Toshiba 2nd Gen HD DVD Player Delayed

Toshiba's representatives contacted us this week to let us know that the $499 HD-A2 second generation HD DVD, originally due in stores in November, is now looking at an early December release. The high-end $999 HD-XA2 remains on target for a December debut.

Both second gen Toshiba units sport a more slimline profile, and Toshiba is claiming that both players will feature improved ergonomics with faster boot up and disc access times. But the HD-A2's basic specs read mostly like its predecessor, with 1080i video output, and DolbyTrueHD decoding being the salient features.

The step-up HD-XA2, which at $999 costs $200 more than the first-gen HD-XA1, boasts some exciting new features. Chief among them is an HDMI ver. 1.3 output and 1080p video output capability.

HDMI version 1.3 will allow the unit to transmit Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio signals in their native digital format, which will be a potential benefit when AVRs and pre/pros that can decode the new codecs are available.

1080p output is interesting, as the number of displays that can accept 1080p signals is groing daily. Movies on HD DVD discs are encoded as 1080p/24, but indications thus far indicate that the HD-XA2 will output 1080p/60, not 1080p/24.