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Toshiba HD-A35  (Source: AV Watch)
The third time's a charm with Toshiba's HD DVD player lineup

Toshiba isn't standing still when it comes to the development of HD DVD players. The company announced today that it has revamped its entry-level, mid-range and high-end players and that all three will retail for under $500.

"With a majority market share in unit sales of next generation DVD players, consumers are speaking loud and clear, and they are adopting HD DVD as their HD movie format of choice," said Jodi Sally, VP of Marketing for Toshiba's Digital A/V Group. "Because of the proven manufacturing efficiencies of the HD DVD format, Toshiba can bring this level of innovation in technology to a new generation of players with cutting-edge functionality at affordable prices."

The first new model is the entry-level HD-A3. Toshiba didn't divulge many details on the HD-A3 other than the fact that it features 1080i output. The mid-range HD-A30 adds support for 1080p output along with what Toshiba calls "CE-Link" or HDMI-CEC. CE-Link allows for a two-way connection between the HD DVD player and TV over HMDI.

The high-end HD-A35 also features 1080p support and CE-Link, but also adds support for Deep Color over HDMI, 5.1 channel analog audio output and High Bit Rate 7.1 Audio over HDMI.

All three players feature a slimmer exterior design with rounded edges and a high-gloss black finish. According to Toshiba, the third generation players are half as tall as the first generation units.

Toshiba's HD-A30 will be available in September at a price of $399.99. The HD-A3 and HD-A35 will be available in October with price tags of $299.99 and $499.99 respectively.



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pretty silly
By Murst on 8/6/2007 3:25:58 PM , Rating: -1
I'm not sure what they're thinking w/ these HD players. Sure, the price isn't too bad....

However, why would anyone buy a HD player that doesn't do 1080p? Their entry level just seems crazy.

Also, the mid level doesn't have output for 5.1 surround? I'm assuming that you can do 5.1 over HDMI, because if you can't, its just as worthless as the entry level.

Their upper end player seems decent, but its $500...

If they want to compete w/ BR discs, they've gotta do better than this. They're already losing the battle in the US...

I think they're just hurting themselves by releasing gimped versions of their players. I know if I spent $300 on a High Def player and found out I can't do 1080p on my plasma, I'd be upset.




RE: pretty silly
By v1001 on 8/6/2007 3:38:34 PM , Rating: 3
I have the 1080i version and at first I was concerned about it. But after buying the player and watching movies I can say that with out a doubt I do not in any way feel that I'm missing anything or lacking anything at all. I got it for $250 at Frys'.

At $250 you can't beat that even if it's 1080i. And these players are flying off the shelfs at these prices. And no they are not losing the battle in stand alones. The HD-DVD stand alones have been outselling the blu-ray for some time and by quite a bit. HD-DVD is losing in software sales. (because of so many PS3's out there). But have been gaining in that area too with so many stand alone HD-DVD players being sold at the much lower prices and 5 free HD-DVD promotions.


RE: pretty silly
By A5 on 8/6/2007 3:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
Only the high-end has analog outputs for 5.1 (aka direct to the speakers). I assume that the other players have Optical or Coax digital connections to go along with the HDMI connection for 7.1 Dolby Digital e-penis extender or whatever.


RE: pretty silly
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 3:54:48 PM , Rating: 5
> "However, why would anyone buy a HD player that doesn't do 1080p? "

It's a common misconception that 1080i is somehow inferior. If you're playing material where the frame rate between source and display synch (or are some integral multiple thereof), then a 1080i reconverts to progressive with no loss of image quality. None. A 100% accurate reconstruction, bit-by-bit.

Now, there's always the possibility that your display may not deinterlace properly, true...but a set that will mangle 1080i will probably mangle 1080p as well. Some such sets handle 1080p simply by throwing away half the lines of resolution, then line-doubling.

Also, 1080p output is no guarantee of image quality in the first place. The original Sony BD players output 1080p...but internally did 3:2 pulldown to 1080i, then line-doubled back to 1080p just so they could output a "better" signal. The resultant image quality was, unsurprisingly, very poor.

Finally, the "artifacts" generated by deinterlacing typically require eagle eyes and/or stop-frame comparison to even notice. I know what to look for, and even standing just a few feet from my 103" screen, I generally will only notice visible artifacting in certain very special cases, such as a display of thin black-and-white vertical bars.

