What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 4 Sep 2008, 12:00pm

Toshiba XD-E500

Tested at £120

It’s not HD, but it’s one of the best affordable DVD players we’ve seen

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  • ‘Sharp’ mode offers incredibly detailed pictures
  • naturally vibrant colours
  • smooth, stable motion
  • nice styling


  • Sound could do with just a little more refinement

Toshiba's HD-DVD is dead, but the company hasn't given up the fight against Blu-ray.

Although a new DVD player might not sound like the most exciting alternative to Sony's HD format, the XD-E500's onboard eXtended Detail Enhancement (XDE) technology is designed to 'bring standard DVD quality closer to the HD experience'.

While neither the picture nor sound produced here can match HD quality, the 'E500's still a mighty fine DVD player. Watch the brilliant Iron Man and the picture the 'E500 produces is outstanding.

Pin-sharp edge definition

Detail levels are exceptional, while edge definition is pin-sharp and colours are pleasingly vibrant. Fast motion is equally excellent, with minimal judder and ghosting.

This sterling performance has been achieved by combining 1080p upscaling with the XDE tech, which analyses the entire picture on the fly and intelligently enhances edges as needed.

Brilliant sharp edges

There are three XDE modes: 'Sharp' does the edge enhancing, while 'Colour' is intended for bright outdoor scenes and 'Contrast' for dark scenes.

In practice, no-one's going to pause the film to change settings, and we actually found that neither was worth the effort anyway. Stick to 'Sharp' mode, though, and you'll get a DVD picture that might just be the best in class.

Audio is decent too, with the Toshiba producing a dramatic, direct delivery, although some rivals offer a little more in the way of refinement and low-end detail.

So, the XD-E500 might not match Blu-ray, but it's still one of the most accomplished DVD players we've seen, and at a very reasonable price - what could be wrong with that?

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