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post #1 of 72 Old 02-07-2015, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Question pondering the hd format war

Just some questions about the format war...



I basically slept on it. I had gotten engaged in 2006, move to another state in 2006, changed jobs in 2007, and married in 2007, so basically any and all of our disposable income went to that from 2006-2008 ish… so I just missed the whole thing. I finally picked up blu ray in jan. of 2010. And I just don’t really remember the nitty gritty of this all, because I just had way more important things going on in life so… whatever. I missed the boat


So the past few months I have really gotten back into the Betamax format, and was looking at the downfall of that format, and a lot of people speculate one of the main reasons (beside tape length) was lower cost of the vhs players getting more people through the door for the format, and the cost was due to JVC licensing any and everyone who would give them royalty money. Was that also one of the many reasons for the failure of HD-DVD?? Like look at this, out of all the HD DVD players, here is the breakdown:
-21 toshibas
-2 venturers
-2 lgs (but were hd-dvd/bd combo units)
-1 rca
-1 onkyo
-1 integra
-1 samsung


That’s a crap load of Toshiba units… and not much else. Did Toshiba have a less than stellar licensing agreement? Why did no one else churn out any players? Now i know the main reason was company alliance, and of course the PS3 put several million units in household overnight basically. I don’t think it would make any difference at all what the prices were, or the availability of units, or anything. If the movies you want were all on blu-ray, you would have to support that format. So in the end, yes, the main deciding factor was the ps3, and all the company’s that ran to blu-ray in late 2007/early 2008, and left Toshiba standing alone. But why is that list of units so scarce with 3rd party manufacturers for hardware?
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post #2 of 72 Old 02-07-2015, 09:41 PM
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The main thing was HD-DVD did things Hollywood didn't like. Notably, it was region free which meant a lot of people were importing HD-DVDs via Amazon and watching movies long before they even hit the local theatre. Hollywood reacted by delaying HD-DVDs releases by several months to keep this from happening.

HD-DVD did have a lot going for it - it was cheaper all around - players were half the price and had more features (BD Profile 2.0 added features like network connectivity that HD-DVD had from day 1, and it took a couple of years to come out) and making an HD-DVD meant you only needed to upgrade your DVD presses (which is why they could have HD-DVD and DVD flipper discs with DVD on one side and HD-DVD on the other) while Blu-Ray requires their own presses and are controlled.

In addition, no one controlled content - AACS was optional so anyone could master an HD-DVD disc - porn included (early days the BD forum rejected porn applications).

Of course, Hollywood didn't like this - lack of region codes meant region differentiation didn't happen (ironic since BDs are mostly region free these days), lack of AACS meant they were deathly afraid of piracy (the fact that the HD-DVD master AACS key was leaked didn't help). In fact, BDs have a ROM Mark that identifies them - the media type, the factory it was pressed from and other specifics so pirate discs could be identified (since the Blu-Ray factories were controlled, unlike say the DVD presses).

And even the Blu-Ray tools were not as mature - most early BDs were mpeg2 at a time when HD-DVD was using VC-1 or AVC (h.264) from the get-go. Plus audio tended to be LPCM instead of Dolby Master Audio or DTS TrueHD. And it took forever before dual layer BDs were economical meaning the Blu-Ray versions were often lacking extras as being forced to use mpeg2 and LPCM took up a lot of space (and looked worse).

Then there was the whole BDMV thing - BDMV is what commercial BD movies use as the profile. Home made BDs were forced to use the BDAV profile which limited what you could do. Thing is, a lot of consumer Blu-Ray tools created BDMV profile discs which only played in the PS3 and PC - early players rejected burned BDs with the BDMV profile (again, more piracy concerns).

These days, none of it matters as it's all dead and settled and Blu-Ray has all the stuff HD-DVD had. But the main reason that it died was Hollywood and their general piracy paranoia that existed then meant a more consumer friendly format was ditched for one with more DRM on it at the time.

Region coding is mostly a non-issue as most BDs are region free, most players these days don't care about ROM-Mark and will happily play BDMV from a burned disc so self mastered BDs aren't an issue. The main reason for this is Blu-Ray take up has been slow and physical disc sales have been slowing in favor of (ugh) downloads. But the Hollywood of the late 00s was all about piracy.

HD-DVDs called it quits when Warner (formerly on the fence and released both HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray) went Blu-Ray exclusively - they alongside Paramount were the last two studios with HD-DVD support. Supposedly a rather large amount of money was involved, with a large chunk coming from Sony.

