Your Daily Phil

A new HD era

Posted by lozenp on June 12, 2007

So over the weekend I finally took the plunge: I bought an HD DVD player. Actually, it was my father’s day gift from Amy and Jackson, pretty cool huh? After much rumination, I chose to get the XBox 360 HD DVD drive. My other option was the Toshiba HD-A2. For those who care – here’s what led to my decision:

Toshiba HD-A2

The Pros – Standalone player, very good reviews, supports the new audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD), great upscaling of standard-def DVDs (so my current DVD library would look better than before), HDMI output, five free HD DVDs from Toshiba with purchase, and Toshiba has been very good about providing firmware updates to their HD-DVD players on a pretty frequent basis. But what really had me was that for a limited time, this formerly $500 player could be had for just $299.

The Cons – Still $100 more than the Xbox version, my current audio setup can’t decode the new audio formats, from the list of five free HD DVDs, I really only was excited about 1-2 of them, would have to replace my current 5-disc DVD player in my equipment rack.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Drive

The Pros – Only $199, can be easily added into my current equipment rack without replacing anything, good upscaling of standard def DVDs, free HD DVD and Xbox 360 Media remote in the box, my friend Jesse has one and has been happy, most reviews I read essentially said there was no difference in video quality between the Toshiba and the Xbox drive.

The Cons – Not a standalone player, no current support for new audio formats, no HDMI output, a nagging feeling that I was not getting a full-fledged HD DVD player but a partial one.

When I looked at all those things, I could not make a decision. Jack and I went up to Best Buy on Saturday and walked around for like 45 minutes and I still couldn’t decide. As I told Jesse, “I know I’m going to get one eventually, I just can’t figure out which one. I’m just waiting from something to lean me one direction.”

Then the Sunday Best Buy ad came out – buy the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive, get two free HD DVDs. Consider me leaned.

I could get into the HD DVD world, save $100, get three free movies (two plus the one that came with the drive) that I would actually watch, and not have to reorganize my equipment rack. So after golf Sunday with Jesse and Rich (shot an 84, woo hoo), I went to Best Buy, got the drive, picked up U-571 and Letters from Iwo Jima as my free discs (the new King Kong came in the box) and headed home.

So far I’ve only set it up, watched a couple scenes from Letters, some standard def episodes of “The Office” (which upscaled fairly well) and Band of Brothers (need to do some comparison to get an actual read on the upscaling of this one).

I spend Monday night with the Avia Guide to Home Theater DVD calibrating all the colors and settings to get the best possible picture (thanks Amy) and can’t wait to get two hours to sit down and enjoy a HD DVD. Once I do, I’ll let you know what I think.

As for why I chose HD DVD over Blu-Ray, well, that’s another post entirely.


One Response to “A new HD era”

  1. Rich said

    Cool. I’m still going to wait a bit before I take the leap. My home theater is pretty lame compared to your setup, but I need to have you come over and set it up to maximize it’s potential. Or give me an excuse to buy something nice.

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