Latest on Blu-Ray vs HD DVD ?

My display is 1080 and seems be capable of stunning picture limited by source. Cable HD can look awesome, but I understand it is not 1080p. Currently I'm using an upscaling DVD player and movies look very good, but I think it's time to think about exploiting the capabilities of my TV. What is the latest thinking on HD/Blu-Ray players? Should I look for a universal DVD that plays both formats, or choose one like the Toshiba HD-XA2 that has top marks in one format only? Thanks for your opinions.
both formats are struggling....lack of software sales, manufacturing and mastering defects, etc. if you plan to be an early adopter, universal
I have a player for both formats--XA1 and the Sammy 1200-- One format isn't better in pq---than the other. But, a quality transfer in either format is stunning. ---OH, and don't lets forget the audio is that much better too. I use the 5.1 analog output. Using the old coax or toslinc reduces this new format's audio quality.
Anyway, either fromat is as good a signal as your tv will get.
I jumped on the Blu-Ray wagon about a month too early... I bought the Sony last month. I do love it, and the picture quality.

However, I stated a month to early as a buddy just emailed me this link!

Now appears to be the time to grab a Blu-Ray if you are on the fence...
The HD-XA2 is going for $299 now... why can't this be easy?!
cheap way is the PS3
The HD-DVD Toshiba HD-XA2 did go on sale yesterday (Sun.) for $299. It also includes a choice of 5 free HD-DVD's from a list of 15, sent by mail from Toshiba.

As with many new formats, the prices started out high, probably to let the early adopters help pay for research, marketing, etc. As the war progresses, the prices will continue to drop. Prices for players will also see drastic reductions as old stock is discounted to get ready for newer models. Look for more drastic cuts later in the summer as producers make way for the new model rollouts at the Sept. CEDIA show in Denver, including more players that will do both formats, at a price much lower than the current LG brand dual-format player. In the next few weeks Sony will roll out their new smaller Blu-Ray with MSRP of $599. And in a huge technological breakthrough, this new one will even play CD's!

Software is still ridiculously high, $20-$35 per title, depending on extras and perceived demand. The good news is that Netflix now carries a lot of titles in both formats, so you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars after you buy a player to have something you can watch on it.
Just to be accurate, the HD-A2, NOT the XA-2, will be at $299. The A2 lacks 1080p and multichannel analog outputs. The XA-2 is the current top-of-the-line, and has all these features plus the Reon upscaling chipset.
If the HD-XA2 is $299. I'll jump all over it. but I don't think it's the case. I believe it's the HD-A2. You can get the D2(same as the A2+HDMI cable) for $249 and 5 mail-in free movies from Toshiba at Costco, if you have one in your area. I think that's a darn good deal to jump in the HD theater.
You can wait until the dust settles, (like most people, in 5 years) or you can buy now and enjoy some really super picture quality that you just simply can not get on standard def DVD.

Up until this point Blu-ray had the titles and HD-DVD was missing some titles. That is about to change with the Matrix trilogy, on HD-DVD only. (due later this month) Blu-Ray has some good Disney titles coming later this year, and at present time they will not be offered on HD-DVD. So my take at this point is that both formats have either announced or pre-announced a decent number of titles, to make this a non-issue between the two formats.

The brand new Toshiba finally outputs 1080P, so don’t get confused and buy the older, less expensive player and think that you are getting full HD-DVD, because you will be disappointed. But even still the brand new second generation HD-XA2 still does not output 1080p/24. 1080P/24 will become prevalent in the fall along with HDMi-1.3

As for the new lower cost Panasonic Blu-Ray, it does NOT output 1080P/24. The Sony BDSP-1 and the Pioneer unit does.

The LG combo player has been applauded because it plays both discs, but it has received poor reviews for its color saturation, and it does not have a full implementation of the HD-DVD functionality.

Be sure to check out the review in Home Theater June 2007.

