Now, many of you already know I am a bit of a gadget freak, always one to buy the latest (and sometimes the greatest) toys. I guess when I was a kid I had to wait until Christmas or Birthdays, but now I can afford things myself, why not ?!?
Well, when a friend of mine was raving about HD-DVD, for the first time ever I sat on the fence for a while. Mainly because I was still in the process of choosing an HD TV, but also because I was unsure about the technology. Should I wait for BluRay, or perhaps UK players, but then I caved in and ordered an import HD-A1 from Movietyme. The excitement built until at last my Toshiba HD-A1 landed !
There are two models available, the HD-A1 (cheaper model) and the HD-XA1. The main differences being the XA1 has a motorised front panel that slides up and down to reveal the DVD tray, a backlit remote control, and an RS232 port on the back for extra control options. That is is, apart from the way the player looks. I went for the cheaper option because it was an import and I felt like limiting my exposure at this stage. Had it been a UK player and I had the choice, I would have probably splashed the extra cash.
This is not going to be a full in-depth review, but I had to tell you all that I am totally blown away by HD-DVD. The player itself is very heavy, well built, superb finish and hooking it up was a breeze, a few button pushes later and I was watching my first film.
Apollo 13 was the film of choice and the first thing that I noticed was the copyright screen was crisp, bright and very readable. Into the main menu and things were punchy and different, then onto the film. Wow, absolutely gorgeous stunning visuals, with awesome colours and a real eye opener. I did not think there would be so much difference. Even the sound was so much crisper and more detailed. A quick switch back to my regular DVD player confirmed how big the jump is... so if you are sitting on the fence yourself, jump now, you will not regret it.
11-bit / 216MHz Video Dac
Video Up-Conversion for SD DVD (720p/1080i)
Enhanced Black Level (0IRE /7.5IRE Selection)
Letterbox / Pan & Scan Support
Disc Playback: HD-DVD/HD DVD-R/DVD/DVD-R/DVD-RAM/DVD-RW/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/
Built-in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS and DTS-HD Decoders
Dolby True HD Compatible (2 Channel)
Four 32-bit Floating Point Signal Processors
Multi-Channel 24-bit/192kHz Audio DACs
specification of the HD-A1