Toshiba Introduces First HD DVD Players for the U.S.

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 2:06 pm

Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. (”Toshiba”) unveiled today the market launch details for its line-up of the first High Definition DVD players for the U.S. market. The new HD DVD players, models HD-XA1 and HD-A1, will take advantage of the superior capabilities of the HD DVD format, including outstanding visual quality supported by leading-edge video compression technologies, the high resolution audio specifications and the capability for enhanced functionality including, Advanced Navigation, also referred to as “iHD.”

As a logical evolution of the DVD market to high definition, the HD-XA1 and HD-A1 have backward compatibility, allowing users to continue to enjoy their libraries of current DVD and CD software*. Supporting the leading-edge efficient video compression standards of MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, as well as MPEG2, both models will utilize the new video decoder chip developed by Broadcom. To meet the latest advancements in Audio/Video interfaces, both models connect to HDTV sets via a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI(TM)). HDMI is the first industry-supported all digital A/V connection providing the transmission of uncompressed digital video and multi-channel audio on a single cable. The new HD DVD players will output copy-protected HD content through the HDMI interface in the native format of the HD DVD disc content of either 720p or 1080i. Through the HDMI interface, standard definition DVDs can be upconverted to output resolution of 720p or 1080i to complement the performance of a HDTV. As the conversion takes place in the player, the signal remains free from excessive digital-to-analog conversion artifacts.

Toshiba’s HD-XA1 and HD-A1 support a variety of HD audio options to complement HD video offerings. The mandatory audio formats for HD DVD include both lossy and lossless formats from Dolby Labs and DTS(R) — including the newly developed Dolby(R) Digital Plus and DTS-HD.

Toshiba HD DVD
Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD

The lossless mandatory formats include Linear PCM and Dolby TrueHD (only 2 Channel support is mandatory). The TrueHD format is bit-for-bit identical to the high resolution studio masters and can support up to eight discrete full range channels of 24-bit/96k Hz audio. Another lossless format (specified as an optional format) is DTS-HD. This employs high sampling rates of up to 192k Hz.

Both models feature built-in multi-channel decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (2 channel), DTS and DTS-HD. The HD-XA1 employs the use of four high performance DSP engines to decode the multi-channel streams of the wide array of audio formats. These high performance processors will perform the required conversion process, as well as the extensive on-board Multi-Channel Signal Management including: User Selectable Crossovers, Delay Management and Channel Level Management.

The new HD DVD players can pass digital information to a Surround Sound Processor/Receiver via S/PDIF or HDMI. For Dolby Digital and DTS, the bitstream will be passed through both connections just as in a standard DVD player with the same interfaces. Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD content will be converted to a standard bitstream format that is compatible with any processor equipped with decoders of the respective formats and output through S/PDIF and HDMI. Additionally, all the audio formats for either DVD or HD DVD will be decoded to PCM and output via HDMI in either stereo or multi-channel.

The HD-XA1 will cost $799.99, while the HD-A1 will “only” cost you $499.99. Both will be available in March 2006

Related: HD DVD backers promise 200 movies

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17 Responses to “Toshiba Introduces First HD DVD Players for the U.S.”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    holy crap that’s bigger than an 80’s VHS player

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Good God! It’s bigger than an XBox! I didn’t even know that was possible?

  3. Dario Says:

    That actually looks bigger than my PC on it’s side! O_o Bizzare… I do hope they bring it down to a DivX player size.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Hell yes. I don’t even know if that’ll fit in my house, let alone my stereo cabinet.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    w00t, what a size. now show me the remote ffs…will it be bigger than an xbox-controller?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    so big you could fit an ATX mobo inside with all you need to build a (full HD) HTPC !

  7. Scout Says:

    Good Gawd! The size of this thing will look good sitting next to my 1997 Pioneer DVL-700 LASERDISC/DVD Player.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Not as bad pricewise as I thought it would be though! I was expecting $999 starting. By the time I get an HDTV by the end of the year I might be able to pick one up for $200-300. The size is ungodly though.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Does anybody else thinks it’s wierd that the access panel must drop down for the disc drawer to slide out?

  10. Truckster Says:

    My God that thing is huge! I wonder how much it *weighs*? May need a special truck to get it into my house

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Possibly it’s so big due to having to fit in all those draconian DRM encryption and fair-use-killer and media incompatibility mechanisms…

    Please try to not buy such BLATANTLY ANTI-CONSUMER devices, to make sure this market doesn’t even get established, boys and girls. Thanks!


  12. Kim Says:

    Ohh yes! Upconvert that baby and get extra resolution for free so we can all get the full benefit of our new HD tvs!

    I wonder if I can get an upconvertor for my mobile phone video output so I can also watch that in high definition?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    So, what’s the difference between the HD-XA1 and the HD-A1 models? why is the HD-XA1 $300 more?

  14. Anonymous Says:

    No, no, no, no, NO!

    I want 1920×1080 p24 That’s what movies are in and it’s part of the standard! No more interlaceing! Plasmas are not interlaced, LCDs are not interlaced, LCOS is not interlaced and only a couple of DLPs are (sideways wobbulation). WTF would the design the next generation of play to support CRTs with interlaceing when CRTs are being phased out?

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Well, #9, I have to drop my drawers to access my panel. Oh Yeah! How do you do it?

  16. FARRIS Says:

    Who in the H*** desinged this monstrosity? Not only is it bigger than a 1980’s era VCR, but it looks (color scheme) like one also! Yes, it is weird the front access panel must drop down to allow access to the dvd tray. I will defintely hold off on buying an hd dvd player until at least the end of 2007.

  17. FARRIS Says:

    Who in the H*** designed this monstrosity? Not only is it bigger than a 1980’s era VCR, but it looks (color scheme) like one also! Yes, it is weird the front access panel must drop down to allow access to the dvd tray. I will defintely hold off on buying an hd dvd player until at least the end of 2007.

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