I compaired the Toshiba 1st gen player and the Sony. I bought the Sony because the picture was significantly sharper, and brighter. I have not compaired the new unit but I have seen it in action and it looks to be closer to what I get on my Blu-ray setup.

Thanks for the correction, I realized my mistake. I still have some homework to do. Thanks again to all for the input.
I have not really been paying much attention to the new hi-res video players. I am much more of an analog 2-channel audio guy..... Having said that I do like watching movies on my HT system. So I wonder if you guy's can give me some general feedback (not to hijack Blkadr's thread)? I have a Sony XBR 40 CRT TV that's about three years old now and of course doesn't have HDMI or 1080p capabilities.

Would the new hi-res Blu-Ray or HD-DVD formats be much of an upgrade over my current Sony S9000ES DVD player? Or, do I need to wait until I upgrade my TV (which is not happening anytime real soon)?


CMO, I use the same TV in one of my systems and hooked the Sony Blu-ray to it. Although it will not do 1080p, the 1080i did look significantly better. It was so sharp, you could see how the actors makeup is applied! I also own the 9000es and the HD is superior. On regular DVD formats the 9100es makes as good a picture as the BR and is a step above the 9000es. I use it because the BR player doesn't play CD or SACD. I normally use the BR player on the 46" set.
Too bad the 40" want do 1080p because it certainly has a better picture than any other of the newer sets I have viewed. I have a 46" Sony XBR LCD set and the older 40" XBR is superior even though I like the size and weight of the newer set vs the 300#+ of the older one. It also formats regular video full screen instead of the black left and right areas of the new set in its native size. I don't like the stretch modes because it distorts the picture too much on the newer set.
I still can't understand widescreen when both sets have the upper and lower black areas. You would think a widescreen set would show a widescreen full screen but that is not the case. Unfortunately, I guess we are stuck with what is for the time being.
My projector- a Marantz 1 chip DLP that peforms quite well, on a Stewart gray screen, cannot accomodate 1080p, but the picture from hi-def discs definitely looks better on the big screen. I did buy the LG player, I don't really care about the lack of HD functionality because I essentially plop a disc in, watch a movie, that's it. Given the limits of my current projector, I cannot make meaningful comparisons of the two formats, but my suspicion is that the quality may have more to do with disc mastering than with the technical differences between the two formats.
My biggest gripe as an early adopter is that there are no HMDI 1.3 compatible audio processors available- the lossless compression on these discs is available if you use the analog outputs of the blu/hd players.
In other respects, my video system, while not the latest by any means, has served me well: older Meridian processor; an HD Leeza backbone for video processing and native rate scaling, and a host of ARC tube amps, a big McI, a bunch of Snells and a pair of Velodynes. Some of this equipment has been in HT service since the mid-90's, so I'm pretty happy about the mix between newer technology and shelf life of the various components.
Bigtee and Bill,

I just can't see putting a lot of money in a new video monitor right now as fast as that technology is changing..... So good to know that my Sony might still be up to task if I do decide to go with one of the newer DVD players.

Thanks very much for the info.

I got one for ya. My new Sammy 1200;a just released model--- won't play Pirates--/dead man's chest---till I get a software upgrade.(I actually called Disney to find this out) Imagine that.---Of course this is the kind of crap that might have happened had the original dvd format been released to early. They had all kinds of arguments before everybody agreed to iron things out;--first.---AND, they wonder why the new formats are taking off slowly. But, I still love 'em.

05-21-07: Hunglo
I believe it's the HD-A2. You can get the D2 (same as the A2+HDMI cable) for $249 and 5 mail-in free movies from Toshiba at Costco, if you have one in your area. I think that's a darn good deal to jump in the HD theater.
That's what I did this week--got the D2 at Costco for $249, but it didn't have any mail-in for 5 free movies. I'll have to ask Costco about that.

