Toshiba XD-E500 review

It's not HD but it's still one of the most accomplished DVD players we've seen Tested at £120.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    ‘Sharp’ mode offers incredibly detailed pictures

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    naturally vibrant colours

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    smooth, stable motion

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    nice styling


  • -

    Sound could do with just a little more refinement

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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?

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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