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  1. #1

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    Default Quick review of my new A2.

    I got in my new DVD player last night. (it is the Toshiba HD-A2 that Wal-Mart had on special) I hooked it up to my TV with an HDMI cable and to my Pre/Pro with an optical cable.

    I did have a Sony upconverting player that was in use with component cables. (so no upconverting for me) I was able to use it with an HDMI cable for about a week and found the picture slightly more detailed, but very soft looking. It has been replaced with the A2.

    From an HDMI perspective, as goofy as it sounds, I like the fact that I can just play a DVD and listen to sound through my TV speakers without turning on my entire Stereo. (I did not have this option before - remember?) For older TV shows in mono or stereo or for most of the kids pokemon movies – it works out great. I can still turn on the stereo and get 5.1 when I want to for movies, but it is nice not to have to turn everything on every time I want to watch an episode of Home Improvement.

    For the sound:

    HD is a big improvement over most SD disks. (since you cannot send an HD sound signal over optical, the A2 converts the HD sound signal into the highest bit rate DTS signal it can send over an optical connection. (1.5meg) It sounds awesome and every aspect of the sound is improved. (over a standard DVD) The sound level would be similar to what you get from Superbit tiles on a standard definition DVD. (but with extra’s that you don’t get on superbit titles)

    For the image:

    Standard Def – the A2 is an excellent upconverting player. The Sony player I had before also upconverted but the image was rather soft. (the edges were kind of blurry) it made the picture seem to have a little more detail, but seem kind of off. The A2 upconverts great and the image looks very very close to HD in my situation (Sitting 12-14' away from a 50" screen).

    HD – HD images look great as you would expect, but really not that much better than standard def upconverted on the A2. The colors do seem to pop a little more, but 12-14feet back from a 50” screen is just to far to see many additional details in the image that HD is providing. I have not seen every HD disk (obviously) but for movies like Seabiscut, there is not much image improvement that you can see going from the upconverted SD image to the HD-DVD version of the movie.


    Overall:
    For the price paid, it is an awesome upconverting player and will make watching my DVD collection that much better and the sound improvements are very welcome in the HD format. My current stash of SD disks are safe though (except some that I want to improve the sound of) because there is just not that much difference in image from this player with my current TV and viewing distance between an upconverted SD disk and an HD-DVD disk. This is as much a function of how good this player is at upconverting as it is TV size and seating distance though.

    I have not had it long, but that is what I have noticed so far. (It seems most people who purchase HD-DVD are running projectors, just wanted you to get the impression of someone using a normal tv from a medium to long seating distance.

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  2. #2

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    I think the A2 is a great player for the money. Being able to get DD+ over optical, and the conversion of TrueHD to 1.5DTS over optical too is very cool. PQ is excellent. I will tell you what though, the difference between upconversion and real high def is VERY large on 120" screen from 12 feet away! ;)
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbpolk View Post
    ... I will tell you what though, the difference between upconversion and real high def is VERY large on 120" screen from 12 feet away! ;)
    The sbpolk theorem of HD video: "Thou shalt not sit further away than the number of inches of the diagonal of thy screen devided by ten and by the result of this calculation shalt thou know how many feet thou shalt sit away from thy screen"

    Example: 120/10 = 12, therefore, a 120" screen requires a 12' seating distance from the screen! Michael, why are you not sitting five feet away from your 50" screen? It seems perfectly reasonable to me! Besides, I like to see Brian Williams' warts up close. It's the only reason why I want a HDTV.

  4. #4

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    Hmmm, are you making fun? My theater experience is definately "immersive!" That is whey I like HD!
    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell

  5. #5

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    Thanks for your thoughts Michael.

    I've been considering an A2 but if I get one I most certainley will not get it (or anything else) from WalMart (just my $.02)
    Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

  6. #6

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    Thanks Michael. I am currently looking at a Toshiba as well (XA1) and wonder if this is the one I should get. My plasma cannot do 1080p, so 1080p will not be an option for me for several years.
    Michael ;)
    In the beginning, all knowledge was new!

    NORTH of 60°

  7. #7

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    Default Making fun of Michael? Me?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbpolk View Post
    Hmmm, are you making fun? My theater experience is definately "immersive!" That is whey I like HD!
    Only a tad! I was merely in jest, good Sir, merely in jest! Immerse away, immerse away!

    Actually, I used to always go to the front rows in movie theaters because I didn't want any heads bobbing around in front of me. Once or twice I got too close and it felt like I needed three eyes to see to the edges of the screen as well as the center. The ideal was to not see the theater nor anyone in it, just the screen, without being so close that the dreaded third eye was required ... (that third eye didn't fit in with my trendy, but stylish, dress code) but you probably have that one worked out already! ;)

  8. #8

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    I bought one and I have found it to be much better at upconverting SD DVD's straight out of the box than my previous Sony upconvert player that was more expensive. I have not made any firmware upgrades yet. I am pleased with the sound quality as it seems to be better also. My AVR is 10 years old and probably does not take advantage of the latest formats.

