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Toshiba unveils HD DVD player as market battle begins

Posted: 04 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Yoshiko Hara?

Toshiba Corp. unveiled its first HD DVD player in Japan on March 31 as the next-generation video format battle moves to the marketplace.

According to Yoshihide Fujii, president and CEO of Toshiba's Digital Media Network Co., said introduction of Toshiba's first player took more effort than that expended trying to unify the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) formats. Fujii dismissed claims of BD superiority in areas like capacity and hard coating technology. "In all aspects, the HD DVD format is not second to the BD format."

Shipments to Toshiba's U.S. dealers have also started. Two player models will hit the U.S. market around April 18, when Warner releases new movie titles.

Dubbed HD-XA1, Toshiba's player for the Japanese market is basically the same as the high-end U.S. model but customized for the Japanese market. Extra features will increase the retail price by about $100.

The first Japanese movie title is scheduled to be released on April 7. Toshiba is offering the first shipments of the player until April 27 with two complimentary HD DVD movies. Software titles will also be limited in Japan. Toshiba said about 20 movie titles will be released by the end of April and between 150 to 200 titles will be available by the end of the year, said Fujii.

Toshiba initially plans to ship 2,000 units a month and will ramp up monthly production to the tens of thousands by the end of the year. By March 2007, Toshiba plans to sell as many as 700,000 units.

"The picture quality is really good, far better than that of present DVD," Renji Asakura, an audio and video critic. "To be fair, however, the high quality is the result of MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 high-profile video compression, which will be used for both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats."

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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