You’ve got to give Toshiba top marks for perseverance, for in spite of the fact that CES 2006 is very much a Blu-ray show the Japanese giant went ahead and confirmed a March launch for its pair of HD DVD players.
Tosh’s pair of HD DVD players, the HD-XA1 and HD-A1 have a pretty decent spec. They’ll not only play back your existing DVDs but they will upscale the picture quality to 720p or 1080i HD. They are also no slouches in the surround sound arena packing both Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD. The difference between the two is that the XA1 has a neat motorised door and includes features like USB ports that Tosh hopes will pull in gamers.
The price is keen too with the HD-XA1 going for $800 and the HD-A1 $500 – a few dollars less than the Blu-ray players. They also score something of a home run (I have already been in the States too long already) in that they are likely to be in the stores before the first Blu-ray players from Samsung and Pioneer. Nevertheless it is going to be a long haul for HD DVD. Needless to say there are no details on a UK launch, but if Tosh is keen to grab an advantage over Blu-ray it needs to get them in the British stores by Christmas.