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To those of you who anted up and bought the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player, I am waiting for my XA2, will be happy to read this Home Theater Blog's review. Bon appetite.


January 15, 2007

Toshiba HD-A2 Review

Toshiba's second generation HD DVD players have arrived. The entry level HD-A2 ($499) has been available for several weeks now and by the time you read this the HD-XA2 (HDMI 1.3 & 1080p) should be should be on store shelves as well. After having spent about four weeks with the HD-A2, I'm ready to give my final review. However as with all the next-generation hi-def disc players, the players themselves are ever evolving by means of firmware updates. So keep in mind just as we saw several firmware updates with the HD-A1 & HD-XA1, we'll likely see firmware updates for this second generation of players as well.

Before I get started here I want to get a few things out of the way. This review won't delve into the overall merits of HD DVD versus Blu-ray. I've made my preferences known and in all honesty I doubt I could think of another way to rehash the subject, even if I wanted to. For the immediate future at least, both formats are here to stay. Suffice to say if you want my recommendation on which way to go, I'm still of the opinion that HD DVD offers the highest quality, least expensive entry point into hi-def optical disc playback. As always however, your mileage may vary.

First Impressions, Specifications and Set-up:

The Toshiba HD-A2 outputs 480p, 720p, and 1080i over HDMI and component and it up-scales standard definition DVD's over the players HDMI 1.2a output. Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD (core only), Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital and standard DTS processing are supported. The player also sports a rear-panel Ethernet connection, slim-line design and greatly improved load times over its predecessors. The players build quality is still impressive even if it's not the tank the HD-A1 was. The case is still made of metal and the brushed/stainless flip-down front tray adds to the players overall curb appeal.

As mentioned above, gone is the bulky, industrial look of the HD-A1; the HD-A2 is nearly half the height of its predecessor and considerably more polished looking. Toshiba appears to have taken much of the criticism of the first generation players to heart not only with regard to performance but with the aesthetics as well. The included remote control is also an improvement over its predecessor. The A2's remote looks, feels, and operates much like any other DVD remote you've ever used. The buttons (non-backlit) are arranged intuitively with all the necessary functions up-front and center.


Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints???
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