I couldn't resist any longer - I bought a Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player the other evening at Best Buy. I didn't want to get involved in the high definition DVD format wars, but the HD/Blu Ray dual player from LG is over US$1000 and I didn't want to go that far. At US$299, the Toshiba was a good price. Throw in 5 free HD DVDs by mail, and I fell for it.
I like Toshiba DVD players. They have a good UI and show you the info you want. Can you believe many other DVD players don't even show you time remaining? This HD DVD player has a very nice horizontal bar that shows up when you pause it, showing how much you've watched and how much more you have. It does have the same problem my upconverting Toshiba does - incredibly slow to start up. Even something as simple as pressing the power button can take 10 seconds or more for the lights to come on.
The selection of free HD DVDs isn't great. You pick one from each category:
- Apollo 133, Seabiscuit, The Chronicles of Riddick
- Casablanca, Constantine, Dukes of Hazzard
- Four Brothers, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
- The Rundown, Blazing Saddles, U2: Rattle and Hum
- U-571, The Perfect Storm, We Were Soldiers
I've bolded the ones I'll probably choose. Only Casablanca matters, though. This will make probably at least the fifth version of it I will have owned - 2 VHS tapes and 3 DVDs. That reminds me - I'm due for another viewing of my all time favorite movie. Maybe I'll hold out until I get the HD-DVD.
While I was picking up the player (and a new TV stand), I of course had to pick up an HD movie, so I grabbed The Sting, another all fav. I just recently saw it while channel surfing, and thought at the time that I really needed to pick up the DVD.
And it is just as good as I remember. It is amazing that a movie so dependent on twists and turns can be so enjoyable even if you know what is happening and is going on. I remember how mysterious I found it the first few times I watched it, especially the hitman's demise. And of course the soundtrack, despite being music from a few decades earlier, is timeless. Newman, Redford, Walston and Shaw are amazing, but even the little things make The Sting worth watching. Some of the camera angles are truly creative, like when Redford goes up to Shaw's door on the train and one of the big muscles waiting outside stands behind him. Redford looks back over his shoulder but all you can see of him past the goon is his eyes just above the goon's shoulder. Really stout artistry all over the place here. I love a good con movie and this is the epitome of the genre.
The HD version is a very nice picture, although being an older film (1973), it isn't incredibly crisp. There were some scenes that really stood out though. Like when he was peering through the curtains across the street to the drugstore and the rain was splashing on the outside as the camera looks in. The way the water glistened and shined on the wood felt like you could reach out and splash some on your face. Very nice!