Hey Everybody!!! My wife and I just finished watching The Last Samurai and let my tell you it looked so good. I was watching it on a 46" Samsung DLP which has 720p native resolution. I did my calibration of the display using the THX optimizer on the SD DVD - SW EPIII. It was connected to the TV via HDMI and I sent the audio to my receiver using the Toslink out to the receiver. Tomorrow I'm going to unhook my DVD-A player and hook up the analog outs so I can experience DD+.
I have to say that this is the best HD footage I have ever watched. Both my wife and I commented over and over again about how there was no visible pixelation (macro blocking?). When I watch shows like LOST it looks great but there is always some level of blocking during the night and/or dark shots. I saw none of that on this DVD. Also there were no jagged edges - It simply looked superb. We kept saying how clean and finely detailed everything looked. The picture was just stunning. Ultimately I felt like this is what I had been looking for - namely HD without all of the artifacts and problems that I constantly see when watching HD over cable. Unfortunately I don't have D-theater or OTA HD-DVD but it looks a lot better than the HD that I get from Time Warner.
I watched just a little of SW EPIII and I feel like it does a good job of upconverting but after watching an actual HD-DVD it's going to be hard to go back SD DVD's.
I'll need to watch a whole movie upconverted before I can make a lot of detailed observations.
I used the toslink out to my Kenwood reciever. This is a very consumer level receiver but I play music for a living and I feel like I've spent a lot of time making my system sound as good as it possibly can. I thought the audio sounded great (Dolby DD) but I'm looking forward to hearing DD+ through the 5.1 analog outs.
Seems very solidly built. Remote is nice. Took me a while to get the hang of the remote. It seems silly but it only needs a gentle touch. Once I figured that out and turned on the sound for the remote (soft beep) it was working pretty well for me. The setup menu is simple and easy to navigate. I did notice a some fan noise while I was going through the setup menu (silent room - no audio through the system). Once I closed the glass door on the entertainment center and started the movie I could not hear any fan noise. This is not the fatest player I've dealt with - everything kind of takes a second to get going: reading the disc, starting to play etc., it's not a big deal at all but you definitely get the feeling that this is a 1st gen player and as time goes on all of these little details will be totally smoothed out.
There is an "HD-DVD Introduction" commercial from WB at the beginning of TLS about HD-DVD: it's features, benefits, upcoming titles, etc. and honestly it was really cool. My wife is interested in this stuff but she is more of an average consumer when it comes to home theater. It made her go "now I get why you're into this". It really gives the average person on the street a great demo of why HD-DVD is so much better than SD DVD. I thought it was awesome. Also, in this commericial, there are clips of HP, Matrix, Batman Begins and ,oh my goodness, I can not wait to watch these movies on HD-DVD. They look so amazing.
I can not wait for all of you to get your players/movies. I have learned so much about home theater by being a member of AVS forum and I can't wait until we can all geek out together
about our HD-DVD players!!!
Someone asked how I got the movies today. Honestly I was all ready to pay - I was not going to even ask about the movies because I know they are not supposed to release them before the street date - and the guy helping me asked If I wanted some movies to go with my player. Obviously I said of course - if they have them - (I was assuming they would be SD DVD's) and he pulls out TLS and Phantom in HD-DVD. At that point I said sure and paid for them and got out of there before someone told this guy that they weren't allowed to do that. I know that I completely lucked out. It was pretty exiciting.
More info to come,