AfterDawn: Tech news

First HD DVD players on sale in Japan

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 31 Mar 2006 7:53 User comments (25)

First HD DVD players on sale in Japan Toshiba began selling its first player for the HD DVD format today in Japan, beating the rival Sony-made Blu-Ray Disc format to the starting line. The HD-XA1, priced at about 110,000 yen ($936), is the world's first commercially available HD DVD player. In April, this product will be available in the United States for around $799. It was planned to be launched this month, but unavoidable delays pushed the date back a few weeks. Movies on the HD DVD format will arrive in Japan in April also, but will be even more limited than the U.S. launch line-up.
Blu-ray Disc players are still months away from arrival, with Panasonic (Matsushita) and Samsung planning to get their players in quickly for prices of $1000 and more. Blu-ray enthusiasts were upset by the delay of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console launch, which will now be in November. Despite the staggering number of PlayStation fans wanting to buy the console to asses its next-gen gaming abilities, it is also viewed as a "cheap Blu-ray player" as it includes a Blu-ray drive.

Supporters of Blu-ray are also not shy to cite the gaming console's ability to play Blu-ray movies as being a major part of the format's push for dominance. Microsoft, which backs the HD DVD format, has announced plans to provide an external HD DVD drive to provide a similar "cheap high definition player" to gamers who already own an Xbox 360 console. This clear tie between the next generation console war and next generation format war has been frowned upon occasionally, with one such critic being Warner Home Video president, Warren Lieberfarb.

The HD-XA1, launched today in Japan, has backward compatibility so owners can still enjoy their DVD and CD collections. DVDs can also be upconverted to output resolution of 720p or 1080i which is useful if you own a good HDTV. It supports the video compression standards of MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, as well as MPEG2, it utilizes a new video decoder chip developed by Broadcom. The mandatory audio formats for HD DVD include both lossy and lossless formats from Dolby Labs and DTS. It features built-in multi-channel decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (2 channel), DTS and DTS-HD.


Previous Next  

25 user comments

131.3.2006 9:54

Man that things hideous, so bulky.

231.3.2006 10:02

And for $800? No thanks.

331.3.2006 10:40

Looks like a really ugly VCR.

431.3.2006 10:52

I prefer a sexy sleek and all silver DVD player.

531.3.2006 11:28

$900?, who is going to be able to afford all these new high-tec DVD stuff. It's not going to be fun, if the blue-ray DVD players cost about this much too.

631.3.2006 11:32

LOL It looks like one of the very first home 8 track players.

731.3.2006 11:45

Crutchfield is taking pre-orders for this unit at $800 but there also a $500 unit that seems almost the same... too bad theres no hd movies available

831.3.2006 12:12

Forget that, I am not going to pay no $1000 for a HD DVD player, lol, I am already broke.

931.3.2006 13:53

I paid $1,000 for one of the first VCR`s back in 1978!! Still have it, just can not throw away a thousand dollar machine!!! There were less than a million in the country then. Blank videotapes went for $30. This is in 1978 prices unadjusted for inflation

1031.3.2006 14:02

Would you guys complaining prefer a $1500 Blu-ray player? For what it actually does, $800 isn't so extreme, it is doing a hell of a lot more than a crappy $50 DVD player.

1131.3.2006 14:37

HD DVD,Blu-ray,Holographic just hold on, there is a new toy in town,PH-DVD Read, Brainspark works on tech. to triple blue/red laser disc capacity

1231.3.2006 15:39

I hanestly thought that these things where gonna cost even more. Must be cause of the little format war.

1331.3.2006 15:50

That looks like a 20 year old receiver.

1431.3.2006 17:04

There'll be a HD DVD player in the U.S. for $499 aswell. The player does look a little big, but then again it'll take time for them to become as cool looking as some dvd players on the market, but i would not pay $1000 for a Blu-ray player. A PS3 will do for my Blu-ray player and I might consider an HD DVD player

1531.3.2006 19:19

Ill save my $$$ for the end of the war. By then they'll either have a combo player with both drives.. or at least have the prices down to $99.99. Plus I want to see what massive annoying and amendment breaking DRM they throw into these things. It doesn't look so bad. Just have to find and buy all your hardware from toshiba in two-tone.

161.4.2006 8:32

For that price, I would rather go on vacation to Europe. 1000$ sure is a lot of money, especially since technology depreciates both in price and value every 6 months. What is the rational decision here to make? Go to a friend's house who bought the machine, and enjoy the experience!!

171.4.2006 8:39

Personally I Don't care for these new 'high end' DVDs. Sure the picture qaulity is better, but you need to have the a TV with HDMI to enjoy at full potential. I'm still happy with Normal DVDs, and the prices aren't bad. I don't see the need to spend 3000 on a new TV 1000 on a new DVD player and 40 for each DVD. The jump from DVD to Blue ray/HD dvd isn't anywhere as big as VHS to DVD.

181.4.2006 18:26

wow i was expecting hd to be around but 1000$ wtf,I think a blu ray player will no wbe around 1500 since 300 turned out to be a 1000$

191.4.2006 23:12

ill just buy an xbox 360 for 400

202.4.2006 5:42

Orite peeps this is ma first post and a just want to know If you would choose Blu- Ray or HD-DVD? I think I would probably go with HD-DVD as it has a television , format and Games lined up unlike Blu-ray. What do you think?

213.4.2006 5:42

ok so I go to the local walmart to see pricing on new electronics and I see a dvd player for 35.99 nice and it'll play all microsoft formats... now I have to ask why would anyone pay 800.00 plus for any new player when there really isnt any movies out to test it with say it plays the old dvds and the new ones come out in a month and it needs a firm ware upgrade or something ... let the fall out of the movies hit the street first make sure this is the one or you might end up with a Bata (remmber pre VHS)and why do we need this because they told us? hey im for it if they release the burnner for my computer... 50gb recordable dvds way kewl great for data back up but 800.00 for a player no thanks

223.4.2006 7:58

aye yai yai!!! 1000 bones huh seriously... whats so wrong about VHS?? i still use mine daily hahaha

233.4.2006 18:13

72morgan is that for ture inflation or the goverments made up inflation? *L* Eh I think MS lost big time not getting thiers out with HD in it hell they should have waited but no they did a crap launch and will wind up in 3rd place unless the REV is all that I forget wasnt the GC 2nd for awhile?. Anyway in a year updated versions will by out so why would anyone by this at its maxium price? ouch I had a thought is this thing regoined? if it is even less a reason to buy it.....

246.4.2006 10:10

I know .....Let's have a format war over something that very few people want and charge a high price for a player that has little or nothing to play on it...LOL We'll make hundreds of $$$$$ .Weeeee !!!!

256.4.2006 12:45

They will sell maybe 8 of them in Japan. And these 8 customers, can get together on thursday, and watch the only movie thats released Stealth, over and over again. Yay! It only costs 1000$ to have this wondrous experience... Who's the genius that comes out with these prices?

Comments have been disabled for this article.

Latest user comments

News archive