It arrives!

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After nearly three months of waiting my Toshiba 42x3030D LCD television finally arrived last week along with my Toshiba HD-A20 HD-DVD player. Thankfully the television did not have any dead pixels on arrival and the American HD-DVD player works perfectly. They are both very impressive pieces of technology that have exceeded my initial expectations. The picture quality of the 42x3030D is simply breathtaking. Yes, as it is 1080p, it will show up any imperfections on SD or videos with poor resolution but for HD it is incredible. The picture comes to life and shows real depth. Even SD-DVDs that are upconverted to to 1080p look fantastic. The freeview receiver is a welcome extra and even though we live in an area with poor signal we manage to get nearly all the channels with little or no interferance. The only minor annoyance, as with all televisions, is the lack of a second component connection meaning that I have to swap between the Xbox Media Center and the Wii. Surely it cannot be too problematic to add a second one? While on the subject of the Xbox Media Center I should also mention how impressive it is when HD enabled. I have been using XBMC on an old 28″ CRT television for the past few months and whilst the picture quality was good when compared to the HD enabled version it pales in comparison. Not only is the interface much clearer when the 1080i option is selected but it also upscales DVDs from any region. DVD playback on XBMC is much maligned but I have found this to be of a very high quality. To put it simply, XBMC is a must for anyone with an interest in home theatre.

Despite my initial concerns about buying a HD-DVD player from the States from purchasing to installation the overall process could not have gone any smoother. There have been some online reviews of the player that state that the A20 does not exactly output a 1080p picture and this can cause some distortion. I have not found this to be a problem at all, playback is smooth and the picture quality is excellent. Even SD-DVDs upscaled to 1080p also look very good. The only drawbacks with the player are that it will only play region one or region all SD-DVDs and it takes time to boot up. The latter is something I expect with new technology and the former is not so much of a problem as XBMC is currently doing that job. For ??259.99 this is an absolute steal if you want a quality HD-DVD player. The eight free HD-DVDs that come free with the player have nearly arrived bar one. When I opened the box I found Wolf Creek and Black Rain sitting inside, a nice touch from MovieTyme who once again provided impeccable service. I cannot recommend these guys enough.

So there you have it, I am very happy with both purchases and would happily recommend both of them to anyone who wants high quality pieces of technology at reasonable prices. I am now thinking about a stand alone Blu-Ray player to accompany the HD-DVD player. I have it on good authority that the Samsung BD-P1000, which can be found on eBay for around ??220 , is a good quality player that offers multi-region SD-DVD playback. Looks like I will be selling more old DVDs and home cinema equipment to purchase this in the near future if it is as good as people say.

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