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Toshiba launches first HD DVD player

Toshiba has launched the world's first HD DVD player in Japan, officially beginning the next-generation DVD format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, set to launch this summer.

The HD-XA1 has a recommended retails price of ¥100,000 (€700) and if purchased before 27 April, comes bundled with HD DVD copies of Resident Evil and the Japanese movie Moonlight Jellyfish. The lower-end HD-A1 player does not seem to be available, yet.

Toshiba mentioned an official launch date of April for the US market with the HD-XA1 retailing for $799 while the HD-A1 comes with a pricetag of $499.

In addition to Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD sound formats, the player supports the HD DVD formats added features, such as support for advanced navigation and interactive features. For example, the player has a 'pop-up menu' that displays movie chapters with thumbnails while the movie plays, allowing users to navigate menus without stopping the movie. The player also supports 'picture in picture', so users can watch commentary or other featurettes superimposed on the actual feature.

Toshiba also mentioned that its line of HD DVD-equipped PCs should be available sometime between April and June as well.

Story filed 03.04.06

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