The HD DVD format was was discontinued back in 2008 when it lost the format war to Blu-ray discs. There were many technical reason why HD DVD lost the war. For instance, a Blu-ray disc is capable of holding 50GB of content versus the 30GB an HD DVD player can hold. Also, the extra features on a Blu-ray disc has more interactivity options than the HD DVD. These reasons among others, were why Toshiba - the creator of HD DVD - had to scrap the format back in 2008. But you can still find HD DVD movies out there with the red trim available to buy, though they won't be recent, you'll mostly find titles that fall into the 2006/07 time range, with only about 500 released in 2008. The plus side of buying an HD DVD player, is that all the movies won't be that expensive. You can find cheap HD DVD movies for as low as two dollars and some change obviously marked-down because of the HD DVD being discontinued. But for some reason, the players themselves seemed to have sky-rocketed in price. Of course, it may not benefit someone to buy a discontinued product (even though Toshiba still provides customer support), but here are a few HD DVD players still available from the company for those who at least want to have a piece of electronic history.
Credit: grz3gorz The HD-A1 was the first HD DVD player to be released from Toshiba. It's sort of bulky at 20 pounds and the design definitely isn't awe-inspiring, but it's packed with tons of features. It'll obviously play your HD DVDs, but can also upconvert standard DVD movies to 720p/1080i for quality HD viewing. It also has a USB port so you can connect external HDD or flash drives to listen to MP3s or view JPEG photos. If anything, it'll provide superior image quality than a regular DVD player. It also has an Ethernet port so you can visit HD DVD sites or receive updates. As Toshiba refined their HD DVD players, they were able to release later versions that had a glossy, slimmer design with more features.
The Toshiba HD-A2 and HD-A20 players came out a little later, but saved a lot more space than the predecessor. Some of the differences in these players were the Dolby TrueHD for improved HD sound and ColorStream Pro which produced better images by removing artifacts you'd see on an interlaced picture. The HD-A2 used to be the cheapest HD DVD player out there when the format was popular, but that may be irrelevant once you see the shockingly high price for a new player at about 800 dollars now. It'd be better to purchase a used one since they can be found under a hundred. The HD-A20 has much of the same features, but can also playback images with 1080p - the highest progressive scan for the previous models is 720p. And is also a little cheaper new than the HD-A2.
The Toshiba HD-A3 is a little slimmer and also has a smaller remote which most prefer over the huge monster remotes the previous models had. It doesn't have the HQV video processing that was so popular on the HD-XA2, and it also has a lackluster 1080p display. So this isn't the best player to buy despite it's sleeker design. The HD-XA2, the flagship model from Toshiba, is superior despite its aforementioned Godzilla remote. All of Toshiba's HD DVDs play multiple disc formats and will play discs burned from a DVD recorder just fine. So they'd probably be a decent purchase over a normal DVD player if you didn't mind the extra cost. I'd probably still settle for a DVD player with upscaling as there are plenty of them out there. And if you make a lot of home movies, a cheap HDD DVD recorder might be preferred as those can upscale as well. In any case, the only reason someone might by an HD DVD player would be for nostalgic reasons, either that or really love movies released between 2006 and 2007.
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