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toshiba xa2 or a2?

Old 05-02-07, 02:42 PM
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toshiba xa2 or a2?

I am planing to buy a HD-DVD player. HD-XA2 has the ability to upscale regular DVDs to 1080p. How much better will the SD DVD be improved? Is this worth the money? Thank you!
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Old 05-02-07, 03:18 PM
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The HD-A2 also upscales regular DVDs, but to 1080i.

The biggest seller of the XA2 is the superior processing chip and the analog outs, as well as 1080p capabilities.

If I was purchasing a new player, I'd be all over the XA2.

Last edited by Damed; 05-02-07 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 05-02-07, 03:27 PM
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I've got the A1 right now and i'm currently debating whether to upgrade to the Xa2 or get my set ISF Calibrated.

Without a doubt i would pick the XA2 over the A2. If you really don't care about the analog outputs then you could split the difference and get the A20.
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Old 05-02-07, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Damed
The HD-A2 also upscales regular DVDs, but to 1080p.

The biggest seller of the XA2 is the superior processing chip and the analog outs, as well as 1080p capabilities.

If I was purchasing a new player, I'd be all over the XA2.
So you mean I can get 1080p through component port?
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Old 05-02-07, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by truelies
So you mean I can get 1080p through component port?
Component is limited to 1080i, as far as I know. 1080p is only available over HDMI.

I noticed I typoed in my earlier post. The A2 upscales to 1080i, not 1080p. Only the XA2 (and the A20) are 1080p capable.
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Old 05-03-07, 09:06 AM
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Neither player will upscale standard DVDs further than 480p over Component. They will only upscale to HD resolutions over HDMI.

However, you can get true HD video out of Component on HD DVD discs.
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Old 05-03-07, 09:20 AM
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I've read that the A20 does a better job of upscaling over the A2. But haven't read how it compares to the A1 in terms of upconversion. If it's equal, I may order one soon.
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Old 05-03-07, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
Neither player will upscale standard DVDs further than 480p over Component. They will only upscale to HD resolutions over HDMI.

However, you can get true HD video out of Component on HD DVD discs.
Just a slight qualification.... Protected standard dvds cannot be upscaled but unprotected will upscale such as Region 0 or ripped dvds you might have. This is what I find is funny. Legal dvds you've bought cannot be upscaled because they think you might pirate it or something, but the already pirated discs you have can be upscaled just fine.
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Old 05-07-07, 12:02 AM
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Also there has HD-A20, what's difference with the other two?
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Old 05-07-07, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by truelies
I am planing to buy a HD-DVD player. HD-XA2 has the ability to upscale regular DVDs to 1080p. How much better will the SD DVD be improved? Is this worth the money? Thank you!
If you want the very best upscaling quality, go for the XA2. However, as other posters mentioned, you need HDMI to do so. What screen/TV do you have?
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Old 05-07-07, 11:56 AM
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Upscaling of SD discs aside, what difference in picture quality is there between the XAS and the A20 when playing back HD discs?
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Old 05-07-07, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RocShemp
Upscaling of SD discs aside, what difference in picture quality is there between the XAS and the A20 when playing back HD discs?
My guess is the difference for HD discs on the HD-A2 and XA2 is the difference between 1080p and 1080i, so you would only notice it (I think) on a 1080p set.

If your set is 1080i, I doubt there is any noticeable difference but anyone can feel free to correct me.

For the HD-A20 I doubt there is a noticeable difference?

As my set is 1080i, I opted for the HD-A2 and am very very pleased. The upconversion is fantastic. I am not at all saddened by Blue-Ray exclusives because things look pretty darn good upconverted from SD. So much so, in fact, that I only plan on buying HD versions of my absolute favorites and will opt for the $10 SD discs for any movie that does not demand true HD in my eyes. Obviously those titles would vary from person to person.

Summary: I would absolutely get the A2 unless you have a 1080p set, in which case I whould consider the A20 or XA2, depending on budget.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 05-07-07 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 05-07-07, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
My guess is the difference for HD discs on the HD-A2 and XA2 is the difference between 1080p and 1080i, so you would only notice it (I think) on a 1080p set.

If your set is 1080i, I doubt there is any noticeable difference but anyone can feel free to correct me.

For the HD-A20 I doubt there is a noticeable difference?