1080p is just a marketing buzzword. There are a hundred other factors that go into making a quality picture...most of them as or more important than whether the output signal is 1080i or 1080p.


RE: pretty silly
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 4:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
LIES!!! LIES!!!

/sarcasm

I'm with you man.

Also consider that many people do not have 1080p capable TVs. A lot of people still have projection screen HDTVs that are limited to 1080i and also 720p plasmas and LCDs. Those people probably aren't going to throw out their TV anytime soon either and don't care about 1080p so why pay for it?

I know my parents 4 year old 57" Hitachi HDTV looks great with 1080i. Especially with HD cable. My 42" Samsung is 720p and also looks great. I won't be getting a 1080p TV for probably 5-6 years. Maybe longer. The only reason I really would need to would be if I wanted to use it as a PC display. 1280x720 would be a little limiting for a PC.


RE: pretty silly
By Guyver on 8/6/2007 4:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
In other words,

1080i = 1920 x 1080

1080p = 1920 x 1080

(Except if you're DirecTV, Dish Network, or Digital Cable)


RE: pretty silly
By leexgx on 8/6/2007 7:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
i never get an player that does only 1080i (afective 540 half frameing) over an 1080p player that probly supports 1080i as well

Most networks probly use 720p over 1080i (do not think thay can do 1080p to much bandwith)

this web site is an little bit rant (and not been updated for an long time ) but you get the point http://www.alvyray.com/DigitalTV/default.htm of 720 > 1080
i have not looked around to see if there any web sites with updated info


RE: pretty silly
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 7:30:12 PM , Rating: 4
> "this web site is an little bit rant (and not been updated for an long time ) but you get the point "

You've misinterpreted the information on the site, which is applicable only to broadcast video. Strictly speaking, its only applicable to broadcast video viewed on non-frame buffering displays. Pre-recorded HD material on disc is a wholly different matter.


RE: pretty silly
By leexgx on 8/6/2007 7:46:36 PM , Rating: 1
i know HD disks content is done only in 1080p but do not see the point in converting an perfect video into interlaced then an hardware/software converter to get rid of the problems that can happen with interlaced all LCD screens are progressive, not sure about plasma but thay are probly progressive as well been digital as it is

id perfer to get an PS3 if i was going to get an HD player in any case as its an 4/6 in 1 unit,
play games,
internet,
Folding@home ps3,
media center {when ever thay get it sorted out},
play HD content BD in this case
has an card reader i asume for pics

i been to some ones house ps3 quiet, Xbox 360 Turbo fan jets in there


RE: pretty silly
By MGSsancho on 8/6/2007 8:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
I have Charter Cable, and they give me 480P, 720P, and 1080i depending on the show. movies come in 1080i with DTS, abc gives 1080i DTS, extreme home make over comes in at 720P stereo. most commericals in HD channels are 720P stereo. sometimes a car commercial comes in at 720P DTS. but it switches a lot. credits in movies come in stereo where the movies comes in DTS. 1080i looks fantastic. however its te compression that kills it. like a helicopter scene flying over water. looks horrible


RE: pretty silly
By Guyver on 8/7/2007 10:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
You might want to check and see what EXACTLY they define as 720p and 1080i.

Essentially, they are only taking the vertical line count to legally misrepresent that their product doesn't actually feed you a 1920x1080 interlaced picture. I forget what it is, but let's just say for the sake of argument that it is 1500 x 1080. They say it is 1080i, but if you go and look at the FCC's website 1080i is defined to be 1920 x 1080.

Be careful on how services are marketed to get your hard earned dollar. You're not getting everything you believe you're getting.


RE: pretty silly
By Guyver on 8/7/2007 10:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, 720p material has more vertical lines than 1080i material if you look at things on a 1/60th time slice.

At 1/30th the time slice and assuming your TV or box properly deinterlaces the 1080i input (meaning the odd and even frames are woven together) then 1080i > 720p (at 1/30th sec).

The problem is most TVs have taken shortcuts on how to properly deinterlace and do 3:2 pulldown.

I recall reading an article last year where a guy was testing this and the ONLY brand to pass both tests unscathed was Pioneer.

