Well, I finally got an HD DVD player. Thanks Shane for helping me decide on a model. In the end, I got the top of the line Toshiba XA2 and I couldn't be more pleased. 1080p and one of the best upconverting DVD players around. What's not to like? Feeding my also new JVC DLA-HD1 projector and lighting up a 78" wide (89" diag) Stewart Screen (Studio Tek 130 – 1.3 gain), the picture is to die for.
At least when I have a picture. Shane – thanks again good buddy – sent along a few HD DVDs. I tried to watch one of them last night, Stroker Ace, er, wait, Smokin' Aces, and things didn't go so well. This is one of the HD "Combo" disks. No pretty silk screening on the disk so that you can match it back into its box. Instead, it's HD on one side and standard definition DVD on the other.
I put in the HD side, naturally, and sat back as the Universal leader popped on the screen (oh, it's a honey on HD!). As the earth turned to black though, I heard the XA2 start a search and destroy mission with the disk. Less than a minute later, it gave up and put an error message up on the screen. The error message looked very serious, very definitive. A true octal address. I was impressed with the level of detail. Too bad the programmer for the XA2 wasn't sitting next to me. He'd probably want to step through the bootup again in debug mode which, quite honestly, would probably take longer than a nuked bag of popcorn, so in a way, it's good he wasn't here. I have no patience for computers past my day job.
You know what they say about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result? Except, with high definition, this can actually be a fruitful approach. Unfortunately, this time, further attempts (opening and closing the tray, powering up and down) yielded either the same error message or simply a black screen (Kudos to JVC, by the way, the screen was dark enough with no signal to cause me to trip over sneakers – that's called the Converse Ratio test)
Anyway, I flipped the HD-DVD over and proceeded to watch the standard def side, with no problems. In case you're interested, the movie in any format is only slightly better than the Universal logo in HD. (This blog doubles as a movie review.)
I hear combo discs aren't working out perfectly everywhere. Other folks have run into problems with other combo discs like Children of Men and Good Shepherd.
Anybody else out there with an XA2 and a combo disc that won't play?