Excerpt: Introduction Cracking open the box of my first HD DVD player, I can’t help but think back to the days of the VHS vs. Betamax and DVD-Audio vs. SACD format wars. With the pending release of Blu-ray, the competing high-definition disc format, many consumers are taking a “wait and see” attitude about which one will be the champion of the high-resolution disc. Blu-ray players are going to be in the $1,000 to $1,500 range.
Conclusion: The Toshiba HD-A1, the first high-definition DVD player to reach the market, is perfect for those who have a really big HDTV, don't need 1080p, and have money to burn. Everyone else should wait until the price drops, more HD-DVD titles ship, and the format war has been settled.
Pros: HD-DVD at times easily offers the finest home-theater experience we've had.
Cons: Expensive. Limited selection of HD DVDs. No 1080p output. Excruciatingly slow start-up. Takes 45 seconds to load an HD DVD. Frustrating remote-control layout. No lights/backlights on remote-control buttons. Numerous image artifacts during 720p output.
Excerpt: The Toshiba HD-A1 ($500) is the first high definition disk player on the market. At the same time, HD DVD movies in this new format are slowly becoming available -- at this writing, there are approximately 20 titles on sale for the nascent HD DVD format. We took a close look at this first HD DVD player, putting it through its paces with both HD DVDs and standard-definition DVDs, and found it to be a frustrating experience that we hope amounts to the consumer electronics...
Excerpt: Most of the reported 10,000-15,000 HD DVD players shipped to dealers apparently went to Best Buy, and if that retailer is representative, only 2-3 players were allotted to each store, along with a handful discs. The players were gone within a day—some dealers had put them up for sale on the 17th.