Some manufacturers did nothing more than line double each 540 frame to 1080p. Very shady implementation if you ask me.


RE: pretty silly
By ChristopherO on 8/6/2007 7:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
then a 1080i reconverts to progressive with no loss of image quality

Only if you have a device in the chain that does true inverse telecine for up conversion. Otherwise 1080i does not equal 1080p. Any 1080i 60Hz source routed through such a device always gives bit-for-bit accurate 1080p. Otherwise the set will take its liberty with the signal and will not give a perfect reconstruction (the interpolated 1080p isn't quite the same). Standard 3:2 pulldown mangles things.

Virtually no consumer TVs can do inverse telecine. The HQV chips just appearing on the market *can* (embedded in higher quality Blu Ray and HD-DVD players), but most of the time the sets use some subset of DCDi technology, which cannot.

Almost all external upconverters do correct inverse telecine, however virtually no consumers will have such a device. Those are most definitely a high-end component.


RE: pretty silly
By ChristopherO on 8/6/2007 7:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
Also, for anyone reading that wants to research an "upconverter" they are really called an "external deinterlacer" or "external scaler". Unfortunately people commonly refer to them as an up-converter, which isn't a wholly accurate name.


RE: pretty silly
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 10:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
> "Only if you have a device in the chain that does true inverse telecine for up conversion. Otherwise 1080i does not equal 1080p"

This is correct for broadcast video only. For disc video, the interlaced frames have equal time indices and can be reconstructed by just reweaving. There is no need to inverse telecine just to deinterlace; a 1080i@48 signal isn't going to have 3:2 applied in the first place.


RE: pretty silly
By ChristopherO on 8/7/2007 12:08:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is correct for broadcast video only

I'm not sure where your information is coming from, but consumer display devices can't accurately reassemble an interlaced frame into a progressive one (even from a disc based source). The DVD player can, which is why players that internally switch from 1080p, to interlaced, back to progressive can do so losslessly. There is no way to effectively take an interlaced frame (to the display) and reconstitute the progressive frame when your inbound frame rate is 60hz (using typical processing technology found in reasonably priced display devices). The technology exists but is not employed in any commercially available display device of which I'm aware (it’s always cheaper, from both a cost and processing perspective, to do this at the source rather than the destination). The sets that perform the deinterlace (specifically 1080i -> p) do so without regards to a fully accurate progressive representation.


RE: pretty silly
By masher2 (blog) on 8/7/2007 12:39:25 AM , Rating: 3
> " consumer display devices can't accurately reassemble an interlaced frame ... he technology exists but is not employed in any commercially available display device..."

No. You're confusing a few different concepts here. To understand why deinterlacing can be done perfectly for recorded content, you have to first understand why its NOT possible for broadcast video. The key is in understanding the concept of time indices.

In broadcast video, you have a camera (or other source) continously capturing half-frames, then transmitting them. The time indices between the two halves of a full frame, however, don't match, which means the simplest manner of deinterlacing (known as "weaving", or simply adding together consecutive fields) results in severe artifacting. "Bobbing" is another technique used, which consists of simply line-doubling a half-frame into a full. This doesn't cause artifacting-- but you lose half your resolution. More sophisticated algorithms exist such as inverse telecine and advanced motion compensation algorithms. These can give you very close to the original source, but still its not perfect.

Now, lets consider prerecorded 1080p@24 material-- what you find on a HD-DVD or BD disc. The full frames already exist; that's how they're encoded and stored. To transmit this to a 60hz 1080i set, your player simply reads a full frame, then does 3:2 pulldown, transmitting frames like this, "112223344455666", etc. But the time indices MATCH between each half-frame (they were originally created from one full frame, remember). So when you add consecutive fields together, (the "weave" operation) you get back your original source content-- the full frames you started with. There is no need for inverse telecine or any other algorithm. Thia is, in fact, the reason why the PLAYER can deinterlace without signal loss...because of the matching time indices on frames.

Now, the only problem here is a really dumb, cheap set just might decide to "bob" your 1080i signal instead of weaving it. But, as I said earlier, a display that stupid is probably going to munge your 1080p signal anyway. Some of them do indeed bob both 1080i and 1080p, effectively converting them both a line-doubled 540p signal.

