Toshiba announced today at CEDIA its second generation HD DVD players for the U.S. market. The company will introduce two new HD DVD players - the HD-A2 entry level model and the top of the line HD-XA2 model.
"We are very pleased with the launch of our players and the progress we have made in the past six months," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing, Toshiba America Consumer Products Digital A/V Group. "I am confident that our HD DVD players, which provide stunning HD image quality with a variety of advanced high resolution audio options, offer a great value for consumers today."
The new high end Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player is designed to output 1920 x 1080p, the highest HD signal currently available, via High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) 1.3. HDMI version 1.3 is the most current, major enhancement of the HDMI specification, which adds support for Deep Color technology. The HD-XA2 also incorporates a 297MHz / 12 bit Video DAC with high-quality, 4x oversampling for increased bandwidth for true playback of an HD picture to a video source. The HD-XA2 comes with a picture setting function allowing customers to optimize picture quality with user adjustable settings for color, contrast, brightness, edge enhancement and block noise, among others. The new HD-XA2 HD DVD player's 1080p output capability complements Toshiba's new Cinema Series Pro LCD TVs which provide true HD 1080p input capability via HDMI.
The HD-XA2 will be one of the first next generation players to support the video portion of HDMI version 1.3. HDMI 1.3 supports the demands of future high definition display devices, such as Deep Color enabling 36-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification. This allows Deep Color compatible display devices to deliver high video quality.
HD DVD players support efficient video compression standards including MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, as well as MPEG2. To meet the latest advancements in Audio/Video interfaces, both models connect to HDTV sets via HDMI - the multi- industry-supported, all digital A/V connection capable of providing the transmission of uncompressed digital video and multi-channel audio on a single cable.
HD DVD players output HD DVD content through the HDMI interface in 720p or 1080i for the HD-A2 and 720p, 1080i or 1080p for the HD-XA2. Through the HDMI interface, standard definition DVDs can also be upconverted to match the resolution of HD displays. As the conversion takes place in the player, the signal remains free from digital-to-analog conversion artifacts. Like the current HD DVD players, the HD-XA2 and HD-A2 are backward compatible, so users can continue to enjoy their libraries of current DVD and CD software.
Toshiba's HD DVD players support a variety of HD audio options to complement its HD video offerings. The mandatory audio formats for HD DVD include both lossy and lossless formats from Dolby Labs and DTS - including the Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD.
The lossless mandatory formats include Linear PCM and Dolby TrueHD. The Dolby TrueHD format supports audio tracks that are bit-for-bit identical to the high resolution studio masters and in the new models can support up to 5.1 channels of 24-bit/96kHz audio. Both new models feature built-in multi-channel decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (5.1 channel), DTS and DTS-HD (core only).
The HD-A2 and the HD-XA2 are expected in the market for $499.99 (October 2006) and $999.99 (December 2006), respectively.