Toshiba's Next Gen HD DVD Players, HD-A2 and HD-XA2
Toshiba has replaced its original HD DVD player, the troubled HD-A1. The HD-A1 has been hailed as having the best HD image of the two high profile competitors (including Samsung's BD-P1000). But it had several bugs that made it a clunky affair that frustrated users and reviewers alike. If HD-A1 won the opening race for image quality the BD-P1000 had better usability.
Toshiba's new players are thinner and more sleek and Toshiba promises they're not so buggy as its first try. The two replacements are the HD-A2 retailing at $499 like the original HD-A1 and the HD-XA1 a premium model that retails at $999.
HD-XA2 vs HD-A2
The HD-XA2 features the HDMI 1.3 spec that supports 36bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depth. These color depths are supported on displays with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080P. The biggest difference between the the XA2 and A2 is the XA2's support of full 1080P. But it also has a special high performance 297MHz/ 12 bit Video DAC (digital analogue converter). The improved DAC should give the XA2 better video and upscaling from regular DVD.
The HD-A2 will support up to 720P or 1080i resolutions. So, if you think you have a 1080P "deep color" display in your future (and who doesn't?) the extra $500 is something to think about.
Both players will support next generation audio formats: Linear PCM, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD. Dolby TrueHD is a high resolution multi-channel audio format. So, at 5.1 channels of sound you get uncompressed 25-bit/96kHz audio quality. It's sound comparable to DVD – Audio from a movie disk.