Toshiba 2009 product launch, Brooklands
Just arrived at Mercedes Benz World next to the Brooklands racetrack for Toshiba's 2009 product launch.
Expecting to see the new LCD Regza ZV, SV, XV, RV, AV and DV flatscreen TVs, some with Resolution + upscaling, plus XD-E500 DVD player (no Blu-ray models though!) and RD-series of DVD/HDD recorders.
Looks like the SV, ZV, XV and RV models are all Full HD, 1080p. Smaller AV and DV series are HD-ready. Full press conference starts at 12 noon.
Toshiba SD-590E DVD player
Five new DVD players: SD-590 (above), SD-490, SD-390, SD-290, SD-190, the first three with upscaling to 1080p.
Two new DVD/HDD recorders: RD-XV59DT combi with 250GB hard-disk and VCR drive too (below), RD-99DT DVD recorder with 250GB hard-drive and DVD recording (no VCR).
Toshiba D-R19DT is standard DVD recorder (no hard drive) with Freeview tuner. And the D-VR19DT is a DVD/VCR recorder combi with Freeview tuner.
Toshiba RD-XV59DT DVD/HDD/VCR recorder
Four new portable DVD players: SD-P93, SD-P92, SD-P73, SD-P63. First two 9in screen, latter two 7in. Going into the press conference now, more details to follow after lunch.
Toshiba SD-P93 portable DVD player
Toshiba UK managing director Andy Bass is speaking: "A year ago our TV business was at its lowest point ever in the UK, with only 3.4% market share."
"Going into 2009, we have a much stronger product line-up. We have got our cost base down in the UK by about 13%, revenues are up 13%, and we are looking carefully at our supply chain. But profits in Q4 2008 did take a hit because of the weakness of sterling against the dollar.
"We have reversed our declining TV share and held our position in DVD player sales, despite our withdrawal from HD-DVD.
"We were worried it would be a Blu-ray Christmas. We're not being complacent, we know Blu-ray will increase over time, but we have increased our DVD player market share from 3.4% in February 2008 to around 8-9% now. We're aiming for 10% market share on DVD.
"In the combined TV and PC business, we have risen from No.3 to No.2 in the UK market. Samsung are No.1, Sony are No.3.
"We will take another 6-7% of cost out of the business this year, and will reduce the price of our TVs further. There was a lot of panic in the market before Christmas - that won't last."
Toshiba 47SV635 LCD TV
Andrew Line, UK TV product manager, Toshiba:
"Our 2009 TV range will include Resolution + for upscaling standard-definition sources, Autoview to automatically adjust the picture settings to suit the light conditions, ActiveVision M200 HD Pro picture processing, Dolby Volume and HDMI Instaport for instant switching between HDMI sockets. And most sets will have four HDMI sockets.
"We'll also introduce a range of Toshiba Eco-Panels that use 20% less power, saving consumers an average of £20/year. Last year we introduced Full Power Down on some models.
"The 2009 TV line-up is AD, AV, RV, XV, ZV series and our flagship SV Deep Lagoon models.
"Next year we'll be introducing our Cell TV that will be able to record up to eight high-definition channels"
Toshiba Cell TV technology
Fiona Patterson, DVD product manager:
"We'll launch the Toshiba Net Player with DVD at IFA this autumn – content will be delivered using Windows Media Extender."
"We're also launching a new DVD/HDD recorder, the DR-329DT with 320GB hard disk, three portable DVD players with SD card slots and we'll also continue our promotion with LoveFilm on the XDE-500 DVD/HDD recorder model.
"More than five million DVD players and recorders were sold in 2008, it's still a significant market, and we're the No.2 brand in the UK. DVD disc sales still accounted for 98% of the market in 2008, with Blu-ray at 2%."
Next up, detailed product tours of the new TV and DVD ranges.
The 2009 Toshiba Regza range
Key highlights so far. Toshiba has dropped its 'Picture Frame' sets for 09. Reading between the lines, consumers weren't persuaded to pay a premium for them and they were expensive to make.
All the new Toshiba models from the AV63 upwards will be made at the company's Plymouth factory.
Toshiba has no plans to introduce Freesat TVs, but will concentrate instead on developing Freeview HD models.
No web TVs are planned for 09, but the company's prototype Network DVD player is on show here at Brooklands, and will be launched later this year. Unfortunately we're banned from taking any pictures.
It uses the Intel CE3100 chipset, and will offer a selection of web widgets for channels such as Flickr and YouTube, although the full content line-up has still to be confirmed.
The web content will be pre-loaded into the set-top box, which also includes a DVD player, and it will connect via wi-fi or Ethernet to the web. There will be no web browser or direct connection to the web, rather content will be streamed from Toshiba's own servers.
The Net Player will upscale standard-definition web video content, and is likely to self for "sub-£200".
More details emerge of Toshiba's Cell TV concept, first seen at CES in January. It will be a set-top box able to play or record up to eight high-definition channels simultaneously.
Likely to go on sale in about 18 months time, it will be sold with a top-of-the-range wireless HD Toshiba TV. The box can stream multiple HD channels to other wireless TVs around the home, and will act as a central server for your music and video content.
Menu graphics work in a similar way to iTunes Coverflow and look impressive.
Users will be able to record four channels and watch another four around the house at the same time. The built-in hard drive will have "terabytes" of storage capacity to cope with all that HD content, says Toshiba, but they remain coy as to whether it will work with Sky+ HD. Unlikely, in our view.
Pictures and full run-down of the TV line-up available here.