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More information coming to light regarding Toshiba's new "Blu-ray killer"


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#1 of 111 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 17 2008 - 08:36 PM

First, I need to apologize for the subject title.

About a year ago, there was much speculation regarding a
DVD player that Toshiba had been working on. Early word was
that this player would be able to take standard DVD to a level
of high definition. These rumors were so rampant that even
the press dubbed this player a "Blu-ray killer."

It has been very difficult to get any information out of Toshiba
regarding this new player. We are planning to see this player
in another two weeks while out at CEDIA. In the meantime, I
found an article which more or less calms the waters regarding
speculation on what this new DVD player is all about.

Click Here For Article

Please read the above article before moving on to my comments....

For me, the most interesting passage in the entire article is
as follows...

Quote:
Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, and Louis Masses, director of product
planning for the audio and video group at Toshiba America Consumer Products, was careful to stress that it's not
meant to compete with or replace Blu-ray.

This pretty much says it all. The fact that Toshiba would not
demonstrate this technology side-by-side with a Blu-ray picture
shows that the company doesn't feel the upconversion is even
comparable.

I will say that I am very excited about any technology that improves
upon DVD and has the ability to do better upconverting than current
players. It's sort of hard to imagine how much better you can make
upconverted DVD look (I think it looks fantastic already), and for that
reason I am very excited about being one of the first to see a demo
of the new Toshiba player. Will have more to report on this in our
CEDIA coverage.

 

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#2 of 111 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted August 18 2008 - 12:07 AM

Ron,

Thanks for the info and the link!

A lot of us just wish that Toshiba would build a Blu-ray player with this technology built-in. And perhaps they will some day. In the meantime, it's at least somewhat gratifying that they're not even trying to position the player as a substitute for Blu-ray.

Here's a link to another article that makes that very clear:

Toshiba Debuts ‘Near-HD’ DVD - 8/18/2008 4:01:00 AM - TWICE
Joseph
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#3 of 111 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted August 18 2008 - 02:26 AM

I had to laugh this morning at this quote in an article on CrunchGear about what Toshiba is saying about the new picture quality improvement over current upconverting.

Quote:
“Subtle but noticeable” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, it must be said. Frankly, they sound like weasel words.

And another interesting quote in the link that Ron posted is this:

Quote:
Blu-ray players have six times the image detail of a DVD, and upscaling players, even those using XDE technology, can't overcome that. But they can sharpen edges to overcome the blurriness of a DVD when displayed on a large screen.

Sounds like edge enhancement to me. LOL
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#4 of 111 OFFLINE   Bob_L

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Posted August 18 2008 - 04:12 AM

Here's another intriguing quote from the TWICE article:

Quote:
Consumers turn on each mode individually, but only a maximum of two modes can run simultaneously: sharp and color, or sharp and contrast.

So whatever chip they've popped into this player doesn't even have enough processing power to run all three of these new algorithms simultaneously.

This sounds like Toshiba marketing went to engineering and requested something new that they could use to generate a little buzz about SD DVD players. And this is what they came up with

#5 of 111 OFFLINE   PattyFraser

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Posted August 18 2008 - 04:26 AM

What I'd like to see is a demonstration of a standard def movie upconverted in the player versus, for example, that same disc upconverted in the new Sony S350. I want to compare upconversion to upconversion, not to Blu Ray quality. The less- than -enthusiastic view of the S350's treatment of standard def (of which, like most of us, I have a large library) is what is holding me back from this new Blu-Ray player.

#6 of 111 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 18 2008 - 05:18 AM

This gives me flashbacks to the HQ chip developed for VHS VCRs back in the mid-80s to prevent SuperBeta from gaining market share (as if that was ever a possibility....).
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#7 of 111 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted August 18 2008 - 05:30 AM

Read about this in the newspaper this morning. I don't mind that it is just a subtle improvement because that is generally all you see when comparing different upscaling players to each other. It is all a matter of degrees. To me the problem is that most general consumers don't often notice those differences . It is the enthusiast that sees the differences and they will most likely have or will be planning to get Blu-ray. I'll probably just stick to my XA2 (or PS3) for upconversion. I am still curious to hear what you think of it Ron when you get to see it in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_J_H
This gives me flashbacks to the HQ chip developed for VHS VCRs back in the mid-80s to prevent SuperBeta from gaining market share (as if that was ever a possibility....).

