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  1. #1
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    HD-DVD deserved to die.

    I purchased a new Sharp 46" AQUOS TV and a Toshiba $400 (then) HD-DVD player last July. I got a decent "deal" by purchasing the two together, and subsequent sales also provided additional price concessions. (Ultimately, the combination wound up costing me $1,900 - not too shabby!) I chose the HD-DVD player over BluRay at the time solely based on the enormous price differential.

    Well, now that almost a year has passed, and the HD-DVD format is offically dead, it's most unusual to come across a new HD disc. I rented "Stardust" from netflix just recently, and to my surprise, received an HD disc. My profile at netflix indicates a preference for HD discs, and I guess they still had some of these sitting around. Like others here at AR, I received the now famous email from netflix announcing that they would no longer be carrying any HD discs.

    I had forgotten how annoying it was to try to watch an HD disc. Normally, you simply insert the disc, close the drawer, and go through the various selections on the disc's menu that you want to watch. Not so with an HD disc: for starters, the display says "Loading" for almost a full minute! Given the fact that any $70 DVD player loads infinitely faster, the first thing I thought, last July when this happened, was that the player was faulty.

    Ultimately, the disc loads, and the playback begins. I was hoping to notice a substantially more detailed and clear image than that which I've been used to from watching regular DVD's now for many months. That proved simply not to be so. There was nothing whatsoever about the image of the film "Stardust" to indicate in any way at all that it was an HD disc.

    My wife and I have been watching the DVD set of Showtime's "The Tudors," and when placing the disc with the last episode of the first season into the player, I was surprised to see that the image of that "ordinary" DVD was at least the equal of that of the HD disc.

    Certainly, the "upscaling" properties of this player are to be commended. The improved clarity and detail of even some very old DVD's is very, very impressive. I have a DVD of the 1965 George STeven's film, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," on which the opening credits were almost impossible to read on anything I ever played the disc on. With the Toshiba's upscaling, those credits, while not "clear as a bell," are, at least, quite legible, which is something I could never say before. Nevertheless, the playback of those discs for which the player was desgined provides little perceivable difference. Additionally, not all HD discs would even play.

    I had many problems with the "deluxe" set of "Blade Runner," which includes several dsics, not all HD, and various versions of the film. The "Final Cut" is only in HD, and on many occasions, it simply wouldn't even start. On another, it played for about an hour, and then stopped, resulting in a prompt that said, "Cannot play disc" on the screen. Ultimately, it did play, and the image was very impressive. Still, it wasn't worth the headaches.

    No wonder the format died. It deserved it.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    What?? Not even one ' ' ?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    What?? Not even one ' ' ?
    ?????

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    My Sony BDP-300 BR player also takes forever to turn on, load and begin playing. And some BR movies look down right ordinary and others look spectacular. If this player did not come free with my Sony 52" XBR4 LCD TV I would take it back and wait for a faster, better BR player.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    ?????
    Just playing I've been reading too many pixel posts
    Sorry about your player. Time to invest in Blu-ray

  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    My Sony BDP-300 BR player also takes forever to turn on, load and begin playing. And some BR movies look down right ordinary and others look spectacular. If this player did not come free with my Sony 52" XBR4 LCD TV I would take it back and wait for a faster, better BR player.
    In the same vein as the recent discussion regarding mastering and editing versus simple medium being the difference in audio quality between SACD and redbook, I feel the same can be said for Standard DVD and Hi-Def.

    I recently watched part of "30 Days of Night" which turned out to be a truly awful affair. It was so bad that I decided to view the "Making Of..." portion of the disc to see what exactly these characters were thinking while producing this drek. At one point it became clear that their artistic vision included using lesser film stock to get that "grainy feel". I would imagine the average Blu-Ray consumer would be fairly worked up to pay top dollar just to see this horrible movie in a high resolution format and have it still be murky and largely undiscernable.
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  7. #7
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    Emaidel have you checked with Tosh for firmware upgrades? You should if you haven't.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Emaidel have you checked with Tosh for firmware upgrades? You should if you haven't.
    My DVD/TV setup is nowhere near my computer in my house, and to disconnect the player and reconnect it to the computer will be a truly annoying and difficult procedure. As no more HD discs are being made, and I'm thoroughly satisfied with the upconverting this unit does with regular DVD's, I intend to use it until it just craps out altogether. Based on how frequently the unit freezes up, I suspect that won't be too far in the future.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Some people shouldn't be allowed to buy new technology. The police should come raid your trailer of all your HD stuff and replace it with a 25" Sharp CRT and a VCR.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Some people shouldn't be allowed to buy new technology. The police should come raid your trailer of all your HD stuff and replace it with a 25" Sharp CRT and a VCR.
    I'm not quite sure whether you're trying to be funny or nasty. If the former, then, "Ha, hah!"