Equipment wasn't an issue - both sides had few manufacturers, and I think even at the time HD-DVD had a larger presence because they had more manufacturers (remember what I said about it being cheaper? It wasn't hard, other than the fact you needed to add network hardware). Also Toshiba was a major backer of the technology as they pretty much created the whole thing.
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post #3 of 72 Old 02-08-2015, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool

holy information, batman! i had no idea at all about region free. i just picked up an hd-dvd player a couple days ago... so does that mean it can play hd-dvds from anywhere? 1080p24 is 1080p24... so stands to reason... i also didnt realize that warner and paramount were the only 2 holding on from what you said. man, to be at ces 2008 and watch the death of a format happen in person...

i wish i had been more aware and into it when it was happening, because reading old forum threads it just seemed very exciting to cast your alliance and hope for the best. my parents went full in on betamax, but i missed the war my time around
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post #4 of 72 Old 02-08-2015, 08:49 PM
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Yeah, there have been a few threads where people are collecting complete worldwide collections. The only region on an HD-DVD player is the DVD region.

The death came a week before CES 2008 - it was such a shock that the HD-DVDs folks called it quits just before CES opened and they had basically a conciliatory speech.

The HD-DVD standard meant to fix up a few flaws in DVD, notably region codes as everyone who wasn't region 1 pretty much found a cheap region free player that worked around the issue.

Unfortunately, they forgot that content providers were picky too. And in the end they decided to just announce surrender and leave rather than put up a protracted fight.

Of course, 7 years later, Blu-Ray is struggling (really odd when you think about it as Blu-Ray today cost about as much as DVD did then, and really cheap Blu-Ray players abound for under $50). Netflix, amazon and other online streaming providers are the main competition, as is DVD itself.

I still have my HD-DVD player in the box, should update the firmware on it. It's the original HD-A1 and I wish I grabbed the service manual way back when. Wonder if it's possible to hack it as it is an interesting system (it's a real PC - a Pentium M system with 2GB of RAM and a DTS encoder).

I suppose the biggest loss was now the gap in movies between 2006-2008 - back when Blu-Ray really sucked compared to the HD-DVD version of he same movie. Some were reissued (the fifth element, talladega nights) because the early Blu-Ray was such crap the DVD was better quality, never mind the awesome up scaler that the HD-DVD players had.
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post #5 of 72 Old 02-26-2015, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Worf View Post
...and Blu-Ray has all the stuff HD-DVD had.
I am still waiting for picture in picture audio commentary. That was my favorite special feature on HD-DVDs.
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post #6 of 72 Old 02-26-2015, 03:22 PM
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I got burned in format wars so many times, I waited until it had all been settled before buying a BD player in 2009.

Theory is a great place, everything works in theory.

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post #7 of 72 Old 02-26-2015, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by crussader View Post
I am still waiting for picture in picture audio commentary. That was my favorite special feature on HD-DVDs.
Huh, I thought Blu Ray had that as well these days. It's the one reason you have to have the audio mixing option. It was a neat feature, but I guess the few of us who cared about extras really cared so most discs don't bother as it's a lot of effort.

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I got burned in format wars so many times, I waited until it had all been settled before buying a BD player in 2009.
2009 isn't too bad, there are still people who only got into Blu-Ray in 2015. And there are people who are insisting on buying the DVD version instead of the combo pack as they said they'd never upgrade.
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post #8 of 72 Old 02-28-2015, 02:35 PM
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I am still waiting for picture in picture audio commentary. That was my favorite special feature on HD-DVDs.
I thought one of the resident evil movies had this on the blu ray version but sort of "faked it" because it was just another copy of the movie with the picture in picture... not an actual PIP overlay.
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post #9 of 72 Old 03-05-2015, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by k_huntington View Post
Just some questions about the format war...



I basically slept on it. I had gotten engaged in 2006, move to another state in 2006, changed jobs in 2007, and married in 2007, so basically any and all of our disposable income went to that from 2006-2008 ish… so I just missed the whole thing. I finally picked up blu ray in jan. of 2010. And I just don’t really remember the nitty gritty of this all, because I just had way more important things going on in life so… whatever. I missed the boat

oh my. If you missed the format war, that means you missed this little gem. It sums the situation up quite nicely.