It worked! Posted Image

#8 of 111 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted August 18 2008 - 08:26 AM

**"Louis Masses (director of product planning for the audio and video group at Toshiba America Consumer Products) was careful to stress that it's not meant to compete with or replace Blu-ray."**

Wise words. Let´s hope, that the discussion now begins to steer from the "near HD quality" to "quality upscaling". The latter just might be true.

#9 of 111 OFFLINE   Brian D H

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Posted August 18 2008 - 09:01 AM

Assuming for the moment that this is the best upconverting player ever made; the correct strategy would still be to release a second player that incorporates these features AND plays BluRay. This second player, that plays both, should be around MSRP $300.

Why invent "the best upconversion technology" and only put it into a stand-alone player that can't do BluRay? If you can sell everyone on the idea that you have unique unconversion technology you can convince everyone to choose your brand of BluRay player. What BluRay adopter is going to by this Toshiba player in addition to a BluRay player already upconverts pretty well?
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#10 of 111 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 18 2008 - 09:32 AM

Depends how big your grudge is.

[J6P]I gots a 3-car grudge.[/J6P]Posted Image

Seriously, Toshi is playing its cards pretty close to its chest with this "revised" announcement. It'll be interesting to see if Toshi is willing to eat crow and introduce a BD player.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#11 of 111 OFFLINE   Alfonso_M

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Posted August 18 2008 - 10:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott-S
I had to laugh this morning at this quote in an article on CrunchGear about what Toshiba is saying about the new picture quality improvement over current upconverting.

what's laughable here is the quote

"who is investing in a DVD system in 2008?"

Typical elitist comments posted along the lines of others postings in here, especially given the fact that the great majority of consumers --even those purchasing Hi-def screens-- are not even considering Blu Ray at all..

What's is really sad about this reports is that 6 months after the war ended not fully compliant Blu players are still selling for at least 400.00 a pop at retail outlets, a fact that Toshiba is trying to exploit by introducing this alternative.

By this time Blu Ray players should've been the only choice for Hi-DEF screens owners, but consumers are not biting.....wonder why ?? ....

#12 of 111 OFFLINE   Brian D H

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Posted August 18 2008 - 10:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonso_M
What's is really sad about this reports is that 6 months after the war ended not fully compliant Blu players are still selling for at least 400.00 a pop at retail outlets, a fact that Toshiba is trying to exploit by introducing this alternative.

By this time Blu Ray players should've been the only choice for Hi-DEF screens owners, but consumers are not biting.....wonder why ?? ....

Exactly why I said that Toshiba should include their new upconversion technology IN a BluRay player AND undercut the price with an MSRP of $300. If they would swallow their pride about loosing the war they could have the best selling BluRay player around (assuming their unconversion technology lives up to the hype).
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#13 of 111 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted August 18 2008 - 11:57 AM

Except, why should they undercut the other prices? It's not like HD DVD where they have definite long-term gain from doing so. I'd love it if Toshiba were to do what you suggest, as I'm very happy with my HD-A1 and the Toshiba TV it's hooked up to, but they're at a disadvantage in terms of licensing costs to Sony, and I don't think the average consumer cares enough about a company's history that Toshiba needs to re-establish its brand post-HD DVD.

Personally, I want the technology in my DVR or TV most of all. My digital cable channels need better upconversion, too.
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#14 of 111 OFFLINE   Nick P

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Posted August 18 2008 - 12:09 PM

I would really like to know how this new Toshiba compares to the Oppo DV-983H. I'm about to pull the trigger on one of those.

#15 of 111 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted August 18 2008 - 01:00 PM

Quote:
Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, and Louis Masses, director of product planning for the audio and video group at Toshiba America Consumer Products, was careful to stress that it's not meant to compete with or replace Blu-ray.



I know saw that the article says that it is meant to improve DVD quality but this is my take. Didn't Toshiba earlier basically say they intended to take on Blu-ray with this technology, that this product was going to match HD?

