Toshiba’s XD-E500 “Blu-ray Killer” Goes Live

Posted by James Segars on August 19, 2008 
Filed Under: Format War

While we’re sure most of you are rolling your eyes — flame not, we are too — there are probably at least a few dozen consumers that will gladly welcome Toshiba’s XDE technology with open arms.  And so begins the XDE campaign, in the form of Toshiba’s all-new XD-E500 – MSRP of $149.99

Jackpacks, and player feature sets are short of revolutionary, but the promise of near HD quality — or to be more specific, “eXtended Detail Enhancement” (XDE) — is being promoted as “more than just DVD upconversion.”

The press release reads:
“XDE takes DVD picture quality to a whole new level. In addition to providing upconversion from 480i/p up to 1080p, XDE offers user selectable picture enhancement modes that allow for greater detail, more vivid colors and stronger contrast that bring standard DVD quality closer to the HD experience.”

And what of these mysterious picture enhancement modes?  Well, they are no other than “these three selectable settings — Sharp, Color and Contrast.”

… huh?  Say what Toshiba?

We don’t know about you, but regardless of how nice and fancy three variable picture settings are there, is no way we’d ever pick one up over a true HD player.  Hell, even if we only had a DVD player from 1999, we’d still be looking to sidestep this “innovation” in favor of authentic HD content — whether in the form of DD’s (Digital Downloads) or BD’s.

Of course, we don’t support the notion that upconversion is a worthless feature.  It’s certainly nice, but that’s where the compliments begin and end.

We do however believe that it deserves to remain exactly where it stands, and that Toshiba would have been better off dropping XDE before it began.  They can’t seriously hope to throw a wrench in the true HD content market saturation machine… can they?

For those of you eager to jump on the XDE train — despite our most earnest attempts to convince you otherwise — hit the links below to read up, or purchase your XD-E500 today.

Press release, here.

XD-E500 Product Page, here.

Related posts:

  1. Sony Unveils Blu-ray Recorders With “Toshiba Killer”
  2. Toshiba demos ‘Blu-ray Killer’
  3. Toshiba Releases 1080p24 Enabled Firmware for 2nd Gen HD DVD Players
  4. Toshiba Reaffirms Blu-ray Stance
  5. Daewoo Presents BD-Live Blu-ray Player at IFA


16 Responses to “Toshiba’s XD-E500 “Blu-ray Killer” Goes Live”

  1. C on August 19th, 2008 6:23 am

    This isn’t the “super-upconverter” with the Cell processor, is it?

  2. Jonsson on August 19th, 2008 7:32 am

    This is just To$hiba latest attempt to sabotage the HD market now when they lost the war.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people will be stupid enough to believe this is “almost HD”.

    What a joke To$hiba

  3. webdev511 on August 19th, 2008 7:39 am

    I think it’s supposed to be the cell based player, yes.

    It’s no “Blu-Ray Killer” though. The Marketing rep from Toshiba said as much and they aren’t deluding themselves thinking that 480p upconverted is ever going to equal 1080p. They are hoping that 480p upconverted will both give customers a better picture from existing discs on HD sets and make some money at the same time.

  4. Mehar Gill on August 19th, 2008 8:46 am


    Toshiba really never dubbed this the “Blu Ray” killer, it was the media that did so. Toshiba only stated “theirs more than one way to get HD content” or something along those lines. If you take this for what it is, a converter then it is definitely a step up from whats already on the market. If you compare to Blu Ray or HD DVD content then its a joke and then some.

  5. burndive on August 19th, 2008 10:14 am

    I’m sick of people comparing this technology to Blu-ray. What does this have to do with Blu-ray? There is a pretty sizable market for DVD upconversion, and this seems priced to compete in that space, not in the Blu-ray space.

    I’m not saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread, but if it really is the best way to play SD DVDs (such as they are), then I’m not going to complain.

    I would at least like to see how what they can do compared to other DVD upconverting players before calling it anathema.

    This technology is worth paying attention to specifically because if it lives up to half the hype, then when they get around to making Blu-ray players, they will include this feature for upconverting DVDs.

    I don’t know about you, but I think that would make their player the one to get. This is pure speculation, and it may turn out to be ugly and artificial-looking, but then again, it might be pretty good at what it does.

    OF COURSE Toshiba isn’t throwing their entire efforts trying to race a Blu-ray player to market: that space is pretty well covered, and they’re late to the game. Taking their time is a smart move.

    The concept here is that most DVD upconverting (even in Blu-ray players) is done statically on each frame individually. The problem with this approach is that no matter what, you’re stuck with the same amount of information that the original frame had.

    Incorporating information from surrounding frames *is* a genuine way to *add information* to a frame, and therefore to genuinely add resolution to each frame. I don’t know how successful they have been at doing this, but it’s certainly theoretically possible, and I’m going to reserve judgement until the actual product comes out and I can compare it to the upconversion of other players.

    Of course I’m not comparing it to Blu-ray. The only reason a comparison with Blu-ray would be valid is if they were arguing, “who needs Blu-ray, when you have SD.” They’re not. They’re saying, “we all have DVD collections that we’re not going to replace with Blu-rays, let’s get the most out of them.”

