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Friday, September 01, 2006
Toshiba to Ship HD DVD Player at 599 euros

Toshiba said on Friday it would introduce its first two High Definition DVD players (HD DVD) in Europe by November, priced between 599 and 899 euros ($768-1,153), well above prices in the United States.

The introduction price and date are important in the emerging standards battle between the HD DVD format and the rival Blu-ray format. Both formats are trying to become the standard for the successor of the current DVD.

The Toshiba HD-E1 supports preproduction of HD DVD and DVD video discs and offers a 1080i HDMI output. Toshiba also schedules another model high-end model code-named HD-XE1, equipped with a 12bit/296MHzDAC a 5.1ch analog audio output and a 1080p HDMI output. The first player is a mainstream model priced at 599 euros. The HD-XE1 will be available in December at 899 euros. Both players offer new video processing, support for the latest video and surround-sound formats, and extensive support for advanced navigation and interactive features, along with a new, slimline design.

Toshiba leads the HD DVD camp and it introduced its first HD DVD players in the United States in April for as little as $499. The first Blu-ray player from Samsung cost $999.

Samsung said in a separate announcement it would bring its Blu-ray player to Europe in October at around 1,400 euros.

Toshiba's vice president for the European DVD business, Masaki Kimura, told journalists at the IFA electronics show here that 10,000 players would be shipped to Europe from Japan to cater to early demand and subsequent shipments would depend on consumer interest.

The company has not given any details of sales in the United States.

Toshiba said the devices were more expensive in Europe than in the United States, even when differences in value added tax were taken into account, because the players that would hit the European market had more features and were thinner.

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