I could be way off on this but it is starting to sound like Toshiba has been experience some backlash over there insistence of making a DVD player that can best a HD player. One would have thought that Toshiba would have gotten over there loss in the high definition war with Sony. But IMHO Toshiba is only prolonging there embarrassment by chasing after this current project, a standard definition player that can match a high definition player. A player that would keep Toshiba collecting royalties if it could succeed, but the sad part is that Toshiba thinks it is possible. Now this is not to say that this technology can not improve the image quality of standard definition video. But IMHO Toshiba only pursued this technology because they wanted to make Sony pay for them being embarrassed and loosing the revenue stream that was HD-DVD.

I am wondering if Toshiba will now down play there super dvd player at CEDIA? If this player has not achieved what Toshiba previously claimed it would. Toshiba could very well start backing off of this technology or if they do not they may switch gears and sell it as a way to improve current upconverting technology. IMHO the longer Toshiba stays out making a Blu-ray player the more likely it will end up having negative effect on them. Toshiba is the only one that is flat out refusing to offer a Blu-ray player. It will be interesting to see how Toshiba pursues this technology at CEDIA this year. Will they pursue it or down play it and hope that people quickly forget about it?

Because of Toshiba's behavior I do not even want to buy anything from them anymore. If I was not interested in keeping and enjoying my HD-DVD library I would dump my Toshiba player. I most likely will not be buying anything from Toshiba in the near future. I am very interested in hearing about what happens at CEDIA regarding this technology though. If the technology actually works in improving DVD's over what is available now, that will be great. But if they are actually trying to undermine Blu-ray I hope this move comes back and bites them hard.

Quote:
These rumors were so rampant that even the press dubbed this player a "Blu-ray killer."


Maybe when Toshiba comes up with there next format to take the place of 1080p Blu-ray. Maybe Toshiba can work the term Blu-ray killer into there advertising, ROFL. Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Got to love the title of the article as well, I thought it was humorous. Posted Image

"Forget HD-DVD: Toshiba focuses on plain old DVD".


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#16 of 111 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 18 2008 - 02:40 PM

We need to remember that Toshiba never billed this as a BD killer, the internet did. I have been told by sources that it does a better job than the upconverters in the HD DVD players did. The scaler will also be in some of the new TVs--that is where it will do the most good.

#17 of 111 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted August 18 2008 - 03:23 PM

The key for better SD DVD output is deinterlacing; it's far more important than scaling. None of the Toshiba players ever had what could be considered good deinterlacing other than the XA2 which used the Reon chipset. I highly doubt this unit will deinterlace to the degree of ABT, Reon, Realta, etc.

#18 of 111 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted August 18 2008 - 04:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich
We need to remember that Toshiba never billed this as a BD killer, the internet did. I have been told by sources that it does a better job than the upconverters in the HD DVD players did. The scaler will also be in some of the new TVs--that is where it will do the most good.

Even the highly touted XA2?

A bit off topic:

I thought they were planning to bring out new TVs using the cell processor. Has this changed? I assume this is not the processor in this player that is going to be in their new sets.

#19 of 111 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 18 2008 - 10:39 PM

Another story this morning here

I agree with those that say that this player is only going to confuse
the market even further and prevent some people to jump to the BD
format knowing they could make their existing DVDs look better.

On the plus side, this may force the BD camp to lower the price of
players which I feel are a bit overpriced. If you really want to steer
people towards BD and put these contenders to rest you need to make
the price of hardware and software more attractive to consumers.

 

Ronald J Epstein
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#20 of 111 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted August 19 2008 - 07:24 AM

My DVD collection is tiny in comparison to most, and going through them revealed that I would upgrade maybe six titles:

-Independence Day
-Batman Begins
-Spider-Man (trilogy box set)

As well as a couple more if and when they are released on BD:
-Braveheart (rumored for a January 20, 2009 BD release)
-Firefly TV series
-Serenity

And then would buy new titles like some of this summer's big movies.

So, obviously I'm looking to get an upconverting player but they are the one new piece of home theater technology I have very little experience with, and therefore don't really know first hand how impressive it is supposed to be. I know Blu-ray and HD-DVD despite not owning either, but upconverting DVD players are an unknown.

ARE they really all that better?


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