Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD Player Review Reveals Unsettling Copy Protection

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Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

16 Comments to Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD Player Review Reveals Unsettling Copy Protection

  1. Hello everybody!!
    This discussion was very helpfull for me as it really helped me in understanding the concept of component connection with 1080i resolution.Thanks a ton Richard for clearing all my doubts,you dont know how much you were helpfull in clearing all my doubts.So as of now I am good to go in search for a good dvd player which can be connected to my HDTV through a component (coz it doesn’t have an HDMI port) for a 1080i resolution.I would be really very greatfull if you could tell me any such DVD player and for your information my budget is $100-$125.Request you to please send the info to my email if its possible for you,once again thanks a zillion to all of you there.

  2. Richard, You can view a dvd @ 1080i using a analog hook-up,but you can only view a dvd @ 1080(no i) which is for (Interlaced video) using a HDMI to HDMI or a HDMI to DVI hook-up. Everyone knows that with Interlaced video the picture loads slower and the resolution is not as good!

  3. Wow.
    Thanks for the information, Richard.

    I just bought a Sony LCD HDTV today and I am very new to this technology. I have a Comcast HD DRV box with both component and HDMI outputs, but my LCD has only one HDMI input. And I’ll be needing to use that to use my DVD player (which will upconvert my plain old DVDs).

    Now that I know I can use component cables for my Comcast box, I don’t need to drop $200 (and up) for a HDMI switcher.

    Thanks again!

    Chicago, IL

  4. James Houghton

    Richard is correct regarding Comcast. I also use component outputs to watch Hi-def programming. I have a 2003 Mittubishi HD and have never had my Comcast cable box connected via DVI cables. I get Hi-def programming fine.

  5. Rich is right. I switched from DISH to Comcast yesterday. My Dish DVR/HD boxes required a DVI to HDMI cable. The Comcast DVR/HD boxes need HDMI to HDMI. So they hooked up component cables in the mean time. Everything works fine. I will purchase the HDMI to HDMI cables soon to get a crisper picture, but I don’t need to.

    Since DISH, DirecTV, and Comcast all broadcast in 720P I had my installer hook up my terrestrial antenna to my Sony HD-200 so I can watch live sports in 1080i. 1080i vs. 720P Sports are a night and day difference. Regular taped HDTV shows (NCIS, VEGAS) on CBS or NBC don’t really have any great leap in resolution between one or the other, so I switch to the OTA during live sporting events. Live is best!

  6. No problem, I assure you your friend is incorrect. It may be possible he has a TV that does not accept a 480i input over the component jacks, and hadn’t configred his box to output 480p or 1080i that way and got a blank picture hwne he hooked it up, but there are no restrictions whatsoever in what it will output from it’s component jacks.

  7. I will check with my friend, but he was vehement about the HDMI and Comcast. As to “option”, that is why i stated on “some discs”, which yes, is ambigious, but implies that perhaps in the future or now they can excercise this option.

    Thanks for the input and clarification.

  8. Also, nothing was “revealed” concerning copy protection in this review. it has been well known for years now that the new copy protection standards and coming HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives would use AACS, and it would include this option.

    This is unfortunately not new information.

  9. Component is analog. Your friend is incorrect. It is simply not true that comcast boxes only output 1080 over HDMI. You can call comcast and ask them. No cable provider has added such a restriction. You can also verify this on

    Your friend may have a defective TV or box, but that is the only possibility I can think of.

    As far as the information about HD-DVD, you are simply misreading the article. It says that IF the ICT (image constraint token) I referred to is enabled, then you will not get 1080i over component (analog) outputs.

    That is not enabled. You can view HD-DVD over analog outputs at 1080i right now on all the HD-DVDs available. Thomas Hawk posted something that was not true when he said your signal WILL be downconverted, and I commented on his blog as such. It was irresponsible or inaccurate of him to say something that was so untrue. You can verify this information from a variety of sources.

    I would recommend checking the thread at Many people are currently connecting their HD-DVD players via component cables and viewing content in 1080i.

    One of the people on our site purchased a box and connected it via component without a problem to view 1080i output.

  10. I am basing the DVD HDMI info off the linked article. I am also basing the Comcast experience off a friend who got comcast HD and then said he had to get the HDMI cable to see HiDef.

    Which analog hookups are you referring to? I thought HiDef could only be transferred via Component and HDMI – other cables (i.e. Svideo and composite) couldnt carry such a signal.?

  11. I’m not sure where you got that information from, as it is incorrect.

    You can definitely view HD-DVD’s at 1080i via the analog outputs on the player.

    You can definitely view 1080i on comcast HD boxes without DVI or HDMI. I have three at home all of which are hooked up with analog outputs.

    The DRM inherent in Blu-ray and HD-DVD hasnothing to do with limiting component outputs to 720p.

    IF a movie maker enables the ICT, they can limit the output on analog connectors, however none of the initial releases will have this enabled.

    Old school DVD’s have always been DRM limited to a maximum 480p output over analog. They always will be. They can be upconverted to higher via digital only due to the copy protection.

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