Toshiba has finally shipped its first HD DVD into the UK market. The HD-E1 typically sells for around 450 pounds, considerably less than the Blu-ray competition.
According to Olivier Van Wynendaele, Deputy General Manager of HD DVD, Toshiba Europe: “The HD-E1 brings affordable, standalone next generation DVD to the mass market in the UK for the very first time. The number of HD Ready TVs in the market is already significant and is continuing to grow; there is a real demand for high definition content, and there’s no reason why consumers should have to spend thousands of pounds to enjoy the very best home cinema experience. Toshiba is committed to delivering a premium quality product at readily affordable prices, and we expect the HD-E1 to be the player that truly kickstarts the next generation HD DVD market.”
The company says that there are currently 40 HD DVD titles available in the UK, from Warner Home Video, Paramount and Universal, with another 60 due before March.
To achieve the low price point, a number of omissions from the typical HD specification have been made, including the removal of multi-channel audio outputs, used to deliver lossless multi-channel soundtracks.
Industry commentator Martin Pipe says “I’m sure that dedicated home cinema enthusiasts can’t wait to put the HD-E1 on their shopping lists – and indeed the potential performance of the player can be considered justification alone. But for the rest of us, a wait should at the very least restore some of the features we take for granted with our tried-and-tested DVD players.”
A more fully-featured step-up model, the HD-XE1, is expected to arrive late January 2007 and will be priced around 649 pounds.