As my set is 1080i, I opted for the HD-A2 and am very very pleased. The upconversion is fantastic. I am not at all saddened by Blue-Ray exclusives because things look pretty darn good upconverted from SD. So much so, in fact, that I only plan on buying HD versions of my absolute favorites and will opt for the $10 SD discs for any movie that does not demand true HD in my eyes. Obviously those titles would vary from person to person.

Summary: I would absolutely get the A2 unless you have a 1080p set, in which case I whould consider the A20 or XA2, depending on budget.
Agreed! It's up to the OP to decide whether $45 extra for the A20 is worth it.
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Old 05-07-07, 02:51 PM
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Thanks, Thor Simpson. If there is indeed no difference in HD DVD playback quality between the XA2 and the A20, unless I find a deal I cannot resist, I'll definitely save up for the A20 as I was already impressed by 1080i from the HDV5000 on my LC52D62U.

Of course, all the is moot if that Samsung compo player gets stellar reviews and I may just have to save up for that instead.
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Old 05-07-07, 03:11 PM
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Wait for a couple more responses to verify, because I am not 100% certain on that. I am sure there are others here who will chime in about the quality comparison.

I would hate for you to pick up one model and then find out there is a noticeable improvement with the next one up.

I would not have purchased the HD-A2, however, if I believed the XA2 was going to look a lot better on my set.

Last edited by Th0r S1mpson; 05-07-07 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 05-07-07, 03:35 PM
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Oh okay. I'll wait then.
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Old 05-07-07, 04:23 PM
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Normally flagship player need to be better than the normal one on HD-DVD picture quality.

If not so, why the price is high? For example, a >$500 sony ES dvd player is better on dvd picture than the cheap $50 sony dvd player.

I wonder HD DVD changes this ruler.
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Old 05-07-07, 04:34 PM
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Things is, truelies, that the only thing I've read that the XA2 has over the A20 is the Reon chip for upscalling standard def DVDs and analog outputs for 5.1 TrueHD. Given I'll mainly use it for it's HD DVD playback capabilities and I plan on getting the new Onkyo 605 (that accepts TrueHD via HDMI), unless the XA2 has some sort of improvement on the quality of HD DVD playback over the A20, I see no reason to spend the extra cash on the XA2
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Old 05-07-07, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RocShemp
Things is, truelies, that the only thing I've read that the XA2 has over the A20 is the Reon chip for upscalling standard def DVDs and analog outputs for 5.1 TrueHD. Given I'll mainly use it for it's HD DVD playback capabilities and I plan on getting the new Onkyo 605 (that accepts TrueHD via HDMI), unless the XA2 has some sort of improvement on the quality of HD DVD playback over the A20, I see no reason to spend the extra cash on the XA2
You are completely correct. The main advantage of the XA2 is the Reon chip (which benefits mostly SD Upscaling), the 5.1a output and HDMI 1.3 (with its own advantages).

I've heard that the HD quality is nearly identical on both XA2/A2-A20.
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Old 05-07-07, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
My guess is the difference for HD discs on the HD-A2 and XA2 is the difference between 1080p and 1080i, so you would only notice it (I think) on a 1080p set.
This is actually a very misunderstood concept. I apologize in advance for not having any links to back up the statements I'm about to make, but if you're spending that kind of dough, you owe it to yourself to do your own research anyway. I'd look at www.avsforum.com. Trust me, I did the research back in November before buying my 1080p set.

If you have a 1080p set, it doesn't matter if the player outputs 1080i or 1080p. I know that sounds shocking at first, but it's true. The player will output either 1080i at 60 frames per second or 1080p at 30 frames per second. If the native resolution of your set is 1080p, your TV will either accept the 1080p input and display it or accept the 1080i input, and recombine the the odd and even frames (I believe they're called fields) back into a single 1080p frame. Unless your TV has faulty hardware and can't properly de-interlace the two interlaced fields, you'll end up with the same picture.

Where 1080i vs. 1080p matters is in your display. A 1080p display will produce a better picture than a 1080i display. At any one moment in time, there is twice as much picture being displayed on the screen. That's not too difficult to understand. Much like in the old days setting your computer monitor to non-interlaced vs interlaced produced a noticably better picture.

The other area where 1080p is superior to 1080i is in your source material. Because if you're recording at 24fps, you're grabbing 1080 lines of resolution 24 times per second vs 540 lines 24 times per second. Clearly this will produce a noticeably better picture.

