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Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD Player Review @ CNET

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Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD Player Review @ CNET

Postby Ian on Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:31 am

CNET has put together a pretty decent review of the Toshiba HD-A20. If you've been thinking about spending the extra $100 to get 1080p, you might want think again and stick with the HD-A2.

http://reviews.cnet.com/video-players-a ... ?subj=fdba

Because the HD-A20's major upgrade over the HD-A2 is 1080p output, the performance of the HD-A20 in 1080p mode is critical to whether the HD-A20 is worth the extra money. To start, we looked at some of the tests from Silicon Optix's HQV test suite on HD DVD in 1080p mode on our Pioneer Pro-FHD1. The results were disappointing. The HD-A20 struggled with the Film Resolution Loss tests, with moiré present in the image of stands at Raymond James Stadium, and a strobe effect occurring on a shifting resolution pattern. The HD-A20 also did a poor job with the Video Resolution Loss test, with the same strobe behavior occuring on certain areas of the test pattern. We even saw significant jaggies (stair-step patterns along the edges of lines that should look smooth) on the Jaggies test with three shifting lines--which is notable, as most players and displays ace this test. We looked at these same patterns with the HD-XA2, and it passed every single test. Additional test discs also confirmed the HD-A20's limitations in 1080p mode--most importantly, the player failed to resolve the finest detail on test patterns from the HD DVD version of Digital Video Essentials.

We also looked at actual content to see how often these failures affected program material. Unfortunately, we found several instances where the HD-A20's subpar 1080p performance had a significant impact on the viewing experience. When we loaded up MI:III, we noticed some flicker on the bottom of the main menu right off the bat, along with some significant jaggies on the computer-generated graphics in the background. Jumping into the movie, one of the worst examples was at the beginning of Chapter 8 of MI:III, where there's very noticeable and distracting moiré on the stairs in the background. At the beginning of Chapter 16, we could see obvious jaggies on the limo as it rolled up to Tom Cruise. These are only the some of the easiest places to spot the jaggies--we saw them popping up constantly throughout MI:III.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:27 am

Wow... that's really sad :o
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Postby Grain on Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:31 pm

Especially sad considering it's second generation. I don't have any compaints with my A2, it's probably the 1080p that's causing the problem (I wouldn't be surprised that they are the same hardware, w/ the 1080p somehow disabled in the A2).
Samsungs 1000 BR player got similar horrible reviews, but it was at least was 1st Gen. Samsungs 1200 is supposed to be excellent.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:59 pm

I hear the latest Sony brand Blu-Ray player is getting some bad reviews also, over the long loading times (rated in minutes for some movies!!). Samsung's 1200 player is deffinately superior in that way. But still nothing seems to be comparable to the PS3 in terms of Blu-Ray performance.
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Postby Wesociety on Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:32 pm

So it looks like the best options for an HD DVD standalone are either the HD-A2 or the HD-AX2. Go high or go low, don't go half-arsed!!!

I wonder if they will fix the problems with the mid-range player on their 3rd generation (HD-A30).
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Postby Grain on Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:43 am

Onkyo makes some good hardware. Their new player looks interesting, but now that I'm married my purchases of higher-end kit has tailed off. I now have to sneak in my new purchases :lol: , but I usually get caught, and it's always the new remote that does me in :x .
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Postby Ian on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:23 pm

That Onkyo is a rip off. $899 for a modified HD-AX2? No thanks.
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Postby Wesociety on Fri Aug 10, 2007 2:28 pm

Ian wrote:That Onkyo is a rip off. $899 for a modified HD-AX2? No thanks.

Who do they think they are? Plextor? :lol:
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Postby Grain on Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Ian wrote:That Onkyo is a rip off. $899 for a modified HD-AX2? No thanks.


Depends what/how they've modified it. If all they've done is cosmetic, then your absolutely right Ian. If they used better DAC's, heavier power supply/s, better connectors, improved the chassis stability/rigidity, etc then it could very well be worth it IMO (yes, I'm a home theater geek). What they have done to the machine (if anything significant) I don't know.
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Postby Ian on Fri Aug 10, 2007 7:30 pm

I must admit I was a bit harsh. The Onkyo supports HDMI 1.3a and 1080p/24... which the Toshiba HD-AX2 currently does not (1080p/24 coming in a firmware update).

I'm guessing that it is based on the Toshiba HD-A35. It supports 1080p/24 and can be controlled via HDMI so I'm guessing it supports HDMI 1.3a. I'm just not sure what video processor it uses. If its like the HD-AX2, it will use the HQV Reon VX which the Onkyo also has.
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