    For $ 98.00 You can not go wrong.
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  9. #9

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    Just to clarify - I do like the A2 as both a HD player (especially due to the fact it will downconvert HD audio to DTS 1.5meg via optical - the A3 downconverts audio to DD .66meg via optical) and as an upconverting player it is the best I have seen SD look. It was well worth the cost.

    The issue is with my TV size and viewing distance - it upconverts well enough that there is not alot of image difference between HD and SD programming. (colors are better, but the image from SD is the best I have ever seen so HD really is not that much different from my viewing distance.)

    I have not had it long so I reserve the right to change my mind as I see more HD and SD movies through it but for a first impression, these are my thoughts.... :)

    Michael

    Oh and Kex - I knew what you meant... :)
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  10. #10

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    Have you updated the firmware to 2.7? Just curious if you have and whether it was worth it. Did it really speed up the bootup time?

    Thanks for the review. Sure made it worthwhile to stand in line at Walmart at 7:15AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by halo View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts Michael.

    I've been considering an A2 but if I get one I most certainley will not get it (or anything else) from WalMart (just my $.02)
    I did not get mine from Wal-Mart. I got mine from a fellow polkie who was nice enough to sell me one that he stood in line at Wal-Mart for.

    (A fine line I know - but still... :D )

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatchowmein View Post
    Have you updated the firmware to 2.7? Just curious if you have and whether it was worth it. Did it really speed up the bootup time?

    Thanks for the review. Sure made it worthwhile to stand in line at Walmart at 7:15AM.
    Yep - first thing I did was burn the ISO for 2.7 and load it. (I actually had the disk for 2.7 burned a couple days before I got the player in the mail)

    Due to that, I cannot comment on the change in load times.

    I can say that it is quite annoying that when you first turn it on, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on the player will work until it boots. about 30 seconds. Cannot even eject the tray to put the disk in and go back to your seat.

    Once the disk is in the tray and the tray closes it is only 5-10sec for an SD disk and 10-15sec for a HD disk to load. Not bad at all.

    There are front controls below a flip down door and the only button that will do anything when a disk is at a menu screen is the stop button. (will stop the disk) If play is highlighted on the DVD startup menu and you hit the play button on the front of console, it doesn't do a damn thing. (neither does play on the remote) you have to hit the enter key to start a disk with this player and there is no enter key on the front of the player. If you lose the remote you are screwed. Right now that is my biggest pet peeve with the player.

    Michael
    Last edited by McLoki; 11-17-2007 at 04:31 PM.
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  13. #13

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    Have you updated the firmware to 2.7? Just curious if you have and whether it was worth it. Did it really speed up the bootup time?
    Mine came with firmware v1.3, I never checked the load time before updating to v2.5. I have compared v2.5 and v2.7, no difference in load times. No other difference noticed either.

    I would guess that v2.7 is more for compatability, or bugs that never affected my setup anyways.

  14. #14

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    My only complaint about this player is that it takes a **** ton of time to start up and load movies, I hope 2.7 solves this for me, 2.5 didn't do squat for that problem....

    EDIT: If anyone needs some help with the MAC download/burn of the firmware, let me know. It was super easy, you just need to know where to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by troyd
    Who cares if mainstream pop is released in SACD? In most cases, that amounts to polishing a turd.
    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai
    Have you ever felt the legs of a female equestrian on your head?

  15. #15

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    Bill I need help with the firmware download. I am not computer savy enough to figure it out. I am still running it as shipped.

    Scott
    I like speakers that are bigger than a small refrigerator but smaller than a big refrigerator:D

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Ayotte View Post
    My only complaint about this player is that it takes a **** ton of time to start up and load movies, I hope 2.7 solves this for me, 2.5 didn't do squat for that problem....

    EDIT: If anyone needs some help with the MAC download/burn of the firmware, let me know. It was super easy, you just need to know where to go.
    From what I understand there is not alot of difference between 2.5 and 2.7 for the A2. The inital poweron time is a pain in the ass, but the actual load times for disks does not seem that bad to me. If you would like to compare - I can do a quick stopwatch test with mine and that way we can tell if our players are actually loading differently or just our patience level is different... :)

    I only have 3 HD movies to test with (evan almighty, seabiscut and Transformers) but I have a ton of SD movies. Let me know what you are testing with and I will post my times...

    Michael
    Last edited by McLoki; 11-18-2007 at 03:03 PM.
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MillerLiteScott View Post
    Bill I need help with the firmware download. I am not computer savy enough to figure it out. I am still running it as shipped.

    Scott
    PM me your address and I will ship you the disk I used for 2.7. (it is of no use to me anymore...)

    Michael
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  18. #18

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    I was thinking about watching Transformers later tonight, so I will time it and post it up here.
    Quote Originally Posted by troyd
    Who cares if mainstream pop is released in SACD? In most cases, that amounts to polishing a turd.
    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai
    Have you ever felt the legs of a female equestrian on your head?

