Potential HD DVD Adopter has some questions... - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:35 PM
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Question Potential HD DVD Adopter has some questions...

First off I would like to say that this is my first post here and I'd like to introduce myself. I'm a long time movie lover and lover of the DVD format as well as an avid gamer. I have a thing for excellent picture quality and sound fidelity. Back in 2005 I bought my first HDTV (Sony KV-30HS420 30" FD Trinitron WEGA). Being a college student means that I don't have the funds nor the living space to afford a larger display. I have been using a Samsung upconversion DVD player for about 2 years now along with the TV and have been relatively happy with the picture quality. However, my only problem is that I have not really been enjoying true HD content on my screen that I invested upwards of $850 2 years ago.

I have decided to buy a XBox 360 Elite when it is released and I'm strongly considering picking up the HD DVD player add on for the system. Several of my major concerns about making the leap to the format have been lingering since I started reading up and spying around this forum.

First, would be the most obvious, I do not like the format war in general as the consumer must take a leap of faith so to speak if they intend to be an early adopter for either format. Much of my reasoning for most likely and potentially going for HD DVD is the relatively cheaper price of admission ($200 for the addon drive), along with what I have read and seen as far as individual movie reviews go and studio backing. I will admit that I'm not 100% going for a single format as of yet, because I do not agree with the format war, but hell, I just want to enjoy HD movies, and I don't really want to break the bank.

Given the funds, I'd have a much larger screen than the one I currently have, which is 30 inches. I love my TV, but sometimes I do wish it was larger and not a CRT. Now certainly I will not have the TV forever and will definitely be purchasing a larger screen several years down the line. However, my major question to you guys out there is the increase in picture quality that great an impact for a screen my size. Currently I sit about 8 feet away from my TV and SD DVDs look pretty great, although it is apparent to me that more detail is definitely possible. I want to know from those of you who own a similar television to mine and have adopted the format are satisfied with their purchase. Was it worth the money to you? If so, do both the picture and sound quality upgrade over SD DVD meet your expectations? I have been comparing shots from SD DVD to HD DVD for a few weeks now and I love how much more detail is present in each picture, I just want to be sure that detail will be evident to my eyes on my screen sitting where I am.

BTW, I'm getting the Elite over the Premium XBox mostly because of the increased hard drive capacity, but also because of the HDMI output (even though my current TV only supports 1080i, it does have HDMI input) and black is sexy.

Thanks in advance .

Last edited by BrianPotter; 04-21-2007 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:28 PM
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Guess what, dude? I have the exact same television as you... which I suspect will be quite rare on these forums. I got it in the summer of 2004, and as I don't have the luxury of space either, I chose that one.

As for HD movies, my first step was to get the 360 add-on back in December. Now, I did already own the 360 console for a year, so I don't really factor in the cost of the console into my decision to jump into HD DVD (since my decision to get the console was independent of anything else). I too wanted to jump in as cheaply as possible, and the add-on compared favorably with the first generation stand-alones that were a few hundred dollars more. I was pleased with its performance... but as the release schedule for HD DVD went dry for a while, and the exclusive Blu-ray releases kept rolling in, I found myself wanting to be format neutral. So in February, I got a PS3, primarily because it was both the cheapest AND best-reviewed Blu-ray player.

Even though I was well-aware that I wasn't taking full-advantage of the capabilities of both formats (having just a 1080i display), I could still see a clear upgrade over standard DVD. In addition, all I had for surround sound was a Sony Home Theater in a Box system that was not HDMI. I don't consider myself an audiophile at all, but I do appreciate at least having a 5.1 system. Unfortunately, I learned my lesson regarding HTiB when the system started producing terrible crackling noises through the speakers, and ultimately completely died out on me last week (after owning it for 2 years or so). So, my surround sound is on hold until the new HDMI 1.3 receivers come out.

