18 December marks the first day that an HD DVD player is officially available in the UK, courtesty of Toshiba.

The player was previously expected in November, but was delayed for a month while the company investigated a possible flaw in the hardware.

The company has released the HD-E1 just in time for Christmas, and, at £450, it seems rather a bargain compared to Blu-ray.

The HD-E1 promises up to 5x the resolution of conventional DVD, and will upscale regular DVDs to near-HD quality. It also boasts outstanding sound quality from Dolby True HD and DTS HD.

At the moment there are around 40 HD DVD titles on the market, including Superman Returns, King Kong, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; the number of HD DVDs on the market is set to increase to 60 before March.

Toshiba will deliver a premium HD DVD player in late January, the HD-XE1, which will retail for considerably more, at £649.

“The HD-E1 brings affordable, standalone next generation DVD to the mass market in the UK for the very first time”, said Olivier Van Wynendaele, Deputy General Manager, HD DVD, Toshiba Europe. “HD DVD is the natural successor to DVD, and public reaction in Japan and the US indicates that the public are embracing the picture quality, title choice and great value that HD DVD offers."