So what's the player actually like to use? Well, once you get it going, very good. Like the HD-E1, it's rather slow to start up, taking 40 seconds from switch-on until it'll accept a disc, and a further 30 seconds until it will do anything with it. It's almost like it has to be wound up before it can do anything. It can also feel a bit sluggish in response to key presses at times, so sometimes you end up pressing the same button a couple of times before it appears to register what you want to do.
Pop in an HD DVD disc, however, and all these issues seem less important. The crisp, sharp images and huge level of detail make you wonder how you managed with plain old DVD.
During the races in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift it feels as if you're almost inside the car with them during action - which is just as well really as it's a distraction from the paper-thin plot. Smoke filled scenes, such as the police raid on the BTN centre in V for Vendetta, look crisp and defined rather than fogged and blurry. The difference between 720p and 1080p isn't as marked as that between normal DVD and 720p, but it does add an extra layer of realism.
Pop in a regular DVD and the HD-EX1 will upscale it from its standard-definition resolution to HD with decent quality results. An HD DVD will easily surpass the quality of an upscaled DVD, but if you're still waiting for your favourite title to be released in HD then it will certainly allow you to chuck out or pass on your old DVD player.
With an retail proce of around £650, the HD-XE1 is still reasonably priced when you consider its features. Given that you'll need a fairly high-end telly to make the most of it, it's competitively priced and, PlayStation 3 aside, still cheaper than the nearest-specced Blu-ray rivals. Hunt around and you should be able to get it from around £150 less.
Toshiba HD-XE1 HD DVD player
Since when is 650 smackers "reasonable"?
Title says it all - most people buying TV sets spend less than 650 quid, so why would anyone buy this extremely expensive HD DVD player that costs more than their TV set does? The reviewer has a complete cheek to call it "reasonably priced", when it's 200 quid more than a PS3 and about the same price as an XBox 360 + HD DVD, both of which clearly offer far better value for money than this unit.
Wake me up when a dual format HD DVD/Blu Ray standalone player costs 100 quid and a recorder for both formats costs 200 quid - only *then* will these standalone units gain any noticeable market share (note to clueless companies here - no-one with a sane brain will buy a single format player or recorder until the format war is over). And never mind the cost of both pre-recorded and blank recordable discs in both formats - both still overpriced, especially the blank discs, now that dual layer DVD 8.5GB blanks can be had for less than 1 pound each now.
The XBox 360 + HD-DVD drive will also work out slightly cheaper - assuming you can find one of the strangely elusive drives. The real downer is that you'd have to watch your movie with the 360 bellowing away in the background.
Anyone here got any experience of the 360's HD-DVD drive?
32" not viable for 1080p???
I disagree about this - you've got to remember that the relentless pursuit of perfection in technology means that decades from now 14" sets are likely to be high def, if not higher def. They're even talking about 2160p now, your comments are suggestive that even 40" sets will be too small for 2160p!!
Besides, I think the human eye is perfectly capable of discerning great detail even at such small screen sizes. After all, the 17" PC monitor I'm using right now is running at 1280x1024, it can display a 720p image nicely at 17", so why oh why can't a 32" accommodate a 1080p image?
This actually frustrates me because the corners of my living room are a little too small to accomodate anything greater than a 32" set and they don't currently make 1080p sets any smaller than 40", at least I haven't found any.
I'll just have to wait until things go holographic maybe, or wirelessly injected directly into the visual cortex for the ultimate in picture quality!!