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HD-A2 vs. HD-XA1

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So, I have been waiting on my HD-A2 order to ship and it still hasn't, so I was wondering whether it would be a better choice to switch my order to the HD-XA1?I will be connecting it to my CRT projector throught the HDFury once it ships. I only have 5.1 sound, so that isn't a problem. Is it then a better choice for me?
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmasta View Post

So, I have been waiting on my HD-A2 order to ship and it still hasn't, so I was wondering whether it would be a better choice to switch my order to the HD-XA1?I will be connecting it to my CRT projector throught the HDFury once it ships. I only have 5.1 sound, so that isn't a problem. Is it then a better choice for me?

IMO -- only if you need the 5.1 analog outputs (or a coaxial RCA digital audio output).
post #3 of 19
5.1 analog audio outputs and the Sharq audio processor in the XA1.

But it's a 1st generation unit and has some issues with import discs like "Stalingrad" (released as Enemy at the Gates in the US).
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickering Hound View Post

5.1 analog audio outputs and the Sharq audio processor in the XA1.

But it's a 1st generation unit and has some issues with import discs like "Stalingrad" (released as Enemy at the Gates in the US).

The A2 also has SHARC, and besides, the sound doesn't appear to be any different between them. The A2 is a more responsive player and so unless the XA1 offers a capability he needs that the A2 doesn't have (as mentioned above), the A2 makes the most sense.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Analog sound is not an issue, I will be using digital (optical) in all likelihood. However, I know between the A2 and A20, there are differences such as better upconversion for the A20. Does the XA1 excel in this same manner and others as well?
post #6 of 19
I think you are missing the point on the sound issue. If you want to take advantage of True HD sound, you cannot get it through the optical connection - you need the analog output or HDMI. The A2 does not have analog outs, but the XA1 does. So unless your receiver has HDMI inputs, you would need the XA1 to get TrueHD audio.

Having said that, I have an A2 connected with an optical cable to my non HDMI receiver. I think the sound is great - certainly better than regular DD or DTS.

I think the A2, with all things considered, would be the better choice. Then you can upgrade your receiver when able.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmasta View Post

Analog sound is not an issue, I will be using digital (optical) in all likelihood. However, I know between the A2 and A20, there are differences such as better upconversion for the A20. Does the XA1 excel in this same manner and others as well?

The only greater capability in terms of upconversion with the A20 over the A2 that I'm aware of is the 1080p output (which is the whole point of the A20). So I don't know what you are referring to. (ie. I'm unaware of a qualitative improvement at 1080i with an SD source going from the A2 to the A20.)
post #8 of 19
I don't have any experience with the second generation units so I don't know how they compare, but I do have a XA-1 that has been running flawlessly on version 2.0 software. I did have some skipping problems with 1.0 and 1.4 and therefore am reluctant to upgrade to 2.2 or 2.3- If it aint broke don't fit it! The XA-1 is a little slow to load and some remote commands take a second or two, but it is built like a tank-better than any other $1K player I have seen.
post #9 of 19
I own the A1 and am ready to buy the A2 but...yesterday after the price dropped to $299 again, I went out to buy it. I took a disk with me, it choked badly (as did the A20) when playing back a home brewed DVD-9 dual layer disk containing 25 mbps 1080i HDV camcorder footage.

Both the A2 and A20 at Best Buy stuttered badly on both video and audio, virtually unwatchable.

That doesn't make it deal breaker for me yet, unless it struggles tonight with the same footage burned instead on a DVD-R single layer disk. I honestly don't know if the playback stuttering is because of the A2 processor or ROM drive, but the A1 plays back the 8.5 dual layer disk fine, and also the same footage on DVD+R/RW without any issues.

The A2 I'm comtemplating is for my brother in law who paid for me and my wife to go with them on a Cruise aboard the Royal Carribean "Freedom of the Seas." He also paid for 30 other family members, so buying him this gift is a token thanks at best. I shot several hours of video with the Canon XH-A1 1080i/p HDV camcorder, edited it down, and put it on a dual layer 8.5 gb DVD+R disk which plays fine on my Toshiba A1, but skips, breaks up and stutters on video and audio on the two floor model HD-DVD players at Best Buy, the A2 and A20.

