Another HD-A1 Review (1 Viewer)

Hoopnoop

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Jul 15, 2004
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I have now had my HD-A1 for about a week now and have watched Apollo 13, Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. So, here are my thoughts:

1. First of all, this machine really delivers on its promise of putting forth a top quality HD picture with great sound. Like someone else in this forum said, it really brings back the "WOW" factor and creates a movie theatre like experience. The colors are vibrant, the details are sharp and the sound is rich. Whether you are watching the blast-off of Apollo 13 or the old west backgrounds in Unforgiven it is as if you are at the movie theatre.
2. The picture quality is definitely a big step up from regular DVDs and noticeably better than HD movie broadcasts. It is as if you are watching a very high quality HD movie broadcast. But it also has much better sound than the HD broadcasts that I have seen so I think the experience is much better. One of the big factors for me, given the somewhat limited availability of HD DVDs, was that the HD-A1 would need to be a noticeable step up from HD broadcasts -- otherwise, I could just watch movies on HBO or elsewhere. And it is.
3. The HD-A1 is also a solid unpconverting DVD player. I had been using a Zenith DVB318 as my upconverting DVD player into my Sony GWIII. The HD-A1 is definitely on par if not superior to the DVB318. So, especially for those that are looking for an upconverting DVD player, the HD-A1 can provide that as well at a price that is less than many upconverting DVD players.
4. I have not experienced the negatives that some others have talked about like freezes or HDMI errors. The only problems I have had relate more to the Netflix HD DVDs then to the HD-A1. HD-DVDs are very sensitive to scratches. I had some freeze ups with Apollo 13 but then carefully cleaned the disk and it worked fine. Also, the unit is certainly slow in starting up but I frankly don't understand what the hurry is. Put your DVD in, grab a drink from the kitchen, and you're ready to go.
5. One BIG QUALIFIER -- and this involves expectations. If you are thinking about getting an HD-A1, do not expect miracles! The picture can only be as good as the transfer. You will probably not see the kind of clarity that you have seen in top quality HD broadcasts like the Masters or the Oscars or NFL Football. I think the better barometer is to expect the HD picture quality to be in line with some of the best HD movie broadcasts that you have seen.

Overall, I can certainly understand that some people might want to wait for this technology to develop and improve and for the format war to play out. But, in the meantime, I would say that the HD-A1 definitely delivers on its promise and is well worth the $500!
 

vurbano

On Double Secret Probation
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Apr 1, 2004
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After much deliberation I have ordered one. One big factor... Directv Hdlite and 6 months left on my sentence. This will provide a good gauge as to just how bad it is, and bring some life back to my HDTV. I really was hoping for streaming my existing HD content from my Infrant NAS 600 but I guess I will have to just keep my LP2 for that. I cant believe Toshiba put an ethernet port on the player just for downloading content from the internet :rolleyes:
 
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Ilya

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Hoopnoop said:
I have not experienced the negatives that some others have talked about like freezes or HDMI errors. The only problems I have had relate more to the Netflix HD DVDs then to the HD-A1. HD-DVDs are very sensitive to scratches. I had some freeze ups with Apollo 13 but then carefully cleaned the disk and it worked fine.
I suspect this is the kind of freezes people are mostly talking about. Those caused by scratched or dirty discs. The player seems to be very sensitive to that.
 

Ilya

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vurbano said:
After much deliberation I have ordered one.
Welcome aboard, vurbano! I knew you wouldn't be able to resist! :)
 

Jamey K

Recovering Voomer
Supporting Founder
Feb 16, 2005
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vurbano said:
After much deliberation I have ordered one.:

Oh no you DIDN''t!! LOL....wtg Vurbano!!

Btw...I'm watching S2 of Hill Street Blues, upcoverted on A-1 and MY GOD it looks good.

It didn't look this good when it originally ran.
 

teamerickson

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 20, 2006
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El Dorado Hills, CA
vurbano said:
After much deliberation I have ordered one. One big factor... Directv Hdlite and 6 months left on my sentence. This will provide a good gauge as to just how bad it is, and bring some life back to my HDTV. I really was hoping for streaming my existing HD content from my Infrant NAS 600 but I guess I will have to just keep my LP2 for that. I cant believe Toshiba put an ethernet port on the player just for downloading content from the internet :rolleyes:
Welcome to the good side!

I can't wait for your review (sarcasism).!:)
 

BlackHitachi

Medford Oregon
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Oct 17, 2003
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Medford, Oregon
vurbano said:
After much deliberation I have ordered one. One big factor... Directv Hdlite and 6 months left on my sentence. This will provide a good gauge as to just how bad it is, and bring some life back to my HDTV. I really was hoping for streaming my existing HD content from my Infrant NAS 600 but I guess I will have to just keep my LP2 for that. I cant believe Toshiba put an ethernet port on the player just for downloading content from the internet :rolleyes:
I am glad you did! I am awaiting your review or any comments!!
 

Hoopnoop

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 15, 2004
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Nice to have you on board Vurbano! I hope you enjoy you purchase. I know that I was somewhat skeptical when I got my unit but was very pleasantly surprised.

