Now that Toshiba's HD-A1 HD DVD player is finally available in stores -- and there are
even some discs out to play on it -- reviews are starting to trickle in, mainly from dedicated early adopters, who've
braved confused sales clerks, cumbersome boxes, and a remote with more options than Windows Vista, to try the
player themselves. We saw one of the first such reviews, from The Man Room,
yesterday. Now, we've had a chance to check out a few more (props to PC World's Martyn Williams, who not only got one
of Toshiba's Japanese HD-XA1 players to review, but even checked out the bundled Japanese films "Biohazard"
and "Moonlight Jellyfish"). If there's a consensus opinion, it's that HD DVD may be great for early adopters
and HD connoisseurs, but less discerning viewers may not see what the big deal is. As Ben Drawbaugh puts it on HDBeat:
"Bottom line is that HD-DVD is great, but will you notice? If you can't tell the difference between DVD's and HBO
HD than you might be just as well off with a upconverting DVD player. If you never noticed HBO-HD's cropped movies,
non-dynamic sound and compression artifacts you may be better off sticking with HBO-HD. If you do notice these
annoyances you won't be disappointed with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray."