Budget 1080p HD-DVD comparison: Toshiba HD-A20 vs. Xbox 360 Add-on

This comparison is targeted at consumers that want 1080p HD-DVD for the lowest cost. This article does not include the price of the Xbox 360 for purposes of comparing the drives only. My goal was to determine whether the Xbox 360 add-on produced reasonably similar results viewing HD-DVD content to the standalone HD-A20. I couldn't find this kind of comparison elsewhere, especially not with newer HDMI-equipped Xbox 360s. The Xbox I'm using is a newer Premium/Pro system with HDMI and the Microsoft HDMI cable.

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wetowel3821d ago (Edited 3821d ago )

Plus the price of the 360 itself for those who dont have one.

To sum it up if you want hd-dvd: If you dont have a 360 get the HD-A20. If you do have a 360 get the add-on.

riqued3821d ago

And if you want the format that is going to win the format war buy a PS3.

aiphanes3821d ago (Edited 3821d ago )

They keep saying the HD-DVD players are way more cheaper but it is not the have to compare 1080p players...anything less than 1080p is not a real HD-DVD player....those cheap walmart $99 players are only want to see HD-DVD in 1080p 24fps....same with bluray...All bluray players are 1080p...and most are 1080p 24fps....with HDMI 1.3a...why live in the past when you can live in the future?

I am not knockin HD-DVD..but if you have to get one get a real HD-DVD player..not a toy one...get one that can at least do 1080p!

ironwolf3821d ago

1080p TV. When are you yo yos gonna realize that the vast majority of HD tvs in peoples homes are 720p and 1080i?

Miller3821d ago

Do you not understand the way HD and interlacing works? Almost all 1080p televisions have de-interlacers that convert interlaced signals. If you send a 2x540 1080i signal to a 1080p TV it renders both frames on screen at once before refreshing and as such displays 1080 "proper" lines of resolution; just because those 1080 lines are sent in two halves it doesn't mean they can't be displayed simultaneously.

So no, you don't have to only compare 1080p players. Besides, those people who can afford a decent sized 1080p TV are probably not fussed about going for the cheaper option anyway.

aiphanes3821d ago

Now these are not Sony or Samsung...but there where panasonics...and they were 1080p...and walmart...they were good tvs....oh and it is bull that most people can not afford a 1080p this time next year...that will be all you will be able to find...the price is getting real cheap now...You can get a Sony LCD 1080p rear projection tv for less than $2000 for a 60 inch...Sony only makes a few 1080i\720p tvs these days...most of the ones they make and sell are 1080p 24 fps...that is now the new standard...i am just saying why buy a HD-DVD player that can not do the proper sound (Xbox 360 HD-DVD addon) or the lowend Toshiba HD-DVD players that can not do 1080p?

WilliamRLBaker3821d ago

lol the classic sonyfanboy defense...But but but but teh 1080p is the only true HD and any one thats any one would get a 1080p tv! but but but

Miller3821d ago (Edited 3821d ago )

Sorry if this sounds "flamey", it's not meant to be - it's just hard to convey context over teh intarwebs :)

Living in the UK I don't know what Black Friday is but over here there's a definite split of 1080i TVs (starting as low as £200/$400) and 1080p TVs starting at *approximately* £700/$1400 for a budget brand. There's a massive difference in price and with substantial regional differences in the economy over here as well what's affordable to one person is completely out of reach of another.

I paid £300/$600 for my Sharp Aquous (sp?) 1080i TV and am very, very happy with it. I couldn't afford more but if I could have done I'd have tried to get a big 1080p set. It displays a very good picture, both through my 360 and a friend's PS3 when he bought it over. I have an early-90s era amplifier connected to two nice and big speakers and I use this set up for watching films, playing games and listening to music - it might not be a selubrious bunch of equipment but it works well. Everyone has different circumstances, both monetary and physical (as in, space restrictions etc) so just because amazing 1080p TVs are coming down in price it doesn't mean that is all the majority of the public will try and buy one.

