We were waiting for a unit of the first Onkyo HD DVD player, the DV-HD805, for review on the pages of AV Magazine. After a conversation with Tecnofuturo, the Brescia-based Italian distributor of the Japanese manufacturer, we decided in mutual agreement that it was not worth the trouble. The reasons are quickly explained: the DV-HD805 is no other than a rebranded Toshiba HD-XE1 HD DVD player, which is already compatible with streaming of all lossless multichannel HD codecs via HDMI 1.3, and there are only few units of it available.
In view of the new marketing policy being applied by Toshiba, consisting of sinking the price of its own players, Onkyo has difficulty in positioning its own player (the Europe list price is 899 euros) and has therefore decided to stop production. The scarce units produced have been redistributed in varios markets. It has been known that barely 11 units arrived in Italy, and no others will come. Germany has been more fortunate, with 20 units, and Spain will receive none.
As to why it was decided not to review such a product, apart from its being a clone, it won't be effectively be available on the market (the 11 Italian units are already sold). We thank Tecnofuturo for such a quick communication and we apologize to the enthusiasts. Onkyo is already working actively on a new player and according to tidbits it could be this time a Blu-ray player or a hybrid player. We'll have other news and more confirmation during the upcoming CES at Las Vegas.
Hmmm. If I recall, several of us had already suggested that Toshiba's lowball pricing strategy, while friendly to consumers, was discouraging other manufacturers from getting into the game. Other than Meridian, Onkyo was the other major-brand supporting the format with hardware. Curious that it actually was only to be a rebadged Toshiba player (though it may indeed have had additional enhancements that the article cannot verify). Has anyone heard other news on Onkyo dropping its HD DVD hardware? Maybe a combo-player or BD player in the future instead?