Also, there is a really good HD DVD promo at the beginning of some of the HD DVDs including Unforgiven -- it's a really good promo. I think they should be running it on their demos!
 

vurbano

On Double Secret Probation
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Apr 1, 2004
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Newport News, VA
now this scares me:

Alan Gouger said:
This player is so painfully slow at boot up and launching a title. I also have the same lock up issues along with navigation issues.
My complaint is not to be taken as bashing the HD DVD format. Im very happy with the picture I just want the player to work like all other DVD players. I am also at a loss wondering if Toshiba is aware of these issues and if indeed they are working on a fix. Im guessing new players are still shipping in this state. Do we have any "official" word Toshiba is aware of the problems and will offer a solution. If so I hope it will be in the form of a software download. I hope I do not have to buy into a new HD DVD player from another manufacture once they launch to get the performance that we should have got from this player. I paid good money for this machine and do not want to see it put on the shelf and kick myself again for being another early adaptor.
I am so hungry for HD I plan to support both formats to the end until one is a clear winner but this experience puts a damper on my enthusiasm for the HD DVD format.
I am not being sarcastic when I say this but did someone really sit there and say" yup this is normal, roll em out"
 

Hoopnoop

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Jul 15, 2004
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From what I have followed in other forums (particularly AVS) there appears to be some units which, for some reason, have a lock up problem. There is some uncertainty regarding why some units have this problem and what is causing it -- be it there other electronic connections, the remote, etc. But many have had no problems at all and are very happy. So, what exactly is going on is a mystery as far as I know.
 

teamerickson

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 20, 2006
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El Dorado Hills, CA
I can live with the boot up time and slow response, but the picture freezes and audio sync problems are really getting to me. I decided to call Toshiba. The rep was very PC. He said he had heard of the problem before, thought that the firmware (no release date known) might fix it but didn't know for sure. He sugested trying another disc. Well they were from Netflix (brand new, never used) and most of us know how that goes. I was trying to get a feel if I should wait for the firmware or exchange the unit. I'm pretty sure Toshiba had a feeling about these probalems. In the trouble shoot section in the manual, it talks about freezes and the such. I really starting to feel they rushed HD DVD to beat Blue Ray to the market. The picture is outstanding, I'm just getting a little frustrated. Probably the worst part is listening to my wife ask over and over, why isn't it working correctly, is it supposed to do that. Then getting so frustrated she can't watch anymore and leave the room. Please Toshiba get the firmware going!:(
 

seandudley

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 30, 2004
473
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Loudon, Tennessee
Hoopnoop said:
Also, the unit is certainly slow in starting up but I frankly don't understand what the hurry is. Put your DVD in, grab a drink from the kitchen, and you're ready to go.

I just leave mine on all the time, that way I don't have to wait for it to boot. Seems to work fine.
 

seandudley

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 30, 2004
473
0
Loudon, Tennessee
teamerickson said:
I can live with the boot up time and slow response, but the picture freezes and audio sync problems are really getting to me. I decided to call Toshiba. The rep was very PC. He said he had heard of the problem before, thought that the firmware (no release date known) might fix it but didn't know for sure. He sugested trying another disc. Well they were from Netflix (brand new, never used) and most of us know how that goes. I was trying to get a feel if I should wait for the firmware or exchange the unit. I'm pretty sure Toshiba had a feeling about these probalems. In the trouble shoot section in the manual, it talks about freezes and the such. I really starting to feel they rushed HD DVD to beat Blue Ray to the market. The picture is outstanding, I'm just getting a little frustrated. Probably the worst part is listening to my wife ask over and over, why isn't it working correctly, is it supposed to do that. Then getting so frustrated she can't watch anymore and leave the room. Please Toshiba get the firmware going!:(

Make sure you clean the discs after you buy them. I bought a little disc cleaning kit at Walmart and now clean my discs as soon as I open a new one that I have bought, and have gone from at least one glitch in every movie to watching 4 movies since I started doing that and having no glitches. I guess there is some sort of residue that causes problems until you clean the disc or something. Rather annoying to have to clean brand new discs, but it seems to be necessary.
 

Hoopnoop

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 15, 2004
212
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I don't think the lack of availability is because of this but I'm not sure. There is a poll over at AVS and 90 percent are satisfied with their purchase and keeping their unit. As I said before, many have experienced no problems while others (perhaps a minority) have experienced freezes and lock-ups. This is partially explained by the quality of the discs particularly ones from Netflix. I have had no problems with the disks that I purchased but I have had problems with the Netflix disks. I think I'll give the disk cleaning route a try although it doesn't seem to help some people.

Re: buying a unit, I had thought Value Elec had received a shipment on Monday but perhaps I am wrong. In my case, I called around to local retailers pretty persistently and finally found one at my local Sears.
 

teamerickson

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 20, 2006
1,716
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El Dorado Hills, CA
Someone on AVS is saying that there was a firmware update for the HD XA1 (only one available in Japan) released recently in Japan. Hopefully this is true and the firmware will make its way to the HD A1 and HD XA1 soon in the USA. :)
 

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