Don’t get me wrong, Toshiba’s XD-E500 is a decent 1080p/24fps upscaling DVD player–it toasted one of their own upconverting players in the demo, and they’ve gotten pretty good at doing it. It’s got three different intelligent processing modes, two of which are really solid–sharp (which only sharpens where it’s needed, not the whole picture), colour (dials up blues and greens plus sharp mode), and contrast (deepens blacks, probably the worst mode because you lose some dark detail).
It’s US$149 and most people still just own DVDs–hell, even if they own an HDTV more than half don’t even know what Blu-ray is. And for them, this will make their DVDs look better, and that’s good enough. So it’s not a bad business decision, either. It’s just that it feels like a little bit of a cop-out, even if Toshiba openly admits it’s not meant to battle HD, just be a bridge to it for normal people. What I really want to see is a Toshiba Blu-ray player, and I want it to be totally awesome. [Toshiba]