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Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD Player
Best Buy brings Christmas early to some customers

Best Buy often gets a reputation of not having the best customer service and looking down on "devil customers" who only come to Best Buy locations to score hot deals.

Over the past few years, Best Buy has done much to better its image. The store ditched mail-in rebates which many customers complained about -- all Best Buy merchandise now carries instant savings instead.

Best Buy's latest move, however, may be one of the best yet for "devil customers."
It was reported yesterday on DailyTech that Wal-Mart would have the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player on sale for $98.97 Friday morning. Best Buy followed suit by offering the HD-A2 online and in-store for $99.99.

As one might imagine, Best Buy stores were quickly depleted of stock and BestBuy.com was hammered with excess orders. Although some orders were able to get through, an overwhelming majority of customers who purchased HD-A2s from BestBuy.com received backorder notices.

Given that the HD-A2 is now discontinued, one would have expected that Best Buy would just cancel all of the orders and be done with it -- but you would be wrong. Best Buy instead is replacing all backordered HD-A2 players with the new third-generation HD-A3 which retails for $299.99.

A letter sent to Toshiba HD-A2 customers reads as follows:

Dear Valued Best Buy Customer,

You are receiving this email because you recently ordered a Toshiba HD DVD Player (model # HD-A2) from www.bestbuy.com and your order was placed in a backorder status while we awaited additional inventory. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has discontinued this item and we are not anticipating receiving any more inventory.

Because we value your business, we will be fulfilling your order with the next generation Toshiba HD DVD Player (model # HD-A3) that is replacing the HD-A2 in Toshiba's lineup of HD DVD Players. There is no need for you to do anything to receive this upgraded model. We will simply fulfill your original order and your packing slip will be updated to show you received the HD-A3 and serve as your order receipt.

If you are not interested in receiving the Toshiba HD-A3 as a replacement for the discontinued HD-A2, you may return the unopened item to your nearest Best Buy store or simply contact one of our Customer Service Representatives at (888)-BestBuy for more information about how to return the product for a complete refund.

Please accept our apology for any inconvenience. We look forward to your next visit to Best Buy.

Sincerely,
Best Buy Customer Care 

Those persons who were sad to get a backorders notice should be delighted that they will be receiving a brand new third-generation unit instead.

The excitement should build even further considering that all third-generation Toshiba HD DVD player (including the HD-A3) come bundled with "300" and "The Bourne Identity” in addition to the five free movies that can be had after a mail-in rebate [PDF].



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RE: Hardware wise, A2 > A3
By therealnickdanger on 11/3/2007 3:33:51 PM , Rating: 1
Looking at it objectively, downsampling is always a negative. You are losing quality. Whether you can tell the difference is completely subjective. Someone with a $500 home-theater-in-a-box will probably not notice. Someone with a $500 remote, however, will.

So basically, the A3 is perfect for the entry-level high-def customer. They typically don't have a 1080p panel or a DTSMA/DDTHD receiver.


RE: Hardware wise, A2 > A3
By essjae on 11/3/2007 6:53:55 PM , Rating: 3
Downsampling is not always negative. You need to look at the initial sample rate, the frequencies recorded, etc before you can determine if downsampling will lose any quality. As long as you stay above Nyquist, you'll be ok.


RE: Hardware wise, A2 > A3
By saratoga on 11/3/2007 10:10:43 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Looking at it objectively, downsampling is always a negative.


Fortunately, neither player is downsampling. The word you are looking for is transcoding .

And anyway, comparing bitrates when the format isn't the same is a little silly. AC3 is generally a bit more efficient then DTS, so in terms of real quality its not clear from the info you posted which is going to sound better. It will likely depend on which firmware is better implemented.


RE: Hardware wise, A2 > A3
By therealnickdanger on 11/3/07, Rating: -1
RE: Hardware wise, A2 > A3
By Locutus465 on 11/4/2007 10:57:00 AM , Rating: 3
Bitrate isn't everything you know, with the right encoding a lower bitrate can perform much better than a higher bitrate equivilent... Take a look at TMNT for instance... A lot of HD/BD customers complained because the video was encoded at a very low bit rate, and they thought they were getting cheated some how... But in terms of actual performance, if any of these people actually bothered watching the movie they would have realized it's one of the best HD transfers on the market.


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