Of course 1080i sets are always falling in price as well but there are a lot of people who still won't buy one until they're as cheap as a regular CRT display. When 1080p sets are cheaper than today's cheap 1080i sets there'll be no reason at all for anyone to have "second best" but for now it's still by far the more tempting option to get a decent 1080i display if you're on a budget (as many people are).

So why would anyone buy an HD-DVD add on without the full sound capability? Well why would someone like myself need it? I have room-shakingly nice sound through my positively-archaic sound set up but only need basic cabling. Why would my parents need it? They have their 360 Elite and HD-DVD addon connecting through HDMI but their 5.1 amp doesn't support optical in - they also rely on basic cabling and have their amp emulate 5.1. Both solutions are "very poor" compared to more modern set ups supporting the latest standards but they still sound super, they're both providing films to the best of their respective owner's capability.

Why would someone buy a non-1080p HD-DVD player? Well what do the hundreds of thousands of existing and new 1080i HDTV owners want 1080p for? And for people like a friend of mine who has a Sony Bravia 1080p set they can simply rely on their de-interlacer to render the 1080i signal in full...

Hope that didn't come across as argumentative, it's frustratingly difficult to air an opinion online without sounding like a muppet.

EDIT: Just to correct myself, on checking the website I used for the prices 1080i TVs start as low as £170/$340

jaja14343821d ago

When did anything around 1000$ become cheap? Thats nice and all that you can get a 1080 for around that but why in the hell would I wanted to spend 1000 when I could get one thats almost as good for less than half the price? Perhaps some people have money just lying around to spend on top shelf products, but most of us don't.

titntin3820d ago


I'm delieghted that 1080i output is sufficient for your needs, but please don't try to suggest that 1080i is as good as 1080P on a 1080P Tv set. I do understand your argument about 1080P sets buffering each interlaced frame and outputting a full 1080P signal, but the fact remains, that for each frame of a movie being decoded, you are only recieveing half the information that should be available from a 1080P device. To try and pretend that doesn't matter is like trying to pretend that upscaled 720P is the same as a native 1080P signal, its simply not true. You can intelligently guess and reconstruct a good approxamation of what the missing information may be, but it can never be as accurate as having the full correct information in the first place.
As for your assertions about the availability of suitable 1080P viewing equipment, again you seem to miss a worthwhile point. People investing in a new High Definition format are obviously more likely to be adopters of new technology, and theres much more chance they will already have a 1080P set. Those that have not, are propbably considering a new TV, and more likley to buy high end product which will soon be almost exclusively 1080P sets. When the cost of buying a collection of suitable playback media runs so high, it is blatently stupid to save so little and restrict your fidelity for the future.
If you are the kind of person that really needs to save that kind of money, then you are far better served saving money by sticking with regular DVD's and simply upscaling them to whichever resolution your TV set can accept.

As for the article, it's a good but flawed attempt at a review. Anyone trying to make statements on relative picture quality without claibrating their TV to match the output of the devices, is obviously very poorly informed. He should be running test cards from a product like 'digital video essentials' and clibrating the TV to each device so he can at least see the picture the devices are outputting properly!
Having recently had to claibrate lots of new equipment for use with my own 1080P set, I can testify as to how different the outputs of these types of devices can be. Video clibration is essential to get the best output.


When I'm not planning on purchasing a 1080p plasma for some time. I am very happy and content with my 1080i Plasma for now. Anyone that falls for this 1080p speal and spends the extra grand for it are straight up fools. They are also the minority, and cause for the confused market. Although the minority they still demand the state of the art equipment thus causing the manufacturer to release said technology at a high cost creating the stigma that all other competeing tech although similar is obsolete. Then these chumps try to justify their costly purchases by flooding these boards and others with rants of superior tech. I dare any of you to not enjoy an HD-DVD or XBOX 360 game on my 1080i Plasma complimented by a Yahmaha Natural sound system with BOSE speakers and two Subs one passive the other Digital. Oh and i've been enjoying this for a couple of years, all while the rest of the geese sit on their eggs. LMAO at the measures man goes to to think their speacial and ontop.

