Two next-gen disc players from opposite sides of the high-def format war tied for first-place honors in the December issue of Consumer Reports.
The two players -- Pioneer's DBP-94HD and Toshiba's HD-XA2 -- each earned an overall score of 91% from the leading Consumer advocacy magazine, which evaluated a total of nine HD DVD and Blu-ray players from various manufacturers.
The other players tested by CR included two Blu-ray players from Panasonic (the DMP-BD10 and the DMP-BD10A), two from Sony (the BDP-S1 and the BDP-S300), two additional players from Toshiba (the HD-A2 and the HD-A20), and LG's first-gen dual-format player, the BH100.
According to the magazine, all of the players tested provided excellent HD picture quality with high-def discs. Less consistent was the quality of upscaled video-based content from standard-def DVDs, with the LG dual-format player and the two lower-end Toshiba HD DVD players (the A2 and the A20) each earning only "fair" marks in that category.
Still, overall, even the lowest rated of the bunch -- Toshiba's HD-A20 -- earned an overall score of 74, which is defined as "very good" by Consumer Reports.
In the end, the magazine concludes that when it comes to players, both formats each have their advantages -- for HD DVD, it's price; for Blu-ray it's a wider choice of players from various manufacturers.