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Toshiba HD-A20
Toshiba offers "low-cost" 1080p player

Toshiba has announced the availability of its new HD-A20 HD DVD player. The player was first shown earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and was projected to have a price tag of $599 -- instead the HD DVD player will be priced at $499.

Toshiba's HD-A20 supports full 1080p resolution unlike its cheaper HD-A2 brother which only supports up to 1080i. Unfortunately, the HD-A20 doesn't feature the HDMI 1.3 interface found in Sony's BD-1200 or PlayStation 3 and instead relies on HDMI 1.2. Without HDMI 1.3, the HD-A20 misses out on xvYCC support, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and automatic audio syncing. In order to get HDMI 1.3 on an HD DVD player, you'll have to step up to the $799 HD-XA2.

Sub $500 players which support 1080p are few and far between these days. Besides the HD-A20, there's also the $499 USD 20GB PS3 -- the only problem is (1) the 20GB PS3 is extremely hard to come by and (2) it has been discontinued by Sony. Microsoft's $199 HD DVD drive supports 1080p over VGA and when paired with a $299 Xbox 360 Core comes in under $500.

Toshiba also announced that is has sold over 900,000 HD DVD titles to date and promises that 70 more titles will be released between now and July 2007. The company is also talking up its promotion where anyone who purchases a new Toshiba HD DVD player can receive five HD DVD titles for free. Despite the excitement from Toshiba over HD DVD, it looks as though the Blu-ray standard is putting up quite a fight.



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RE: A little help, please....
By masher2 (blog) on 4/12/2007 11:19:20 AM , Rating: 3
> " Toshiba is releasing a brand new HD-DVD player, with 1080p support, but has decided to leave out HDMI 1.3?...Toshiba is [moving] some low end players..."

Come sir, this is rather silly. HDMI 1.3 is a pretty minor bump over 1.2...and few if any movie titles are going to take advantage of it. There's a lot more to quality than simply scrolling down a list of buzzwords and feature versions.

The A2 (the earlier version of this) lacks both 1080p and HDMI 1.3...but it upscales standard DVDs better than any player I've yet owned (ncluding my $1200 Denon 3910) and even at 1080i, on my front projector it generates a better image with less artifacting than my PS3 @ 1080p does. On my RP, I'd have to call it a tie, probably because its not quite as good at deinterlacing.


RE: A little help, please....
By Visual on 4/12/2007 12:03:59 PM , Rating: 1
actually, HDMI 1.3 is the most major bump of the specs. it is the only version bump that changes the physical link specification, it more than doubles single-link bandwidth. all other version changes since the inception of the standard changed nothing of the actual connection and just further specified its usage, i.e. they are at least theoretically obtainable with a firmware updates.

whether the increased bandwidth will be necessary any time soon is just speculation, but it wouldn't have hurt the player if it were available.


RE: A little help, please....
By masher2 (blog) on 4/12/2007 12:27:57 PM , Rating: 3
> "whether the increased bandwidth will be necessary any time soon is just speculation, but it wouldn't have hurt the player if it were available. "

It won't help the player either...that's just the point. The older HDMI 1.2 has more bandwidth than HD films need. What use is any more? And even if the link supported it, you'd need a new playback chipset to utilize it, so the extra bandwidth on a current player does nothing whatsoever.

> it...changes the physical link specification."

It adds a miniconnector....something useful for cameras and camcorders. Not something you'd put on a disc player.


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