Toshiba Slashes 1080p Price, Hammers CES with HD DVD News
Few other vendors are making the buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas that Toshiba is. With the possible exception of LG, which announced a dual format disc player, Toshiba is most responsible for slamming HD DVD down the throats of attendees by cutting the cost of 1080p playback and announcing its SED TV.
Certainly, HD DVD's edge in the format war is cost. The basic Toshiba model, the HD A1, can be had for just $400, about a third of the cost for Samsung's entry level Blu-ray device. Although the PlayStation 3 is the most effective way to enter the Blu-ray arena, most hi-fi fans are unlikely to buy into a gaming console.
However, while the HD A1 is certainly cheap, it doesn't offer some of the key features that higher end (and much more expensive) HD DVD and Blu-ray models can. Toshiba plans to correct this with the announcement of a $600 HD-A20 player, which acts as a middle ground for hi-fi enthusiasts less than overwhelmed with the HD A1.
Unlike Toshiba's cheaper player, the HD-A20 is capable of full HD playback, meaning viewers will be able to watch movies at 1080p. That HD DVD option has only been available to owners of the $1,000 HD-XA2, which is expensive enough that many consumers have instead stepped towards Blu-ray.
Although the HD-XA2 still offers a few features more than the HD-A20 (such as 1.3 HDMI support), the latter again undercuts Sony, Samsung, and Blu-ray. Further improving Toshiba's stock at CES was the announcement of SED (surface conduction electron emitter display) TV, which offers 1080p support for 50 inch screens at a third of the power. Unfortunately, speculation is that it will cost the average home theater fan a pound of flesh. Well…it'll be expensive, let's just say that.