Toshiba Unveils DVD-Enhancing Technology - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Toshiba Unveils DVD-Enhancing Technology

XDE, or extended detail enhancement, raises the level of standard-definition DVDs to a full high-definition resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels.

Toshiba, which this year lost the high-definition format war with Sony, on Monday introduced technology that enhances the picture quality of DVDs.

XDE, or extended detail enhancement, will be in Toshiba's new XD-E500 DVD player, which will ship this month. The player will be priced at $150, about twice as much as regular "up-converting" players.

Toshiba claims the higher price is justified because XDE takes DVD picture quality to a higher level, but not quite as high as Sony's Blu-ray high-definition format.

Toshiba had tried to rally the industry around the HD DVD format as a better choice than Blu-ray. The latter, however, gained broader support from movie studios, prompting Toshiba to stop making HD DVD players this year.

XDE raises the level of standard-definition TV, which has a display resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, to a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, which is often referred to as full high definition, according to Toshiba.

As a result, the edges of images are sharper, which means there's less blurring on large screens. Also, colors are more vivid and the contrast is sharper, according to Toshiba.

In releasing XDE, Toshiba apparently is looking to take advantage of people's lukewarm response to Blu-ray, which has gained most of its market traction to date through its use in Sony's popular PlayStation 3 video game console.

Average consumers are satisfied with their cheaper standard DVD players and are not willing to pay more to switch to a Blu-ray player, which in many cases would require buying a TV that supports HD content, according to a recent study conducted by ABI Research.

With people sticking to standard DVDs, Toshiba sees a market opportunity.

"Toshiba is delivering to consumers what they want -- a high-quality experience at an affordable price," Louis Masses, director of product planning for Toshiba, said in a statement.

Toshiba plans to promote its new technology in an extensive print and online advertising campaign, starting with ads on the Web site. The company also has launched a Web site dedicated to promoting XDE.

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