After a right pounding from Sony?s Blu-ray DVD format in the high-definition war that ended in early 2008, Toshiba has set up shop in the standard definition DVD market. The company has launched a new up-scaling DVD player, the XD-E500, which promises to deliver as near to HD-DVD as you can get, without it actually being HD.
Toshiba?s new US$150 XD-E500 features Toshiba?s new eXtended Detail Enhancement (XDE) technology, which increases up-conversion from 480i/p to 1080p, and also offers three user-selectable picture enhancement modes ? Sharp, Colour, and contrast – to help refine the video quality, according to Toshiba.
Sharp Mode offers improved detail enhancement, taking it one step closer to HD, Toshiba boasts. Edges are sharper and details in movies are more visible. As opposed to traditional sharpness control, XDE technology analyses the whole picture and adds edge enhancement exactly where it?s needed.
Colour Mode ensures the colours stand out with improved richness, with blues and greens appearing more lifelike, according to Toshiba. Colour Mode combines the improvement in colour with the detail enhancement of Sharp Mode and is perfect for outdoor scenes.
Contrast Mode is designed to make darker scenes or foregrounds more clearly, without the typical ?washing out2 that can occur with traditional contrast adjustment.
In addition to XDE, the XD-E500 incorporates key features found on most up-converting standard DVD players, such as HDMI-CEC, DivX certification, JPEG capability, and MP3 and WMA playback.
“XDE offers consumers a simple solution to add on to their HDTV purchase. XDE works with existing DVDs to deliver a near HD experience with enhanced detail and richer colours. Toshiba is delivering to consumers what they want — a high quality experience at an affordable price,” noted Louis Masses, Toshiba director of product planning.
Toshiba will be hoping to capitalise on the customers who are still reeling from HD disc battle with Blu-ray, as most consumers haven’t jumped up to more expensive format yet.
“It’s an interesting time for the market,” Ben Bajarin, director of the consumer technology practice for Creative Strategies, said.
“After [Toshiba's] HD DVD finally phased itself out and we noted that Blu-ray was the clear winner, we saw a lot of consumers who were saying, ‘When’s the right time for me to buy … and if so, what’s the right price?’” he added.
Bajarin doesn’t believe an HD up-converting device is going to be a long-term solution.
“We’re at 1080p now, and that’s going to continue to go up. With educated consumers, one of the main reasons the Sony PS3 Blu-ray player is so interesting is that it can be updated with software – so as new standards come out, they’ll be able to update their PS3 Blu-ray player with software so that it’s consistent with what’s available on the market at the highest levels,” he explained.
“Consumers already know Blu-ray is the winner, so I find it hard to believe that consumers will go out in larger numbers and buy a device that’s not Blu-ray,” Bajarin said.