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Toshiba XDE - Extended Detail DVD player

Toshiba XDE - Extended Detail DVD player

Platform: Home Theater
Category: DVD Players
Author: Murray G

Toshiba XDE

Want to get HD performance without paying Blu-ray prices? Tired of looking for Blu-ray movies and finding your local video store has a better selection of beta. Many households now have the latest in video technology, LCD and Plasma TV’s, Projectors, next-generation consoles etc.... There is no comparison when it comes to DVD inventory level and there is a huge gap between them and any new technology. Regular DVD’s outnumber Blu-ray 100 to 1 or better in some video stores. What if you could use a unit that upconverted regular dvd’s into HD? Toshiba has a solution and it’s called the XDE.

The Toshiba XDE is an up 1080p up converter. What this means is you take any ordinary DVD, plop it into the XDE and the XDE upconverts the movie to HD like standards. The XDE allows you to get more life out of your current DVD library and take advantage of the superior selection of regular DVD’s in your local video store. The unit itself is not that large and should fit easily in your existing stereo/home theatre cabinet. In most configurations it replaces your existing DVD player. So space should not be an issue.

I tested the XDE on a 52LG70 LCD TV (52 inch,1080p) and an Infocus DLP projector. The projector is only 1080i capable.The unit has the standard HDMI, Component, Analog audio and Digital audio outputs.

There are three viewing modes available and each mode has its own characteristic. When watching a movie I encourage you to play with the different settings to see which mode works best with each movie you are about to watch. Sharp is the default setting. One word of caution for older movies, no matter what the setting, the XDE might have some issues. A poorly recorded DVD will not perform well given the age and resolution of the source material. The three different settings found on the XDE are as follows:

- Sharp- This mode adds sharpness around the edges. I used this setting extensively for SCi-fi and other special effect laden films. The Fifth Element rocked.

- Colour- Enhances and richens colour levels. I used this setting for panoramic and other visual films. Films like Lord of the Rings can benefit the most from this.

- Contrast-Improves the level of shading between black and white. Personally I didn’t use this feature that much.

I found myself using Sharp and Colour settings way more often. But that’s just me and it is a reason I encourage you to play with the settings as peoples perceptions are different then others. Add to this that not everyone’s DVD library is made up of one type of film genre. Dramas and comedies will take better advantage of the Contrast setting then the sharp setting.

The XDE will never outperform a Blu-ray player, both in sound and picture. That being said it does offer better value IMHO. Until there is as many Blu-ray movies as there are regular DVD’s the XDE is better worth. The XDE retails for $149.99 and you get HD quality video from existing DVD’s (although not as sharp at Blu-ray though) and a far bigger selection of movies to choose from. Yes Blu-ray players are decreasing in cost to a reasonable $250’ish, and the interactive features, sound and picture are undeniably better, but it is a moot point if there are not nearly as many movies to watch. Sure, new titles are being released on both Blu-ray and DVD at the same time nowadays and there are catalog titles being added to Blu-ray weekly, but given how many DVD’s are already out there, and most likely in your own personal library, it is hard to ignore those shiny gold discs.

At the end of the day, even given the technical advantages of Blu-ray players and movies, I still give the XDE thumbs up and will be adding it to my Christmas wish list this year. And besides, with the way the economy is going who couldn’t use an extra $100 in their pocket.


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