Originally, I bought an inexpensive ($119) upconverting Sony DVD player to get better pic quality on my 55" 720p/1080i display until the format wars settle out, but by trading it in and throwing in another $130, I came home with the Toshiba which does everything the Sony did plus will play the HD DVDs I can snag from Netflix.

I don't plan to buy any HD DVDs, so even if Blu-Ray wins in the end, my financial commitment has been small to enable getting some DVD-based HD content in the meantime. And it's an excellent upconverting DVD player and a good-sounding CD player as well.

Sony has a software advantage. It OWNs the movie libraries of Sony Pictures, Columbia/Screen Gems/TriStar, MGM, and United Artists--something like 55% of the movies ever made. You're not likely to see any of those show up on HD DVD anytime soon. There may be other affiliates or partners (Miramax?) that may stick to Blu-Ray only as well.

In the gaming market, Microsoft is in the HD DVD camp for future X-Box releases, if for no other reason than not to endorse the Blu-Ray format of archrival Sony PlayStation. But as big as Microsoft is overall, X-Box does not have the worldwide market share enjoyed by Sony PlayStation.

One thing nice in my current rig--even though it doesn't process HDMI, my Boston Acoustics AVP7 has analog 7.1 inputs (not 5.1), so I could extract the full sound quality out of a more evolved HD DVD and/or Blu-Ray player down the line when the time comes.
Just to flesh out some reality, European studios have largely adopted HD-DVD; similar in Asia; Also, cheap HD-DVD chinese made players are poised to hit Costco and Walmart at the time of the holidays;

Blu-Ray hardware has been problematic and has been trailing on the gaming side badly, posting loss after loss. There is a temporary media advantage among American-based film/movie companies, but with HD-DVD players becoming ubiquitous and at lower prcie points with better technical functioning, it is going to be hard for blu-ray only studios to watch the money go in other directions.

06-02-07: Johnnyb53
I ... got the D2 at Costco for $249, but it didn't have any mail-in for 5 free movies....
Update: I visited the Circuit City website and it looks like I can use the generic Toshiba form available here ( to get the 5 HD DVDs. I printed out the pdf. I'll select 5 of the 15 available videos, include the UPC and a copy of my receipt, and send away for 5 free HD DVDs. The form mentions the Toshiba HD-D2 (the Costco one) as a qualifying purchase. Basically, if you can prove purchase of a Toshiba HD DVD player between 3/1 and 7/31/07 and send back the form by 8/31/07, you qualify.

Decided to get the D2. I have not even hooked it up as I have no HD DVDs yet. But $249 for a player that will play and upscale all my reg DVDs, plus 5 free HD DVDs, I think I can wait out the format wars in comfort. I will post a thumbs up/thumbs down after I have used it with a few HD DVDs.
Again, thanks for all the advice.
No HD DVDs yet? Just join Netflix!

I got my Toshiba D2 a couple of weeks ago and don't intend to buy any HD DVDs for awhile. But Netflix carries Blu-ray and HD DVD titles as quickly as they are released. Sometimes there's an availability delay, but so far I've watched The Good Shepherd, Letters from Iwo Jima, Assault on Precinct 13, and Breach. Music and Lyrics is in da house for this weekend.

And I'll confirm that its upconverting capabilities are very good. The Harry Potter standard DVDs play as sharp or sharper than much HD cable programming.

HD DVDs look significantly better than cable HD because of the much faster transfer rate. There is no pixelation of fast-moving images with HD DVD. So far the digital transfers (especially from Universal) are very well done.
Very happy with the D2 so far. The only HD DVD I have yet is Batman Begins, it looks great. I have a couple DVDs that never looked very good (Enigma, Angels and Insects, to a lesser degree The Constant Gardener) and the D2 did not perform miracles. But the upscaling proved its worth on other standard DVDs, such as The Prestige, Traffic, Memento and Mystery Men. This is about the extent of what I have viewed so far, and so far so good. No buyers remorse in spite of the uncertain future of the formats, glad I bought it.