Toshiba shows off HD-alternatives at IFA

August 28, 2008

Toshiba passes over Blu-ray, develops high-def conversion instead

Toshiba showed off its upscaling DVD player and new line of not-quite HD LCD TVs at the recent IFA electronics show. Certainly an interesting development to come out of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray war.

According to IDG, Toshiba at IFA promoted its Extended Detail Enhancement (XDE) and Resolution+ there, showing off a bevy of enhanced LCD TV and DVD player models. XDE will be found on their media players while Resolution+ will be bringing near-HD enhancement to the monitors.

Its new Regza ZF family will feature Resolution+ support and is available in 40-inch and 46-inch screen sizes. The models will also support 1080p at 24 frames per second. Pricing has yet to be released at press time.

On the Extended Definition Enhancement (XDE) side, Toshiba has a new DVD player supporting the technology – the XD-E500. Available from the end of September 2008 in Europe, it will cost around €149. It will be shipping this month to the U.S. According to Toshiba, XDE will enhance resolution, colour and contrast.

Reviews are already out for the XD-E500. PC World published a review from IDG’s Chris Kanaracus. Kanaracus’s consensus: pricey and not truly approaching HD-quality: “…at no time was I convinced I was watching anything but standard DVD.”

CNet had a softer take on Toshiba’s unwillingness (as yet) to start manufacturing Blu-Ray players: “Some people will criticise Toshiba for its reluctance to move into Blu-ray, but this…is designed to help people make the most out of their existing content, and that can only be a good thing.”

How long more can Toshiba hold out from producing the rival format to the one it was pushing (HD-DVD)? Perhaps it doesn’t see the point of investing anymore into high definition content players when it had already sunk a lot of money into HD-DVD products. Besides, as Blu-Ray is still not quite widespread in the mass market (discounting the PS3 consoles), Toshiba can afford to delay the Blu-Ray switch for some time yet.

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