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Toshiba Shows Next-Gen HD DVD Players

Nearly six months into the launch of HD DVD, Toshiba introduced a pair of next-generation players, including a model that will support 1,080p high-definition video output, during the CEDIA Expo, here, earlier this month.

The new models include the new entry HD-A2, shipping in October at a $499 suggested retail, and the new step-up HD-XA2, shipping in December at a $999 suggested retail. Both will offer performance and functionality improvements over the initial HD-A1 and HD-XA2 versions that are now in stores, including improved remote controls.

The flagship HD-XA2 will incorporate the new 1.3 version of the HDMI spec, said Jodi Sally, Toshiba A/V products group marketing VP, and will output high-definition in all major formats including 1,920 by 1,080p. Toshiba will use the capability to support the company’s growing assortment of native 1,080p video displays, and to answer competitors planning to launch Blu-ray Disc players with full 1,080p output later in the fall.

The XA2 will also add 12-bit video DACs with 4x over-sampling at 297MHz, bi-directional RS-232, adjustable picture setting function and a more compact brushed aluminum housing than the first generation.

Both players will also include out-of-the-box support for the Dolby TruHD 5.1 audio format — a feature that was also recently added to the first-generation players through a firmware update.

The entry HD-A2 model features a slimmer cabinet design, and will output HD content in either the 720p or 1,080i picture formats.

Toshiba also brought to CEDIA its “HD DVD Mobile Experience” 18-wheel truck, offering demonstrations of HD DVD players and various Toshiba high-definition video displays. In includes various Mark Levinson audio components and Microsoft HD DVD products.

The truck will be taken on a tour of “more than 10 major cities” across the nation between now and the end of January.