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Is Toshiba HD-DVD defective??

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Old 04-25-2006, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Is Toshiba HD-DVD defective??

According to Bill Hunt, editor of 'The Digital Bits', the Toshiba HD-DVD player he is using to critique the first releases of HD-DVD movies is experiencing serious performance issues. He writes, "... we've encountered some significant issues during the process" (of testing movies on the Toshiba HD-DVD player). "First of all, we continue to have a problem with movie software freezing for a few moments during playback, after which it continues playing but without audio, or with out-of-sync audio. It's happened on every movie disc we've tried now, at least once per film (and sometimes more often.)"

"The other thing we've discovered is that the quality and character of the 1080i video that the Toshiba player delivers from its digital HDMI and component analog outputs is very different. The analog output features significantly enhanced color saturation and contrast levels over the HDMI, which SHOULD be more accurate. The difference is not minor, and we're trying to figure out exactly what it means and why it's happening. It's important to understand what's going on here, and which video output is correct (or more correct), so that we can accurately describe the video quality in our reviews."

"Anyway, we're going to see what Toshiba says on both of these issues and get back to you on it, then try to finish those reviews."

Assuming that Mr. Hunt has connected the Toshiba correctly, this gives me more than a little cause for concern. I should think that the unit he's testing on is a 'loaner' to his service from Toshiba, and should therefore have been double-checked for reliability by factory execs to pass muster. If he's exeriencing problems, what does that portend for the rest of us who have purchased units off the shelf?

In the very brief time that I've tested my Toshiba HD-DVD player I've noticed no freezing, but lip-movement and sound seem to be just slightly out-of-sync. This may be because I have so far been using my old AC-3 receiver, and have gotten sound only out of the front speakers. When I hook up my new DTS receiver, I'll be able to determine for certain if there's a sound-sync issue.

What most concerns me, though, is the HDMI/component issue. If "the difference is not minor" in picture quality of HDMI over compnent, this poses a real problem. The whole HDMI issue revolves around piracy protection, and for discs encoded with that protection we're going to be forced to use HDMI for 1080i quality. That may mean that, aside from sharpness, the dynamic rance of HD movies may not equal that of regular old DVD. At least not on the Toshiba.

Which naturally leads to another point. I've noticed that there are a lot of companies releasing Blu-Ray players in the coming months, but I could find only one other company releasing an HD-DVD player (Thompson, I believe, placing the RCA label on a Toshiba machine). Why is that? Do these companies know something about the bottom-line spec sheet that we don't know about? For what it's worth, if memory serves I remember Mr. Hunt writing his reviews from the Vegas CES show that the BR display appeared to show a better picture on TVs than HD-DVD. He admitted that these were only test models, but in light of his disclosure on the Toshiba, I have to wonder.

There's an old saying in the video market, which chiefly applies to gaming but can be applied here--"People won't remember who was the first to release product, but they will remember if the product is defective." Why, really, was Toshiba so insistent on being the first to market? If their product is equal in quality to Sony's blu-ray technology, at half the price, does it really matter which horse leaves the gate first? In a two-horse race of equals, if one leaves the starting gate a few seconds later than the other but only has half the distance to cover, which one would you bet on?

I think, then, that Mr. Hunt was indeed correct when he said that the smart consumer would wait for at least one year before making a commitment to hi-def DVD. This may be true not only to determine if there is going to be a winner in the format war, but to avoid the hidden mines of unexplored waters.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
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I have read a lot of reviews and the player is a little quirky with some issues that can hopefully be fixed by a firmware update but I haven't seen anything like his review. The player appears to be a good barebones 1080i HD DVD player based on everything else I have read. The audio output confuses some receivers into thinking Dolby Digital is DTS and 720p performance is subpar but all 720p displays can accept a 1080i input as far as I know. I believe Blu-ray will ultimately be the winner but HD DVD out of the gate first with a $500 player is significant and was absolutely necessary for HD DVD to have a shot in my opinion. If this reviewer is either screwy or has a rare defective player, HD DVD may pick up steam quickly. If he is right and it is a poorly implemented first generation product, there won't likely be a second.

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Old 04-25-2006, 04:59 PM   #3
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[quote=ADWyatt]Assuming that Mr. Hunt has connected the Toshiba correctly I wouldn't assume anything with these reviewers. There was another review in the LA times that from his description made me wonder if he hooked it up wrong. (from the description of the cables he used) I don't trust these guys. They form opinions too hastily and often have pre-concieved biases and agendas.
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:28 PM   #4
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samsung is releasing a hddvd player in the next month. i also read of another company in the next few months. i forget which one.
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:45 PM   #5
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also i wouldnt put it past toshiba to have messed this hd dvd player launch up. there quality has taken a nice size dive over the last 6-7 months.

major bulb issues on dlps

outsourcing crts. which led to major returns over the last few months.
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:22 PM   #6
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Samsung's first player is a Blu-Ray, not HD DVD.

First to market is *always* a big marketing win, you get tons of free press that subsequent introductions will never get. From a marketing perspective, Toshiba has strike one (first to market) and strike two (lowest price) against Blu-Ray, but if their product is bad or unreliable, they won't win the game.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:54 PM   #7
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From what I've read about Bill Hunt, he's definitely been a BR fanboy from way back.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:25 PM   #8
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The A1 I bought was occasionally doing what Mr Hunt described. I returned it for the XA1 (mostly to get the lit remote) and it has not had this issue. I did not return it because of that issue-it was a minor annoyance (though troubling).
I also noted the XA1 has a ground plug on the unit-whaeras the A1 does not.

