With the battle for Blu-ray and HD DVD over, Toshiba has changed its tack and launched a new upscaling DVD player, but does it have want to takes to recapture ground lost? We get watching to find out.
The Toshiba XD-E500 is a black box with minimal fuss in design. The size of an old VHS player and sporting a new look from Toshiba that it is promising to roll out across its range of DVD players and televisions, you'll get a glowing white Toshiba logo when on, a stack of numbers displayed in green and a clear green display giving you the chapter numbers and other info about the DVD you are watching.
There are hard playback buttons along the front, although refined enough that they don't distract too much and virtually all the player's controls are operated via the well laid out remote.
That remote, which is also black, gives you all the controls you want and is dedicated to the DVD player.
The DVD player supports playback of standard DVDs, CDs and DivX, MP3 and JPEG, while audio formats from Dolby Digital and DTS get support too.
Connections from the XD-E500 DVD player include HDMI, Scart, Component and Optical although to be fair the only one you'll want to use/need is the HDMI.
Once connected to your HDTV and turned on, the player gets to work improving your DVD collection from the get go.
There are no options to turn the new upscaling technologies on or off (frustrating if you want to show off the performance to your mates), it just works. What you do have though is three options to control the picture from an upscaling perspective: Sharp, Colour and Contrast.
Sharp will sharpen the picture where needed rather than the whole picture, Colour ups the blues and greens, while Contrast deepens the blacks.
The result is a noticeable improvement making your DVD collection sharper whatever you opt to play.
In our tests the XD-E500 was noticeably better than our PS3, which we rate for its upscaling capabilities. It also improves and easily beats Toshiba's current/previous upscaling efforts as well.
Against Blu-ray? Well it's not Blu-ray quality, but then it isn’t actually trying to be that. This is about taking your current DVD collection, of which you no doubt have loads, and trying to get the most out of it.
At £120 the Toshiba XD-E500 is an impressive upscaling DVD player that is not only affordable but will go some way to revitalising your DVD collection.
It's not the Blu-ray destroyer that you might have been hoping the technology would be, however for us that doesn't matter: what matters in that in this instance Toshiba has created an upscaling tech that has the ability to let you forget about Blu-ray for quite some time.
Now why didn't Toshiba think of that 5 years ago?