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post #10 of 72 Old 03-05-2015, 10:21 PM
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Unfortunately the day is coming when this little nonsense video will be making fun of blu-ray . . because downloads and streaming have taken over thanks to the movie studios fascination with drm and the majority of consumers apathy towards quality pq/aq . . .
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post #11 of 72 Old 03-05-2015, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich86 View Post
Unfortunately the day is coming when this little nonsense video will be making fun of blu-ray . . because downloads and streaming have taken over thanks to the movie studios fascination with drm and the majority of consumers apathy towards quality pq/aq . . .

I'm thinking they'll make one when Sony goes bankrupt.

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post #12 of 72 Old 03-05-2015, 11:11 PM
 
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Interesting thread. Before LPs came, I was not born. When TV came I was born. Later on I got into LPs, big time. When 8-track tapes came I was in. When cassette tapes came I was in. When CD came I was mesmerized. When VHS came I was in, and I bought one of the best ones (several). When DVD came I bought the first player and the first DVD titles. When Dolby Pro Logic came I bought the first receiver with it. When DD (AC3) came I bought the first receiver with it. When HD DVD came I bought the first player. ...And I bought all the HD DVD titles. When Blu-ray came, I got into 2nd gen. Today I have a dozen of those BR players, and over 4,000 BDs. I love 3D too, I have a 3D plasma. Disney is not releasing some great 3D BR titles here in North America. Dolby Atmos is here for the last 8 months (or a bit less) with a dozen titles. Curved TVs are flashy looking. 4K is just about to get a real push. Streaming and downloading is the king and the queen.

I feel like I've been through my time on Earth wondering what it looks like living on another planet of the multiverse.
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post #13 of 72 Old 03-06-2015, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
Interesting thread. Before LPs came, I was not born. When TV came I was born. Later on I got into LPs, big time. When 8-track tapes came I was in. When cassette tapes came I was in. When CD came I was mesmerized. When VHS came I was in, and I bought one of the best ones (several). When DVD came I bought the first player and the first DVD titles. When Dolby Pro Logic came I bought the first receiver with it. When DD (AC3) came I bought the first receiver with it. When HD DVD came I bought the first player. ...And I bought all the HD DVD titles. When Blu-ray came, I got into 2nd gen. Today I have a dozen of those BR players, and over 4,000 BDs. I love 3D too, I have a 3D plasma. Disney is not releasing some great 3D BR titles here in North America. Dolby Atmos is here for the last 8 months (or a bit less) with a dozen titles. Curved TVs are flashy looking. 4K is just about to get a real push. Streaming and downloading is the king and the queen.

I feel like I've been through my time on Earth wondering what it looks like living on another planet of the multiverse.
hmmmm . . I have to find a way to get my wife to read your post so she will see that MY AV addiction is pretty mild compared to someone else . . :-) Age comes into play, however (you did not mention 78 rpm or 45 rpm records . . I had lots of those as a kid . . ).

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post #14 of 72 Old 03-06-2015, 11:43 AM
 
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45 records, yes, I had few (less than hundred). ...78 records, no, I had none; I'm way too young for that @ 60.

You must be 90? ...86?
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post #15 of 72 Old 03-06-2015, 02:48 PM
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45 records, yes, I had few (less than hundred). ...78 records, no, I had none; I'm way too young for that @ 60.

You must be 90? ...86?
69 . . had my first 78 rpm records in grammar school . . whatever allowance I got went into those 78s . . my addiction started very young . . :-)

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post #16 of 72 Old 03-06-2015, 03:56 PM
 
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That's very cool man; I respect all my elders, they have seen more than I, generally. ...In your case you did, with those 78 records.

* I wish they start making them again, so that I have a chance to catch up with your past.
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post #17 of 72 Old 03-13-2015, 05:07 AM
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I still have my HD-XA2. In fact, it's still proudly displayed in my rack! I've thought about selling it along with the 30 or 40 titles I have for it, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I didn't jump into BR until I could get a decent player for a reasonable price and the media became more reasonable. I ended up getting a Panasonic DMP-BD35 when Sears had a 'mistake' sale for somewhere just under $100, which at the time was a steal. I still have that in my rack as well. The irony of it all, for me anyway, is that I use an HTPC now, and neither player really sees any use at all. Can't even remember the last time I ran one of them.
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post #18 of 72 Old 03-13-2015, 05:18 AM
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This is a great time to take a step back and not buy anything. BD cant handle a full length 4k movie. People are going to revolt if they have to switch discs to watch a movie.

It gets real old buying bleeding edge tech that sit obsolete in a rack a few years after purchase.

