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1st August 2007, 00:33
Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD Player
Mi-am cumparat din Las Vegas acest model de DVD HD Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD Player.
Din pacate mi-au pierdut bagajele in Atlanta si abia maine sper sa intru in posesia lor.Alaturi de DVD mi-am luat si 10 discuri DVD HD cu filme si documentare.
Cine are ceva informatii legate de acest DVD ?
Daca aveti aparate similare va pot ajuta imprumutandu-va discuri DVD HD.
1st August 2007, 00:44
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player
PETER PUTMAN, CTS
Toshiba’s top-of-the-line HD-XA2 works very well, but doesn’t offer substantially more functionality than the entry-level HD-A2.
This player sits at the top of a three-tier product line and has a hefty price ($799) to boot. In the middle is the HD-A20 at $399, while the HD-A2 sits at $299. The differences? You’ll get 1080p output from the A20 and XA2 models, while the A2 is 1080i only.
But there’s a bit more horsepower in the HD-XA2, which features a Silicon Optix Reon HQV processor and a 12-bit video digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with 4x oversampling. The lower-cost A20 must content itself with an Anchor Bay (DVDO) video processor.
Figure 1. Toshiba’s HD-XA2 stands just a little taller than its sibling, the HD-A2.
OUT OF THE BOX
The sleek design of the HD-A2 and HD-A20 is reflected in the HD-XA2. Gone is the big boxy look of the HD-XA1, in favor of a sleek case with a hideaway front panel and blue LED power indicator.
The rear panel features a slew of connections, including component YPbPr video, composite and S-video (on an HD disc player), an HDMI connection, coaxial and Toslink SPDIF digital audio, stereo analog audio, and discrete 5.1-channel analog audio connections.
There’s also the ubiquitous LAN connector, also found on the HD-A2 and HD-A20. This is used for updating the firmware and also for Web-enabled features found on discs like The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. You can share favorite scenes with others and also download additional content into the player’s RAM from studio Web sites (such as movie trailers and additional language tracks).
Figure 2. The rear panel has just about every connection you’ll need,
including 9-pin RS232 for remote control.
REMOTE AND MENUS
The supplied remote is similar to that of the HD-A1 and HD-XA1, with backlit buttons and a somewhat-confusing keypad layout (37 buttons plus a mouse disk) that makes it easy to hit the wrong button at times in the dark. (The HD-A2’s remote is even more cluttered, but is a bit easier to use in a darkened room as its white text labels stand out clearly from the background.)
The menus couldn’t be simpler. In Picture mode, you can select the desired aspect ratio: Full screen for a 16:9 HDTV, center crop for a 4:3 TV, or letterboxed 16:9 images on a 4:3 TV. There are also two black levels settings — 0 IRE (Enhanced mode) and 7.5 IRE (Normal video black).
There’s also a cadence-detection setting that looks for film sequences (3:2) or video (2:2) and corrects accordingly. You can also leave this set to Auto, as I did – the Reon processor is pretty smart at figuring out cadences and cleaning up any resulting judder.
The Resolution Setting menu is more notable for what it doesn’t tell you than what it does. You’ll find four selections — up to 480p, up to 720p, up to 1080i, and up to 1080p. The “up to” part is a bit confusing! What you’re really getting is 480p output, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p from any disc, red or blue laser.
One catch with 1080p output — it’s only available through the HDMI connector, and you won’t see it if your HDTV or monitor doesn’t support 1080p. There’s also no indication of picture refresh rates, but they are 60 Hz for 480p, 720p, and 1080p, and 30 Hz for 1080i.
At present, the HD-XA2 can’t provide 24p output; it only converts 3:2 to 60 Hz. According to Toshiba, a software fix (available in mid-September through that LAN/Web connection or on an upgrade DVD) will allow 24p playback on the HD-XA2 and HD-A20.
The Audio menu lets you choose between bitstream (Dolby Digital, DTS, or MPEG) playback and PCM playback for two-channel digital audio. This setting applies to both SPDFIF connectors. Digital audio is also available through the HDMI port as bitstream, PCM or down mixed PCM data.
There’s also a Dynamic Range function that really works as an AGC control. You’d only want to use this if you have the volume turned way down and would otherwise miss low-level dialogue or sound effects.
Additional audio settings include Dialogue Enhancement (again, for low-level audio playback), Crossover Frequency for your subwoofer, and level adjustments for each speaker in a 5.1 system.
The Language menu lets you choose from one of several available menu languages, as well as foreign-language subtitles. You can also download subtitles with the LAN connection as needed. There are also four primary audio track languages to chose from.
