So in yesterday's post I mentioned that HD-DVD players are often excellent scaling standard-definition DVD players. While I do believe that statement is generally true... it's more true for some then others. I'm specifically referring to Toshiba's HD-XA2 to HD-DVD player.
Because this is a "second generation" model and stores have moved on to the "third generation" they are hard to find... particularly for a good deal. My local Fry's has exactly 1 on the shelf. It's an open-box. They want $530 for this player. Just to be clear.... this player originally retailed for $999.99.
I managed to pick one up for $251 shipped from overstock.com. Admittedly it's refurbished so we'll see what condition it arrives in, but for that price it was too good to pass up. Heck... The next best price I can find online for one (even refurbished) is $299 before shipping!
While it's certainly conceivable that there will be a better deal at some point in time... I doubt it will be common.
The HD-XA2 (at the time of this writing) is currently ranked the fifth best standard definition DVD player (click the "get results" button in the middle of the page) ever made. The entries above it include the $3500 Denon DVD-5910, an $800 Samsung Blu-Ray player, the Oppo Digital OPDV971H (no longer made), and the $230 Oppo Digital DV-981HD.
Only the last player mentioned is competitive with the XA2 in terms of price, and when when you take into account shipping, I think the XA2 is a better deal. Besides... the XA2
can still play HD-DVDs! Also, unlike my PS3, the XA2 can bitstream DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD audio to my Denon receiver. I'll admit I won't get to enjoy that on too many discs since the future of HD-DVD is limited, but still... I think it's a good deal.
Of course, Shannon thinks I'm nuts, but I bought this player with my "allowance" money so it's just going to cut in to some games/movie purchases for a couple of months.... it's not like it will affect our household budget.
If anyone is curious about more details on this player. Here's a review from about a year ago on High-Def Digest. Like the note at the top of the page indicates... the bulk of the review was done using a very-early firmware... and newer firmware updates have definitely improved some of this player's pain-points.