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Toshiba’s Player: Not Blu-ray, but Better than DVD

Toshiba, the chief proponent of the now-defunct HD DVD disc format, seems to be showing something of a stubborn streak. Whether it also makes good business sense should be known by year’s end, following the holiday season.

The HD DVD format lost out to Blu-ray last winter. But instead of launching its own line of Blu-ray players (something it vowed not to do, even when it was clear Blu-ray would win out), Toshiba is releasing a disc player that appears to fall somewhere between standard DVD and Blu-ray—both in image quality and price points.

Toshiba, which had promised to continue to compete with Blu-ray (though not necessarily create a whole new HD disc format), is being cautious not to claim that its new player can achieve Blu-ray quality. (It does not, say media critics who have seen it.) But apparently the new player does noticeably improve standard DVD images, according to several critics who have sampled it.

Toshiba's new player (model XD-E500) is priced between a higher-end, progressive scan standard DVD unit and a lower-end Blu-ray player (i.e., this week it’s $180 on (opens in new tab)).

Toshiba said its intended market is DVD users with large standard disc libraries who are not inclined to run out and buy new Blu-ray players and more expensive Blu-ray discs, at least not right away, but who may have large-screen HD sets.