It appears the second wave of HD DVD players are now
hitting retail stores. Members over at the AVS
Forum are reporting Toshiba's second generation HD-A2 is now showing
up in Best Buys across the country and through online retailers.
Being a first generation product, the original HD-A1 had
plenty of flaws including issues with slow startup times, problems with HDMI
compatibility, artifacting with 720p content and lack of 1080p support. Then
there's also the fact that the HD-A1 was huge -- it simply dwarfed traditional
DVD players that have had years to mature.
On the other hand the HD-A1 had exceptional image
quality, a built-in Ethernet port, upgradeable firmware and a price that was
half that of competing Blu-ray players. As of now, the HD-A1 can be had for a
price of around $400 according to Froogle.
According to the folks at AVS Forum, the HD-A2 goes a long
way to solving the problems of its predecessor but 1080p support is still
missing (for 1080p, you’ll have to wait for the HD-XA2).
According to AVS member Kris Deering, startup times are
still around 35-45 seconds. Disc loading times, however, have been cut from
seconds down to 5-15 seconds. The unit itself is now slimmer, lighter,
quieter and is overall a more polished product. Toshiba even saw fit to revise
the rather poor remote included with the HD-A1.
Toshiba MSRP for the HD-A2 is $499 and you can find
it online from a variety of stores or just head down to your local Best Buy
to see one in person.