    If the latter, why?

  11. #11
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I'm not quite sure whether you're trying to be funny or nasty. If the former, then, "Ha, hah!"

    If the latter, why?
    Oddly enough, one could say the exact same thing about your original post.

    You're taking one experience from one buggy HD-DVD player and assuming that all HD-DVD players work as badly as yours. Then when you were told how to fix it (firmware update) you moaned about not having internet connectivity. Move the player. Buy a 50' cat5 cable. The update only takes a few minutes.

    And on top of all that...my $49 Xbox HD-DVD player has none of those problems

  12. #12
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    In the same vein as the recent discussion regarding mastering and editing versus simple medium being the difference in audio quality between SACD and redbook, I feel the same can be said for Standard DVD and Hi-Def.
    While this makes it a bit easier to wrap your head around, the comparison isn't quite the same. Sacd and DVD-A had about the same resolution. There were some format audio characteristics that defined each one, but essentially they had the same resolution. DVD no matter how well you master the film, will always be limited to 480i, even if it is upconverted to 1080i/p. The pipeline for DVD is limted to 8-9mbps, so no matter how good the DVD was mastered, it is limited by the technology itself. You can create excellent 2k masters destined for DVD, but they will only look as good as 480i in a 8-9mbps pipeline.

    Bluray on the other hand allows more of that good mastering to appear upon the screen. Since bluray is mastered at 1080p(about the same as the film scanning rate of 2k) there is no loss of picture quality from the master(if DNR is not utilized). From the foreground to the background more information is revealed, the picture is cleaner, sharper, and more 3D like. When you look at it, no matter how good the mastering is, the DVD format could never reproduce it with transparency.

    I recently watched part of "30 Days of Night" which turned out to be a truly awful affair. It was so bad that I decided to view the "Making Of..." portion of the disc to see what exactly these characters were thinking while producing this drek. At one point it became clear that their artistic vision included using lesser film stock to get that "grainy feel". I would imagine the average Blu-Ray consumer would be fairly worked up to pay top dollar just to see this horrible movie in a high resolution format and have it still be murky and largely undiscernable.
    The only thing I can say to this(because it got fairly good reviews on PQ) is that it is probably closer to the DP vision than the DVD is. I think the goal is to get as close to the printmaster as you can, artistic liscense and all. I think based on what I have seen, bluray does it alot better than DVD, that is for sure.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I'm not quite sure whether you're trying to be funny or nasty. If the former, then, "Ha, hah!"

    If the latter, why?
    I think it takes some time to get used to his humour. If you can call it that..

  14. #14
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Oddly enough, one could say the exact same thing about your original post.

    You're taking one experience from one buggy HD-DVD player and assuming that all HD-DVD players work as badly as yours. Then when you were told how to fix it (firmware update) you moaned about not having internet connectivity. Move the player. Buy a 50' cat5 cable. The update only takes a few minutes.

    And on top of all that...my $49 Xbox HD-DVD player has none of those problems
    In defense of Emaidel, I would say you might be a bit short sighted here. HD DVD had problems with MANY players. From what I have learned post war, about 30% of all players that hit the market had some problem or a sort. That includes the first through the third generation of players. I have owned the A1, X-A2, and the A-35. All of them have some problems currently, or had some problems that have been corrected. The A1 now works as advertised. It slow, limited to 1080i, does not support Dts MA lossless, and unfortunately not supported by Toshiba anymore, but its a stable player. My X-A2 works fine until you go to the 24fps, 1080p mode. At that point it has lip sync'ing issues, and it skips. These problems persist to this day. My A-35 was a disaster. From day one the drive made a very loud noise that was audible during movies. It could not make it through a single HD DVD disc without freezing up. Getting it serviced has been a nightmare that I hope I will wake up soon from. Three generation of players, all having basically the same problems.