Hopefully the above clears up a few misconceptions. The important thing to remember is that the 1080i transmitted by cable companies and broadcast stations has, from an interlacing perspective, nothing in common with a 1080i signal from a disc player.


RE: pretty silly
By ChristopherO on 8/7/2007 12:33:18 AM , Rating: 2
Although I noticed your original argument mentions a multiple of the base frame rate, which is correct. I'm speaking just of the 24->60 frame conversion, then output in an interlaced form.

Granted I also can't speak to the specific behavior of all the chipsets involved. For instance Silicon Optix chipsets at 24->60fps might provide a signal that cheaper internal deinterlacers can reconstruct into 1080p. I believe the devices using Genesis Microchip’s technology can't do this.

In any event you can get true 1080p with interlaced devices, but you'll need better equipment to do so, and if it can, that equipment is probably already capable of passing/receiving native 1080p. And speaking of Silicon Optix, I still have yet to witness the Olevia displays with their technology. I only hope Pioneer includes it in the new Elites and Sony in whatever replaces the Ruby.


RE: pretty silly
By wallijonn on 8/6/2007 4:08:58 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
why would anyone buy a HD player that doesn't do 1080p?


Because a 1080p 42" will cost you $2500 and a 720p/1080i will cost you $1500.

quote:
I know if I spent $300 on a High Def player and found out I can't do 1080p on my plasma, I'd be upset.


If you can afford a 1080p plasma, then you can probably afford the high end unit for $500.

If all we have is a 1080i TV, knowing that the player will probably last less than 2 years, then when we buy a new model in 2 years we'll probably then be able to get the 1080p model for under what we just paid for the 1080i model.

It happened with progressive scan - when they came out they were expensive. Now they are common place. It happened with VHS/DVD recorders. Now you can buy one with a digital tuner for the same price you paid for just the analogue tuner a year ago. If you had paid a lot more for that recorder last year then it is already obsolete if you have a HD TV.

-Practical Economics 101.


RE: pretty silly
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 4:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because a 1080p 42" will cost you $2500 and a 720p/1080i will cost you $1500.


For LCD maybe. $2500 will get you a quality 50-60" 1080p DLP TV. If you don't care about hanging it on a wall, you can save a lot of money. I got my 42" 720p Samsung DLP for $900 last November.


RE: pretty silly
By wallijonn on 8/6/2007 4:32:48 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
For LCD maybe.


The new Panasonic 42" 1080p plasma sets are going for about $2500. The 720p sets are going for $1500. I waited until the 720p/1080i model went on sale for $1200 (last February).

Imagine you just bought that buffo $3000 Samsung LCD with the anti-glare glass screen and it "only" does HDMI 1.2... Nah, it has to be able to do HDMI 1.3... Then spending $500 for a player isn't outrageous.


RE: pretty silly
By Guyver on 8/6/2007 4:58:19 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to be Master of the Obvious, but 1080p displays didn't hit mainstream until 2006. Everything made prior to 2006 is either a 1080i or 720p display. Translation: There's a whole lot more 1080i HDTVs than you realize and seeing how all these players are selling for a premium, cost-conscious consumers may comparison shopping for "as required" hardware and not interested in paying a premium price for features that they cannot take advantage of.


RE: pretty silly
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 5:45:41 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Everything made prior to 2006 is either a 1080i or 720p display


There were 1080p displays before 2006. They just cost a shit ton more than they do now.


RE: pretty silly
By Samus on 8/6/2007 11:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
He did say 'mainstream'

I'm sure there have been 1080p displays for years, but trying to purchase one at best buy before 2006 was infact impossible.


RE: pretty silly
By retrospooty on 8/6/2007 4:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Also, the mid level doesn't have output for 5.1 surround? "

That means direct output. you can still connect your 5.1 sound system via the old coax or optical connectors, like we always have. Thus the high end model does not need a separate 5.1 receiver to handle 5.1 output.

I can't imagine anyone with a 1080p TV, who also spent the cash for High def (or blue ray) player, and has the room for 5.1 speakers that does not already have a 5.1 receiver, but I guess its a nice option just in case... or if you lug the HD DVD player on a vacation, or to a friends house.


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