Toshiba Adds Midline HD DVD Player

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Toshiba (Central Hall 12814) will use International CES to introduce a next-generation HD DVD player with a slimmer cabinet design, and a range of standard-definition DVD players, recorders and combos.

The new HD DVD player, model HD-A20, will carry a $599 street price and will include full 1,080p HD output over an HDMI v1.3 connector. The player will also support the 5.1-channel version of the Dolby Digital TruHD audio format out of the box.

Other features include a slimmer cabinet design and an easy-to-use remote.

The model, which is scheduled to ship in the spring, will be positioned between the recently introduced HD-A2 ($499 street price) and the HD-XA2 ($999) for a "good, better, best strategy," Sally said.

"We are looking to expand our distribution this year. The XA2 will be positioned for specialty retailers who can communicate the step-up features," Sally said.

Meanwhile, Toshiba will continue to address declining standard DVD players with home, portable and combo models, and DVD recorders. Gone from the line this year are PVR models.

Updated cosmetics throughout the line complement the cosmetics of Toshiba's new TV models, with "a lot of black gloss."

Toshiba's opening price single-drive DVD model, SD-4000 (due in January at a $49.99 street price) will feature a slimmer cabinet (40 mm height), and will include 480-progressive-scan output and support for the WMA, MP3, JPEG and DiVX formats.

The SD-5000 (due in February at $79.99) adds 720p and 1,080i HD up-conversion over an HDMI output. The SD-6000 ($99.99) adds up conversion for full 1,080p.

In DVD/VCR combo units, Toshiba will offer a DVD player/VCR unit in the SD-V295 (due in February at $89.99). The VCR omits a tuner.

In DVD recorders, the company is scaling back the use of the DVD-RAM format to step-up models, while adding support for +R and +RW formats to the –R and –RW formats, and is offering two model classes — those with TV tuners and those without tuners.

Sally said the tuner strategy allows Toshiba to offer a range of options that comply with the FCC's digital tuner mandate.

All DVD recorders also include HDTV up-conversion as a value-added package.

The opening price point DVD recorder is the D-R400 (shipping in March at $149), which omits a tuner but adds HD up-conversion over HDMI and an input for DV camcorders.

The D-VR60 (shipping in March at $199) also omits tuning but adds SuperMulti disc compatibility, including support for DVD-RAM.

The step-up D-R550 (due in April at $229) adds ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuning, but supports only the DVD-RW/-R and DVD+RW/+R disc formats.

The D-VR650 (due in April at $279) is a DVD recorder/VCR with SuperMulti compatibility and ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuning.

In portable DVD, the company is offering a value-added lineup with competitive pricing and larger screen sizes. The entry SD-P1750 (shipping in February at $129) features a 7-inch screen.

The step-up SD-1900 (due in January at $199) adds a 9-inch screen, black acrylic top and extended battery life.

The SD-P2900 (due in March at $299) offers a six-hour battery; 10.2-inch, 800 by 400 screen; and four-in-one memory card slot.

In CRT-based TV/DVD combos, Toshiba will offer three models with FST PureFlat screens in the 14-inch ($179), 20-inch ($249) and 24-inch ($349) screen sizes. All add ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuning.

The company will also offer three Trip-Play (VCR/DVD/TV) models in the 20-inch ($349), 24-inch ($399) and 27-inch ($449) screen sizes. All have FST Pure flat-screens, 480i resolution and DiVX support.

In DVD/LCD TV combos, Toshiba will offer models in the 15-inch (January, $449), 19-inch (February, $599) and 23W-inch (February, $799) screen sizes.

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