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Upgrading My Living Room Entertainment, Part 3: High-Definition DVD

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To complete — at least for now — my living room upgrade, I purchased a Toshiba HD-DVD (HD-A20) from Circuit City. Just looking at the listing now, I see the price has increased since Tuesday from $359.99 to $399.99. In fact, in the store, the advertised price was $399.99, but after showing the listing on the internet from that day, they matched their online price.

Before deciding on this device, I had to face the big question that is preventing other people I know from jumping into high-definition video: Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? For me, the answer is straightforward. Blu-Ray players are often twice as expensive as HD-DVD. It’s a shame that studios are aligning themselves with one format over another; this might prolong the inevitable crowning of one champion, like Beta vs. VHS.

Toshiba HD-DVD HD-A20Once settled on the HD-DVD format, I wanted to find the best value I could. After more online research including Consumer Reports and a number of other communities, I chose the system I mentioned above. No, it’s not built with high-end components, but it delivers a good value.

I also picked up one HD-DVD, Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow. I saw the movie in the theater when it came out. It wasn’t a fantastic movie, but it was visually stunning, a perfect candidate for high definition. Once the HDMI cables arrive today or tomorrow, I’ll have something to pop in immediately to see how 1080p suits me.

The store didn’t have a wide selection of HD-DVDs, but I’ve been finding more options on and adding them to my Wish List for future purchasing.

After my expenditures this week, it’s time to cool down for several months. There are still several components I need in order to make the experience complete, but I will hold off for a while. Here is what is missing in my set-up:

* Television stand or wall-mounting brackets, so I can reclaim my repurposed coffee table
* High definition audio receiver with surround sound and additional speakers, as the television’s internal speakers are not so hot
* Fancy remote control that can communicate with all devices, so I don’t need the variety I use now
* Game system like the Xbox 360 so I can waste more time when I should be blogging

Once I’m ready to spend significant money in this department, I’ll be looking back at this list.

Updated May 5, 2014 and originally published August 31, 2007.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Hey Flexo,

Did you take advantage of this deal:

If not, it’s probably not too late to return it. Looks like a great way to start building your collection.

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

I did get the 5 HD-DVD rebate, although the selection was less than stellar. The rebate requires the original UPC, so I’m not tearing apart the box until I’m sure I won’t be returning the player.

I can’t seem to find Amazon’s 3 HD-DVD add-on. Amazon’s unadvertised price is $40 less than the price I paid, but I won’t be able to get CC to match that without a real advertisement or price listing. Hm. Thanks for the info!

I’ve also registered the product in PriceProtectr, so I’ll be alerted of any drop in price.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

I was just looking at Amazon myself, and couldn’t find the 3 HD-DVD add-on either. However, a commenter on Digg said that they just added the movies and the player to their shopping cart, and the deal was automatically applied. I’m sure if I searched around a little more I could figure out how to get the extra 3.

Anyway, just another thing to look into. Good luck!

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avatar 4 Anonymous

I don’t see any mention of speakers in this series. Did you get any, or are you using the TV speakers? If you don’t have speakers, how do you listen to music played through the new HD-DVD player in the house, or do you even listen to music in the house? Did you consider buying a home theater computer with HD-DVD? Why, why not?

Can you tell that I’m a bit of a Home Theater nut?

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avatar 5 Luke Landes

GeekMan: As I mentioned above, I’m using the television speakers for now, which quite frankly suck. I also mentioned in the post that a high-def surround receiver with speakers is on my list for a future spree when I’m ready to spend more money.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Flexo, livin’ it up large! My home theatre just got downgraded to 13″ old hotness TV …

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