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best HD DVD standalone?

Old 02-19-08, 01:16 PM
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best HD DVD standalone?

Hi, everyone,

What is the best HD-DVD standalone? I've already got the xbox player for my computer, but I'm thinking about getting another player for my g/f, who is thinking about getting into HD-DVD due to the low cost of HD DVDs at this time (and, presumably, the future)--not to mention the excellent upconversion that HD players offer. Based on some reading, the XA2 might be the one to go with, but I'm not so sure (hence the creation of this thread).

Thanks for all opinions!

(FYI, I have been and will remain red at least until the summer, and I've tried to tell her that it would be easier for her to just wait and get an affordable bluray or hybrid player, should one surface, but she's been wowed my my HD stuff and wants to go ahead with the purchase anyway. Can't say I blame her!)
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Old 02-19-08, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Darknite39
Hi, everyone,

What is the best HD-DVD standalone? I've already got the xbox player for my computer, but I'm thinking about getting another player for my g/f, who is thinking about getting into HD-DVD due to the low cost of HD DVDs at this time (and, presumably, the future)--not to mention the excellent upconversion that HD players offer. Based on some reading, the XA2 might be the one to go with, but I'm not so sure (hence the creation of this thread).

Thanks for all opinions!

(FYI, I have been and will remain red at least until the summer, and I've tried to tell her that it would be easier for her to just wait and get an affordable bluray or hybrid player, should one surface, but she's been wowed my my HD stuff and wants to go ahead with the purchase anyway. Can't say I blame her!)
The XA3 seems to have the best bang for the buck, I'd hold off for a few days to see what happens though, either prices will remain the same or freefall now that the format is no more.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RichC2
The XA3 seems to have the best bang for the buck, I'd hold off for a few days to see what happens though, either prices will remain the same or freefall now that the format is no more.
probably just a typo, but i believe you mean the XA2. there is no XA3.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:05 PM
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The XA2(with updated firmware) is widely considered the best HD-DVD player. The problem is Toshiba ain't making them anymore, so the prices are outrageous. You'll have to shell out at least 600 bucks for a new one.

If cost is a factor, the A35 might be your best bet. It was going for 217 bucks including shipping Amazon as of this morning.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:12 PM
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XA2.

I'll be getting one.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:14 PM
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My bad, yeah the XA2.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Doughboy
If cost is a factor, the A35 might be your best bet. It was going for 217 bucks including shipping Amazon as of this morning.
Never mind. Buy.com is selling the A35 for 199 bucks including shipping. Let the firesale begin.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:37 AM
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Just curious since I might buy a player in the US while I'm on vacation: Could one of you guys please check if the HD-DVD players from Toshiba have a multinorm AC-adapter able to handle 110V and 220V? I doubt it but who knows.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:40 AM
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I believe with a few short weeks using it, the XA2 is the best DVD player I've owned, period, and I've cycled through a few Faroudja players (Panny CP72, Zenith DVB-318), an Oppo 970, and the HD-A2.

It handles tricky deinterlacing tasks with ease, and a tiny bit better on anime than the Faroudja 2310 in my projector.

A Reon-based DVD player for $240 that plays HD-DVD, even refurbished, is a steal.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:07 AM
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I have not had a single problem with my A20
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Old 02-27-08, 09:43 AM
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I love my XA1. Granted it doesn't do 1080p, but neither does my TV. In fact, I bought an A3 as a back-up player this weekend and took it right back because the build quality compared to my XA1 was so poor that I thought it was a piece of junk.
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Old 02-29-08, 07:21 PM
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I just received a refurbed XA2 last night. Hol-eee-shit, batman! ...and I thought my A1 was a good upconverting DVD player. This player will definitely tide me over until standalone BD players come down in price, or until I finish getting my purple HTPC completely configured.

The player came with 2.7 firmware installed, a 90 day warranty, and there's not a single mark on it. Looks brand new.
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Old 02-29-08, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bretski
I just received a refurbed XA2 last night. Hol-eee-shit, batman! ...and I thought my A1 was a good upconverting DVD player. This player will definitely tide me over until standalone BD players come down in price, or until I finish getting my purple HTPC completely configured.

The player came with 2.7 firmware installed, a 90 day warranty, and there's not a single mark on it. Looks brand new.
Be sure to go into the "picture" settings and turn everything off except for the mosquito noise setting... you want that turned on.

The XA2 is one of those hidden gems of a player. If only it could do PAL -> NTSC conversion. I just bought a second one as backup in case my first one dies.
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Old 02-29-08, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dharding
Be sure to go into the "picture" settings and turn everything off except for the mosquito noise setting... you want that turned on.

The XA2 is one of those hidden gems of a player. If only it could do PAL -> NTSC conversion. I just bought a second one as backup in case my first one dies.
Ah, thanks for that tip, I had everything turned off, but remember reading about the mosquito noise setting now.

