Being format neutral definately has its advantages. But last night after Xmas dinner and having all the family over, we decided to watch a couple movies. Somebody brought over the SD version of Rush Hour 3. I was initally planning to get this on BD, and said I'd really like to wait until I got the Blu-ray version. Well, I caved in to the rest of the group and decided to watch it anyway.
The upconversion by the XA2 is still a crowd pleaser and I was asked a few times if this was the HD version. I stated no, and that the HD-XA2 performs the upconversion for SD DVDs. After RH3, we then watched the BD version of Alien vs Predator. Even though we all liked the movie, everyone stated how RH3 looked better, and I had to pretty much agree with them.
Now I know I'm comparing apples and oranges here, and although Alien vs Predator looks to be in the Tier 3 PQ list for Blu-ray titles, the XA2's upconversion on a lot of SD titles is just very well done. My display is an older Pioneer PDP-5050 1080i 50" plasma, that has all video routed through an Onkyo 705 AVR via HDMI.
Because of this movie watching experience last night, a couple of family members who were on the fence about going HD DVD or Blu-ray have now decided to look for deals on a HD DVD player. And even though I mentioned to them that the XA2 has superior upconversion to most other HD DVD players, they were still interested in getting HD DVD. I also stated that some of the Tier 1 BD titles I have do look better than unconverted SDs on my XA2, but my family members have a lot of SD DVDs and wanted to get the best PQ from those. So I told them that IMHO, HD DVD was the way to go for them.