The first HD-DVD players for Europe have just been announced by Toshiba at their press conference at IFA in Berlin.
There will be two models available initially, both before the end of the year. This follows the US release earlier this year. Toshiba were at pains to point out that the European machines are a second generation of player.
The first to be introduced will be the Toshiba HD-E1, coming out in November this year. Capable of playing both at 1080i and 720p. An HDMI 1.2a port will be included. Audio playback will be Dobly 2.1. Expected price €599-€699.
HD-XE1 (pictured below)
The following month (December) will see the release of the higher quality player, the HD-EX1.
It will add playback at 1080p to the 1080i and 720p of the HD-E1. HDMI support will be the latest release HDMI 1.3. Dolby 5.1 will also be supported.
The price will be €899-€999, depending on the country bought in.
Both machines will feature Ethernet ports, enabling Internet connections for interactivity and to access additional content.
Current DVD’s will also playback, but will be up-scalled to the highest resolution available to each machine.
The units will be released in three regional batches, with the UK, France and Germany (amoung others) leading the pack; the rest of Europe will follow; brought up by the previous Eastern Europe and Iceland.