    You only have a HD DVD drive, not a player. The combination of the XBOX and the drive make a player. This combination has had fewer problems than the standlones. However, the Xbox itself is a different story with a more than 20% failure rate, and a faulty design from the get go.(That microsoft new about before they released it).

    Toshiba has shown us that when you want something for cheap, somebody has to pay. In this case, Toshiba paid to the tune of nearly $1 billion dollars, the consumer paid in players with poor quality control and lousy customer service, and ultimately the loss of the format itself. So I do not think Emaidel arguement is based on a single player, and firmware updates do not cure hardware problems, just software issues. With a 30% problem rate, apparently alot of folks had problems with their players.
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  15. #15
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    Thank you, Sir T. I knew others had problems with this unit (I'd read quite a few horrible owner reviews on it after I purchased it)., and thought that n absentia's post was somewhat rude.

    I have the player installed in a cabinet in my living room in which the slightest movement whatsoever causes the HDMI cable to disconnect, as the unit is so deep, and the holes drilled into the rear of the cabinet don't allow much flexibility in moving the unit around. Moving the cabinet to get to the rear of it is a bit of a task too.

    My computer is upstairs in a combination guest bedroom/office, and not exactly convenient to connect to the player. I wasn't "moaning" about the upgrade, just stated that it wasn't particularly convenient or easy to do.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    In defense of Emaidel, I would say you might be a bit short sighted here. HD DVD had problems with MANY players. From what I have learned post war, about 30% of all players that hit the market had some problem or a sort. That includes the first through the third generation of players. I have owned the A1, X-A2, and the A-35. All of them have some problems currently, or had some problems that have been corrected. The A1 now works as advertised. It slow, limited to 1080i, does not support Dts MA lossless, and unfortunately not supported by Toshiba anymore, but its a stable player. My X-A2 works fine until you go to the 24fps, 1080p mode. At that point it has lip sync'ing issues, and it skips. These problems persist to this day. My A-35 was a disaster. From day one the drive made a very loud noise that was audible during movies. It could not make it through a single HD DVD disc without freezing up. Getting it serviced has been a nightmare that I hope I will wake up soon from. Three generation of players, all having basically the same problems.

    You only have a HD DVD drive, not a player. The combination of the XBOX and the drive make a player. This combination has had fewer problems than the standlones. However, the Xbox itself is a different story with a more than 20% failure rate, and a faulty design from the get go.(That microsoft new about before they released it).

    Toshiba has shown us that when you want something for cheap, somebody has to pay. In this case, Toshiba paid to the tune of nearly $1 billion dollars, the consumer paid in players with poor quality control and lousy customer service, and ultimately the loss of the format itself. So I do not think Emaidel arguement is based on a single player, and firmware updates do not cure hardware problems, just software issues. With a 30% problem rate, apparently alot of folks had problems with their players.
    Yeah , yeah, yeah "Sir T." We've all heard this before
    You need to go over to the "News and Rumors" Thread. There's a post that requires your immediate attention!

    And "Emaidel" don't let Toshiba's failure prevent you from enjoying the upconverting capability your HD DVD player has. And contrary to popular belief, the 1st and 2nd generation blu ray players had their issues also!

    Regards.

    Regards!
    Last edited by ldgibson76; 05-20-2008 at 03:00 PM.
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  17. #17
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel

    My computer is upstairs in a combination guest bedroom/office, and not exactly convenient to connect to the player. I wasn't "moaning" about the upgrade, just stated that it wasn't particularly convenient or easy to do.
    Good lord man, it's not like you have to leave the player there. Hook it up, do the update, take it back downstairs. It's well worth having a properly working player.

    And I sure hope you're not planning on getting a Blu-Ray player. The best player is the PS3 which REQUIRES a dedicated internet connection. It won't even work until you upgrade the software.

  18. #18
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    The only thing I can say to this(because it got fairly good reviews on PQ) is that it is probably closer to the DP vision than the DVD is. I think the goal is to get as close to the printmaster as you can, artistic liscense and all. I think based on what I have seen, bluray does it alot better than DVD, that is for sure.