**** I'm adding this to my original post because I suppose that it is significant and could weigh on your decision, so here goes:
After about 3 months, my HD add-on stopped functioning properly. It would not recognize HD DVDs, but had no problem with standard DVDs. After a long, ridiculous process with the Microsoft Repair people, the drive is now finally on its way back to me. Adding insult to injury, the 360 console that I owned for 16 months ALSO crapped out on me (a month after the add-on did). But that was repaired (I hope) quickly, and it too is on its way back to me right now. With any luck, I should have both units back in working condition in a couple days. In hindsight, unless you are completely set on owning the new Xbox 360 Elite for its gaming purposes, I'd highly recommend investing that chunk of money into a Toshiba XA2 HD DVD standalone player instead. It has much greater video and audio capabilities than the 360 add-on, and you can also get 5 free HD DVD movies from Toshiba too.
****

Anyway, my point being is this... I am still happy that I jumped into both formats despite the inability to fully take advantage of their capabilities. I know that I plan to upgrade my sound system this summer, and will perhaps consider an HDMI 1.3 capable TV next year. But I did purchase an HDTV for a reason, and I think I'd really be shortchanging myself if I limited my HD to the twentysomething channels I'm getting from Comcast. I've always been an avid film collector (I jumped into DVD in December 1997 when my first-generation crappy RCA player cost $450), and I couldn't bear to keep buying standard DVD when I knew that something better was out there.

I think that we're probably in similar situations, so my advice is that if you can afford to jump into the fray, go for it. I certainly don't regret it, am happy with what I can do so far, and am greatly looking forward to even better results in the future. Good luck, and enjoy what that TV was meant for!

P.S.- Feel free to PM me if you have any specific comments or questions!

Last edited by Jared; 04-21-2007 at 04:42 PM. Reason: added a little warning in the middle
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Old 04-21-2007, 05:19 PM
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The only thing I would add is that with a 30" TV screen, just to be aware that most high def movies are OAR (Original Aspect Ratio), meaning the same widescreen format they were shown in the theaters. Not 16:9 like HDTV programming, but 2.35:1, so you get black bars on the top & bottom of your screen, lessening your viewing area.

I have a Sony 57" rear projection CRT HDTV with 1080i, so I get a couple of inches of black bars on the top & bottom with 2.35:1 HD disk movies. It's not a bad thing, it just takes a little time to adjust from viewing full wide screen HDTV programing.

I've seen 1080p displays at the electronics stores and 1080p seems a little nicer display, but for me not $2,000 nicer to replace my screen size. And not many 1080p displays can accept 1080p input which both HD formats can output. I wait a few years for HDMI 3.0 and 1080p input to become more common and lower in price before I upgrade.
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by CochiseGuy View Post
I've seen 1080p displays at the electronics stores and 1080p seems a little nicer display, but for me not $2,000 nicer to replace my screen size. And not many 1080p displays can accept 1080p input which both HD formats can output. I wait a few years for HDMI 3.0 and 1080p input to become more common and lower in price before I upgrade.
Well put. Jared and Cochise already answerd your questions pretty well. But my 0.02 cents that I'll throw in is the fact that 1080p, while AWSOME, only becomes necessary if you're sitting fairly close to a large screen. So if you were sitting 8 feet from a 52" screen, 1080p would be good to have, but at 30" you won't see much improvement over 720p.

AND as long as your TV is capable of 720p you will GREATLY benefit from either HD format. Bottom line: Whatever path you take... It's worth it. Once you go HD you'll never want to go back.
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Old 04-22-2007, 01:29 AM
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Smile Thanks for the responses

Alright, well today I went ahead and made what I consider a semi-impulse buy. Impulsive in that I didn't wake up this morning expecting to buy a HD DVD player. After hearing about the deal Circuit City was offering for the HDA2 I thought about it for a little while and decided this was simply too good an offer, 9 free HD movies! So I headed over to CC and asked for the player, the employee there who obviously didn't know anything much about this sort of thing, and I seemed to know more than him about this when I asked him about the player. He considered the HDA2 the equivalent of an upscaling standard DVD player simply because it only supported 1080i and not 1080p. My response to this was that it is completely different than a standard DVD player, and that the source of the discs played on this machine is much greater than that of a standard def. DVD. I got the impression from this that retailers are really hyping up 1080p way too much. After he grabbed the player for me from above the aisle I had to explain the whole special that they had going on, which included the 4 free in store movies, the 5 free movies by mail, and the 50 dollar rebate on top of that. At first he didn't believe me, but after a few minutes it all fell into place. I then went over to browse the extremely small end cap they had all their few choices of HD DVDs placed on. Also, I noticed that the Blu-rays they had available were few as well, but they were all placed by the nice wall of flat-panel displays set up. Also, they only had Blu-ray players set up playing movies, and no HD DVD players set up anywhere in the store. I settled on my 4 movies after a little deciding and decided it was time to check out. I made sure to get the 5 year replacement plan should anything happen to the player in that time. I picked up my 4 movies, and left with my player.