BTW-here is a great link:

http://geekswithblogs.net/lorint/arc.../21/75795.aspx

These HD DVD player's are some serious units. No suprise that they are "slow" to load after reading this-they are definitely computer's !
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gerhard
I have read a lot of reviews and the player is a little quirky with some issues that can hopefully be fixed by a firmware update but I haven't seen anything like his review. The player appears to be a good barebones 1080i HD DVD player based on everything else I have read. The audio output confuses some receivers into thinking Dolby Digital is DTS and 720p performance is subpar but all 720p displays can accept a 1080i input as far as I know. I believe Blu-ray will ultimately be the winner but HD DVD out of the gate first with a $500 player is significant and was absolutely necessary for HD DVD to have a shot in my opinion. If this reviewer is either screwy or has a rare defective player, HD DVD may pick up steam quickly. If he is right and it is a poorly implemented first generation product, there won't likely be a second.

Chris
Has anyone ever had a piece of consumer electronics "updated"?
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Old 04-29-2006, 01:26 AM   #10
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I just got back from NAB and Toshiba had in their both an HD-DVD player hooked up to one of their LCD monitors via the component cables and the picture looked like crap (a ton of motion lag). I couldn’t find out if the player or the monitor was causing the picture to look so bad. I talked to a couple of Toshiba guys and they didn’t see what I was talking about, but one of the guys said that monitor had a refresh rate of 8ms or less so it shouldn’t have been the monitor. Overall I didn’t think much of the demo.
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Old 04-29-2006, 09:18 PM   #11
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All gear reads the DD+ from Warner titles as DTS...which is down 15db from the sd dvd version of the same titles.
To cure this...you have to use analog 5.1..or hdmi audio to get DD+...which is by far the best option.
The players are extremely slow...and the remote is not so great.

My problem....as well as a lot of others is that everytime I entered the menu....not only does the player not remember were you left off in the movie, but it also makes your display re-sync.
That was the biggest problem.

Some have said there player freezes during playback....but mine only failed to read a few discs with the player basically temporarely frooze to any function.
Unplugging the unit took care of this.

The picture is very nice....even though its not as sharp as the better d-vhs movies....and the DD+ is very nice.

The sd dvd playback is far better than I would have thought...falling just short of the best sd dvd players imo.

I had hum using analog cables as it seems the player is a bit more sensitive than any other in regards to this....but obviously this is a fairly easy fix with seperating your cables better ect.

My player actually asked me to check the hd...or dvd box while playing an sd dvd once....this means it was assuming the disc was a hybrid hd dvd...which aren't out yet.

When I took the player back to BB...the manager had to take the player out and plug it in to get the hd dvd movie I left in it, out of the player, and it took 3.5-4 minutes to get it out and he had to unplug the power two times....which is ironic because he had just mentioned these players were too slow, a few minutes before...and the player only did this a few times, and this happened to be one of them.

I was just reading about one owner who played a cd, powered the player off, then when he went to play a movie later, it would not play sd dvd or hd dvd...and instead showed an error code.
He said he was even locked out of the menu at this point...but that the player would still play cd's.

The manager at BB...said that I was the first return out of three players at his store, but that he did have a complaint about the hdmi error codes from one buyer.
He said the other two local BB'S had a couple of returns for picture freeze.
If we assume that a couple means two, thats a 33% return rate for 9 players from three stores....and considering early adopter types like myself and all the others are/were chomping at the bit for Hd...and not worried about minor quirks so much...I would say thats a fairly high return rate after 1 week....even though I got mine early, and had it for 11 days.

I also think that seeings how hdmi is supposed to be the defacto connection, its quite ironic that using it clips blacks on every player...but the component connection does not.

I think I may get another...but not until I am fairly certain some of these things are worked out...whenever that will be.
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Old 04-29-2006, 10:30 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention not only does the player not remember were you left off in the movie, and make my pj re-sync when hitting the stop or menu button, it also made the movie start over every time.
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Old 04-29-2006, 11:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firsTraveler
Has anyone ever had a piece of consumer electronics "updated"?
Actually, I just connected an ethernet connection to my RCA DLP HDTV, and I was expecting that the firmware would change from A4.03 to A6.0C like someone reported about 6 months ago, but it changed to A7.15. So that says my HDTV changed AT LEAST twice since mine was made.

It really depends on the mfg as to whether they will continue to support updates AFTER the initial build. I can happily say that RCA does, at least for my model DLP.
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Old 04-29-2006, 11:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1080PsF
I just got back from NAB and Toshiba had in their both an HD-DVD player hooked up to one of their LCD monitors via the component cables and the picture looked like crap (a ton of motion lag). I couldn’t find out if the player or the monitor was causing the picture to look so bad. I talked to a couple of Toshiba guys and they didn’t see what I was talking about, but one of the guys said that monitor had a refresh rate of 8ms or less so it shouldn’t have been the monitor. Overall I didn’t think much of the demo.

Yeah, whatever. I think the coupla guy's you talked to were right. I love this friggin thing. Best picture I've ever seen from any source. I'm getting perfect audio (through HDMI) and no skipping,pausing,etc on the picture. (I did have that happen twice on the HD A1 I bought first but returned for the XA1). The picture look's perfect to me.

And anybody who say's the picture isn't any good is crazy. Of course some people get off on trash talking everything in life (you know the type-they never have a nice thing to say to anybody). I love this thing and I'm looking forward to Blu Ray also. I think it's fantastic these companies have come up with this technology. Someday people will be comparing regular DVD's vs all High Definition DVD's the way people compare DVD/VHS. You watch it'll happen

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Old 04-30-2006, 12:03 AM   #15
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HDMI F:

What do you think of the upscaling of SD DVDs? I have heard they are surprisingly good with them. Even the BR fans who have bought them and returned them had good things to say about the upscaling ability of the HD-DVD players. Some have even said they are better than the Oppos because they do not have a MB issues like the Faroudja based Oppo.
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