It's tough to decide whether Toshiba is being incredibly intelligent or incredibly stubborn in their decision to back upconverting DVD technology instead of Blu-ray. I mean, they were certainly burnt - badly - by Blu-ray with that whole HD DVD format war, but is their decision to stick to DVD smart?
Take their latest DVD player, the XD-E500 DVD upscaler. It's marketed on the fact that it can take your vanilla old DVDs and upscale them to HD-like quality with 1080p output. That sounds pretty good (although the press release says that standard def DVDs are 480p - not in Australia, Toshiba!). But then there's the price: $199.
Sure, the Toshy's got some pretty catchy-sounding tech on board (XDE Technology, anyone?) for upscaling, plus DivX playback, HDMI CEC connectivity and a host of connections, but is it worth $200 bucks? Sony's latest Blu-ray player has an RRP of $449, but you can pick it up for $380 online, and it will not only upscale your DVDs, but playback Blu-ray movies as well. Even at $150 for the Toshy, don't most people already own a DVD player?
Still, if the infinite format war takes Blu-ray as its next victim, Toshiba will probably be the company laughing all the way to the bank.
Toshiba Fast Forwards To Clear And Crisp Viewing With New XD-E500 DVD Upscaler
SYDNEY, 10 October 2008
Consumers can unlock the benefits of HD-ready TVs and enjoy their standard DVD collections in near High Definition picture quality, thanks to new Toshiba XDE™ technology now available in its latest DVD player.
XDE, or "eXtended Detail Enhancement," is more than just DVD upconversion. XDE takes DVD picture quality to a whole new level. In addition to providing upconversion from 480i/p up to 1080p, XDE offers user selectable picture enhancement modes that allow for greater detail, more vivid colors and stronger contrast that bring standard DVD quality closer to the HD experience. XDE technology lets consumers enjoy their existing DVD libraries in a whole new way.
"Consumers have embraced the DVD format and have invested in large libraries of their favourite movies. Now, the Toshiba XD-E500 allows them to experience their existing DVD library and the tens of thousands of DVD titles in enhanced detail and richer colour at near HD picture quality with the Toshiba price and quality promise," says Francois Spina, AV Product Manager - DVD at Toshiba Australia.
Your movie your way The XD-E500 offers consumers the ability to customise their viewing experience to their taste with its three picture mode settings, Sharp, Color and Contrast.
* Sharp Mode offers enhanced detail that is one step closer to high definition. Edges are sharper and details in movies are more visible. Unlike traditional sharpness control, XDE™ technology analyses the entire picture and adds edge enhancement precisely where it's needed. * Color Mode makes the colours of nature stand out with improved richness. Blues and greens are more vivid and lifelike. Color Mode combines the improvement in colour with the detail enhancement of Sharp Mode and is ideal for outdoor scenes. * Contrast Mode is designed to make darker scenes more clearly visible without the typical "washing out" that can occur with traditional contrast adjustment. Recommended for dark scenes where detail may be difficult to notice, Contrast Mode is also combined with Sharp Mode to provide a clearer viewing experience.
In addition to Toshiba's new XDE™ technology, the XD-E500 also features support for PAL progressive scan playback and offers DVD, DVD-R/-RW, CD/ CD-R/-RW, Video-CD, SVCD, CD-DA and HDMI compatibility. It is compatible with Toshiba's REGZA-Link (HDMI CEC), and also includes Component Video and Composite Video outputs, Coaxial and Optical Digital outputs and two channel audio. JPEG, DivX, MP3 & WMA support is also included.
* Toshiba's new XDE™ Technology * Sharp, Color and Contrast Modes * DVD Upscaler: 720p, 1080i, 1080p * HDMI connection * REGZA-LINK (HDMI CEC) * DivX / MP3/ WMA/ JPEG Viewer * Pal Progressive * DVD, DVD-R/-RW, CD/ CD-R/-RW, VIDEO-CD, SVCD, CD-DA * Component Video Output * Composite Video Output * Digital & Coaxial Audio Output * 2 Channel Audio Output
Pricing and Availability The XD-E500 DVD player is available now from Harvey Norman, Clive Peeters, Myer, JB Hi Fi, Bing Lee, Rick Hart and speciality Hi-Fi stores, RRP of $199 inc. GST.
The XD-E500 comes with a standard two-year replacement warranty.
Important Notes This product does not play HD DVD or Blu-Ray discs. It upconverts standard definition (480p) DVD content to HD (720p, 1080i or 1080p) to match the resolution of your HD display. Although near the picture quality, it does not produce or output native HD video content.
* To display upconverted 720p, 1080i or 1080p video content, a 720p, 1080i or 1080p capable HDTV or HD Monitor (as applicable) with an HDCP capable HDMI or DVI input is required. * The effect of enhancements may vary depending upon disc content quality and display device capability/functionality/settings. Depending on the quality of the DVD disc, some video noise may be visible. * Some DVD-R/DVD-RW discs may be incompatible due to laser pick up and disc design. CD-R/CD-RW discs must be recorded using CD-DA method for CD audio playback. The DVD player may not support some MP3/WMA/JPEG/DivX recordings due to differences in recording formats, disc structure, or condition of the disc (use of CD-RW for MP3 files is not recommended). See Owner's Manual for more information. * Use of REGZA-LINK, a feature based on HDMI-CEC, requires an HDMI-CEC compatible display device. Depending on the specifications of your display device, some or all REGZA LINK functions may not work even if your display device is HDMI-CEC compatible.