Early hi-def DVD buyers like what they see


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Jan 20, 2006
El Dorado Hills, CA
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)- Early adopters who bought one of the first two Toshiba high-definition DVD players had mixed comments about the official start of packaged media's high-definition era.

Most gave the players high marks -- for quality and value -- but faulted the format's supporters for having just three movies in stores when the machines arrived April 18.

James Stevenson, a 22-year-old freelance journalist in Lincoln, Neb., said he bought the cheaper of the two Toshiba players -- Toshiba's Web site prices them at $799.99 and $499.99 -- "because I wanted to get a head start on the next-generation DVDs and give my HD-starved TV more content."

While Stevenson was dismayed at the meager selection of software, he said the player made his standard DVDs look significantly better. "I'm thrilled with that result," he said.

Lars Peterson, 29, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., agrees. He bought two of the three launch titles, "Serenity" and "The Last Samurai," and found the picture quality "breathtaking." (The other launch title was "The Phantom of the Opera.")

But the real treat was watching standard DVDs on his new player. "I have owned at least 10 DVD players over the last eight years," he said, "and I can honestly say the Toshiba player is the best. This is a huge plus, considering the lack of HD movies to currently choose from."

Most early adopters interviewed say they also will buy Blu-ray players when they become available in June, though some balked at the higher prices -- despite conventional wisdom that for early adopters price is generally not a factor.

"Honestly, I am turned off by the higher price tags," said Bryan Ferriera, 33, of Peabody, Mass. "Now that HD-DVD is out, why would anyone want to pay at least double the price of the (cheaper Toshiba) HD-A1 to get the same quality?"

"I actually believe Blu-ray is a better technology, but not at twice the price," said Daniel Rainey, 31, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. "I will buy Blu-ray if they win the war, but that Betamax war lasted eight years before VHS started winning. I ain't waiting that long."


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