  6. Kenvin on August 19th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Dead Is Toshiba’s XD-E500.

  7. Beta-guy on August 20th, 2008 3:07 am

    “Kate McCarthy, DVD Product and Marketing Manager for the Consumer Electronics Group of Toshiba of Canada Ltd., says XDE isn’t intended to take the place of a true high-def sources like Blu-ray. It’s aimed at people who want the best possible viewing experience from their existing DVD libraries, she said. “We believe XDE can co-exist very well with next-generation formats,” McCarthy commented.”

    Not quite Blu-ray killer… Toshiba is just hoping for peaceful co-existence.

  8. James Segars on August 20th, 2008 6:24 am

    Peaceful co-existence, eh?

    While the release of the XDE isn’t going to be considered an act of war, Toshiba is hardly being progressive.

    They could just as easily roll out the XDE feature in a Blu-ray machine, right?

    So, the point is that their actions speak volumes, NOT their thinly veiled rebuttal as to why the XDE machine was concocted/released.

    It’s just my opinion that XDE is going to have trouble finding a home in most american households due to the relatively high price, and slight but noticeable differences between players half its asking price.

    At the end of the day, I just think that upconversion was a means to an end, a gap-filler between SD and HD discs. That’s why I think it’s pointless to release the XDE content as a standalone unit, and NOT integrate it into the new HD disc standard, Blu-ray.

  9. James Segars on August 20th, 2008 9:05 am

    On a side note, just to curb any number of “you’re just a Toshiba/HD DVD hater” comments, I was and still am an HD DVD owner/supporter.

    In fact I’ve even owned two Toshiba standalone units — both of which I loved due to their feature set, construction, and the design aesthetics.

    I like many HD DVD supporters that planned to join Blu-ray were holding out hope for Toshiba Blu-ray Players, and perhaps that is why I resent Toshiba’s decision so very much.

    I would have taken a fully featured Toshiba player over my PS3 any day. I’ve had so many good experiences with Toshiba’s optical hardware that I’ll trust them far sooner than most CE companies, though not all.

    Bottom line, Toshiba just needs to bite the bullet and announce their plans for Blu-ray standalone units. If they’d prefer to bide their time with the XDE unit, that’s fine, but Blu-ray is on track to become the next disc based delivery system. I can’t imagine they’ll sit this one out forever.

  10. Mehar Gill on August 20th, 2008 9:35 am

    @James Segars

    Toshiba is the new chair company of the DVD Forum, until 2009 or 2010, I highly doubt the company representing the DVD Forum and it’s products would join the BDA.

    Toshiba along with a ton of other companies are focusing on flash drives I believe for distribution and from what I read a few months ago Toshiba is “leading the pack” so to speak.

  11. Beta-guy on August 20th, 2008 10:46 am

    @ James Segars

    I think Mehar has it right, I have no doubt that when Toshiba finally releases a Blu-ray player it’ll be great, the only things stopping Toshiba right now as I see it is pride, I hope they get over it soon. in the mean time they are trying to hang on to DVD for dear life.

    I tend to think that Toshiba will release or announce a Blu-ray player some time in 2009, the holiday season will have alot of sales on Blu-ray players, further weakening DVD’s position, as 2009 goes on and the prices come down naturally Toshiba will have to come to the conclusion that they have to move on.

  12. TJ on August 20th, 2008 7:04 pm

    Toshiba’s HD DVD hardware was great, and I’d definitely consider buying a 2.0 Tosiba Blu-ray Player with XDE.

    But DVD upconversion is soooo 2005. Nice try Tosh.

  13. Belard on August 20th, 2008 9:06 pm

    If the market (especially the USA) is too cheap to spend $300~400 on a Blu-Ray player, why would they expect people to spend $150 on a fancy up-converter when you can go to walmart and buy a BASIC upconverter from Toshiba for $40?

    XDE included with a blu-ray drive would be far more interesting and would most likely generate sales.

  14. Mehar Gill on August 20th, 2008 9:22 pm


    True, in the short run the price may be a factor unless the kiosks that will be rolling out in major retailers make their point. After the price decreases to below $100 I can see it selling “well”. I’m not looking at this as a Blu Ray competitor, I’m looking at it from a upscaling point of view and for that industry this is indeed a great improvement.

  15. Belard on August 24th, 2008 3:15 am

    Well… any reviews on this device yet?

    Only read a buyers review, giving a 1~10 point system. 10 being his HD-DVD player. He compared movies in SD>XDE>HD. Simple, it blew away his Toshiba HD-DVD player in Upconverting. In general, he gave the XDE an 8 in comparision to HD-DVD. Upscale from his HD-DVD player was 5~6.

  16. Mehar Gill on August 24th, 2008 2:04 pm

    I was just thinking, to be able to upscale like this wouldn’t it have to be packing alot of power? If that was the case the least Toshiba could have done was make it WMV HD or DivX HD compatible to give people some sort of true HD option.

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