The General menu contains Parental Lock and password controls, a clock setting, a beeping sound for confirming remote control commands, and some screen saver adjustments. This menu also contains the settings menu for the LAN, and also provides access to the on-board RAM (persistent storage).
The LAN settings give you the option of using Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) to set the player’s IP and DNS addresses, or setting the addresses manually. I’d recommend DHCP; it’s a lot less of a headache, and you’ll have the HD-XA2 out on the Internet in no time at all.
Software updates to the HD-XA2 are made using this connection, or by inserting an upgrade disc which you can order by mail. The LAN interface is certainly faster, although the first time I tried it I got an indication that the player had lost access to Toshiba’s server after successfully downloading 38 updates!
Unfortunately, you can’t use a wireless adapter with the HD-XA2 (or any of Toshiba’s HD DVD players). You’ll either need that direct LAN connection, or something known as a wireless bridge. Toshiba’s tech support people mentioned the Buffalo WLI-TX4-G54HP wireless Ethernet bridge as one solution for a wireless connection, and were also testing out Linksys’ WET54G bridge.
The Reon processor makes a big difference on playback. However, my home theater currently uses Mitsubishi’s HC5000 1080p LCD projector, which is also Reon-equipped, so there’d be no sense in testing out the HD-XA2 that way. Instead, I opted to hook up the player to Panasonic’s TH-50PF9UK plasma monitor, which has both HDMI and DVI inputs and no internal high-end video processor.
Right off the bat, I was unable to get 1080p output through the monitor’s expansion HDMI slot. However, I was able to see 1080p playback through the standard DVI-I connector. 1080p playback was also possible through the HC5000’s DVI and HDMI jacks, as well as a JVC DT-V24L1 24-inch LCD HD video monitor. In short, you can select it, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get 1080p if your monitor or HDTV has HDMI compatibility issues.
Another oddity: I loaded the SD Realta HQV DVD (red laser), set the output to 1080p playback, and found that I couldn’t adjust the image to fill the width of the screen – even though the disc is mastered in the anamorphic widescreen format. The solution? Set the HD-XA2’s aspect ratio to 4:3 and then select 720p, 1080i, or 1080p output. All three settings correctly forced the up-converted DVD to 16:9.
Back to blue laser mode! You will notice a difference between 720p and 1080p output when playing back HD DVDs. The Realta HD DVD test disc looked slightly softer in 720p mode, which makes sense because the player was downconverting to 720p, and the Panasonic plasma monitor was then upconverting back to 1080p.
However, on a 768p plasma monitor, picture quality was better when I let the player do the downconversion, as opposed to setting the output resolution to 1080i and letting the 768p display jigger with fields and frames to get to 720p. The moral? Let the HD-XA2’s Reon processor do all the heavy lifting for any HDTV or monitor you connect to this player.
The review player came with a copy of The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, which is a great movie if you’re not big on plot but dig lots of street racing and spectacular car crashes. It, like a few other Universal titles, includes the U-Control interactive feature.
During the film, I was able to activate an on-screen GPS tracker for the cars as they raced through Tokyo. There’s also an insurance adjuster’s nightmare – real-time totals of damages incurred to each car as they smashed into each other. And of course, there was the usual picture-in-picture with director’s commentary.
U-Control features are also available on the entry-level HD-A2; I just hadn’t tried them out yet as I’m pretty much a traditionalist about watching movies without all the interactive distractions on the left and right sides of the screen.
What did impress me was the 1080p image quality from the Reon processor, which does a superb job weaving the odd and even video fields together while smoothing out any motion errors between fields. That was verified with the HD DVD Realta HQV test disc, which the player passed with flying colors.
The video and film resolution loss tests were smooth without any judder or flicker, even during the pan across Raymond James Stadium. The angular rotating bar tests also looked spotless. There’s a nighttime racing scene near the end of Tokyo Drift that could have presented with MPEG and/or analog noise, but was very clean and crisp.
Toshiba’s HD-XA2 delivers on picture quality, particularly if you own a 1080p display with marginal video processing. Not only blue laser, but red laser DVDs too will look better through this player. The rest of the player’s features are common to the HD DVD line, including the LAN port.
I haven’t tested the mid-line A20, but anecdotal evidence says there is a marked improvement in picture quality from the A20 to the XA2, and of course the HD-A2 doesn’t offer progressive output. So if you want the best in HD DVD playback, this is the way to go. (Inclusion of 24p playback in September will just add icing to the cake.)
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