Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player gets hands-on treatment

As the first HD DVD players finally make their way to stores, The Man Room wasted no time in going out and buying one to test it out. Well, actually, it looks like the reviewer wasted a little time, since he had to call no fewer than four Best Buy outlets to find one that actually had a Toshiba HD-A1 in stock -- or even knew what he was talking about (one clerk's comment was a simple "What is it?"). But by last Friday, when each Best Buy was supposed to have three of the units in stock, he was able to set out and make the purchase. So, what did he find? Well, besides the massive player we've already seen, he discovered an equally bulked-up remote, the HDMI cable and a pitch from NetFlix (hey, you've gotta get those discs somewhere, right?). Of course, all of that is incidental to the real question: how did the video look? Well, we're not sure we're going to get a straight answer here, since this early reviewer didn't have any HD DVD discs, and ended up using the player to watch upscaled standard DVDs. We'll cut him some slack, given the paucity of HD DVD offerings out so far. So, is it worth $500 to rush out and buy one of these? If you've been waiting for the chance to watch, er, "The Last Samurai" in true HD, you already know the answer. If not, you've probably already missed your chance to pick up one of those three HD-A1s from your local Best Buy, so kick back with your over-the-air, cable or satellite HD, and let someone else fight the format war for you.