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“Well...I don’t see no p’ints about that frog that’s any better’n any other frog.” --Mark Twain
When is an additional $300 worth a top-of-the-line piece of video equipment? That’s the question consumers will have to ask themselves if choosing between Toshiba’s $499 HD-A1 HD-DVD player and their pricier $799 HD-XA1 model.
The Toshiba HD-A1 and HD-XA1 players are the first in a new wave of next-generation HD DVD machines capable of reproducing high-definition signals of 1080 scan lines. That’s quite a step up from the 480 lines produced by standard-definition DVDs, and it means a whole lot more pixels reaching your screen, over six times as many overall. Which means a far better, more detailed picture, no matter what size screen you’re watching. Sure, putting more than six times the total pixels on screen makes a huge difference when using a big-screen TV, but even on my 34” Sony XBR960 high-definition widescreen television, the differences are more than eye-opening. What the XA1 Will Do:
Like the HD-A1, the higher-priced HD-XA1 is backward compatible with existing software. It will play high-definition HD-DVDs as well as standard DVDs and CDs (HD-DVD, DVD, DVD-R/-RW/-RAM, CD, and CD-R/-RW). So again you can be sure that most of the discs you already have on your shelf should play fine. Several readers at DVDTOWN have commented at the Message Board that some of the discs they burned themselves would not play back properly, but I suspect these are isolated cases, and I had no trouble with any of the audio or video discs I tried.