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The first generation HD DVD players were released just a few months ago, and Toshiba has just announced the second generation players to be released beginning in October.
While the first generation players were a little large and ungainly looking (an early 80's VCR always came to mind when seeing them), the new players have a little more polish applied to their exteriors to bring them into line with the expectations set by current DVD players and consumer electronics in general.
|1st Generation||2nd Generation|
There's a lot of discussion going on about this announcement in the usual excellent sources for such information:
- G2 HD-A2 and HD-XA2 information and discussion -- AVS Forum
- Toshiba Gen2 HD DVD Players -- Audioholics
- 2G HD DVD players announced - HD-A2 & HD-XA2 -- HD Beat
While I still don't like that there are two different HD disc formats, and (for the most part) movies are available for one or the other and not both, the fact that the second hardware generation of one of the formats has been announced is good news for that format. Some times, such a rapid release means the previous version was pretty bad, but in this case, it seems that the second generation is a maturation of the product, not a replacement due to faulty product the first time around.
The prices are high, but that's the cost of being an early adopter. The first DVD players weren't cheap, either, but that was long enough ago, that we expect everything to be less than $200-$300.
I think it's time to find myself a bargain on an HD-A1!
CEDIA, DENVER, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. ("Toshiba") announced today at CEDIA its second generation HD DVD players for the U.S. market. Building upon the success of its first generation units and the market's increased demand for high definition content, Toshiba will introduce two new HD DVD players -- the HD-A2 entry-level model and the top of the line HD-XA2 model.
Featuring the superior video and audio capabilities of the first generation models and implementing key enhancements to further improve product performance, Toshiba's HD DVD players set the new standard in high definition technology.
"We are very pleased with the launch of our players and the progress we have made in the past six months," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing, Toshiba America Consumer Products Digital A/V Group. "I am confident that our HD DVD players, which provide stunning HD image quality with a variety of advanced high resolution audio options, offer a great value for consumers today."
The new high end Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player is designed to output 1920 x 1080p, the highest HD signal currently available, via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI(TM)) 1.3. HDMI version 1.3 is the most current, major enhancement of the HDMI specification, which adds support for Deep Color technology. The HD-XA2 also incorporates a 297MHz / 12 bit Video DAC with high-quality, 4x oversampling for increased bandwidth for true playback of an HD picture to a video source. The HD-XA2 comes with a picture setting function allowing customers to optimize picture quality with user adjustable settings for color, contrast, brightness, edge enhancement and block noise, among others. The new HD-XA2 HD DVD player's 1080p output capability complements Toshiba's new Cinema Series(R) Pro LCD TVs, which provide true HD 1080p input capability via HDMI.
The HD-XA2 will be one of the first next generation players to support the video portion of HDMI version 1.3. HDMI 1.3 supports the demands of future high definition display devices, such as Deep Color enabling 36-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification. This allows Deep Color compatible display devices to deliver outstanding video quality.
HD DVD's Video Performance -- The Look of Perfect
HD DVD players support leading-edge efficient video compression standards including MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, as well as MPEG2. To meet the latest advancements in Audio/Video interfaces, both models connect to HDTV sets via HDMI -- the multi-industry-supported, all digital A/V connection capable of providing the transmission of uncompressed digital video and multi-channel audio on a single cable.
HD DVD players output HD DVD content through the HDMI interface in 720p or 1080i for the HD-A2 and 720p, 1080i or 1080p for the HD-XA2. Through the HDMI interface, standard definition DVDs can also be upconverted to match the resolution of HD displays. As the conversion takes place in the player, the signal remains free from digital-to-analog conversion artifacts. Like the current HD DVD players, the HD-XA2 and HD-A2 are backward compatible, so users can continue to enjoy their libraries of current DVD and CD software.
HD DVD's Audio Performance -- The Sound of Perfect
Toshiba's HD DVD players support a variety of HD audio options to complement its HD video offerings. The mandatory audio formats for HD DVD include both lossy and lossless formats from Dolby Labs and DTS(R) -- including the Dolby(R) Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD.
The lossless mandatory formats include Linear PCM and Dolby TrueHD. The Dolby TrueHD format supports audio tracks that are bit-for-bit identical to the high resolution studio masters and in the new models can support up to 5.1 channels of 24-bit/96kHz audio. Both new models feature built-in multi-channel decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (5.1 channel), DTS and DTS-HD (core only).
HD DVD Cosmetics
With a high gloss, black acrylic face plate and a slim chassis design, the new HD DVD players have a refined, sleek appearance which complements Toshiba's extensive flat panel TV line-up.
Expected Pricing and Expected Availability:
HD-A2 ($499.99, October 2006); HD-XA2 ($999.99, December 2006)
About Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C.
Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, a world leader in high technology products with subsidiaries worldwide. Toshiba is a pioneer in HD DVD, DVD and DVD Recorder technology and a leading manufacturer of a full line of home entertainment products, including flat panel TV, rear and front projection and direct view televisions, combination products and portable devices. Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. For additional information please visit http://www.tacp.toshiba.com.
Toshiba respects the rights of others. Our products are only intended for lawful recording, storage and playback of authorized content and any other lawful use.
Design specifications and dimensions are not final and are subject to change. Please confirm specific features and exact dimensions by reference to the product itself. Because HD DVD is a new format that makes use of new technologies, certain disc, digital connection and other compatibility issues are possible. Some DVDs and CDs may not be compatible. If you experience compatibility problems, please contact Toshiba customer service.
HD DVD with high definition content required for HD output. Viewing high definition content and upconverting DVD content may require an HDCP capable input on your display device. HD-XA2's video features based on HDMI 1.3 specifications require compatible HDMI 1.3 capable HDTV or other display. Some HDMI 1.3 capable HDTVs or displays may not be compatible and/or may not support deep color. HD-XA2 HD DVD content output at 1080p available only as a result of up-conversion. A/V receiver with 5.1 analog (HD-XA2) or HDMI PCM audio capable (HD-A2 and HD-XA2) input required for playback of advanced audio formats.
Dolby(R) Digital Plus and Dolby True HD support for up to 5.1 channels.
DTS-HD support for up to 5.1 channels of DTS(R) core only. Firmware update may be required for some interactive features depending on content, which may also require an always-on broadband internet connection. Some features may require additional bandwidth. Please see http://www.toshibahddvd.com and owner's manual for more
information. Some features subject to delayed availability.
Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories. "DTS" is a registered trademark of Digital Theatre Systems, Inc. HDMI and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks of HDMI Licensing, L.L.C. HD DVD and DVD are trademarks of DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation.
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