Toshiba next-gen HD DVD players hit US market

By Sarah Falson

USA, Colorado: Two Toshiba second generation HD DVD players, which were announced at the annual US CEDIA exhibition in September, yesterday were released on to the US market.

The HD-A2 entry-level model and top-of-the-line HD-XA2 “build upon the success of [Toshiba’s] first generation units and the market’s increased demand for high definition content,” said Toshiba America Consumer Products, LLC, in a product announcement posted on its website.

These models are also launching simultaneously in Japan.

In March 2006, Toshiba America launched the world’s first HD DVD player, the HD-XA1, in the US. This model didn’t make it to market in Australia, however two Toshiba HD DVD players were announced for local retail last month which match the specifications of the new generation players in the US.

“Our two launch units are second generation,” Castel Electronics advertising manager, Randall Crocker, told Current.com.au

These players – the entry-level HD-E1 (RRP $1099) and flagship HD-EX1 (RRP $1599) – will be available in Australia from 10 December and February 2007 respectively.

Meanwhile, the two new models in the US are smaller in size than their predecessor, and boast improved loading speeds and response times, audio and video capabilities.

According to Toshiba America, the flagship HD-XA2 will output 1920 x 1080p resolution, and will be one of the first next generation players on the market to support HDMI version 1.3 connectivity, which in turn supports Deep Color technology and 36-bit colour depths technology. 

Both models are backwards compatible and are able to upscale standard definition DVDs to match the resolution of HD displays.

"We are very pleased with the launch of our players and the progress we have made in the past six months," said Toshiba America vice president of marketing – consumer products digital A/V group, Jodi Sally, on the Toshiba America website.

"I am confident that our HD DVD players, which provide stunning HD image quality with a variety of advanced high resolution audio options, offer a great value for consumers today."

Toshiba second generation HD DVD players are retailing for HD-A2 US$499.99 (A$655) and HD-XA2 US$999.99 (A$1,300).

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