Toshiba Announces 3rd-Gen HD DVD Players

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Electronics maker Toshiba is ratcheting up competition with the Blu-ray high-definition video camp again, announcing its third generation of its HD-A HD DVD players for the U.S. market. The three new units are timed to hit retailers just as the end-of-year holiday buying season ramps up, and all three units will be priced under under $500, and with low-end pricing starting at just $299.99.

Keeping up with Toshiba’s non-stop claims that the HD DVD format is dominating the high-definition market, the VP of Marketing for Toshiba’s Digital A/V Group, Jodi Sally, stated: "With a majority market share in unit sales of next generation DVD players, consumers are speaking loud and clear, and they are adopting HD DVD as their HD movie format of choice. Because of the proven manufacturing efficiencies of the HD DVD format, Toshiba can bring this level of innovation in technology to a new generation of players with cutting-edge functionality at affordable prices."

At the low end, the HD-A3 will carry a $299.99 price tag, and feature 1080i output, while the HD-A30 ($399.99) and the HD-A35 ($499.99) offer 1080p/24 output. The HD-A30 and A35 will also offer HDMI-CEC—which Toshiba is calling "CE-Link"—to enable two-way control between the HD DVD player and a television. At the high end, the A35 will support Deep Color, 5.1 analog surround output, 7.1 audio output via HDMI. All three units will sport a slim new chassis design just under 60 mm thick, with a high-gloss black acrylic face. All three new players will support Internet-enabled interactive content.

Toshiba says the A30 should land at retailers in September, with the A3 and A35 following along in October. Of course, as the holiday season gets underway and the Blu-ray camp fires back, consumers can reasonably expect promotions and possibly discount pricing to sweeten deals on both sides of the format war.

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