The high definition DVD war is just starting to hit its
stride with the announcement of second generation players from Samsung and
Toshiba. Toshiba fired the first salvos with its second generation HD-A2 and HD-XA2 players.
The former has a $499 price tag and supports 1080i/HDMI 1.2 while the later
rings in at $999 and supports 1080p/HDMI 1.3.
Samsung then returned fire with its $799 BD-1200 Blu-ray
player. The player features 1080p, HDMI 1.3 and the new Hollywood Quality Video
(HQV) processor for enhanced image quality.
Toshiba is now looking to ruffle a few feathers with a new
$599 HD DVD player which slots in between the low-end HD-A2 and the high-end
HD-XA2. The new HD-A20 supports full 1080p resolution, but features the more
limiting HDMI 1.2 interface.
Compared to HDMI 1.2, version 1.3 of the spec adds 10.2Gbps
single-link bandwidth, support for the xvYCC color standard, Dolby TrueHD and
DTS-HD Master Audio support and automatic audio syncing.
While the new HD-A20 will become the lowest-priced
stand-alone 1080p player on the market, the move is sure to disappoint more
than a few people -- specifically those who just paid $500 for the 1080i HD-A2 just a few weeks ago.
The HD-A20 will first become available for the United States
market in the spring of this year.