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post #19 of 72 Old 03-26-2015, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tritiumglo View Post
This is a great time to take a step back and not buy anything. BD cant handle a full length 4k movie. People are going to revolt if they have to switch discs to watch a movie.

It gets real old buying bleeding edge tech that sit obsolete in a rack a few years after purchase.
yeah, higher capacity BDs are around the corner (next year?) for 4k content. Reception is going to be lukewarm at best, especially if the native 4k picture isn't significantly better than 1080p upscaled to 4k. This isn't going to be like going from 480i to 1080p.

I think their best bet to sell 4K Blu Ray is to make them compatible with current BD players. In current BD players, they get a 1080p version of the film. This way consumer confusion is reduced. I garuntee you people are going to be purchasing 4K Blu Rays thinking they are going to work in their 1st generation BD players and expecting them to work because they have a 4K TV.

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post #20 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 03:27 AM
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I followed the Great Format war religiously. I bought the first unit.. Toshiba HD A1, here in Canada for about $850. The Sony blu-ray first gen deck was $1300 at my local Future Shop, so for me it was a no-brainer. (I did buy a PS3 for $650 when they first came available).
I never had much luck with the new players that I bought. Luckily I had the extended warranty on the A1 as it died after 15 months or so. I also had no luck with an HD A2 that I bought new. Had to send it to Toshiba for a new drive. Same with the LG HD/Blu-ray combo player. The HD drive stopped working. I had fun with that one. LG wanted to give me a new blu-ray deck. I told them it played blu-rays perfectly. I needed it for HD DVDs. Ended up getting a new combo drive and then I sold it on ebay.
I now have piles of used decks that I bought off kijiji (like Craigs list). I have a Venturer HD A3 clone I bought when Walmart was closing them out. I also have a used HD A2 which is fine, two HD A3s that are fine and an HD A35 that works fine. So, that makes a total of 5 good working players. My collection has 215 titles. Some are box sets, and some are foreign imports. One of the more interesting imports is the German steelbook for Deathproof, that I still haven't opened. I've also got season one of Star Trek, that I haven't gotten around to watching yet.
I was one of those guys who liked to order foreign HD DVDs. I've also got a copy of P2 which was reputed to be one of the last HD DVDs for the NA market.
I remember when Toshiba looked like they MIGHT win the format war. When Shrek 3 and Transformers were released on HD DVD only! That was a big push. Toshiba had paid Paramount to be HD DVD exclusive. Sony started to sweat at that point, but once Warner Bros bailed, that was it.
I was at work when it was announced that Toshiba was pulling the plug. I was in shock...

Last edited by 1989civic; 04-16-2015 at 04:34 AM. Reason: My history was fuzzy....
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post #21 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 12:15 PM
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CES during the format war was awesome!
HD-DVD vs Bluray, heck XM vs Sirius (and who'd thunk XM would be swallowed by the small guy).
Not many people know XM satellite technology was/is superior to Sirius for transmission and reception ....

My "day job" allowed me to be at CES 2004-2009,
Here is CES 2007, what exciting times, then like stated 2008 was dry with the HD-DVD "death".... then the great recession killed CES

some remember the format war drama right here on AVS ...


I've told myself not to buy any more 1080p BR's, as the next Gen is due Dec-2015, but I still do buy the keeper BR's here and there because I just can't stand streaming quality and do want the best possible for viewing/listening in my HT......or rent via Redbox is a decent option
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post #22 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by k_huntington View Post
holy information, batman! i had no idea at all about region free. i just picked up an hd-dvd player a couple days ago... so does that mean it can play hd-dvds from anywhere? 1080p24 is 1080p24... so stands to reason...
Since you're new to the HD-DVD camp, you might like to know that not all HD-DVD players can do 1080p24, only the higher end ones. My HD-A2 does not (which is in my living room, mostly for concert HD-DVD's for social gatherings) while my HD-A30 does, which is the one I use in my theater for HD-DVD movies (and some of the concerts). Most HD-DVD players output 1080i but look fantastic, in many cases, better than their BD counterpart, IMHO.

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post #23 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 12:52 PM
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I still have my Toshiba HD-XA2 and still use it with my collection of just 100 discs. It is built like a tank. I have the XA2 and my Oppo BD93 in my rack and it will stay that way until one of them breaks down. Who knows maybe HD-DVD will make a comeback....
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post #24 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 03:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich86 View Post
hmmmm . . I have to find a way to get my wife to read your post so she will see that MY AV addiction is pretty mild compared to someone else . . :-) Age comes into play, however (you did not mention 78 rpm or 45 rpm records . . I had lots of those as a kid . . ).
I Rich,

I'm young, I'm 60, so I missed the 78s. But I did buy a bunch of 45s, and I have great souvenirs from those, with a portable LP player that I carried with me @ the park, and several girlfriends to go with it.

