Toshiba's second generation HD DVD player, the HD-XA2, doesn't suck, something you couldn't say about its first generation player. HD Guru just scored the player's first review and walks us through why Toshiba actually did a good job with the HD-XA2. Faster load times, top notch upconversion and 1080p output are the biggest draws here. The XA2 lost some five pounds compared to the A1 and is nearly half as tall. That means no more having to reinforce your home entertainment center just to get the player to safely sit atop. Disc loading is also faster, taking around 22 seconds to load once the unit is turned on.
It can't all be smooth sailing, can it?
Well, if the review is to be trusted (not having any pictures of the player strikes me as suspicious), then the only real complaint is that the XA2 shut off when switching around inputs on the TV. Going from source to source (Video 1, Video 2, etc.) freaked out the player, which then turned off. Toshiba says that a fix is in the works.
Thankfully, it looks like Toshiba really outdid itself with the XA2. It learned from its many mistakes with the A1 (for instance, the XA2 is actually a dedicated HD DVD player; the A1 was more of a striped down PC with an HD DVD drive tacked on) to create what looks to be the best HD DVD player on the market. The review skirted the issue of what looks better, Blu-Ray or HD DVD, but promised that the picture quality is "fantastic." This one looks to be a safe bet.