    Whattup T,

    I have no problem believing this is true, both regarding similarity to the printmaster of this particular film and the obvious superiority of Blu-Ray as a medium. My point was more one of consumer expectation. If Joe6Pack gets his new PS3 and HiDef TV home he may not be concerned with the film adhering to the original "artistic vision"...especially after having invested two hours plus of his life on this ridiculous, boring, uninvolving, flacid, lowrent filmschool reject.

    Did I mention the film sucked? And, it had a dull, grainy picture. J6P will inevitably bare umbrage with the fact that the film sucked and didn't even look good while doing the sucking...and we all know how important that is.
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  19. #19
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    Emaidel, you should be able to call Toshiba and have them send you the disk for the firmware update.

    Sir T, I have to ask, if all 3 of your players were so bad, why did you buy 3? Actually, why did you even stay with the format that long at all? I mean, you said you knew the writing on the wall before all of us, why continue with it?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Emaidel, you should be able to call Toshiba and have them send you the disk for the firmware update.

    Thanks for the tip. I just might do that. I know it sounds a bit silly that I don't simply disconnect it, and bring it upstairs and connect it to my computer, but I can't explain sufficiently how precisely located it is in its present location, and how difficult it will be to remove it, and then put it back. If I really have to move it, it will be to replace it with something else. Hiopefully, that will be some time from now.

    In the meantime, despite the occasional freeze-up (which is corrected only by disconnecting the power source), I still do appreciate its marvelous upscaling properties.

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    I understand not moving it. My 1200 has ethernet but I have to find a place I can connect it and have access to a TV, you need the on screen menu to do the upgrade and watch for messages.

    I also understand a good upconversion SD playback, the 1200 is a one of a kind BR player in that aspect using the Silicon Optix chip which your unit may also have. I can't remember which HD-DVD player used it. Sir T is sick of me complaining about current BR players going to a single video chip which yields below average DVD playback. I'm hoping some one will eventually go back and provide the consumers with a decent DVD performance along with the BR playback. My 1200 still freezes on certain discs, oddly it does it more on DVD than BR but luckily if I hit stop, then play, it will take off again.

  22. #22
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I purchased a new Sharp 46" AQUOS TV and a Toshiba $400 (then) HD-DVD player last July. I got a decent "deal" by purchasing the two together, and subsequent sales also provided additional price concessions. (Ultimately, the combination wound up costing me $1,900 - not too shabby!) I chose the HD-DVD player over BluRay at the time solely based on the enormous price differential.

    Well, now that almost a year has passed, and the HD-DVD format is offically dead, it's most unusual to come across a new HD disc. I rented "Stardust" from netflix just recently, and to my surprise, received an HD disc. My profile at netflix indicates a preference for HD discs, and I guess they still had some of these sitting around. Like others here at AR, I received the now famous email from netflix announcing that they would no longer be carrying any HD discs.

    I had forgotten how annoying it was to try to watch an HD disc. Normally, you simply insert the disc, close the drawer, and go through the various selections on the disc's menu that you want to watch. Not so with an HD disc: for starters, the display says "Loading" for almost a full minute! Given the fact that any $70 DVD player loads infinitely faster, the first thing I thought, last July when this happened, was that the player was faulty.

    Ultimately, the disc loads, and the playback begins. I was hoping to notice a substantially more detailed and clear image than that which I've been used to from watching regular DVD's now for many months. That proved simply not to be so. There was nothing whatsoever about the image of the film "Stardust" to indicate in any way at all that it was an HD disc.

    My wife and I have been watching the DVD set of Showtime's "The Tudors," and when placing the disc with the last episode of the first season into the player, I was surprised to see that the image of that "ordinary" DVD was at least the equal of that of the HD disc.

    Certainly, the "upscaling" properties of this player are to be commended. The improved clarity and detail of even some very old DVD's is very, very impressive. I have a DVD of the 1965 George STeven's film, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," on which the opening credits were almost impossible to read on anything I ever played the disc on. With the Toshiba's upscaling, those credits, while not "clear as a bell," are, at least, quite legible, which is something I could never say before. Nevertheless, the playback of those discs for which the player was desgined provides little perceivable difference. Additionally, not all HD discs would even play.

    I had many problems with the "deluxe" set of "Blade Runner," which includes several dsics, not all HD, and various versions of the film. The "Final Cut" is only in HD, and on many occasions, it simply wouldn't even start. On another, it played for about an hour, and then stopped, resulting in a prompt that said, "Cannot play disc" on the screen. Ultimately, it did play, and the image was very impressive. Still, it wasn't worth the headaches.