  19. #19
    Silverti
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    We just finished watching Shrek 3 on my Toshiba A30... This player stops ticking me off. I am not happy with the quality (Hardware) of the Toshiba hd-dvd players at all.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverti View Post
    We just finished watching Shrek 3 on my Toshiba A30... This player stops ticking me off. I am not happy with the quality (Hardware) of the Toshiba hd-dvd players at all.
    What is it doing that you don't like? have you upgraded the firmware to 2.7?
    Mains.............Polk LSi15 (Cherry)
    Center............Polk LSiC (Crossover upgraded)
    Surrounds.......Polk LSi7 (Gloss Black - wood sides removed and crossovers upgraded)
    Subwoofers.....SVS 25-31 CS+ and PC+ (both 20hz tune)
    Pre\Pro...........NAD T163 (Modded with LM4562 opamps)
    Amplifier.........Cinepro 3k6 (6-channel, 500wpc@4ohms)

  21. #21

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    Forgive my rookie question --

    My friend has a brand new HD-A2. It has NOT been updated with the latest firmware yet, but he sat down and watched a couple of HD movies, but the picture froze on him several times, like in the early days of DVD players. I'm guessing the firmware will fix this issue, but here's my question -- he's using S-video for now (plans to upgrade his TV real soon), so since there's so much more HD video information that needs to be passed via the video cables, would S-video limit the flow of information and cause bottlenecks (i.e., momentary frozen pictures when going from one scene to the next)?

    Thanks.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50” LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  22. #22

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    No, S-video will not cause it to freeze. The A2 only puts out 480p over comosite or S-video. Might even be 480i.

  23. #23

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    you can also get the firm ware straight off the website. If you dont have the computer capabilities they will send you a free dvd with the upgrade

  24. #24

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    If you don't update the firmware, some movies will not play or freeze up on you....In fact, most of the newer movies come with a little note inside them telling you that you need the latest firmware in order to play the movie......
    Quote Originally Posted by troyd
    Who cares if mainstream pop is released in SACD? In most cases, that amounts to polishing a turd.
    Quote Originally Posted by dorokusai
    Have you ever felt the legs of a female equestrian on your head?

  25. #25
    Silverti
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Forgive my rookie question --

    My friend has a brand new HD-A2. It has NOT been updated with the latest firmware yet, but he sat down and watched a couple of HD movies, but the picture froze on him several times, like in the early days of DVD players. I'm guessing the firmware will fix this issue, but here's my question -- he's using S-video for now (plans to upgrade his TV real soon), so since there's so much more HD video information that needs to be passed via the video cables, would S-video limit the flow of information and cause bottlenecks (i.e., momentary frozen pictures when going from one scene to the next)?

    Thanks.


    Sorry, I back spaced the part at some time that I noted that I had the Toshiba A30, not the A2. It said something like "my A30 is driving me nuts".

    One thing I hate is that I believe the power button is simply a code that turns it on or off. No separate code for “on” and “off”. So I keep forgetting that and go up front, open my A30 and put the disk in. It does its normal 1 minute startup (seen on the screen) and it’s ready to go. I then grab my harmony and of course hit "activities" and choose my macro "Watch HD-DVD". It auto switches all my components to be ready for the HD-DVD plays and then shuts down the Toshiba (because it issues the power command). hahaha... I then gotta get up, power on the Toshiba manually and wait another 1+ minutes for it to turn on. 5 minutes has gone by and my family is already bored and shocked that I’m cursing the thing.

    This is the only device I have like that so I keep getting caught by it. Yes, I know I can do things to get around this (but no matter what is still not ergonomic) a bit but it still makes it a pain to use with a universal remote. But then again, I an go in deatiled about how the PS3 is a pain in the butt to use with a universal remote lol.
    Last edited by Silverti; 11-19-2007 at 01:06 PM.

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by McLoki View Post
    Yep - first thing I did was burn the ISO for 2.7 and load it. (I actually had the disk for 2.7 burned a couple days before I got the player in the mail)

    Due to that, I cannot comment on the change in load times.

    I can say that it is quite annoying that when you first turn it on, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on the player will work until it boots. about 30 seconds. Cannot even eject the tray to put the disk in and go back to your seat.

    Once the disk is in the tray and the tray closes it is only 5-10sec for an SD disk and 10-15sec for a HD disk to load. Not bad at all.

    There are front controls below a flip down door and the only button that will do anything when a disk is at a menu screen is the stop button. (will stop the disk) If play is highlighted on the DVD startup menu and you hit the play button on the front of console, it doesn't do a damn thing. (neither does play on the remote) you have to hit the enter key to start a disk with this player and there is no enter key on the front of the player. If you lose the remote you are screwed. Right now that is my biggest pet peeve with the player.

    Michael
    30 seconds sounds to be the norm.

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