The movies I grabbed after taking some time from the limited choices available to me were: King Kong, Batman Begins, Goodfellas, and The Departed. So far I've checked out all but the Departed, but I have been extremely pleased by the quality. When I first through in King Kong I was impressed by the increase in clarity. After skipping around the movie a bit I decided to compare it to the standard DVD which I also own and while the leap in quality was pretty good, I seemed to think that even the upconverted SD DVD looked somewhat decent, though the image appeared flat in comparison to the HD DVD. I can't seem to shake the feeling that this player is doing a much better job of upconversion than my older player did, thus the jump in perceived quality even on the SD version.

All in all, so far I'm satisfied. My only disappointment is really the fact that the choices available on the sheet to choose 5 more movies by mail from Toshiba are somewhat limited. I'd like to thank you guys for the informative responses. Also, Jared I feel a lot better about going the stand alone player route after reading your little update .
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianPotter View Post
Alright, well today I went ahead and made what I consider a semi-impulse buy. Impulsive in that I didn't wake up this morning expecting to buy a HD DVD player. After hearing about the deal Circuit City was offering for the HDA2 I thought about it for a little while and decided this was simply too good an offer, 9 free HD movies!
After skipping around the movie a bit I decided to compare it to the standard DVD which I also own and while the leap in quality was pretty good, I seemed to think that even the upconverted SD DVD looked somewhat decent, though the image appeared flat in comparison to the HD DVD. I can't seem to shake the feeling that this player is doing a much better job of upconversion than my older player did, thus the jump in perceived quality even on the SD version.

All in all, so far I'm satisfied. My only disappointment is really the fact that the choices available on the sheet to choose 5 more movies by mail from Toshiba are somewhat limited. I'd like to thank you guys for the informative responses. Also, Jared I feel a lot better about going the stand alone player route after reading your little update .
Congratulations! And you got that deal in the nick of time; as I understand the add'l. 4 free movies from CC promo ended yesterday.

You're absolutely right, it's also one of the best upconverting players out there. I had a Denon upconverting player that I thought was excellent - until I bought my HD DVD player. I put the Denon out on eBay.

Yeah, the selection of movies isn't the greatest. I don't know your tastes in movies, but Chronicles of Riddick is excellent as is U-571, and I liked Constantine. Even Jessica Simpson in HD couldn't save Dukes of Hazzard; I Netflixed it and never could make it all the through it. U2 is generally rated one of the softest HD transfers.

Anyway, enjoy!
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:49 AM
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Hi Brian welcome to the HD DVD world. Enjoy the Ride.
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:13 AM
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Glad you went with the HDA2. I've had both the 360 Add-On and now I own the HDA2 and there's a good difference between the two. You definitely went with some good choices on the first movies you bought. As far as the Toshiba rebate I recommend Four Brothers, U-571, The Rundown, and from what I've heard/read Chronicles of Riddick is one of (if not the single best, according to a couple guys I work with) the best looking HD DVDs out right now.
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Old 04-22-2007, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRescue View Post
Glad you went with the HDA2. I've had both the 360 Add-On and now I own the HDA2 and there's a good difference between the two. You definitely went with some good choices on the first movies you bought. As far as the Toshiba rebate I recommend Four Brothers, U-571, The Rundown, and from what I've heard/read Chronicles of Riddick is one of (if not the single best, according to a couple guys I work with) the best looking HD DVDs out right now.
Chronicles Of Riddick is a Great transfer and one of the first.Good Shepherd is good, Children Of Men and for some of the Best HD yet Planet Earth is awesome
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Old 04-22-2007, 01:44 PM
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Wow! So I actually have found someone with the exact same "budget" set-up as me. Awesome! Welcome Brian and don't ever apologize for your Sony crt. The HD picture you will be enjoying is probably better than 70% of posters on here guaranteed!. Message me if you like, and enjoy the upscaling. It is one of the best features of the A2.
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