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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: Sounds like a good deal...
By Moishe on 4/12/2007 2:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
The only way for the format war to be over this year will be by one of the parties giving up prematurely (not gonna happen) or by one of the formats outselling the other one very significantly.

Even the holiday season will not decide the war if both players are still within the same price range with similar media sales numbers. Wars are won by beating the other guy, not by talking or "kinda-sorta" winning. The format war will not be won as long as both still have a chance of winning. It won't be this year unless something odd happens.

I have a problem with how long regular DVDs lasted. The first DVD I bought was probably in 1999 which is 8 years. I'm not sure exactly but DVDs aren't really that old. It's not like we'll lose our existing DVDs but it sure won't be great trying to watch an old 4:3 DVD when we're used to watching HD. Just for that alone I'm willing to hang back a little while and wait until there is a clear winner.

Right now I'm happy with the OTA HDTV and upscaled DVDs. I can't see how people get the money to buy one of everything. No wonder it seems like most people are in debt.

RE: Sounds like a good deal...
By masher2 on 4/12/2007 2:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
> " but it sure won't be great trying to watch an old 4:3 DVD when we're used to watching HD"

Watching an upscaled DVD on a HD screen is considerably better than a standard DVD...thats one of the reasons I took the HD plunge a year ago. Of course, I've been buying 16:9 DVDs whenever possible, so the majority of my collection is widescreen format.

RE: Sounds like a good deal...
By Oregonian2 on 4/12/2007 9:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it's not really better than a standard DVD because it IS a regular DVD. Upscaling to a new digital TV does allow the quality to be more fully seen though (what I do at home, btw) and indeed a regular DVD (upscaled and HDMI connected) can look very good indeed!

But I'm not so sure if it's the upscaling or the all digital HDMI connection that makes the big difference (the TV would presumably upscale it anyway).

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