Anyway, I'm going back tonight with a new disk on the single layer. If it's successful I'll buy one, if not then I will lose faith in the HD-DVD as a potential distribution format, and opt to go with a BD burner, and purchase a Samsung 1200. That's a lot of dough for the burner, player and media for home video nirvana but I'm simply looking for a distribution format for my HDV video. It's been working great on my A1. What a shame if that capability has been lost for the newer models, but I will find out tonight, fingers crossed.
post #10 of 19
The home brewed 1080i HDV camcorder footage burned on single layer DVD-R played fine on the A2 and the A20 at Best Buy. I bought the A2 as a gift for my brother in law.

I hooked it up when I got home and learned a few things. The A2 doesn't like DVD+R single or dual layer. First I've encountered this. The A1 doesn't care, plays both types. The A2 does play DVD+RW perfectly. Understand now, I'm only playing 25 mbps HDV 1080i/p footage (mpeg-2). Perhaps with SD it's a different story.

I didn't open the remote, my Harmony programmed for the A1 also works fine for the A2. So I haven't cracked open the owners manual. But the box states compatibility for DVD, DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW. My A1 box says the same but also states support for DVD-RAM. The message here, is from now on I will use the DVD-R media since it plays without issue on both players.

Now a curious thing, when I grabbed the box, one was shiny, the other matte. I thought, WTF, so I looked at the bar codes for a clue. No version numbers stated, but the unit in the matte box was made in Japan, the one in the shiny box made in China. If all things were equal I'd assume the Japanese version would be more assured, I nevertheless chose the China model assuming it was newer. The A20 was also made in China. Well, the version is not so new, only 1.2. The HDMI doesn't sync to my monitor, a Pioneer Elite Pro FHD-1 1080p 50 inch plasma, some sort a greenish plaid pattern. I unplugged the HDMI cable, then replugged it, and all was well except I have to do this each time I turn on the player, not acceptable. I'll try a firmware update, but my A1 with original firmware it came with V1.4 doesn't have any problem negotiating a handshake.

Picture quality between the A1 and A2 via HDMI is identical, very excellent. My Elite 1080p monitor has perfect deinterlacing and dot by dot scaling, otherwise I'd consider the XA2. But for this monitor, the Reon chip isn't needed.

I did notice a slight hiccup after forwarding with the chapter advance, just a brief stutter. At first I assumed it was the disk since it was always the same place on the disk. But then I realized it happens 1 second after each press of the FF or chapter advance button. So on the chapter advance, it always happens at the same place, but on the FF it's at random, wherever it happens to be after 1 second. It's minor and only after you FF/chapter advance. Thereafter, motion and panning remains perfectly smooth.

Now to upgrade the firmware...
post #11 of 19
The update to firmware version 2.0 solved the HDMI handshake and the brief stutter. Very nice. Still doesn't play DVD+R, but the picture is superb, and the speed and response is about 35-40% quicker than the A1. It's a little bit noiser in the tray mechanism, also a bit of fan whir. Next...see how it handles DVD-R dual layer.
post #12 of 19
Very interesting observations, Tom.
So A1 plays both +/-R yet A2 seems to only play -R. DVD+R being the Sony standard this may be a deliberate attempt by Toshiba of getting back at Sony by limiting red laser DVD to -Rs.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsather View Post

My XA1 and A2 both play DVD+R and DVD+R DL....Verbatims.

Verbatim DVD+R DL is what I used. Also Taiyo Yuden DVD+R for the single layer. Two units at Best Buy, the A2 and A20 also both stuttered on DVD+R, so I have to ask what content you are able to play on DVD+R because as I have mentioned several times, I have tested only with 25 mbps mpeg-2 1080i/p HDV camcorder footage. Are your DVD+R DL verbatims playing HD content or SD?

And for what it's worth, the DVD+R/RW do ahem...play, just not smoothly. You get a picture, yes.

Was your unit manufactured in China or Japan?

