OTHER SOURCE COMPONENT REVIEWS

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Posted: Dec 24, 2007 0 comments

Hardly a week goes by that a big sale on HD DVD players from some mega-retailer or another doesn't make some screaming headlines. But it's been Toshiba's entry level, 1080i players that have lead that charge, with the HD-A2 getting famous overnight thanks to Wal-Mart's $99 sale, and the HD-A3 frequently seen at retail for around $199. But for my money, the real bargain in Toshiba's line could very well be the HD-A30.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 08, 2007 0 comments
With the current stalemate between Blu-ray and HD DVD, and most studios exclusive to either one format or the other, the only options for the HD enthusiast would seem to be to sit on the fence, take sides, or pull out the old checkbook and buy two players.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 08, 2007 0 comments

The format war rages on. With the current stalemate between Blu-ray and HD DVD, and most studios exclusive to either one format or the other, the only options for the HD enthusiast would seem to be to sit on the fence, take sides, or pull out the old checkbook and buy two players.

Posted: Dec 02, 2007 0 comments

  • $399
  • Audio Decoding: DD, DD+, Dolby TrueHD, DTS
  • Ins and Outs: HDMI
  • Feature Highlights: 3rd gen HD DVD player with 1080p/24 output, DD+ and TrueHD decoding/transcoding (output as PCM over HDMI), upconverting HDMI and component outputs for standard-def DVDs
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 12, 2007 0 comments
The $499 HD-A35 is the top of the line in Toshiba's third generation of HD DVD players, although the HD-XA2 remains available. Apart from Onkyo, which sells a player made by Toshiba, and Vantage, an as yet little known Chinese manufacturer, no other company markets HD DVD players.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 11, 2007 0 comments

It's hard to believe, but Toshiba is now selling its third generation of HD DVD players. That's two generations beyond the two models that launched the HD DVD format in April 2006.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2007 0 comments

Toshiba recently issued an update for its second-generation HD DVD players, primarily for the HD-A20 and the HD-XA2. I installed the update on an HD-A20, the middle model in Toshiba's HD DVD lineup (though shortly to be superceded in the launch of a third generation).

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 27, 2007 0 comments
1080p HD DVD for $500—sort of.

The new models of HD DVD and Blu-ray players are coming faster and faster. Even better, they're getting cheaper and offering more features. The big draw for the HD-A20 is its 1080p output. That, and a price tag of $499.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 27, 2007 0 comments
Think of it as the Xbox 360.1

In the video-game business, the stakes are high. So, the Big Three have detailed road maps and five-year plans. A new console usually remains unchanged for at least a few Christmases, save for possible software updates and minor technical variations. However, this isn't the case with the Xbox 360. After only a record 17 months in its original incarnation, it has transformed into the Xbox 360 Elite, with two noteworthy hardware upgrades plus a fresh style.

David Vaughn Posted: Jul 08, 2007 0 comments

The past year and change has been an interesting time for home theater enthusiasts, with the introduction of two competing high-definition movie formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The scenario is very reminiscent to the 1980's when VHS and Betamax had their own slugfest for the wallets of consumers, but in this new "war" the battleground has evolved.

Posted: May 19, 2007 0 comments

Although 1080p video has been encoded on every HD DVD disc released so far, the first generation HD DVD players have been "limited" to mere 1080i output. With the second generation this changed, first with the upscale $799 HD-XA2 and now with the HD-A20. At $499 the Toshiba HD-A20 is a mere $100 more than Toshiba's entry-level HD-A2, which maxes out at 1080i. So, the question we're here to answer, is this 1080p player worth that extra hundred bucks?

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
Teasing the high end while still embracing the previous generation.

I recently read somewhere that DVD's install base had eclipsed that of VHS, the former king of meat-and-potatoes home entertainment. I flashed nostalgically on DVD's initial toehold in rental outlets like Blockbuster and stores such as Suncoast, as well as its relentless growth to the point where VHS was relegated to a single shelf before disappearing altogether. I'm sure that recordable DVD still remains a runner-up to the ubiquitous videocassette—even though blank DVDs cost less than blank tapes and recording decks are at all-time-low prices. Still, for reasons that escape me, VHS just won't lie down, even though the consumer electronics coroner has pronounced it dead.

Chris Chiarella Posted: May 21, 2007 Published: Apr 21, 2007 0 comments
Putting the fun back into next-generation consoles.

Nintendo's follow-up to their popular GameCube—number three in the Big Three consoles of the previous generation—is the Wii (pronounced "we"), which represents a very different approach from SCEA's and Microsoft's next-gen gaming offerings. The humble Wii de-emphasizes the absolute latest and greatest in graphics and game audio, supporting a maximum video resolution of only 480p, in EDTV mode. Instead, it offers innovation in game design and control. And you can buy two of these Wii consoles for the price of the stripped-down PlayStation 3 model.

Steve Guttenberg Posted: Apr 23, 2007 Published: Mar 23, 2007 0 comments
Together again for the first time.

As I unboxed this month's Spotlight System, I flashed on the innovative histories of Marantz and Snell Acoustics. Saul B. Marantz was a bona fide American audio pioneer in the 1950s and 1960s. His company's electronics not only sounded amazing, they were drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe that's why Marantz's early designs regularly sell on eBay for more than their original prices. Peter Snell was one of the brightest speaker designers to emerge in the mid-1970s. Back in the day, I owned a pair of his first speakers, the Type A, and had many conversations with Peter about music. In those simpler times, Saul Marantz and Peter Snell could launch their companies armed with not much more than a driving passion to produce great audio gear—and the inspired engineering to make the dream real. Best of all, both companies still adhere to their founders' perfectionistic traditions.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 02, 2007 0 comments
Blu-ray and HD DVD in one box.

Well, no one saw this coming. We’re not that far into the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, and LG has come out with the BH100, a player that plays both formats. So, is that it? Format war over? Hardly.

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