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Toshiba took a big hit on the chin back in 2008 when its high definition HD DVD format suffered a surprising death at the hands of the deal makers from the rival Blu-ray format. They thought they had the format war all but wrapped up right before CES in January, and it all fell apart when movie studio Warner Bros. announced that it was going to end production of its movies on HD DVD.
Despite some protestations to the contrary (I'm not dead! Yes you are, you'll be stone dead in a moment!), Toshiba declared HD DVD dead on February 19, 2008. Refusing to begin making Blu-ray players, Toshiba put its energy into creating upsampling DVD players, hoping that good marketing and positive thoughts would sway the market into forgetting about Blu-ray, especially considering the sorry state of the Blu-ray players in the market in early 2008. Whether it was the result of poor marketing, a critical buying public, or the maturation of the feature sets on Blu-ray players, the XDE players didn't go over very well.
So, here we are, more than 18 months after HD DVD's demise, and Toshiba has finally announced its entry into the Blu-ray player market with the BDX2000.
The Toshiba BDX2000 Blu-ray Player
The player hits all the basics of Blu-ray playback, including 24fps playback, BD-Live, Bonus View, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential (more on this later). Anyone with an HD DVD collection needs to hold onto their trusty player, however, as this unit is not a dual-format player that some might have hoped for. While the press release mentions that it can play AVCHD content from SD cards inserted into the slot behind the front panel, it also appears that the very same SD slot is going to be necessary for you to enjoy BD-Live content.
Comparing this player to others already in the marketplace, it's hard to see where it's going to find its niche. Toshiba obviously doesn't have the brand recognition and model history enjoyed by Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and LG. This model is also missing any kind of network media connectivity, such as YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Video-on-Demand.
An additional caveat is the inclusion of DTS-HD Master Audio Essential instead of the full DTS-HD Master Audio package. I wasn't even aware that there was yet another level to DTS' bevy of format choices, so I had to look it up to find out what was so "essential" about this level of support. As it turns out, DTS-HD Master Audio Essential appears to be a subset of DTS-HD Master Audio in that it removes support for DTS Neo: 6 on Blu-ray and support for DTS | 96 /24, DTS | ES, ES Matrix, and DTS Neo: 6 on DVD. While the former isn't a big concern, as there isn't much need for that format, there are a number of DVD's that contain DTS ES soundtracks and some music-only DTS DVD's that contain 96/24 signals.
Did it really save Toshiba that much money to include a processor that made it more confusing to deal with what disc will play in that player? Did we really need yet another DTS audio brand? By and large, people want things to work as simply as possible. This just makes things more difficult, even if for just a small percentage of the marketplace. To help sort out this confusion should other manufacturers follow suit, I've updated the DTS Digital Sound on Blu-ray and HD DVD Explained document in our Help section.
The BDX2000 is scheduled to hit store shelves in November 2009 with a list price of $249.99.
Given the newness of Toshiba to the Blu-ray market and the lack of anything special to set this player apart from others in the field, the BDX2000 looks like it is going to have a tough road ahead of it to gain widespread acceptance. Unless Toshiba can get it in WalMart stores for an incredible price, the same features can be had for less, and from model lines in their second, third, and even fourth generations.
The full press release from Toshiba appears below.
Toshiba Introduces Blu-ray Disc Player
Debut player delivers high image quality and sophisticated design, a great complement to Toshiba's superior line of HDTVs
WAYNE, N.J., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Toshiba America Consumer Products L.L.C. ("Toshiba"), a market leader in home entertainment products, underscores its commitment to high-definition entertainment with the introduction of its first Blu-ray Disc player. The BDX2000 provides Full HD 1080p digital output that when coupled with a REGZA(R) LCD TV, enables consumers to enjoy the superior quality of high-definition audio & video content.
Supporting BD-Live(TM) (Profile 2.0), the BDX2000 allows users to take advantage of interactive features through an Ethernet connection. With interactive content enabled on select Blu-ray discs and Bonus View(TM) support for picture-in-picture capability, Toshiba's Blu-ray player offers state-of-the-art home entertainment.
Complementing the player's stunning picture quality, design is an integral component of Toshiba's home entertainment products. This new Blu-ray Disc player boasts a faceted design featuring a smoked mirrored front panel. The stylish front panel dropdown door conceals the player's primary functions, allowing for a smooth, clean facade.
"Toshiba is a technology leader in high definition products," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing, Digital A/V Group. "From listening to our consumers we know they demand access to full high definition content. With the introduction of our BDX2000 we are offering consumers what they want with a breath-taking HD viewing experience to meet the needs of today's home theater."
Using the REGZA-LINK(R) function, the new BDX2000 can connect with a REGZA LCD TV via a HDMI(TM) cable and display full high definition content with a single remote control. For added convenience, the BDX2000 features a SD card slot, making it an entertainment hub in the home by allowing consumers to showcase photos and videos with ease.
Additional Product Features:
- BD-Live(TM) (Profile 2.0)
- 1080p/ 24 fps Full HD Video Output
- AVCHD Playback
- Toshiba REGZA-LINK(R) (HDMI-CEC)
- Support for enhanced audio formats from Dolby(R) True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio | Essential(TM) Playback
- Bonus View
- SD Card Slot
- ENERGY STAR(R) Certified
Pricing and Availability:
Toshiba Blu-ray Disc Player
BDX2000 (available November, MSRP $249.99)
About Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C.
Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, a world leader in high technology products with subsidiaries worldwide. Toshiba is a leading manufacturer of a full line of home entertainment products, including flat panel TVs, Hi-Definition Blu-ray Disc players, TV/DVD Combination products and portable devices. Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. For additional information, please visit www.tacp.toshiba.com or www.toshibatv.com.
This product does not play HD DVD discs. Blu-ray discs with high-definition content required for HD viewing.
Viewing high-definition content may require a HDCP capable DVI or HDMI input on your display device.
Performance of interactive and/or network features may vary depending upon disc design or content, and may also require an always-on broadband internet connection. Additionally, firmware update may be required for some interactive and/or network features. Some features may require additional bandwidth.
When using BD-Live(TM), certain content and services may require that you have an SD card or SDHC card with available storage capacity of at least 1GB inserted in the SD card slot of this player. Content and services through BD-Live are provided by third-parties and are subject to change or discontinuation without notice. Toshiba makes no warranties, representations, or assurances about the content, availability or functionality of third-party content or services.
For 1080p / 24 frames output, content that was encoded in 1080p/24 fps is required.
Viewing 1080p/24 fps output requires an HD display capable of accepting a 1080p/24Hz signal.
1080p capable display required for viewing content in 1080p.
Use of REGZA-LINK(R), a feature based on HDMI-CEC, requires an HDMI-CEC compatible display device. Depending on the specifications of your display device, some or all REGZA-LINK(R) functions may not work even if your display device is HDMI-CEC compatible.
Supported card types: SD cards: 8MB?2GB, SDHC cards: 8GB. Supported file types: JPEG, MP3, WMA and AVCHD. Some cards and files may not be supported.
Because Blu-ray is a format that makes use of new technologies, certain disc, digital connection and other compatibility and/or performance issues are possible. If you experience such issues, please refer to www.tacp.toshiba.com for information on the availability of firmware updates that may resolve your problem, or contact Toshiba Customer Solutions.
Some features subject to delayed availability.
While every effort has been made at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications, configurations, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice.
BD-Live and Bonus View are registered trademarks of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.
DTS is a registered trademark & the DTS logos and Symbol are trademarks of DTS, Inc.
ENERGY STAR is a registered mark owned by the U.S. Government
HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing, L.L.C.
All others are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Source: Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C.
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