Late to the party...HD-DVD newbie - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:28 PM
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Default Late to the party...HD-DVD newbie

Yes, I realize the format is extinct now, but I came across a heck of a deal on a lot of HD-DVD titles so now I'm wanting something to play them on that won't break the bank. Also, from some of the stuff I'm reading on the different forums, it seems it might be the best upconverting player we would have for the standard DVDs.

My question is...what is the "best" unit for our needs? Those being...I want 1080p..preferably 1080p/24fps. We don't care so much about things like load times or cosmetics...just a good performing unit that has the top "HD quality" available. Audio-wise, we would connect it to a Onkyo RC-180 via HDMI, so I'm unsure if we need the audio bitstreaming features of the HD-A35 or the XA2. If the sound quality on TrueHD and DD+ are the same coming over as 5-channel PCM then it doesn't matter to me. If it does sound better letting the AVR do the decoding then I would care.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the Toshiba A35 or XA2, but am mainly curious if the A30, A25 or A20 would be just as good for what we want.

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Thank you.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:40 AM
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The answer to your question has as much to do with how many titles you have or plan to acquire as anything else + what you want to spend. Folks will point you at the XA2 as the player with the overall reputation as the best. I would also point you at the A35 as being every bit as good as the XA2 with HD-DVDs and only marginally below the XA2 for upconverting DVDs. The A30 is basically the same player as the A35 without the ability to bitstream lossless codecs. The A30 will, however, convert advanced codecs to multi-channel pcm and bitstream them. I expect you will find the pricing of used players in that order also (from highest to lowest). I personally would not consider any 2nd generation players except the XA2.
My suggestion is that if you plan to purchase a large collection of HD-DVDs and want to take advantage of bitstreaming lossless codecs - then look for a XA2 or A35. Otherwise, an A30 would serve you very well. If you are going to be a long-term user of those HD-DVDs, you might want to watch for a back-up player also. So a practical approach might be to look for a bargain priced A30 for now, and see how much use it gets. If you decide to continue acquiring titles, then you might watch for an A35 to become your primary, and stash the A30 away as a back-up. Staying within the 3rd generation of HD-DVD players (A3, A30 & A35) also provides a bit of parts interchangeability - especially the drive itself, in case it goes belly-up.
If you shop patiently and wisely, I expect you can pick up a nice A30 quite reasonably. They show up in the forums here occasionally:
http://forums.highdefdigest.com/home...ba-hd-a30.html
as well as EBay, naturally.

Last edited by Rich86; 08-30-2010 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:54 PM
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Thanks for that info! So between the A30 and A35, is there any audible difference in SQ between having the HD player do the decoding and sending the audio over as PCM 5.1 vs bitstreaming it to the AVR and having it do the decoding? I realize you would NEED toe bitstreaming to get the DTS HD-MA (if there was a HD-DVD with that sound format), so I'm mainly interested in the differences in quality that would be noticeable with DD+ or True HD.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:57 PM
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Not sure what "toe bitstreaming" is, but I think I meant "the" bitstreaming.
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woecarlson View Post
Thanks for that info! So between the A30 and A35, is there any audible difference in SQ between having the HD player do the decoding and sending the audio over as PCM 5.1 vs bitstreaming it to the AVR and having it do the decoding? I realize you would NEED toe bitstreaming to get the DTS HD-MA (if there was a HD-DVD with that sound format), so I'm mainly interested in the differences in quality that would be noticeable with DD+ or True HD.

Thanks again!

Well, I think it's a matter of opinion. I prefer bitstreaming of all audio codecs to my receiver to decode, it just sounds a bit richer and fuller to me. But technically its supposed to be the same audio quality whether your player decodes the audio or the receiver does. And bear in mind very few HD DVDs used DTS Master Audio. In the US only a few HD DVDs have it, mostly concert titles, plus the one release from New Line, Pan's Labyrinth. DTS Master Audio is common on European releases, if you plan on getting into any imports.
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