    No wonder the format died. It deserved it.
    As an owner of 1st gen players of both formats, they both had/have their pluses and minuses. My HD-A1 (which just received a new excellent firmware disc from Toshiba over the weekend with 3.0) certainly was and is as slow as they come. That said, it *now* performs just as advertised, and even as one of the first to buy an HD-A1, I still believe I got a tremendous deal for my sub $500. That is not to say it has not been glitchy on its way to now working perfectly (ironically after Toshiba stopped supporting the discs themselves they are still supporting the players and making them better than ever).

    My Sony BDP-S1 has been equally glitchy and slow as the HD-A1... and it does not upconvert regular DVDs even half as well as my HD-A1. The main difference is I also paid double the price for it, so I would say I got the worse deal there initially with the Sony... That said, BR discs are still being made in greater and greater numbers while HD DVD is all but dead from a manufacturing standpoint, and completely dead from a future standpoint. Bottom line the BDP-S1 will get more use long-term while my HD-A1 sees less and less.

    As to the formats' benefits... I would say if you can't tell the difference between an HD DVD and a regular DVD on your set, then most likely you will not notice any or much of a difference on BR discs either and they would equally "deserve to die" by your way of thinking.

    Of course I don't agree with either statement.

    I have gone on record as favoring HD DVD, but bought both formats. I am saddened at HD DVD's loss to BR, but I am happy to have a high resolution format that I can still buy... even if it is BR. I would encourage you to give BR a try, but don't be surprised if on your 46 inch set you can't tell a tremendous difference video-wise... (you really need 50+ inches to really reap the benefits, and the larger the screen the better, IMO). Audio-wise I think there is a lot you can gain assuming you listen using good gear and take advantage of the lossless formats like Dolby TrueHD.

    Good luck,

    ---Dave
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  23. #23
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    That was a very intelligently written and worthwhile post. Lots of useful information.

    I know that I implied that I see no difference in an HD disc or a standard DVD, but that's really not so - some of the (very few) HD discs I've watched looked pretty good, and better than standard stuff. Still, the difference wasn't huge, at least on my set.

    I've also followed others' advice, and emailed Toshiba's Customer Service inquiring about discs to use to upgrade my HD-A20 player. Hopefully, that will improve it somewhat.

    Thanks to all for your comments and advice (even if some of it was a bit on the nasty side!).

  24. #24
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Emaidel, you should be able to call Toshiba and have them send you the disk for the firmware update.

    Sir T, I have to ask, if all 3 of your players were so bad, why did you buy 3? Actually, why did you even stay with the format that long at all? I mean, you said you knew the writing on the wall before all of us, why continue with it?
    I bought the A1 just before they were discontinued in late 2006. I bought the X-A2 in the middle of 2007 for my high end hometheater. The third player was given to me for christmas(something I am made sorry for every since), but I had already opted out of the format by then. I have about 175 HD DVD, and over 2500+ DVD, so there is plenty of discs for the players. I knew it was game over in late November for HD DVD, and if I had known my best friend had purchased a player for me for christmas, I would have told him to take it back. By the time he actually gave me the player(late January), it was too late to return it. I stopped buying disc in midyear 2007, so I didn't support it that long in reality. When I got my PS3 in July of 2007, I have pretty much support bluray exclusively every since.
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    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  25. #25
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,826
    Quote Originally Posted by ldgibson76
    Yeah , yeah, yeah "Sir T." We've all heard this before
    I think I am going to kill your violin player



    You need to go over to the "News and Rumors" Thread. There's a post that requires your immediate attention!
    You freakin troublemaker!

    And "Emaidel" don't let Toshiba's failure prevent you from enjoying the upconverting capability your HD DVD player has. And contrary to popular belief, the 1st and 2nd generation blu ray players had their issues also!

    Regards.

    Regards!
    You are right troublemaker, the 1st and 2nd generation bluray did have their problems. However unlike Toshiba's problems(which cut across the board) it had mostly software issues related to BD-J. Once the problems were notice(which was pretty quick I might add) the firmware updates were issues rather quickly. I am still trying to work out issues with my HD DVD players, because their firmware upgrades cause more problems than they solve.

    And regards to you dang it
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

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