’ve been hearing and reading great things about this player as well and look forward to the full review. I don’t have an HD DVD player yet, but in comparing the two formats at local electronics stores it seems to me that HD DVD is the way to go. A few sales people even told me HD DVD was selling quite a bit more.

  • tman

    I’ve been hearing and reading great things about this player as well and look forward to the full review. I don’t have an HD DVD player yet, but in comparing the two formats at local electronics stores it seems to me that HD DVD is the way to go. A few sales people even told me HD DVD was selling quite a bit more.

  • Kelsci

    I am looking forward to this report. I do not see any HD-DVD units being demonstrated in the few stores that I have been in. For example, there are only BR players demonstrated in Circuit City.
    Why have not any other manufacturers entered the HD-DVD realm. You have at least 4 in the BR camp at this moment. The machines of Pana.,Pioneer, and Samsung are instores now for demonstration.

  • Kelsci

    I am looking forward to this report. I do not see any HD-DVD units being demonstrated in the few stores that I have been in. For example, there are only BR players demonstrated in Circuit City.
    Why have not any other manufacturers entered the HD-DVD realm. You have at least 4 in the BR camp at this moment. The machines of Pana.,Pioneer, and Samsung are instores now for demonstration.