Death3820d ago

These "cheap" 1080p sets do not have 120Hz capability and do not support 24fps playback from a 1080p source. They are for the most part 60Hz 1080i sets that can convert the 1080i signal to 1080p prior to displaying them or at the very least use a source that does the same thing. Due to the way convergence works, many progressive signals get deinterlaced or 1080i signals get reinterlaced anyway. It's not as simple as you may think.


+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 3820d ago
Yo Mama3821d ago

Does it really matter which has the best picture when in less than a year you wont be able to buy any new discs for it, only what is already on the market?

TheMART3821d ago

Budget 1080p?

Get an external USB 2.0 HDD in that comparison. Best format yet. No scratching discs, fast, no problems which format wins and best part. Cheap! You can get one from about 160GB for 60 dollar/euro or so

demolitionX3821d ago

so many movies this hardrive can handle? and by the way are hardrives more reliable than optical discs???

TheMART3821d ago

How many movies do you want to see more then once?

How many movies can you see at one time

Don't you have a PC drive that can store those you really want to keep (a 500GB internal HDD cost sh!t these days).

Plus a 500GB external HDD will cost you 100 Euro/Dollar or so. Enough movies to put on there. I just gave you the budget/cheap option

SteinigerGE3821d ago

I have 400 (legal) DVDs and just upped my Blu-ray collection to 85. I have watched every movie at least three times and like having the option of loaning legal copies of films to friends. I like the extra features, I like not having to download films. I like how much better Blu-rays look on my 100" projection screen over upscaled DVDs (you are lying to yourself if you think upscaled images are as good as full 1080p).

Having so many Blu-rays has actually encouraged people I know to buy Blu-rays players since they know they can always borrow mine. I live in Singapore, but with Amazon, the average price I have paid for my Blu-rays (including shipping) is USD 15. I haven't lived in the U.S. for several years, but I'm quite sure the average cost of acquiring my DVDs was far higher than that. If I buy the Blu-ray version on films I already own on DVD, I share the love and give the DVD version to people who really enjoy the film and I know will watch them again.

So if you can tell me where I can get an external hard drive large enough for all of my DVDs and Blu-rays, a realistic way to run an HDMI cable into my home theater room from my computer room (I'm interested in your suggestion here, because the computer and HT room are on two different floors, and my home is solid concrete construction. The total distance is about 40m, which would imply at least one, if not two HDMI repeaters, and a lot of cable), that is CHEAPER than just buying a stand alone player of either HD format, enlighten me.

If you suggest buying anoter HTPC, it will cost more. If you suggest wireless streaming, it will drop out, if I factor in the cost of renting each HD movie from XBox Live (if they are even available) each time I want to view them (let's assume at least twice and not within 24 hours), you will have to factor in the muliple download costs and time-wasted doing this. If you suggest I pay nothing for films and simply download pirated films, I will question your ethics.

I look forward to your hard disc-loving response to my "problem".

ravinash3820d ago

I don't want to look at the tiny laptop screen and watch films there in low quality downloaded dribble.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3820d ago
gamesR4fun3821d ago

even if you have the 360 already better off waiting for another 99$ blowout and hope they keep making movies lol
Seriously tho the 360 is the worst movie player on account of the noise it puts out that and a 40% chance of rrod. Put it this way ours is for games only if it blows again at least its on a game right...

Daishi3820d ago

I dontunderstand your argument about the 360 being so noisy on account that this is an external drive? I could care less about this argument considering the only thing I buy are regular DVDs considering you really can't get anime on HD or BD yet and the 10 regular DVD's I own still work fine. There really isn't a true need for HD movies yet other than videophiles like SteinigerGE and there's nothing wrong with that, but most people really don't care. Personaly I'm waiting to see if one side gains excusivity over most major anime publishers or simply wait and buy a cheap dual player in 1 or 2 years. This argument is for casual buyers like myself who are POSSIBLY thinking about buying a cheap HD-DVD player just to see how much of a difference there really is because no videophile is going to settle for a 360 add on or a PS3 as a player when they've spent thousands just setting up for the new generation.

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