Toshiba HD DVD players $100 cheaper 05/20 – 06/16

Posted by Peter Hall - May 16th 2007 @ 3:34 pm

This really has nothing to do with the genre, I just love HD content; specifically HD DVD (eat it, Blu Ray!) and like to spread the word when I can.  If you haven’t taken sides in the format war yet, now is one more reason to jump on the HD bandwagon.

Toshiba, the top manufacturer of HD DVD players, is offering a $100 instant rebate (in stores only, I assume) on its 3 models.  On top of that, from now until the end of July, Toshiba will give you 5 free HD DVDs (from a bland selection of 15 titles, however).

This means that you can grab a brand new player and 5 free discs for an unprecedented $299.  If you have the money and an HD capable television, its a pretty damned good deal.  Keep in mind, though, that the base $299 model (the A2) will do all the regular DVD upconversion its brothers will, but regardless of the source, it outputs at either 720p or 1080i.  If you’re either an anal videophile or have a mammoth screen, 1080p is going to be your bag, so go with the next model up.

But I digress.  Point is, Blu Ray blows; buy HD DVD.  Shaun of the Dead will be out on HD DVD soon and you know you need to be in its possession.  Prepare now and you can save a pretty good chunk of change in the process.

And since I love to scam Best Buy whenever possible, you can probably order the A20 online for $499, choose your 4 free titles from their selection, get it in the mail, take it into a Best Buy store and price match it for the $100 off – then send in the UPC to Toshiba for a further free 5 discs.  $399 for an HD DVD player that supports 1080p and HDMI 1.3 plus a total of 9 free HD DVDs (a value of at least $160) is fucking sexy.  Hell, even $499 for the player plus 9 free movies is a deal and you don’t even need to scam Best Buy to get it, but where would the fun in that be?

"Yeeeeaaahhh, Boooy-eeee!"

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  1. May 16th, 2007 | 3:50 pm | #1

    Dear god, the selection for the free discs is dreadful. Casablanca is about the only one there I’d want, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t shot in HD.

    Lemme check that…

    No. No, it wasn’t.

    DVD is fine by me. All I need is anamorphic widescreen and I’m a happy guy.

  2. May 16th, 2007 | 4:15 pm | #2

    You say that, but the difference between DVD and HD can be astounding. I still haven’t gotten used to it.

    Totally agree on the free disc selection, though.

  3. May 17th, 2007 | 10:33 am | #3

    Why did you use HD DVD over Blu-Ray? I recall a Shoutbox discussion on MoFo but don’t know if you ever delved into why you prefer the former.

  4. May 17th, 2007 | 2:27 pm | #4

    I find that most people I’ve talked to started to hate Blue Ray about the same time I did. That time being the second we looked at a screen with a Blue Ray disc being displayed on it. Yes, it still looks better than the standard DVD but there IS a noticeable quality difference between it and HD DVD. My roommate has both the Toshiba HD-A20 and a PS3. He too prefers HD DVD and his player will only do 1080i where as his TV and PS3 will do 1080p. I still think it really comes down to personal preference when it comes to saying which is “the best”. Everyone perceives things different, but if you think Blue Ray is better than HD DVD, just know that you’re fuckin’ wrong!

    Plus with Sony’s media track record being Beta max, Laser disc, and Smart media, I feel safer investing into HD DVD. With all the measures HD DVD is taking to make it more affordable and available it appears they’ll be winning the battle soon. Though Sony keeps talking about reducing the price of the PS3. I wonder how much money they make talking about it while the PS3 continues to tank.

  5. May 17th, 2007 | 3:04 pm | #5

    All Blu-Ray really has going for it is a higher capacity disc. Its dual layer currently stands at 50gigs while HD DVDs is 30 – though let it be noted that a 51gig HD DVD has already passed the prototype stage. Currently all HD DVD discs use their 30 gig dual layer format, while only half of Blu-Ray use the 50 gig disc. On top of that, the majority of the time actual video is still compressed using identical codecs on either disc, so the fact that Blu-Ray can currently hold 20 more gigs becomes utterly pointless.

    HD DVD players must have a storage system, meaning the player stores data directly off the disc, making it available for instant recall. The whole format is highly interactive, with menus loading simultaneously with video. After the disc has booted up, thats pretty much it. You can navigate the special features on menus that simply overlay themselves on the video playing in the background or watch commentary/interviews that behave basically like a picture-in-picture. I had become jaded to slower navigation on regular DVDs, often never watching many special features because it was tedious to do so – not anymore; and believe me, the second you experience this on an HD DVD, you’ll fall irreparably in love with it. Blu-Ray is more or less a higher capacity DVD – the implementation of playback/disc authoring really didn’t change at all.

    Plus, HD DVD is completely region free and you would be surprised at the number of HD DVD titles out in Europe and Asia that aren’t out here – Total Recall, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Mulholland Drive spring to mind. You know me – I absolutely hate to know someone is intentionally crippling my usage of what I’ve paid for. Sony, in all their greed, still has region coding.

    As for image quality, I can’t testify there from personal experience, but I’ve heard from multiple people that Blu-Ray often looks a tad less pretty than an HD DVD of the same title. That could entirely be connections or how a Blu-Ray player handles its own color, contrast etc etc, however. Once you’re dealing with those resolutions, talking picture quality is basically going to be like comparing supermodels. It is going to look good no matter what, so you have to consider what else its capable of.

  6. May 17th, 2007 | 3:32 pm | #6

    I also just came across this lengthy HD DVD vs Blu-Ray comparison, which is already a year out of date and doesn’t reflect the advances in HD DVD made since then. It is probably the most concise comparison of the two I’ve read yet and really sells the fact that Blu-Ray is, on a spec sheet, a technically superior format because of its higher numbers, but that HD DVD is all about efficiency and innovation.

    Plus, here is the kicker:

    Ultimately, a vigorous competition between the formats will hasten the collapse of HD player prices, and bring consumers closer to the day when both technologies are available at nominal cost. Keep in mind the rapid collapse of pricing in progressive scan DVD players over the last five years. Today’s $150 DVD player will outperform players that cost $1000 five years ago. We can expect to see the same price erosion in the HD player market going forward. Once HD-DVD and Blu-ray players are widely available for $200, it won’t matter which technologies the studios decide to support. The consumer will have won the war.”

    If you’re worried about which format is going to have the staying power, this pretty much sums it up. Considering HD DVD players are already 1/3rd the price of Blu-Ray, within two years it’ll have more than a jump.

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