Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player Reviews
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Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player

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I thought I would just try it once. Now I'm a HD junky.

Jan 10, 2008 (Updated Jan 25, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Picture Quality:
  • Durability:

Pros:Inexpensive, great picture

Cons:Crappy remote, evolving technology

The Bottom Line: With sale/rebate this is a no-risk buy while we're waiting to see who wins the format battle.

Anyone purchasing a new high definition DVD Player will have to first decide if they want to commit to the HD DVD or the Blu-Ray technology. What's the difference? About $400. We have yet to have a DVD player that has lasted more than an year or two so we went with the less expensive of the two, a HD DVD player.

Better Picture for standard DVD's
We had been looking for a new DVD player that could upscale our standard DVD's. We had spent several weeks looking for a player that had the upscaling technology but we weren't able to find one that we liked in cheapskate price range. When we found the HD DVD on sale we considered it a bonus because not only could it upscale our standard DVD's, but it also played HD DVD's.

Standard DVD's can be played on this player and it looks so much better than in a standard DVD player (SD Upconversion 480p/720p/1080i).

The picture looks great. So much better than a traditional DVD player. You can truly see the high definition difference. The picture is much cleaner and colors are more brilliant. Before I saw high definition I thought could live without it but now that I've seen it I'm hooked.

Price / Rebate
This is already an archived model. We found this player on sale in November for $98, the retail price is around $200. It also had a mail in rebate for five free HD-DVD's (search Toshiba rebate HD for current rebate. Other current promotions can be found at I received my DVD's within two months.

HD Compatible TV is Needed
To view in high definition, the TV must be able to produce 720p, 1080i. It requires Component or HDMI-capable input or HDCP-capable DVI input on the display device.

The player comes with a remote control, AAA batteries, composite audio/video cable, and power cord. A HDMI cable will most likely need to be purchased for the player. Toshiba suggests HDMI instead of using component video jacks to avoid errors caused by discs with copy protection.

Setup is very easy by following the pictures in the manual.

Loading Time
Patience, young grasshopper. The HD DVD technology works more like a computer than an DVD player. The HD DVD drive has random access memory (RAM) so turning on the HD DVD player takes as long as booting up your personal computer. It will feel like eternity for the DVD player to turn on or for the door to open. In the big scheme of things, it's just 20 seconds. It's worth the wait.

Disc Compatibility
Toshiba stresses all though the owner's manual that this is a new technology and technical difficulties may occur such as problems in the creation of discs, software, or compatibility problems. Toshiba recommends calling customer service or to visit their customer support website.

Technical difficulties may be a result of outdated firmware on the player. The firmware update can be found for free on Toshiba's website. The website walks you though the steps with pictures for those who refuse to read instructions.

So far we've been very pleased with the player. We've only had our player for three months, but we've logged a lot of hours on it. We generally run the DVD player for 5 hours at a time and have never had heating problems.

We have tried an assortment of HD-DVD's, standard DVD's, and audio CD's and have never had a problem with playback. We rent a lot of Netflix DVD's which are always scratched. Our old DVD player would skip or halt on every scratch or finger print but this player has been able to read through them.

One thing I don't like is that there isn't a clock on the front panel.

This is the worst remote that we've ever had. Most of our other remotes have illuminated buttons but not this one. It's impossible to see the tiny black buttons while watching TV.

The remote will able you to skip chapters, play frame by frame, or playing in slow motion. If you're watching a movie and need to turn it back, simply remember the title, chapter and time. When you are ready to resume the movie simply type the digits on the number pad.

Getting and playing DVD's
A standard DVD and HD DVD video discs can be played in this player. It supports HD DVD video and audio, playback of DVD-RW and DVD-R.

A Blu-Ray HD disc is NOT compatible. The following formats are not supported: MP3, WMA audio, CD-RW and CD-R.

I like the look of the player. It is mostly black and doesn't look cheap. When the player is off, the on button is illuminated in red. When the player is on, the button turns blue and the display screen is illuminated. The remote can make the display screen dimmer if desired. If your remote is hiding under a couch you can use the play, stop, pause, or skip buttons on the front of the player. This can save you a great deal of stress when you want to watch a movie but can't find the remote.

Our experience
Our biggest problem is more with the availability of HD DVD's rather than this player. It has been very difficult for us to get HD DVD's. Many movies that we want to see (like Disney features) will not be made for HD DVD. Movies that are made specifically for the HD DVD generally costs twice as much as the standard DVD format.

If we have the option to rent a HD DVD format, we do. There is a little tiny section at Blockbuster and a small selection from Netflix. The point is, the majority of movies that we watch simply aren't made for HD DVD. If you buy this player under the pretense of moving all of your movies to HD DVD format, you might be disappointed.

I think this is a fine DVD player for the sale price or in conjunction with the rebate. Knowing how hard it is to get HD DVD's in my town, I personally wouldn't re-buy a HD DVD player just to see HD DVD's. However, if you're replacing a broken DVD player for upscaling standard DVD's, this is a fine option.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 98.00

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