Toshiba will launch its first European HD DVD player mid-November, with an anticipated price of just 500 pounds. As with the US launch, there will be entry-level and high-end models.
The cheaper HD-E1 (pictured above) will debut first, with the high-end 1080p-enabled HD-XE1 (pictured below) following in early December.
Both 2nd generation HD DVD players will also upscale DVDs via the HDMI output to 720p and 1080i, with the 700 pound HD-XE1 also offering 1080p upscaling. Both models support Dolby Digital Plus, which uses a higher bit rate (up to 3Mbps) to improve fidelity and bring increased realism to movie soundtracks, and lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.
Olivier Van Wynendaele, Deputy General Manager, HD DVD Products, Toshiba Europe, speaking at IFA, said: “Since Toshiba commercialised the world’s first DVD players in Japan in 1996, DVD has become one of the most successful consumer products in history. However, the arrival of HD TVs and HD broadcasts is fuelling demand for a higher quality format that can deliver next generation video and audio. HD DVD is such a format; it builds on consumer familiarity with DVD and is very competitively priced, yet offers an amazing home entertainment experience. It is the natural successor to DVD, and public reaction in Japan and the US indicates that consumers are already falling in love with HD DVD just like they did with its predecessor.”
Toshiba says that it expects around 100 HD DVD title to be made available in due course.
The HD-E1 and HD-XE1 offer assorted interactive functionality, including the ability to browse movie chapters with thumbnails while the movie plays, as well as navigating menu features without pausing playback. Picture in picture (PIP) allows supplementary video to play over the main programme.
Unlike their Blu-ray rivals, both players come with Ethernet terminals enabling them to go online for extra content and download firmware updates.