Bottom line, even if your A2 did play DVD+R reliably, (my own experiences to the contrary), it's useless to be handling disks out on +R if there is probability it won't play properly on some percentage of them, which for me has been statistically 100%.
post #14 of 19
Edit: As mentioned...DVD+RW plays fine. The problem for the A2's I've sampled is with +R and +R DL.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post

Edit: As mentioned...DVD+RW plays fine. The problem for the A2's I've sampled is with +R and +R DL.

I have an 1999 Toshiba SD-3109 DVD player that plays DVD-R no problem I do recall the very 1st time I tried to play DL DVD+R it wouldn't play. So I went to my editing forum and posted the question and the problem was the DVD Burner "must" be setup for DVD-ROM Booktype for DVD+R media. Once I changed the booktype to DVD-ROM it played on my 1999 DVD player.

Something to check in to.

Off Topic:
By the way how do you like the XH-A1? I've read that focusing with the small LCD is an issue. Have you had any focusing issues with the XH-A1?

...Angelo
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelo913 View Post

I have an 1999 Toshiba SD-3109 DVD player that plays DVD-R no problem I do recall the very 1st time I tried to play DL DVD+R it wouldn't play. So I went to my editing forum and posted the question and the problem was the DVD Burner "must" be setup for DVD-ROM Booktype for DVD+R media. Once I changed the booktype to DVD-ROM it played on my 1999 DVD player.

Something to check in to.

Off Topic:
By the way how do you like the XH-A1? I've read that focusing with the small LCD is an issue. Have you had any focusing issues with the XH-A1?

...Angelo

I set the booktype to DVD-ROM always. When the booktype bit setting is wrong, you just get a blank screen that says incompatible, i.e. a logical error. From what I can see with the A2, it behaves more like a physical incompatibility with the +R dye layer, or so it seems. You get a picture with it, but it stutters.

I love the Canon XH-A1. The video I'm getting is unreal, but I've had lots of practice mastering it. DVInfo.net is a good source to get lots of opinions about it. Another source is DVXuser.com

Good luck.
post #17 of 19
Update:

The A2 plays low bitrate DVD+R disks fine. The A/V stuttering is only with DVD+R on high bitrate (25 mbps mpeg-2).

The stuttering high bitrate sample disk, like the low bitrate one is manufactured by Taiyo Yuden. It was burned with bitsetting booktype set to DVD-ROM. I tested it for parity inner/outer errors, read errors, beta, jitter, time analysis, peak shift.

By all measures, the stuttering high bitrate DVD+R disk is an excellent burn, as good as it gets.

The bottom line:

The A2 is happy with low bit rate DVD+R media authored in DVD-ROM.
The A2 is happy with high bit rate DVD-R and DVD+RW authored in HD-DVD format.
The A2 is not happy with high bit rate DVD+R authored in HD-DVD format, causes stuttering A/V, also on the A20. I sampled several others at Best Buy, same result.

The A1 is indifferent of the media type, plays all types without problem.

The firmware on the A2 was upgradeded to 2.0.
The firmware on the A1 is the as-delivered 1.4.

The A2 firmware version 2.0 is said to solve the chroma upsampling error (CUE). I don't know if it does or doesn't. The picture looks damn fine on the 50 inch Pioneer Elite 1080p Pro FHD-1 plasma monitor.

The A1 picture is outstanding as well. I judged it be the equal of the A2 but that was before I updated the A2 firmware. So now I'm not sure if I'm seeing an extremely minor, subtle improvement in the picture of the A2 compared to the A1, or whether this is just in my head because it's hard not to appreciate the other compelling advantages the A2 has, the sleek styling and faster load times, more responsive remote control operation.

You can't go wrong with either one. The A1 definitely is more forgiving of the media type, and also has a coaxial audio output in addition to the optical toslink on the A2.
post #18 of 19
Ok....what is the video/audio format to use to burn to the DVD-R? I want to burn some videos from my computer to play in the A2 and need to know the magic formula. Thank you.
post #19 of 19
Does anyone know what the code is to control the LG tv's?

Bo
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