Amen about the XA2 being a gem, I'm really glad that I took the plunge. I had an opportunity to get a floor model A35 for super cheap, but have no regrets now that I've seen what this player can do. I'm looking forward to re-watching a lot of SD movies that have been sitting on my shelf collecting dust...

PAL conversion would be cool, and I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility. There are folks out there who are working on it, from what I understand. I'm still vacillating on whether or not to do the region-free hack...
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Old 02-29-08, 11:04 PM
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I just bought 2 XA2s and I love them. might look for one more.
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Old 03-01-08, 01:32 AM
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So how good is the XA2? Seems like expensive hardware for hd-dvd that's going away, even for an upconverter. So would SDs seem much closer to HD? Or does it just make SDs look much better but not really HD? I bought an A30 recently, now all this talk makes me think I should get the same. I hope I don't have to!
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Old 03-02-08, 02:41 AM
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How does the A35 compare to XA2?
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Old 03-02-08, 03:04 AM
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The Onkyo is the best. It's an improved XA2.
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Old 03-02-08, 11:35 PM
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In what shape are the refurbed XA2s? Do they come with everything (instruction manual, remote, etc...)?
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Old 03-03-08, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ecwfan
In what shape are the refurbed XA2s? Do they come with everything (instruction manual, remote, etc...)?
I have just purchased a refurbished XA2 from overstock and wondering the same thing
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Old 03-03-08, 08:30 AM
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Mine was the $240 deal a few weeks ago. The pic didn't include a remote which made people think we'd get 'em without remotes. (Which didn't matter to me because I have a Harmony).

Came complete, with remote and manual (with warranty statement stamped VOID).

Looks in fantastic shape to me and basically new. Probably someone didn't know how to use it or had a bad firmware flash and RMAd it.

I did notice the tray seems to eject a little slowly but I've never seen a new one to compare it to.
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Old 03-03-08, 08:33 AM
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Mine was the $240 deal @ overstock a few weeks ago. The pic didn't include a remote which made people think we'd get 'em without remotes. (Which didn't matter to me because I have a Harmony).

Came complete, with remote and manual (with warranty statement stamped VOID).

Looks in fantastic shape to me and basically new. Probably someone didn't know how to use it or had a bad firmware flash and RMAd it.

I did notice the tray seems to eject a little slowly but I've never seen a new one to compare it to.

Keep in mind the strength of the XA2 is in SD-DVD scaling and especially deinterlacing. The A35 might be a better bet for folks using it only for HD-DVD.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Arpeggi
The Onkyo is the best. It's an improved XA2.

I don't know if it's any really different than the XA2, although it's a quality product if you come across one.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ecwfan
In what shape are the refurbed XA2s? Do they come with everything (instruction manual, remote, etc...)?
I got mine from Ubid. They come in a plain brown box with "toshiba" stamped on the side, and refurb stickers. Mine was in perfect cosmetic condition, and included the remote (also in mint condition, but no batteries). Also included manual, power cable, and A/V cable. Like GreenMonkey, the warranty page was stamped "Void". A separate warranty sheet was included, outlining the 90 day warranty terms.

I had a thought about why many of these may have been returned...behind the front cover, there is a switch for "Mode 1 or 2". Mode 1 only outputs video over component or RCA/S-video, and only at 480i. HDMI outputs no video in mode 1.

To get a resolution from 480p up to 1080p, the player must be set to "Mode 2". I had to RTFM to figure out why I was only getting 480i, and only over component. At first, I thought my player was defective, and I'll betcha that's also why it got returned by the original owner...
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Old 03-03-08, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dharding
Be sure to go into the "picture" settings and turn everything off except for the mosquito noise setting... you want that turned on.
Just to be clear, there are differing opinions on how best to use the "picture" settings on the XA2. I purchased one of the $240 refurbs from Overstock a few weeks ago, and have given it some use on SD-DVD and HD DVD.

I read a ton of posts on AVS and other forums about the XA2, and if I might paraphrase those posts, I gleaned the following conventional wisdom:

SD-DVD - use mosquito and random NR (these only apply to SD-DVD anyway if left on), and Edge Enhancement settings will vary based on the DVD, but either a setting of 1 or 2 will likely work well with most SD-DVDs.

HD DVD - NR settings don't affect HD. Edge Enhancement use either 1 or 2.

Bear in mind, Edge Enhancement on the XA2 is not the dreaded EE that people have been complaining about for years. It is just how Silicon Optix defines enhancing detail. You can see the effect on SD and HD on the fly, so as you run through 0, 1 and 2 on Edge Enhancement, you can see what it is doing. I find that running EE at 1 for HD is the bare minimum, as it brings out even more detail. And frankly, I generally leave it on 2, as everything looks so darn good at that setting.

But anyway, you can try out any of these settings, and can set up the 3 different memory settings differently for different uses.

I love the XA2 by the way. It is a fantastic player.
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