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Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD Player Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 August 2007
Article Index
Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD Player
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The Downside
While I absolutely adore the HD-A20, there are a few issues I have with it. First is its build quality. While the XA-1 was a substantial piece of hardware with a price to match, the HD-A20 seems a bit flimsy around the edges and frankly not indicative of a player costing close to $500. The disc tray seems overly fragile and, if you have small children or someone in your home who isn’t careful when loading discs, I fear it will break.

I would’ve liked to see the inclusion of a digital coaxial audio out. It’s not that coax is better than optical or vice versa, but if you have a lot of sources in your system, you may run out of digital audio inputs on the back of your receiver or processor and it would be extremely beneficial to have an extra choice when it comes to connecting your hardware, especially if you’re unable to take advantage of the HD-A20’s HDMI audio output.

Lastly, there’s the remote. While I liked its size, shape and layout, it fell short in the backlighting department. It was this omission that kept the HD-A20’s remote from becoming one of my favorites in recent memory, which is no small compliment, if I do say so myself.

At $499 retail, the HD-A20, with its ABT1018 chipset from Anchor Bay (DVDO), is not only an incredible value for the money, but quite possibly the best HD DVD player on the market today. The image quality the HD-A20 is capable of achieving with both HD DVD and standard DVDs is truly impressive. Throw in its surprising musicality and you’re left with one hell of a good player, and not just for the price. With all the headaches I received from my first-generation HD DVD player, the Toshiba HD-XA1, I began to wonder if Toshiba was ever going to catch up to Blu-ray. Well, they have, and done so with gusto. The HD-A20 may just be the best HD DVD player out there today, even better than Toshiba’s own (and costlier) HD-XA2. In my opinion, I’d say round two goes to Toshiba and their HD-A20.

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