The wife you have is your friend and partner and lover; so she should let you free to explore any addictive life's venues; be it films, music, etc. :-)

EDIT: I just realized that I have already replied to your post before, lol.

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post #25 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 06:30 PM
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I Rich,

I'm young, I'm 60, so I missed the 78s. But I did buy a bunch of 45s, and I have great souvenirs from those, with a portable LP player that I carried with me @ the park, and several girlfriends to go with it.

The wife you have is your friend and partner and lover; so she should let you free to explore any addictive life's venues; be it films, music, etc. :-)

EDIT: I just realized that I have already replied to your post before, lol.
My wife is very tolerant of my hobbies . . especially now that I am retired . . probably to get me out her hair . .

A long-time audio/video addict!
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post #26 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hotrodguy View Post
Since you're new to the HD-DVD camp, you might like to know that not all HD-DVD players can do 1080p24, only the higher end ones. My HD-A2 does not (which is in my living room, mostly for concert HD-DVD's for social gatherings) while my HD-A30 does, which is the one I use in my theater for HD-DVD movies (and some of the concerts). Most HD-DVD players output 1080i but look fantastic, in many cases, better than their BD counterpart, IMHO.
The HD-XA2 can do 1080p24 with the 2.7 and later updates, it is among the best as it was one of the first to do HDMI 1.3 way back when. The lower end A2 couldn't.
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post #27 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 09:30 PM
 
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Yep, that was back then. Nowadays we don't hear the name Toshiba anymore; it is mainly gone, like an old ghost lost wondering in the darkness.

Today is Oppo. ...With some Sony (PS4) and a bit of Samsung and Panasonic. ...The last two ones now gone from the plasma business.

* The HD-XA2 was nice (still), but not as nicely/solidly build as the HD-XA1 (still), and the HD-A1. ...Only 1080i from the last two though.

Today there are so many Blu-rays that most people don't even bother; instead they either stream or download or watch DVDs. And HD DVDs even less so.
Hey, some folks still love and watch their VHS tape movies.

And what about the new 4K Blu-ray? Well, for one it won't support 3D, and two it's not even here yet and many folks are wondering if it will even fly.
Me, I think we're all doomed. ...To kingdom come, near deliverance day. ...We'll be streaming directly from the projection boots in theaters. ...About that!
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post #28 of 72 Old 04-16-2015, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Worf View Post
The HD-XA2 can do 1080p24 with the 2.7 and later updates, it is among the best as it was one of the first to do HDMI 1.3 way back when. The lower end A2 couldn't.
True and there are probably others too. Also there is a V4.0 update available on Toshiba's website for all players, the catch is that it's WindowsXP based but there is a program called CDburnXP you can use to update your player. Here's the link with the HD-A30 chosen, just select your model and you're good.

http://support.toshiba.com/support/m...eeText=2809951

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post #29 of 72 Old 04-17-2015, 08:54 PM
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Ah yes, I remember wanting the HD-XA1 ... But they were hard to get and didn't really offer anything more over the A1. Though eBay seems to be cleared out of 'me, oddly. Still kinda sorta want one just to round out the collection.
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post #30 of 72 Old 04-17-2015, 09:32 PM
 
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True and there are probably others too. Also there is a V4.0 update available on Toshiba's website for all players, the catch is that it's WindowsXP based but there is a program called CDburnXP you can use to update your player. Here's the link with the HD-A30 chosen, just select your model and you're good.

http://support.toshiba.com/support/m...eeText=2809951
♦ Wow, I got to check this out. Thx! ...But then, I don't use my four Toshiba HD DVD players anymore, only the A1 for stereo music on occasion.
And for movies on HD DVD I got my Duo Sammy 5000 still plugged in for the one or two HD DVD flicks I watch per year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
Ah yes, I remember wanting the HD-XA1 ... But they were hard to get and didn't really offer anything more over the A1. Though eBay seems to be cleared out of 'me, oddly. Still kinda sorta want one just to round out the collection.
♦ They are the same except for the motorized front door on the XA1. ...Which is a "funky" feature only for the prestige because she's imperious to break down eventually. ...And one extra motor inside a machine doesn't create less noise.
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