Originally Posted by Sherryl
Namechamps, thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it.
Maybe I'm getting to the point that if I don't even understand the answer (;^D) then I wouldn't notice it if I didn't have it.
So to clarify, with just an A3 my Panny will still output 1080p by deinterlacing the 1080i coming from the A3.
Yes. The Panny will deinterlace the 1080i signal. Your TV is a fixed panel meaning that it ALWAYS displays 1920x1080 pixels so regardless of what it is fed it will display 1080p.
What, actually, does bitstreaming HD codecs sound like, compared to what the A3 would give?
Some people like the idea of sending the bitsream to their receiver so the receiver does all the work (and displays the words "TrueHD" or "Dolby Plus" on the front panel. It is exactly the same sound. The one area that does matter is DTS-HD. The A3 can't decode it and can't output it as a bitstream. Right now less than 1% of titles use DTS-HD so for me it isn't a big deal.[/quote]
Is the way the XA2 and the A35 play SDs really a whole lot better than the A3?
Yes all upconversion is not equal. DVD is 480i and your TV is 1080p so the number of pixels needs to be increased. Either your TV will do it or an "upconverting DVD player will do it". Some do a bad job, and some do an ok job, then a couple do a good job (A-3). The XA2 has a chip called Reon which is in the top 1% of DVD upconversion. It does make a big diference on a large high quality 1080p screen. Remember this is only for SD DVD. HD DVD is not affected.
Doesn't the Onkyo 705 convert analog video to HDMI, as well; making PQ of the SDs better than if I was using an AVR without that capability?
I have the 705. It does convert analog to HDMI (component, S-video) but it doesn't make them look any better. The main advantage is that you can have say 3 HDMI sources (HD DVD, Tivo, HTPC) and 3 analog sources (xbox 360, cable box, something else?) all running to the 705. Then just one cable running to your display. The 705 "manages" all your inputs.
That being said a VHS running of composite connected to the 705 converted to HDMI will still look like crap.
I am getting a feeling like I am splitting hairs; just don't know what side to be on! lol.
I will make is "simpler". You don't need to worry about optical or analog out since you are using HDMI. You don't need to worry about component or DVI issues since you are using HDMI. This makes it simple to decide:
A3 great value - You will have a player that can blow away anything you have seen before HD DVD. Rent or buy Planet Earth to show family and friends.
A30 adds 1080p support - Not required but some people prefer to have the player deinterlace and feed a 1080p signal to the TV. You need to decide if this is worth an extra $100 over an A3.
A35 adds bitstream support - Your receiver will decode all the audio formats and you gain DTS-HD MA support. You need to decide if this is worth another $100 over the A30 ($200 more than A3).
XA2 adds superior upconversion. This will improve SD DVD quality. You need to decide if this is worth another $100 over the A35 ($300 more than A3).