By Patrick Avenell

Toshiba, still fresh from losing the HD-DVD/Blu-ray war, has today released a DVD player that automatically upscales DVDs to full high definition (1080p).

The new XD-E500 DVD Upscaler can convert 480p, or DVD quality, to 720p, 1080i and 1080p, dependent on the specifications of the television being used. This model is designed to capture the consumers that are hesitant to invest in Blu-ray, which is still an unknown quantity with many users. DVD, on the other hand, has become the industry standard, with the format totally replacing VHS soon after the price became less prohibitive.

“Consumers have embraced the DVD format and have invested in large libraries of their favourite movies. Now, the Toshiba XD-E500 allows them to experience their existing DVD library and the tens of thousands of DVD titles in enhanced detail and richer colour at near HD picture quality with the Toshiba price and quality promise,” said Toshiba Australia AV product manager – DVD, Francois Spina.

This move to capture the consumers currently using a DVD player on a high definition TV comes as Sony has launched a multi-million advertising campaign promoting exactly the same ideal. Sony is focusing on new technology at a new price point, the $450 mark, whereas Toshiba is focusing on an improved version of old technology at an entry level price point – the RRP for this model is $199.

Features of the XD-E500 include three modes of upscaling: sharp, colour and contrast; HDMI connection and 2-channel audio output.

This model is available now from Harvey Norman, Clive Peeters, Myer, JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee, Rick Hart and specialty stores.