For HD discs, the material is already in a 1080p format on the disc. So if your display can properly de-interlace (I believe this to be the case in nearly all 1080p displays these days), a 1080i input to your set will produce the same picture as a 1080p input.

That leads to the final question. Why is such a big deal made over the 1080p players then? The answer is called marketing. These concepts are far too complicated for the average consumer to understand. Plus Blu-ray made a big stink that their players output 1080p. Rather than try to educate consumers, it was quicker and easier for the HD DVD camp to simply produce a 1080p player to compete with Blu-ray. Now they have players that are "as good" as the Blu-ray players in their output options.

This applies to people with 1080p displays. Since that's what I own, I'm not sure how all this applies to 1080i displays. Again, do the research for yourself if need be.

UPDATE:

I spent a few minutes with Google and dug up these two links:

Link 1

Link 2

Last edited by MEJHarrison; 05-07-07 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:36 PM
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Yeah, I was aware about the whole 1080i to a 1080p display issue, MEJHarrison. And it's not too easy to explain that to consumers (believe me, I've tried to do just that at my job). They just get more and more confused or give you a look like you're trying to lie to them.

That said, the benefit I see for having a machine that outputs in 1080p hooked up to a 1080p set is that you don't have to call upon the set's deinterlacer and just let it reproduce the 1080p image with no processing inbetween. Basically eliminate a couple of steps in the middle (by not having to interlace the 1080p video to 1080i in the player to then deinterlace the newly created 1080i video back to 1080p). It limits possible screwups somewhere in the chain by eliminating those links altogether.

Last edited by RocShemp; 05-07-07 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 05-08-07, 07:57 AM
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Mejharrison:

If the native resolution of your set is 1080p, your
TV will either accept the 1080p input and display it or accept the 1080i
input, and recombine the the odd and even frames (I believe they're
called fields) back into a single 1080p frame.


So:

1.your TV will either accept the 1080p input and display it
2.accept the 1080i input, and recombine the the odd and even frames (I believe they're called fields) back into a single 1080p frame.

For 1. means the player has 1080p output, 2. means the player only has 1080i output. How can the 1080p TV display same quality for picture in those two case? Normal recombined picture is a little bad. Is this correct?
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Old 05-08-07, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by truelies
For 1. means the player has 1080p output, 2. means the player only has 1080i output. How can the 1080p TV display same quality for picture in those two case? Normal recombined picture is a little bad. Is this correct?
All HD material (HD DVD & Blu-Ray) is stored on the disc in 1080p format (1080p/24 to be completely accurate, but that's a whole other can of worms). Each frame has 1080 line of resolution. If the player can only output 1080i, you take those 1080 lines, split them in half, then send just the even numbered lines (540 lines), then you send the odd lines (the other 540 lines). That's 1080i output. If you have the technology on the other end, those two are put back together into a single frame and displayed. That gives you the original 1080p picture you started with.

Imagine I take a photo, cut it in half, give you the two pieces separately, then you put them back together. You now have the original photograph I started with. Well..., obviously it's cut in half of course, but in an electronic world you could put them back together seamlessly and end up with exactly the same picture.

The only thing you would have to worry about would be if your TV had a faulty de-interlacer. That is if the hardware has a bug and doesn't put the even and odd lines back together properly. While that's possible, I think that's not a very likely scenario.

And as RocShemp mentions, all this 1080p -> 1080i -> 1080p conversion does introduce more processing steps. More steps means there's more chances for something to go wrong somewhere along the line. But even some 1080p players do these steps internally. The first Samsung Blu-ray player was reported to convert the original picture to 1080i, then it did it's processing, then it converted it back to a 1080p picture before it ever left the player and got sent to your display.

There are several reasons you might want to spend more money for the XA2 player. But 1080p output shouldn't be one of them.
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Old 05-08-07, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MEJHarrison
There are several reasons you might want to spend more money for the XA2 player. But 1080p output shouldn't be one of them.
As far as I know, a future update will implement native 1080p/24 support in the XA2. So if your display supports 1080p/24, you should get a superior picture.
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Old 05-08-07, 01:40 PM
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I don't think it has been mentioned yet but the XA2 also has a digital coax out where the A2 and the A20 do not. Probably won't be an issue for most though.
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